Summer Weather, Birds And Snapping Turtles: March Was A Lamb At The Susquehanna Wetlands.
The old folk saying goes ” If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb”. Well this year we have seen both the lion and lamb side of March here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Last weekend we had over 8 inches of snow followed by high winds with frigid temperatures in the teens. March was roaring like a lion. On Friday, less then a week later it was sunny, calm and temperatures soared into the low 70’s. March was as gentle as a lamb. I took advantage of the Summerlike weather and hiked in the Susquehanna Wetlands in Salem Township Luzerne County again.
I love this small private nature preserve. I seem to always find come wildlife here. And, I often some new and interesting critter or see the usual critters engaging in some cool activities. I did again on Friday. I started my hike, as I always do, in the wetlands area of the nature preserve. I walked on the trail that follows the ponds and waterways that all the remains of old Susquehanna Canal. I have written about the canal in past blog posts and they can be found by using the research tool in my blog archives.
On these waters I saw a couple of pairs of Canada geese. They would honk loudly as I approached, letting me know this is where they have established their nesting areas and it is off limits to other critters.
a black-capped chickadee and a
northern cardinal were also seem as I walked under the still leafless trees.
There were some signs of new growth. The lowly skunk cabbages continued to emerge from the muddy grounds along the trail.
The wetlands were flooded from the recent rains and the melting snows. The path t0 the large Water Fowl pond was also flooded so I sloshed through some muddy water to get to the ponds hoping tp see some ducks or other water fowl. I was disappointed, after all of my effort to get there , there was only a couple of Canada geese on the pond.
I sloshed back to the main trail and, as I continued my walk, I heard some splashing in one of the ponds. Investigating I came upon another unique wildlife event ,
a pair of huge snapping turtles were. let’s say getting romantically involved.
It was an interesting sight to see. I have observed snapping turtles ” getting involved” before and it is prehistoric. I videotaped it and just watched it again. It is actually pretty amazing. Here is the link to my YouTube channel. https://youtu.be/w8AMANu3pQ0
This time I caught the end of the amorous encounter and they soon went their separate ways in the muddy waters.
After watching the snapping turtles do their thing I continued my walk in the wetlands under the bright March sunshine.
The sun warmed the temperatures and it felt more like a Summer afternoon then a day in mid-march. Some smaller relatives of the snapping turtles took advantage of the sun and warmth,
and there were dozens of painted turtles on the logs and rocks in the canals.
I walked down to the Susquehanna River hoping to see some water fowls, kingfishers, eagles or ospreys.
I saw none of them, only this gray squirrel who stopped to take a look at me,
before leaping off up to the top of a tree.
Leaving the river I was enjoying the chorus of the spring peeper frogs that were now active in the wetlands. They are one of my favorite sounds of Spring.
On the way to the river lands area of the nature preserve I encountered a few more of our year long resident birds, some song sparrows,
and a white-breasted nuthatch.
When I got to Lake Took-A-While, in the river lands, I saw only a few Canada geese on it’s deep blue waters. I was hoping to see the flocks of common and hooded mergansers I had seen on my pervious walk. There were none. Not bald eagles, blue herons, kingfishers or ospreys either.
As usual I hiked to the end of the lake and started my return hike to the wetlands to complete my five mile hike
On the way back I saw a great blue heron, a bald eagle soaring high overhead and a red-tailed hawk that flew right over my head. Unfortunately I couldn’t get photos of any of these critters. I was able to photograph this turkey vulture,
and, this lone birds I saw swimming on the lake, a pie-billed grebe
I wouldn’t see a lot of critters as I walked back into the wetlands. Some high clouds moved in,
as evening approached. It was a peaceful feeling, walking on the wooded trail as the day ended, listening to the Spring peepers and wood frogs singing in the wetlands. I had hoped to see a bald eagle, I always do, but, I was satisfied seeing, and photographing the critters that were active on this warm afternoon, especially the unusual observation of the mating snapping turtles The wetlands always have a secret to share. I love it down there. Especially when March is acting like a lamb. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photographs from my hike on the warm March lamb like afternoon. Susquehanna Wetlands March 18 2022.
“A light exists in Spring
Not present in the year
at any other period
When March is scarcely here.”
― Emily Dickinson