The Bitter Cold Continues At The Susquehanna Wetlands.
It was another bitter cold day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania on Saturday. The temperature was -4 degrees when I awoke at my home in Hazle Township Luzerne County .Although I had just hiked in the Susquehanna Wetlands the previous evening, I wanted to see if any more ice formed on the Susquehanna River and how the bitter cold was affecting the critters who live there. So I decided to take the 1/2 drive to Salem Township and hike in the wetlands again. . It was clear and cold when I arrived. The temperature was -2 degrees. I walked down to the river and,
learned the answer to my question. Yes more ice did form overnight. I gazed upon a beautiful winter scene. A cold mist was rising over the Susquehanna River. It covered the trees along the river in a thin coat of ice.
As approached the main trail along the frozen canal I heard the shrill call of a red tailed hawk. I looked and saw it perched in a tree some distance away. It was hard to photograph because of the many tree branches between me and the hawk. As I neared it saw me and flew away. This was the best photo I could get.
I continued my hike toward the waterfowl pond on the western edge of the wetlands. Along the way I observed the delicate ice crystals that were created by the mist rising from the river. They settled on everything in the wetlands including the common winterberries,
I wasn’t able to get a photo as it quickly flew away. I watched it land on the other side of the pond. I went looking for it and was able to get to the area it landed by walking on the frozen pond. I hoped the ice was thick enough to support me. Thankfully, I discovered it was. When I got to the area I thought it had flown too, it was gone. It probably flew to the open waters on the river.
As were the remains of the cutleaf teasel.
I didn’t see any birds either as I walked to the far end of the lake. However, on my return hike I finally was able to see, and photograph the northern mockingbird that has been eluding my camera for a few weeks. I believe it may be the same one that has stayed here for the winter for a couple of years now.
In the wetlands a small Cooper’s hawk swooped over my head and landed on the ground in the brush across one of the ponds. It was stalking something on the ground. Unfortunately it was hard to see, or photograph, in the thick undergrowth but I think it’s hunt was unsuccessful. This was the best photo I could get. And this would be the last bird I would see on my hike. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds. January 22 2022.
There are more trees in the wetlands and the branches shaded the brilliant sun making it feel noticeably colder. I think this is why there was no birds active as I finished my five mile hike in the wetlands. I certainly didn’t see as much wildlife activity as I would in the warmer months but I was satisfied finding a few critters out and about in the bitter cold temperatures. I enjoy the challenge of finding them. But I hope warmer weather comes back and makes it easier for me and the frozen critters. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike in the January bitter cold. Susquehanna Wetlands January 22 2022.
“Withstanding the cold develops vigor for the relaxing days of spring and summer. Besides, in this matter as in many others, it is evident that nature abhors a quitter.”