The Bittersweet Songs Of The Cicadas Have Begun At The Susquehanna Wetlands.

The Bittersweet Songs Of The Cicadas Have Begun At The Susquehanna Wetlands.

Susquehanna Wetlands (36 of 44)
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I returned to the Susquehanna Wetlands in Luzerne County last Sunday. It was a pleasant sunny morning with temperatures in the low 60’s. 

After I arrived,  I  walked down to the Susquehanna River, which is my usual routine, and, 

I was delighted to hear again, the melodic song of a wood thrush.  There was only one singing from a tree top, not like the dozens I heard at   Locust Lake State Park the previous week, but it’s song was beautiful. 

I listened to the wood thrush song, and watched a few cotton tail rabbits feeding on  the dew covered grass, while I waited for my nephew Mikey to arrive.

Mikey is a student at Mansfield University majoring in  Ecology and Environmental Conservation.   He is doing a  project on Pennsylvania  Waterfowl Abundance in Different Wetland Habitats.  He has  included the Susquehanna Wetlands and River Lands in his project. He had already visited the  Susquehanna River land and Lake Too- A-While to look for  wood ducks, mallards, herons  and other water fowl and was meeting me for a hike through the wetlands to continue his observations of the water fowl.

We walked through the lush woodlands of the wetlands hoping to see the wood ducks and other water fowl we know live here but we don’t always see. And we didn’t  see any wood ducks as we began our walk. Sometime they are on the canals near the parking lot. We did see a great blue heron and green heron but not close enough for me to get photos. 

I was quiet in the wetlands with little bird activity. We saw a few song sparrows, this one preening it’s feathers and

 a few red-bellied woodpeckers,

looking for insects on the trunk of a tree. 

We walked to the Waterfowl Pond where Mikey was able to see about a dozen wood ducks and some mallards with his binoculars. They were too  far  away for me to get photos. 

We continued our walk through  the wetlands, chatting about  my nephews degree and future career and observing the many beautiful wonders of nature from the lovely flowers including some late blooming honey suckle filling the wetlands with its fragrance , ‘

the pretty but poisonous nightshade flowers, 

swamp milkweed flowers 

and  the ripening blackberries. Mikey ate a few on our walk. In addition to the flowers and berries we saw a few interesting  insects including an Appalachian eyed brown butterfly, 

and this hickory tussock moth caterpillar hanging from a thread it spun.

We also saw a few painted turtles, 

and this  tiny America toad.

We continued our hike through the wetlands, seeing a few more wood ducks. and a couple of green herons. 

We walked back to the river and followed the Great  Warrior  Trail along  banks. of the river under the ancient trees that have been here since the Native Americans  walked this trail 

We didn’t see any more waterfowl, or any other critters on our walk back to the parking lot. My nephew had to leave to check out some of the other habitants he is observing for his class project,  but I continued my hike  back into the wetlands and toward the river lands. 

On the way,  I did see about a dozen wood ducks on a log  in a pond ,

and was able to get a few photos. 

I also saw this eastern phoebe on my walk to the river lands. 

The strong July sun had warmed the chilly morning air, and, as I walked into the River Lands I heard, for the first time this year, the singing of the cicadas. I love this buzzing sound ad find it soothing especially on a warm  Summer evening. It is the essence of a fine Summer afternoon and evening. However. it is also a sad song to hear. it means not  only has the beauty of Spring ended,   but now Summer is at it’s peak,  and now  the days are getting shorter.  The cicadas singing are a harbinger of the coming Fall.  Bittersweet it is. I am it a cold weather fan. 

But there will be plenty of Summer days to enjoy. These cicadas are  annual cicadas that emerge each year in mid Summer and not the periodical cicadas that emerge  in great swarms every 13 to 17 years. I couldn’t get a photos of a cicada but I was able to photograph one of their predators, the eastern cicada killer wasp. These wasps are huge and swarm but are very non aggressive to us humans . 

I walked along Lake Took-A-While ,

and saw two small flocks of Canada geese This goose did not mind posing for a close up. 

There were also a lot of dragonflies darting along the trail near the lake,

  mostly blue dashers, 

and a  few amber wings.

A belted kingfisher was chattering along the shore of the lake and finally perched in a tree long enough for me to get a photo.. 

And nearby I saw this red squirrel perched in a tree. 

I started my hike back to the wetlands,

and saw a few more birds  there including a great crested flycatcher, 

a yellow throated vireo

and a Carolina wren. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands  birds and insects  July 23 2023. 

I finished  my five mile hike  listening to the singing of the cicada, a soothing song  I enjoy during the heat of Summer. They will continue to sing until the first frosts of Fall arrive, which , they are telling us won’t be to long. Yes, unlike the cheerful song of the robin in Spring, heralding a season of new growth,  a bittersweet song it is.  Hopefully they will sing until November this year. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my five mile hike. Susquehanna Wetlands  July 23 2023. 

“I love summertime more than anything else in the world. That is the only thing that gets me through the winter, knowing that summer is going to be there.”  Jack McBrayer 


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