The Cicadas Are Singing At The Susquehanna Wetlands
I drove to the Susquehanna Wetlands again last Saturday. When I arrived I was greeted by that wonderful Summer sound of the cicadas singing in the tree tops. Unlike their relatives , the 17 year periodic cicadas, these cicadas appear in mid-summer every year in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It was early, 8 a.m., when I arrived and noise from the cicadas increased as the sun warmed up the morning air. Soon the katydids will join the chorus of the cicadas. I love these sounds of Summer. But they are bittersweet. There appearance in our woodlands means Summer’s end approaches. Here is a link to a video I took of the the cicadas singing in the wetlands. https://youtu.be/yr1avqUjwK0
After listening to the cicadas, I walked down to the banks of the Susquehanna River, The waters of the river were still brown and swollen from the recent rains..
I proceeded on my usual hike in the wetlands and found another sign of the advancing Summer. The cardinal flowers were in bloom. I love seeing these bright red native flowers that grow in our wetlands in mid to late Summer. They were used as a medicinal plant by the Native Americans who lived in our area.
The blackberries were also starting to ripen, another sign of the advancing Summer.
The recent rains have caused the wild mushrooms to continue to grow along the trails in the wetlands. This is a bi-colored bolete mushroom, and this
a species of amanita mushroom.
Walking on the trails I again saw this rabbit chewing on some clover,
and scared a group of young wood ducklings that were swimming on one of the canals.
For some reason I didn’t see any of the muskrats that seemed to be everywhere on my walks the last few weeks. I did see a few green herons
The wetlands are still lush and green despite the hot weather we’ve been having. This is because of the abundant rainfall we have also been blessed with this year,
And, as I was leaving the wetlands, on my way to the river lands section of the nature preserve, I saw this snake in a small pond. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good photo because of the plants that obstructed my view, I believe it was a black racer or black rat snake.
Walking into the river lands, and along the trail between Lake Took-A-While and the old Susquehanna Canal,
I found some more Summer wild flowers in bloom including the bright yellow St John’s wort,
jewel weed or touch-me-not, and
Bright red staghorn sumac flowers were also in full bloom.
The waters of the lake reflected the mostly clear blue skies.
And I didn’t see a lot of wildlife but there were a few catbirds in the trees along the trail,
and this red tail hawk flew high overhead, sending it’s piercing cry down into the river lands.
On my return walk I noticed the appearance of a swarm of eastern cicada killing wasps.
These wasps are not aggressive and they allow you to get very close as the fly from leaf to leaf. The males have no stinger. The females does and uses it to inject venom and paralyze cicadas. She then takes the cicadas to a tunnel, where she deposits eggs on the paralyzed cicadas. The eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the paralyzed cicadas.
As noted on my prior hikes, I have noticed a lot less dragonflies darting about the wetlands this year, However I still did see a few.
Returning to the wetlands I saw a few more birds including these,
It seems there are less birds in the wetlands on my last few visits. I didn’t see, or hear, any of the red-winged blackbirds that are so common in the wetlands and river lands. Summer advances and I wonder if they could already be leaving our area. I hope not. But the noisy calls of the red-winged blackbirds were replaced with the soothing song of the cicadas. Once again I had a most enjoyable five mile hike in this wonderful nature preserve, Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in the wetlands and river lands. Susquehanna Wetlands, July 24 2021.
Again and again, the cicada’s untiring cry pierced the sultry summer air like a needle at work on thick cotton cloth.” ―Yukio Mishima