The Month of May Arrives, Along With Some Goslings, At The Susquehanna Wetlands

The Month of May Arrives, Along With Some Goslings, At The Susquehanna Wetlands

Susquehanna wetlands birds (34 of 39)
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The month of May has always been one of my favorite months. The first signs  of Spring appear in March here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, but we still have cold and, sometimes, even blizzard. April is a beautiful month with the appearance of the first wildflowers and the return of the first migratory birds, however, we still have plenty of frosts and cold weather.  May is the month when the  magic of Spring truly unfolds. And it did, almost overnight, at the Susquehanna Wetlands and River Lands in Salem Township, Luzerne County. 

When I arrived early Saturday morning I found most the the trees were now covered in their first delicate new leaves. Even the the oak trees , the last to lose their leaves in the Fall and also the last to sprout new ones, in the Spring , had buds.  Many different hues of green, red and yellow transformed the wetlands from the drab colors of Winter to a beautiful colorful painting .  Walking under the canopy of new leaves was like walking in the Garden of Eden.  I love the Spring. 

And it wasn’t only the trees that  burst into bloom. The trails in the wetlands were covered with wildflowers. The most common were the violets. They were everywhere on my five mile hike, in both the wetlands and river lands. There were  few different varieties of these native wildflower but they all were petty.

The Virginia spring beauty also continued to bloom throughout the wetlands and river lands.

The trout lilies were already finished blooming and the remaining bluet flowers were starting to fade but still provided some color on my hike.

And they were many new flowers in bloom, including the high bush blueberries. 

The  pretty, pink, native  azaleas, or honeysuckles as my dad called them, were almost ready to begin their short bloom. I love these delicate flowers. My dad would take us into the woods in the Spring to gather them and the wild lady slipper orchids. 

Wild strawberry flowers were now also blooming on the trails of the wetlands and river lands,

as were  the native golden alexander flowers and

the invasive, but medicinal garlic mustard flowers. 

In addition to the wildflowers  many species of ferns were unfurling their fronds and adding to the magical greenness of the wetlands. This I believe is a lady fern,

and this a sensitive  fern.

The mandrake or may apple, and

the skunk cabbage continued to rapidly grow, creating carpets of green in the wetlands. 

And some of the new growth, while pretty, was  not welcome, like the new poison ivy leaves. Pretty, but poisonous they are. 

In addition to the magical colors provided by the budding trees and blooming wildflowers,

the wetlands were also filled with the songs of the birds. The years long residents such as the cardinals and

song sparrows,

were now joined by the migratory song birds. The songs of the yellow warblers could be heard throughout the wetlands and river lands. The scurried from tree to tree searching for insects. Many of them will remain in the wetlands and nest. 

There were a few palm warblers in the  wetlands but they are just passing through, on their way to their breeding grounds in northern Canada. 

The noisy red-wing blackbirds added their songs to the chorus in the woodlands. 

as did the white-throated sparrows. 

A pair of Canada geese loudly honked as I approached them on a canal in the wetlands,

a sign their was a nest nearby. 

This week I was fortunate to sneak up on some wood ducks. 

These pretty birds usually fly off as I approach. I was still a considerable distance away. 

I took these photos with a 600mm zoom lens, and they are heavily cropped but they are still beautiful even at this great distance.

One of these weekends I hope to get closer to the wood ducks, like I did with this great blue heron.

It was standing silently in a pond in the wetlands and I watched it as it slowly stalked its prey, 

It lunged forward and caught this fish. I was able to capture a lot of photos and they are in a gallery in my blog. 

After watching the heron I again walked to the Susquehanna River,

and then into the river lands area of the preserve. Here more of the colors of Spring could be seen on the trail along the shores of Lake Took-A-While.

Ornamental crab apple trees were in full bloom now. I again hiked along the lake to the Riverside trail before I began my walk back.

On the way I was saw the first new family of Canada geese of the Spring.  May is also the month were many new critters are born in the wetlands. 

The parents proudly swam with their offspring  on the waters of the lake. 

On my walk back I had hoped to see the nesting bald eagles or their newly hatched eaglets. However the adults weren’t on the nest and the nest was becoming obscured with the sprouting new leaves.  This is a good thing since the new family could use some privacy now. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs of the birds I saw on my first day of May hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds  5-1-2021

After leaving the lake, and the cute newly hatched goslings, I returned to the wetlands where I found some turtles,

and a bullfrog  enjoying the April sunshine. 

I also found some oyster mushrooms growing on a tree.  Not a lot but enough for a sample of, hopefully, many more. It was a perfect day to welcome in the month of May. And I am looking forward  to many more this Spring and Summer. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands hike 5-1-2021

Sweet May hath come to love us, / Flowers, trees, their blossoms don; / And through the blue heavens above us / The very clouds move on. Heinrich Heine

 

This is my first post

2 Comments

  1. Mikołaj on May 4, 2021 at 12:07 am

    Nice! I used to work in PA a few years ago.

    • fskokoski@gmail.com on May 13, 2021 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks! I appreciate the feedback.

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