The Sounds Of The Insects Are Replacing The Bird Songs At The Susquehanna Wetlands

The Sounds Of The Insects Are Replacing The Bird Songs At The Susquehanna Wetlands

Susquehanna Wetlands insects (6 of 26)
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In the Spring, the Susquehanna Wetlands are filled  with the sounds of the frogs and song birds. In August, it is insects turn to make some noise, and they were on Saturday.  I returned to the wetlands  in Salem Township, Luzerne County and  was greeted by the loud chorus of the singing cicadas.

It was still early when I arrived, around 8: a.m., but the sounds of the cicadas were already deafening. It was a mild night, temperatures remained in the 70’s, so this could explain their early  activity.  There was another species of insects that were  very active early in the morning , the mosquitoes. They were everywhere  It was the first time I was swarmed by them this year.

I also saw a  lot of dragonflies for the first time  as I approached the canals and ponds in the wetlands.  I haven’t seen many in the wetlands or river lands this year. I saw dozens of this dragonfly  on my hike. I believe it is a male widow  skimmer. 

This, I believe  is an eastern pondhawk

This,  a Halloween pennant,

And this, a slaty skimmer.  Again, I am not an expert and please feel free to correct me if I am wrong . These many colored dragonflies were darting and hoovering everywhere on Saturday. 

There were many   mid-Summer wildflowers blooming along the trail in the wetlands  including knapweed, thistles, fleabane daisies and  these pretty bull thistles, 

white cutleaf teasel  flowers and 

these flowers which have just bloomed on the duck weed covered waters in the wetlands, the pretty American bladderwort. 

Flowers, of course also attract bees, insects and  butterflies.  These are a few of the butterflies  I saw on my five mile hike,  this summer azure butterfly,

this monarch butterfly, 

this silver-spotted skipper and 

this peck skipper butterfly.  (I am pretty sure about these identification since my friends on a Facebook butterfly group helped identify them for me) .

There were bees were also visiting  many of the knapweed flowers along the trail,

and some were even feeding on  the pretty but poisonous  nightshade flowers. 

And in the river lands. along Lake Took-A-While I saw swarms of cicada killer wasps.  

The females, having mated, were now building their tunnels where they will take a cicada they have stung and stunned. They will lay their eggs on the still living cicada and the larvae will hatch an feed on the cicada. Gruesome but such is nature. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs of the insects I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands insects August 7 2021. 

While there  were  insects  everywhere in the wetlands now,  there were  almost no frogs, salamanders, snakes or turtles.Only a  few painted turtles emerged from the warm waters of the wetlands. 

I think  many of the birds of spring have already started to leave. I did not see or hear one single red-winged blackbird on my five mile hike. I never realized they leave our area so early in the Summer.  I  didn’t hear many warblers or vireos on my hike either. However, the catbirds were still around and making their presence know with their loud calls and chatter. 

As I walked in the still green and lush wetlands, 

I saw a few great blue herons,

green herons 

and a couple  pretty goldfinches. 

These colorful males will soon be losing their bright yellow feather and  they will be replaced with  drab brown feathers in the Winter. 

Once again I saw a few wood ducks on the far side of the canals. And once again they didn’t stay very long when they saw me.

and this  week I finally saw a muskrat again. I didn’t see any for a few weeks. 

And I didn’t realize it until I got home and edited my photos, but this was a mommy muskrat and she had her young one nearby. 

I left the wetlands and walked into the river lands  part of the nature preserve. 

On the lake,

  I saw  some of the many Canada geese that have been breeding here this Summer.

And along  the trail,  next to the lake, I saw some more signs of the advancing Summer.  The pokeweed, 

and  spicebush berries were ripening and will provide food for the  birds and other critters in the Fall and Winter. 

As usual I walked to the far end of the lake and then  began my return hike. 

Along the way I saw a few more bird, including this eastern phoebe and

a song sparrow that had captured a large caterpillar. I was serenaded by  the soothing singing of the  cicadas as I completed my five mile hike. I didn’t see anything exciting on my hike, like a bear, snake or bald eagle, but I still found so much of the subtle beauty of Nature that is everywhere in the wetlands. I love it here, especially in the Summer. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands August 7 2021. 

If we were to wipe out insects alone on this planet, the rest of life and humanity with it would mostly disappear from the land. Within a few months. E. O. Wilson

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