There Were Still A Few Critters In Cold And Quiet November Susquehanna Wetlands

There Were Still A Few Critters In Cold And Quiet November Susquehanna Wetlands

Susquehanna Wetlands (5 of 28)
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November passed so quickly  this year, for me anyway. It was hard to believe  it was the last weekend of November. December, and it’s usual  cold and snow begin on Friday. But it wasn’t a bad November,  weather wise. We had no snow and there still wasn’t much ice on the ponds and canals in the Susquehanna Wetlands, when I returned  to hike last Saturday.  This is unusual for Northeastern Pennsylvania. Many years there  is  snow  and  ice in  the  trails.

It was partly  sunny and cold when I arrived at the wetlands around 9 a.m.  Temperatures were in the  upper 20’s.  The  weak  November sun was low in the southern sky  as it pee ked through the now bare treetops along the river. .

As I walked back  from   the banks of the river, I heard the loud  calls of a red-bellied woodpecker. It was high in a treetop, waiting for the sun to warm it up so it could search for hibernating  worms and grubs under the bark of the tree branches.

After checking out the river I walked into the now mostly lifeless wetlands. The paths were strewn with brown, decaying leavers.

The only greens were the the wood ferns,

the Christmas ferns,

and the  frost covered garlic mustard leaves.

The bright red winterberry added some seasonal color along the trails,

And, like my visits the past two weeks, I found a flock of cedar wax wings,

enjoying the winterberries.

In the nearby shrubs I saw some  American goldfinches,

song sparrows,

and white-throated sparrows.

This white-breasted nuthatch was scurrying down a tree trunk searching for insects.

I also saw a few more red-bellied woodpeckers in the treetops.

I tried to walk to the Water Fowl pond,

but both path were flooded. In the Summer I would wade through the waters but I didn’t want to have soaked feet with the freezing temperatures.

I continued my walk to the river lands, about a mile from the  parking lot in the wetlands.

Near the river lands there is a swamp along the access road with a large area of cattails. I often see red-winged blackbirds nesting here in the Spring and Summer.

However, I was surprised to  see a small flock still here  on Saturday. They usually leave the wetlands by now.

It appeared they were mostly juvenile males and  probably remained because of  the mild weather.  Near this swamp, in addition to the cattails,

there were also dried up and withered  goldenrod flowers,

Japanese bristle grass,

wild teasel flowers seeds and,

woodbine flower seeds.

Rose hips were also  remaining on the  wild roses scattered along the road. They  are  all  that  remain  of  last  year  lush  growth.

I  walked into the river lands section of the small private nature preserve,.

The waters of scenic Lake Took-A-While reflected the clear blue skies.

I saw a great blue heron near lake shore

but it flew off as I approached,  displaying it’s beautiful wingspan before landing on the  far shore of the lake.

I walked to the far end of the lake, where I saw three mallard ducks swimming in the blue waters, this pair,

and a  solo male.

I began my hike back to the wetlands,

when I heard the chatter of a belted kingfisher,

it landed on a tree across the lake, and the3n dived for a fish.

 It missed and flew off along the lake.

I returned to the wetlands, and saw this gray squirrel, and a few more birds before finishing my five mile hike,

including a few more red bellied woodpeckers,

a small flock of dark-eyed juncos  (snow birds).

a downy woodpecker,

 a  Carolina wren,

and a cousin, a  winter wren.  Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds November 25 2023.

December will come, and it is  almost a guarantee that so will the snow and ice of Winter, and it will probably remain until March, But you never know, maybe this year will bring us record warmth and no snow. I will not  complain. But it we get our usual miserable Winter weather, I am sure I will  be here walking in the cold and snow and looking for the birds and other critters that didn’t hibernate or fly south. And I will be looking forward to the coming of the first signs of Spring. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with more photos from my  on my hike in the wetlands . Susquehanna Wetlands November 25 2023

Some of the days in November carry the whole memory of summer as a fire opal carries the color of moonrise. These are the days I especially love, when the air lies soft and quiet over the dreaming earth; it is a reflective and thoughtful time. ~Gladys Taber

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