What A Difference Two Weeks Make. A Couple Of Mild Hikes in the Susquehanna Wetlands
When I last visited the Susquehanna Wetlands in Luzerne County two weeks ago, it was more of a survival challenge then a pleasure hike. Temperatures were near zero and an arctic wind howled through the wetlands. The canals and ponds were frozen and the ice floated on the Susquehanna River. It was not a pleasant hike. I returned to the wetlands this past weekend and there was no snow or ice on the river or ponds. The temperatures were in the low 30’s, mild for January in these parts. This time it was an enjoyable early Winter hike .
It was cloudy when I arrived on Saturday. I began my hike at the gate on the access road to the parking lot. It was closed again so I had to walk in. At least this week there was no snow on the road. I walked to the river and also found it to be ice free. We had unusually mild weather this past week and a quick thaw took place.
Like me , the birds who remain in the wetlands in the Winter were enjoying the warm temperatures. I would see a lot of bird activity on my five mile hike. Walking along the access road I heard, then saw a Carolina wren. I love their cheerful song.
There are less berries every time I hike in the wetlands as they are being consumed by the birds and wildlife. Most of the bright red common winterberries are gone, as are most of the poison ivy berries.
I even found the remains of some puffball mushrooms, all of these reminding me that soon another Summer will come and go. The circle of the seasons is continues and seems so much faster as one grows older.
On my way to the river lands area of the nature preserve I saw a pileated woodpecker rapping on a tree. I always enjoy seeing this large, colorful woodpeckers . This on was some distance s, again, I didn’t get any good photos.
The only other critter I saw besides the sparrows was this gray squirrel. I haven’t seen many squirrels, chipmunks o rabbits since the onset of the cold weather. I believe they stay more hidden now that the leaves have fallen and they are more exposed to predators.
At least it is able to search for fish now that the river, lakes and ponds are ice free. It flew away as I approached. This is a link to a galley on my blog website with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike in the wetlands. Susquehanna Wetlands birds January 7. 2023.
I finished up my five mile hike under the mild cloudy skies. It was a much nicer walk then my last visit to the wetlands. This is my kind of Winter weather. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands January 7 2023.
It was a little cooler on Sunday. Temperatures were in the 20’s at my home in Hazle Township. The skies were clear and I decided to return to the wetlands, hoping to see a bald eagle fishing in the open waters in the wetlands and river lands.
Once again, on Sunday morning, I found a lot of birds active in the wetlands. I saw another small flock of American tree sparrows. I don’t usually see them in the warmer months. They are pretty birds.
I walked through the wetlands and into the river lands. The clear blue skies made for a pleasant walk and the mild temperature, now near 40 degrees, reminded me Spring is not to far off. ( 71 days I do a count on my Facebook page every year. I am not a fan of Winter.)
The brilliant sunshine made for some nice scenery, it was beautiful January for a hike. Many years we have inches of ice snow and frigid sub-zero temperatures here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, as we did two weeks ago. Not this year, and the forecast calls for the warm weather to remain all month!
I didn’t see any hawks, eagles, bobcat or bears but it was another pleasant walk in the peace and quiet of the wetlands. I hope the weather forecasters are right, and the mild weather stays until June. Here is a link to another gallery with some more photos from my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands January 8 2023.
“Hiking is not escapism; it’s realism. The people who choose to spend time outdoors are not running away from anything; we are returning to where we belong.”