Wildflowers, Herons And A Cool Spider: Another Hike In The Susquehanna Wetlands And River Lands
It was Saturday, and, it is almost a ritual now, I decided to hike in the Susquehanna Wetlands and River Lands in Salem Township, Luzerne County. It has been ten years since I first hiked in this private nature preserve. The woodlands near my home in Hazle Township, where I hiked since I was a child, were lost to residential and industrial development. I cried when I saw roads cut through the woodlands on Stoney Mountain. I had to find new places to hike. And I found a few but my favorite has become these wetlands and river lands along the Susquehanna River about 15 miles from my home. . There is such a diversity of life here. I love walking the trails looking for the many wonders of nature, both flora and fauna, that are so common here.
It was foggy when I arrived early Saturday morning. As usual I walked to the Susquehanna River to look for water fowl and check the water level. Well, on Saturday all I saw was fog. However, I was still able to notice the river was the lowest I have seen it in my ten years of hiking here. We need rain.
Walking back to the trails in the wetlands I met a couple of fellow nature photographers. It was their first visit. We had a nice chat and they walked into the wetlands. I deviated from my usual routine and started my hike along the river.
This trail follows the path of the Great Warrior Trail used by Native Americans long before European settlors appeared in these woodlands. I often wonder if some of these ancient oaks growing on the trail and along the river could have been alive when Native Americans roamed these woods.
I had hoped to find some mushrooms under these old trees. There wasn’t a one. The woodlands are very dry form the lack of rain. There were not many wild flowers on this trail either but a lot ferns, old skunk cabbages, mandrakes or may apples. The only wildflower I saw under the shade of the ancient trees were these richweed flowers, a member of the mint family. I had never noticed them before.
I walked to the branch overhanging the river were I have seen bald eagles and belted kingfishers. There were no birds on the branch this week but I heard wood ducks, mallards and kingfishers. I couldn’t see them because of the thick fog.
Along the way I saw a few more birds. I believe they became more active in late Summer sun warmed the morning air. There were a few song sparrows on the lower branches of the trees and shrubs along the trail.
There were only a few fishermen along the lake and no water birds, in fact I saw no birds on my walk in the river lands. I did hear a couple of belted kingfishers and a red-tailed hawk in the distance. There was not many insects activity either , just a few dragonflies, this is a widow skimmer,
and, surprisingly, some Japanese honeysuckle. This is one of the few invasive plants I don’t mind seeing in the wetlands. ( not too much anyway) . I love the fragrance of these flowers And they do attract a lot of insects. They bloom in Spring and this is a second bloom of the season for these flowers.
The late August sun warmed the air and the temperatures rose into the 80’s. There wasn’t much wildlife activity in the now mid-day heat. However as I was near the end of my hike I saw another green heron ( or maybe it was the same one)perched on a log. I also noticed it had just caught what I think was a small catfish.
Near the trail back to the parking lot I saw a few more wood ducks. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the critters and flowers I saw on mu hike in the wetlands and river lands. Susquehanna Wetlands wildlife and flowers August 27 2022.
Although I didn’t see any bald eagles, bear or bobcats, I had another enjoyable hike in the wet lands and river lands and I am glad I can share some of the beauty of nature I saw on my hike. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands August 27 2022.
August is ripening grain in the fields blowing hot and sunny, the scent of tree-ripened peaches, of hot buttered sweet corn on the cob. Vivid dahlias fling huge tousled blossoms through gardens and joe-pye-weed dusts the meadow purple. Jean Hersey