Wood Ducks, Hissing Geese And Startled Muskrats At the Susquehanna Riverlands and Wetlands.

Wood Ducks, Hissing Geese And Startled Muskrats At the Susquehanna Riverlands and Wetlands.

Susquehanna Wetlands (24 of 45)
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The weather forecast called for rain last Saturday. It was overcast near my home Hazle Township.  I decided to take a chance and  check out the Susquehanna Riverlands and Wetlands in Salem Township, Luzerne County  anyway.  I am glad I did. I arrived under  partly sunny skies and  pleasant temperatures in the 70’s. It was nice walking weather. The woodlands along the  trails in the wetlands still displayed most of their bright  Spring green color. 

However, as I have been observing, there were signs of the advancing Summer, such as the continuing decay of the once bright green skunk cabbage leaves, 

 the berries  developing  on the spice bushes and the 

blooming of the milkweed flowers growing along the trail.

However, most of the flora in the wetlands was still green, such as the sensitive ferns, covered with rain drops from the storms that passed through  during the night. 

This morning I was lucky and was able to get somewhat close to a few  wood ducks  on one of the ponds. 

I enjoy watching, and trying to photograph these beautiful, but skittish ducks.

I walked to the waterfowl pond and  saw a mother wood duck  and four ducklings. I think she was the one with the thirteen ducklings  I saw a few weeks ago.  I fear the rest of her offspring  were the victims of the many predators in the wetlands, including snapping turtles, eagles, and ospreys. They swam off before I could photograph them. 

Continuing my hike in the wetlands I found numerous spotted wintergreen flowers in bloom along the trail.

And, of course, as usual, I saw plenty of noisy  red-winged blackbirds in the wetlands, this is a male,

and this a female. 

I also saw this mother and baby muskrat feeding on the duck weed that covered one of the canals. 

They didn’t see me and mom left the young and swam a short distance away.

As I approached closer she saw me and immediately swam to her offspring. You can see by the look in her eye she was telling the little run to swim for your life, and they did, soon disappearing under the cover of the duck weed.

After observing the muskrats I was surprised to see the brown thrasher in the wetlands. 

It was singing its beautiful melodic song on a branch along the trail. 

I don’t believe I had seen one here in the wetlands before. It is a pretty bird and I was able to listen to it’s singing and get a lot of photos before it flew off. 

Before entering the Susquehanna Riverlands portion of the nature preserve I again walked down to the river looking for water fowl, eagles and ospreys. 

There were none, and no other birds in the wetlands along the road to the river. . There were many Summer wildflowers now in bloom including white moth mullein and

creeping thistle. There were many other wildflowers in bloom and  some can be seen in the gallery I will later link in this blog post. 

It was overcast when I entered the Susquehanna Riverlands and Lake Took-A-While. 

Here I found a large flock of Canada  geese.

As I approached the geese one mother goose got very defense of her goslings and hissed continually at me as I got closer. 

She tried to lead me away from her offspring but as I continued to follow them she kept getting in front of me, lunging at me while hissing as loud as she could. She was all hiss and no bite,  as she lead her youngsters to the water. One time while hissing and lunging at me I lunged back and she ran like a big chicken, leaving her youngsters defenseless. Of course, had she known me, she know I would harm no animal, not even one feather on one goose in  a noisy flock of geese. Note the interesting “teeth” on her tongue. They are actually not teeth but tomia, made of cartilage and serve the same function as teeth. 

It started raining as I was watching the geese and I got soaked with a warm rain. Across the trail from the geese was a mulberry trees and I enjoyed some ripe mulberries. 

I again followed the trail along the lake to its end where the Riverside and began my hike back. On the way I saw the phoebe I have been observing on my past three hikes. 

Her brood patch feathers continue to fill in. 

There were a few more heavy downpours on my walk back to the wetlands but it was a warm rain. 

Despite the rain it was a good day for seeing some bird activity and in the wetlands I saw a few song sparrows, 

a green heron and

this great blue heron

enjoying the Summer showers until I approached and it flew off. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands birds July 3 2021.

Although I didn’t avoid the rains, and I  got drenched,  it was still an enjoyable walk and I was able to discovery and share some more of the beauty of Nature at Susquehanna Wetlands and Riverlands.  It seems I always do. Here is a link to some more photographs I took on my hike. Susquehanna Wetlands July 3 2021. 

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” – Alexander Supertramp McCandless

This is my first post

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