I came across something new while monitoring this year. One of the boxes had a bluebird nest and 3 eggs two weeks ago. When I monitored last week, there was moss on top of the bluebird nest. I assumed that a Chickadee was building its nest on top of the bluebird nest and eggs. (That is a problem with House Wrens, but I have never seen Chickadees do it.) I asked some other nest box monitors and it was something new for them also. I left everything intact to see what would happen. This week, the bluebird eggs had been broken, some hair had been added to the Chickadee part of the nest, but there were no Chickadee eggs. Again, I left things as they were. Stay tuned; I will let you know what happens next week.
Archive for April, 2009
It was hot on Tuesday, which probably made some of the Neo-Tropical birds happy. Anyways, they were singing. (A little joke.) We started the walk with a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak. We had males singing throughout the walk and one even showed off at the top of the Turnpike Trail. The Wood Thrush greeted us with its flute like song as we entered the woods. Scarlet Tanagers were singing in abundance, and we even saw one. Were were pleased to hear Great-crested Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Ovenbirds also sang throughout our walk. Other warbler species included: Black and White, Worm-eating, and Yellow-rumped warblers. Bluebirds and Tree Swallows gave us a show in the meadows.
Two interesting birds that you wouldn't expect to see at Mariton were a Double-crested Cormorant and a Great Blue Heron. Both were seen flying over at tree top level.
Next Tuesday, we will be birding at Giving Pond, where we always have good sightings. If you are interested in joining the group, contact Tim at 610-258-6574.
The Tuesday Morning Bird (and other nature) Walks resume this coming Tuesday (April 28), at 7:30 a.m. We will start off the weekly series with a walk at Mariton. It should be pretty interesting.
This morning I took a short walk on the trails and heard a Wood Thrush singing as soon as I entered the woods. I also heard a lot of Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers and a Black and White Warbler. Farther into the woods I could hear a Scarlet Tanager. When I got back to the house there was a Baltimore Oriole, a Parula Warbler, and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak singing on the edge of the yard. This bodes well for this week's walk. The leaves are just beginning to open, so we should be able to sight a fair amount of species as well as listen to their songs.
After my walk on Mariton's trails, I loaded canoes and met a buddy at Lake Nockamixon. As soon as we had the canoes in the water, I heard the ascending song of a Prairie Warbler. We saw a lot of Painted Turtles on logs as we paddled. Because of the hot sun and cold water, the turtles were very tolerant, and didn't slide into the water as we approached. I also passed several that were floating at the water's surface as we paddled along.
We started up Haycock Run when two Green Herons flew in front of us. These are really pretty birds with striking (yet subtle) colors. These two photos show different poses of the same bird. It would be easy to mistake this for two different species, because the posture is so different.
Other wildlife that we saw at the lake, included two muskrats that swam within feet of the boats. Great Blue Herons, a Great Egret, and a Double-crested Cormorant were some of the other sightings.
No – Not saloons for H2O aficionados. (Although that could be the next Big Thing.)
We place water bars along trails to prevent water erosion. With Mariton's relief, there are certain trails that get a lot of run-off during heavy rains. The Turnpike Trail in particular, with its straight vertical climb, is particularly prone to erosion. The stone walls on either side of the trail make it impossible to divert water off of the trail. (Although, the original builders knew that erosion would be a problem and built dry wells a long the trail to collect water and sediment.)
Ryan Hopkins and I recently placed a lot of "speed bumps" along the Turnpike Trail to slow water run-off. Some were actual log bars placed across the trail. While in other places we arranged stones to catch the water. We might not be able to divert the water, but by slowing it down, we can reduce the amount of erosion. We can even place bars strategically to allow nature to repair some of the erosion from past storms.
It is an ongoing process that involves some patience. You set up the water bar that eventually rehabs a section of trail. Then you move on to repair another section. I don't have a specific formula (which may have frustrated Ryan). I guess it is experience gained from draining mud puddles as a kid, and observing what happens during rainstorms as an adult.
The stones and logs need a couple rains to get seated. Until then, be careful as you walk down the trail.