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Archive for May, 2010

French Creek Iron Tour

There is a bike tour in our region coming up on June 13: the French Creek Iron Tour, sponsored by our friends at French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust. The event offers courses ranging from 10 to 100 miles. The event begins and ends at the Kimberton Fire Company Fairgrounds.

While we don't allow mountain biking on preserve trails, our local roads are scenic, lightly traveled, and hilly—ideal for enthusiastic cycling. We're pleased that the 66- and 75-mile courses of the Iron Tour will pass by Crow's Nest. See you out there!

Crow’s Nest: Welcome Summer Interns


We are thrilled to welcome summer interns Meredith Mayer and Erik Stefferud to our staff this summer. Meredith is a student at Skidmore College and is our education intern. Erik attends Bloomsburg University and will be doing land stewardship, splitting his time between Crow's Nest and Stroud Preserves.

Mariton – Chickadees Leaving Home

NEST BOX 5.26.10 005 You can tell that the Black-capped Chickadees in this nest are about to leave.  They look like miniature adults.  Five fledglings from one Chickadee nest left during the week.  There are still 8 chicks on nests, but I expect many of them to be gone next week.

NEST BOX 5.26.10 002 Tree Swallows have been busy and there are now 19 eggs in 4 different boxes.  Tree Swallows are a handsome bird.  We were at a party on Sunday and a Tree Swallow landed on a railing outside the window.  People called me to come identify the bird.  Its plummage reflected the light perfectly and shimmered blue green.

I am crossing my fingers.  One pair of bluebirds has renested and there are 2 eggs in the nest.  I hope to have more good news next week.

Mariton – Tekening Bird Walk

MEBUS GroupShotWithTimTekening0525 On Tuesday, the Bird Group visited the Tekening Trail at the PPL property near Riverton.  This area was a mixture of woods and old fields.  We heard/saw 36 species during the morning.  We were hearing lots of American Redstarts and Bill spotted a first year male (yellow markings instead of orange) that was singing in the foliage.  We also heard Chestnut-sided Warblers singing.  (Photo by Carole Mebus.)

TEKENING 5.25.10 006 This was my first visit to Tekening, although I have driven by it many times and thought I should stop for a walk.  I really enjoyed the varied terrain and habitats.  We walked out on the upper trail, and then came back along the River.  (Last year, I paddled this section (Foul Rift) for the first time with some good friends and had a great time.)  Along the river we saw a pair of Wood Ducks and a Solitary Sandpiper.

As we neared the end of the trail, we heard a new warbler song.  While it was somewhat familiar, I thought it might be one of two possibilities.  Fortunately Dawn has bird songs as an app on her Iphone.  We were able to catch up to her on the trail and decide that we had heard a Cerulean Warbler.  This is a great find, as Cerulean populations have been declining in recent years.  We had a great hike and I got to explore a new area that I will revisit in the future.

Mariton – Tree Swallows Nesting

NEST BOX 5.19.10 004 Last week, we had Tree Swallows building nests and one egg.  This week we have four different nests and nine Tree Swallow eggs laid in two of the boxes.  We counted four pairs of tree swallows on the nesting count. 

NEST BOX 5.19.10 003 Notice the white feather in the nest.  For me, the white feather is diagnostic of a Tree Swallow nest.  I often use that to tell them apart from Bluebird nests if there aren't any eggs.  This nest has the white eggs which are tell tale.  Finally, Tree Swallows defend their nests aggressively by swooping close to your head.  They eventually get used to me monitoring the boxes once a week, but they are never far from the nest.

NEST BOX 5.19.10 012 Chickadees are doing well.  This is a photo of one of the Black-capped Chickadee nests near the house.  We have three different nests with a total of 14 babies that are beginning to grow feathers.  I am still seeing bluebirds, but don't have any nests started as of this week. 

Happy Travels, Kendra!

Kendra Luta, our summer intern in land management the last two summers who also helped out here two days a week this past year is moving on. She and her husband plan to travel the country, camping and experiencing new places for a while. We wish them well in their wanderings.

We will miss Kendra a lot at Crow's Nest Preserve. She has proven to be a reliable and dedicated worker—who brought her own machete to the job and maintained a positive attitude no matter how bad the weather or tedious the task. Thank you!

Mariton – Still Lots of Warblers

The early green up and then cool down has everyone confused, including the warblers.  I am just now beginning to hear Worm-eating Warblers in the numbers that I would have expected two weeks ago.  Redstarts and Black and White Warblers are abundant in the forest.  I am hearing a few Common Yellowthroats especially near the meadows. 

We still have Black-throated Green, and Black-throated Blue Warblers singing at Mariton.  I heard a Cape May Warbler earlier this week, along with a Parula Warbler.  I don't expect these four species will stay for the summer to breed, but this year could be different.  Many of the oaks further north suffered a lot of frost damage and it could affect insects (warbler food) in those areas. In the meantime, if you want to see warblers (or at least hear them) visit Mariton. 

Bear Creek – Great Nature Walk

On Sunday, a group from Mariton went to Bear Creek to bird and explore this preserve.  We started off with an American Redstart and Black and White Warblers.  It was easier to see the warblers because the leaves are not as developed as they are at Mariton.  We had a great look at a Chestnut-sided Warbler, and we heard them throughout the morning.  We had a pair of Ovenbirds display only a few feet off of the trail.  The Hermit Thrushes serenaded us with their beautiful song.  Scarlet Tanagers were easily seen in the sparse oak foliage.  Towards the end of the walk we saw what we think was a Bay Breasted Warbler.  (It was a tough call, as we only saw bits of it over a minute or so.)

MEBUS FringedPolygalaBearCreek0516-2 Besides birds, we spent a lot of time looking at wildflowers.  We found Fringed Polygala (Polygala paucifolia) interspersed along the trails.  (Photo by Carole Mebus.)  We also saw Star Flower (Trientalis borealis) and Pinxter (Rhododendron nudiflorum) among other wildflowers.

MEBUS RedAdmiralMariton0515 Red Admiral butterflies were everywhere.  This seems to be happening all over our region.  We saw several during the Bird Census on Saturday.  There was also an abundance of Red Admirals in 2007.  They are quite beautiful when opened, but when folded they blended perfectly in with the lichen covered oak trees.  (Photo by Carole Mebus.)

Crow’s Nest open house June 5!

We will be holding our annual Crow's Nest open house with hayrides and a potluck dinner on Saturday, June 5.

The contra dance usually held in our barn as part of the annual open house will instead (this year only) be held at a local church, St. Mary's Episcopal on Morningside Road—the usual location during months when dances are not at Crow's Nest. The caller will be Tony Parkes and music by the Gooseberries. See for details.

The schedule for Crow's Nest:

4:30 hayrides

5:30 potluck dinner – bring your favorite dish; we'll supply beverages

After dinner we can hang out or drive over to the dance.

Please RSVP for the potluck to Dan at 610-286-7955.

Mariton – Migratory Bird Census!

A week ago the skies were dark and I postponed the migratory census with some trepidation.  I thought May 15 might be a little late, and that several species might migrate through during the week.

I am glad we had lousy weather last weekend.  We had a great morning with a variety of warblers, that I don't think we would have had last weekend.  We ended the morning with a total of 51 species and 254 individual birds.  The species count is about average. 

The most abundant bird that we counted were Wood Thrushes with 16 individuals.  Following were Tufted Titmounses at 15, Red-eyed Vireos at 14 and Ovenbirds at 13.  We counted 10 different warbler species.  Other interesting finds were the abundance of Great-crested Flycatchers and Yellow-throated Vireos. 

Tomorrow we head to Bear Creek Preserve, where we should also get a great variety of birds moving through.


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