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Mariton: Birding at Giving Pond

May 12, 2016

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Mariton’s Bird Group went to Giving Pond on Tuesday. Giving Pond is a portion of the Delaware Canal State Park, located just south of Upper Black Eddy.  It is a gravel pit that has been allowed to grow up.  The large pond and variety of transitional habitats attract a variety of birds.  It is a good place to learn the songs of Warbling Vireos and Yellow Warblers, because we hear their songs over and over while walking the trail.  We not only heard both species singing, but everyone got to see them several times.

 

Courting Cedar Waxwings by Carole Mebus.

Courting Cedar Waxwings by Carole Mebus.

We got to view the courtship behavior of Cedar Waxwings passing a Cottonwood fruit back and forth to each other. Cedar Waxwings are pretty common at Giving Pond, and everyone I know loves watching them.  John said they are “dapper”, and everyone agreed that may be the attraction.  What an awesome experience to witness a pair courting.

 

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher by Carole Mebus.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher by Carole Mebus.

There were plenty of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers at Giving Pond. This is a bird that can be easily missed.  First off it is tiny, the size of Kinglets.  Second it generally stays high in trees, where its constant flitting can be easily hidden by rustling leaves.  Finally, its songis a high “insect buzzing” that some people can’t hear, and most people would overlook.  So, if you can’t hear or don’t know the song, you wouldn’t look for them.  While we were near the boat launch, blue-gray gnatcatchers came to eye level, and everyone got to see one.  Even with the white clouds for background, the views of this particular bird were stunning.  We had an excellent morning and saw an Osprey, American Coots, both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, American Goldfinches, Tree Swallows, and lots of other bird species.

For birders, this Saturday is Mariton’s Migratory Bird Census. This is our laid-back version of the “Big Day”.  We walk along the trails tallying the birds we see and hear, but we usually have time to chat and look at wildflowers.

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