Mariton: College Birding

September 29, 2011

Dr. Megan Rothenberger, of Lafayette College brings her Conservation Biology Lab to Mariton for a section on bird surveys.  I am excited about the opportunity to showcase Mariton as a living laboratory.  But I am even more excited about being able to showcase our knowledgeable volunteers as they lead the students in bird identification and ecology.

On Wednesday, the group of students that Carole Mebus and I were with had some neat sightings.  At our first sampling site, we were getting a good selection of birds and I was thrilled to see a Cooper’s Hawk.  We had been watching some Turkey Vultures when I noticed one that didn’t quite fit.  It was a mature Bald Eagle!  The students got to view it through their binoculars and were amazed.  I see Eagles, but not regularly; and I never would have expected to see one with a group.

When we reached Site #3, we got into a huge flock of American Robins that were feeding on grapes.  They came over us in several waves of 8 – 10 birds.  We also were able to show the students White-breasted Nuthatches, and Downy Woodpeckers.  An Osprey even flew over us quickly.

Finally, as we headed back to meet the other group, the students got to watch two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at the feeder.  Pretty good for a dreary fall afternoon.