Mariton: Tuesday Walk

October 23, 2013

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.  Photos by Carole Mebus.

We had a wonderful morning on Tuesday for the weekly Nature Walk.  The fall colors are coming along.  In parts of the meadows the colors are close to peak.  In other parts of Mariton, we have another week or so before things really brighten up.  I don’t think this year is going to be a super year for fall color in our area, but it will certainly be a super fall to get outside and take a walk.

We spent most of the morning looking at birds.  I admit several eluded us, including an interesting warbler that we were unable to identify.  Robins were everywhere and laughing quite happily as they jumped from one wild grape tangle to another.  We saw a few White-throated Sparrows and several birds flitting in the tall weeds that were probably White-throats.  The White-throats were singing their beautiful song that I generally only hear in the winter (because they breed farther north).

MEBUS CedarWaxwingMaritonFields1022

We ran into a bunch of Cedar Waxwings in the corner of one of the fields.  This has always been a birdy corner.  The one above even posed on a dead snag for Carole’s camera.

MEBUS RCKingletMaritonFields RE  1022

We also got to watch a Ruby-crowned Kinglet for some time.  It never stayed still, but everyone got a good look at it.  Even more amazing is that Carole got a photo of this non-stop bird.

I mentioned before how much I like the Crossley Bird Book.  It shows lots of photos for each species in different poses and in different ages.  Field guides do a great job of presenting a composite of a species, but there is a lot of variation within a species; especially at this time of year.  Here are two photos that show the short comings of most field guides.  In the end, experience counts volumes.  (Photos that you can analyze really help also!)

MEBUS RedBelliedWoodpeckerMaritonFields1022

You can almost make out the “red belly” on this Red-bellied Woodpecker, but it would be tough to identify this bird with a standard field guide.

MEBUS YellowBelliedSapsuckerJuvMariton1022-3

This is a great shot of a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, but not a classic representative of the species.

The last walk of the series will be held Tuesday, October 29.  If the weather cooperates, the fall colors should be even better than this week.