Mariton: What’s At the Feeders?

December 18, 2013

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

Our parking lot is clear.  Mariton’s parking lot is paved and tilted to the south.  Because we are on the “sunnyside” of the hill, once I expose a little blacktop, it melts and dries quickly.  In a way it is a passive solar parking lot.  That means I have very little ice, and thus use very little salt.  The trails are crusty with a layer of powder on top.

On Sunday, the Delaware Canal State Park held a Digital Photography Workshop at Mariton.  I was still busy plowing and shoveling, when they started, but I saw some of the impressive results when they returned from their walk.  They spent over an hour in the bird blind.  Because of the crusty snow, the birds were at the blind to take advantage of the seed I had put out.  Carole Mebus was in attendance and shares these photos.

Check out this Tufted Titmouse opening a sunflower seed:

 MEBUS TuftedTitmouseMariton1215-WithSunflowerSeed

MEBUS TuftedTitmouseMariton1215

Above is a more normal view of the same bird.

 Sparrows lack a little respect from bird watchers, probably due to the proliferation of the exotic House Sparrows.  I am amazed at the richness of tones in sparrow plumage.  Look at this White-throated Sparrow.  The arrangement and combinations of browns, white and black is stunning.

 MEBUS WhiteThroatedSparrowMaritonBirdBlind1215

Likewise, Carole’s photo below of this Mourning Dove shows a whole new complexity to its seemingly drab feathers.

 MEBUS MourningDoveCloseupMaritonBirdBlind1215

The moral of the story?  Good optics do a make a difference when it comes to appreciating birds.