Mariton: What’s Happening?

April 5, 2012

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

If you go out in the morning and listen, you may hear a tom Turkey.  The Turkeys have been gobbling heatedly for a couple weeks.  We have one tom that is frequenting the woods above the Nature Center.  Carole Mebus took this photo a week ago, but I have seen him displaying a few times in the interim.

This morning I took an early walk to check trails and heard a Hermit Thrush sing once.  I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.  Hermit Thrushes spend their winter in our area, but will soon be migrating north to their breeding grounds.  They generally only sing on their breeding grounds, but I have been lucky to hear their song occasionally here at Mariton over the years.  As I continued my walk, I saw about 5 more Hermit Thrushes in different sections of Mariton.

Christmas Ferns (Polystichum acrostichoides) are sending up new shoots.  Unlike flowering plants that grow from a terminal bud, ferns unfurl their spirally wrapped leaves.  Look closely and you will see the resemblance to the head of a violin (viola, cello, double bass, etc.).  Violin makers paid homage to a wonderful natural image by carving the heads of instruments to resemble the unfurled leaves of ferns, thus the name fiddlehead.  It is a fleeting image, in a few days these fiddleheads will be gone (the leaves will be open).  Other fern species will be sending up and unfurling their fiddleheads over the next few weeks.