Mariton: Winter Birds

October 24, 2018

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

This is the first view we had of Purple Finches. Of course, Carole’s camera has more magnification than our binoculars, and we were looking straight up.

This week’s Nature Walk found some interesting birds. We saw a small flock of Purple Finches that were devouring mature Tuliptree (Lireodendron tulipifera) seeds.  The first group we found was directly overhead, and we couldn’t see enough of the birds for an identification.  This bird seems to have an unusually long curved beak.  We eventually realized it was part of a tuliptree seed sticking out of its bill.  When we saw a second group of birds at a better angle, we realized what we had seen at the first Tuliptree.

Immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on a grape vine.

We also got a good view of three Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. This is a great view of an immature sapsucker.  They were eating grapes and we were able to watch them for quite awhile.  In the fields we looked at White-throated Sparrows.  It is interesting that as the “White-throats” spend more time in their winter home they become more used to humans watching them.  Eventually, they will be parked in front of us sitting high on vegetation and singing their “Old Sam Peabody” song.

We have one more Tuesday Morning Walk this season. Starting in January, Mariton will be hosting movie nights, guest speakers and walks on weekends.