Recharging the Batteries

August 6, 2014

by Tim Burris, Mariton Preserve Manager.  Photos by Tim and Maureen Burris

So, where does a Preserve Manager who has a the best job in the world and lives on a wonderful preserve go on vacation?  To a another slice of heaven where he (or she) doesn’t have to think about its management and upkeep.  Maureen and I went to the Adirondacks where we attended the Adirondack Canoe Symposium in mid-July.  I taught a couple classes and she took a class.  It was pretty plush camping for us with nice bathroom facilities at the campground.  Since we were there for the week, we took our big tent with lots of room to spread out.  We shared meals in a dining tent with the other folks attending the Symposium, and sat around campfires at night.  We knew most everyone there from attending symposiums over the years.  While the folks are far flung, many are my close friends.

Stoney Brook

Whenever we had a couple of hours off, we would load canoes on cars and visit new waterways with friends.

Moose Pond

The absolute best part of the trip was our last afternoon.  Just the two of us went to Little Clear Pond to canoe for a few hours.  We ate lunch sitting on the beach at the canoe access.  Only 40 yards out from shore was a pair of Loons with two little ones. With binoculars we could see the parents feeding the babies small fish.  A family of Belted Kingfishers flew back and forth along the shore in front of us.  Then a Bald Eagle flew over head.  (The loons didn’t like the appearance of a potential predator, and became  quite vocal.)

Root mass

After lunch, we got in the canoes and just took our time poking along the shore.  The water was clear and the dead trees and root masses along shore and in the lake were extremely interesting.  The stump in the photo below reminded both of us of a Great-blue Heron.

Heron stump

As we paddled around, two otters poked their heads out of the water then disappeared.  I heard White-throated Sparrows, Phoebes, Hermit Thrush, and watched at Northern Waterthrush poking along the shore.  We saw more loons as we paddled around the lake.  At one point we were just drifting and watching two nearby loons.  An immature Bald Eagle flew over and we got to hear the loons’ full repertoire as they warned the other loons on the lake.  It is a song that resonates at a primal level.  What a great way to conclude a wonderful week.

Watching Loons

So, what is the point of my busman’s holiday report?  Southeastern Pennsylvania will never be a wild playground like the Adirondacks, but I am pretty proud that NLT has made the region much more livable because of the land that has been protected.  Sometimes you just have to step back to see the bigger picture.