by Tim Burris, Preserve Manger. Photos by Carole Mebus.
This week’s walk started in the fog. There was the cloud of gnats around everyone. The sun burned off the one type of fog, but the gnats persisted throughout the walk. It definitely affected how long we would stay in one place to look for birds. Consequently, we didn’t see migrating warblers. Still we had an enjoyable walk, saw 20 bird species, including the Eastern Bluebird in the photo above. We did see a Brown Thrasher which was an unexpected treat.
The Virginia Creeper (Parthenosissus quinquefolia) (photo above) growing in trees along the edges was really spectacular. Quinquefolia refers to five (quinque) leaves (folia). Many folks have heard the rhyme: “Leaves of three; let it be. Leaves of five; let it thrive.” The ‘leaves of five’ in the rhyme refers to Virginia Creeper, a vine often confused with Poison Ivy (the leaves of three) that produces dark blue berries that birds love. To add to the confusion, Virginia Creeper leaves are actually compound leaves – made up of five leaflets. Poison Ivy (I usually refer to it as P.I.) has a compound leaf also, with three leaflets per leaf.
I often assume that people can tell the difference between these two vines, but unfortunately that is not the case. So many people believe that if it is red it is Poison Ivy. However, lots of species’ leaves turn red in the fall. During much of the growing season, P.I. is neither red or shiny. The rhyme above is helpful, but if you spend much time outdoors you need to learn how to recognize the whole P.I. plant, and not just pieces of the plant in certain seasons.
Our colors are just going to get better as Autumn progresses. Next Tuesday, we will do it again if you would like to join us.
by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager. Photos by Carole Mebus.
This Tuesday, September 30, begins Mariton’s Fall Nature Walk Series. We will be meeting each Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m. until the end of October for a series of nature walks. These guided walks are informal and cover a wide variety of topics including fall flowers, birds, butterflies and other nature topics. Walking each week is a fun way to experience the color change, as well as learning new things. Here are couple photos from last year’s walks. Expect to see more great photos from these walks in the coming weeks. Or better yet, come out and join us.
By Tim Burris, Preserve Manager. Photos by Carole Mebus
This Sunday, we will be taking a walk on Mariton’s trails to look at the changes left after Hurricane Sandy. Nearly one year ago Sandy pushed over swaths of trees in Mariton’s woods. It was a pretty impressive display of nature’s power. We will take a look at the how the forest has changed after the clean up and what changes we might expect to see in the future. The walk is from 1 – 4 p.m. and will begin with some before and after photos.
Here is a view from the Turnpike Trail that has not been available for probably 30 years. This is the Riegelsville Bridge on the New Jersey side of the River. While you need binoculars to see this, it is quite visible now that several trees are missing from the skyline.
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).
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.
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!)
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.
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.
Tuesday’s Nature Walk (October 30) has been cancelled. It is no surprise, the remnants from Sandy will be winding down at that time. If the weather allows, I will be busy tomorrow working on clean up. (If not here, than at one of the other preserves.) Prepare for the worst, hope for the best and please stay safe.
Join Mike and Kieu Manes, avid hikers who have become equally avid American chestnut hunters, to see the chestnuts at Mariton. There are several American chestnuts that keep re-sprouting from root stock from trees that were killed by the chestnut blight at the beginning of the 20th century. We will also visit some Asian-American hybrids that were planted in the 1960s by the Guerreros—the original owners of the land that is now Mariton Wildlife Sanctuary—and several blight-resistant American chestnuts that were recently planted as part of an Eagle Scout Project.
Event is free and open to the public. Please call Preserve Manager, Tim Burris at 610-258-6574 or to pre-register.
Weekly on Sunday mornings, beginning July 1
8:00 – 10:00 AM ChesLen Preserve, Coatesville, PA
Please join us at ChesLen Preserve for our weekly naturalist walk led by William Ryan, local naturalist, educator, and Natural Lands Trust volunteer. The walks will vary from week to week and will focus on all that is blooming, hopping, crawling, and flying at the preserve. The walks will flow at a leisurely pace and wander through grasslands, woodlands, and the preserve’s rare serpentine barrens.
The program is free and all ages are welcome. No preregistration required. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a snack and a passion for nature! Meet at the ChesLen parking area at 1199 Cannery Road, Unionville, PA.
Walks will proceed in light rain or misty conditions but will be canceled in case of downpour or thunderstorms.