Wildlife Watching

September 7, 2013

by Tim Burris, Mariton Preserve Manager

Maureen and camped over Labor Day north of Williamsport.  Several families come up for the weekend and we shared campfires with some close friends.  We had a couple work projects to do on the club grounds.  But most of the time was spent visiting around the campfire and enjoying the wonderful scenery.  In the past, we’ve seen bears walk across the meadow where we camp.  No bear this year, but we did watch a large porcupine cross the field one afternoon.   

One evening we were sitting around our campfire, we were watching the bats fly over the meadow.  Two shapes flew over our tents.  Before I could comprehend the weird shapes, my buddy said, “Those are woodcocks!”  Absolutely.  I’ve had a few woodcocks explode from my feet while walking in the woods (talk about heart stopping).  I have watched their courtship dance many times.  But seeing them fly nonchalantly across the field took me by surprise.

One of the neatest things that we saw was a dragonfly migration. Like Monarch butterflies a few species of dragonflies also migrate in the fall.  If I had ever seen a dragonfly migration, I didn’t recognize it before this past weekend.  The sky above the little field where we camp was filled with dragonflies large and small.  It really was an amazing sight.  With a little reading, I learned that dragonflies usually migrate in the same weather that spurs hawk migrations.  For us, that would be northwest winds ahead of a weather front.