Little did I know when I packed my peanut butter and jelly sandwich early Saturday morning that I would be walking the local nature center for almost 7 hours!! I arrived for the weekly 7am bird walk about 6:30 am (I like to get there early and check the blind for the screech owls)..when I noticed several bird-walk leaders arriving, as well as some of our more well known experts ( one lady who co-wrote "The Plants of Pennsylvania" and still teaches botany at The University of Penn) I found myself becoming more than just a little curious..Huh? Everyone seemed to be preparing to join the morning walk..dragging the socks up over the cuffs of their pants to keep out ticks... spraying Off on caps and sleeves...WOW! how nice to have all these people along to share that birding enthusiasm.. but what was up??? ...and then I am told this was a PAMC count/walk. A hike would have been a better word. Our purpose was to count every bird we might see... through mud and swampy areas. Places I have never visited before.. ( all voluntary of course) but in the end I lasted the whole day and was one very happy birder, having seen many new species of birds, reptiles and plants. I survived 7 hours of walking and birding!! Exhausting but fun!!
Our first sight of the morning was a real eye opener for me..the Scarlet Tanager..OMGosh..what a sight for my eyes!! He was almost at eye level and was too involved in his "aria" to bother with "we" who stood staring in awe!!
Not far from where we spotted the Tanager, we came across a flock of Cedar Wax Wings..gorgeous of course...so many colors on one bird...awe..they just made my morning!!
...this little Rose-breasted Grosbeak was playing hide and seek and just wouldn't allow me that one good shot! He was quite actively hopping around the tree.. but what a delight to see this guy!!
Mr Thrush was just the opposite..he was quite content to just sit. ..slightly turning his head to say , "Oh hi, just passing through?"This little Eastern Towhee, on the other hand, was not the least bit quiet...a bit ruffled in his appearance and very serious and intent about singing what he needed to sing!! Such a look!!
and then there are the cute little silent types ...who just sit quietly hidden in among the leaves...just letting the morning glide by..not a care in the world. Such sweet eyes on this little warbler...pine warbler, I think.
We had stopped to take a break when this beautiful Spice-bush Swallowtail butterfly landed near me..stunning me with colors that just sing so well together .. how wonderful!
This was puzzling at first...but then I realized it was a turtle...a box turtle that was hiding under water near this log...did you know box turtles can completely close the space between their shells for protection? ...I didn't, but found that pretty interesting.
and yes I know this was a bird count day but who wouldn't stop to look at this guy...a red-eared slider...not a native species to Pennsylvania. Apparently someone had them as pets and let them go in this park and they seem to be doing fine. One last cool fact, tho, they live to be 50 to 70 years old and check out those toe nails!!! Bet he didn't walk 7 hours... ouch!
weekend with family
2 years ago