In last week’s Rivertalk column, Sandy Long told us that the 2016 Upper Delaware BioBlitz will be held this coming weekend at the Ten Mile River Boy Scout Camp in Tusten, NY. On Saturday, June 25, there will be many programs for the public by the various teams of scientists and volunteers that collected data and specimens, and you will be able to see flora and fauna of all types. There are even activities for children on Saturday.
In 2013, the first Upper Delaware BioBlitz launched an ongoing effort to catalogue as many species as possible throughout the watershed. This year’s event returns to the 2014 site at the Ten Mile River Scout Camp in the Town of Tusten, New York. For the first time, the public will have the opportunity to interact with four regional photographers known for their focus on nature.
History has shown that rivers, in general, have been used as meeting places and places to settle. Even in pre-European settlement times, Indian tribes used rivers for both living areas and a food source. Locally, Lenape artifacts recovered near the Delaware River have shown that net fishing was greatly utilized and fresh water mussels were a major food source. Sometimes while walking near the river, a flint arrowhead could be found by a woodchuck burrow in the mound of excavated dirt.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul,” asserted author, naturalist and conservationist John Muir. Although Muir died in 1914, his legacy continues to influence and inspire us today.
During the year, I have been seeing a lot of turkey activity in area forests and fields as they scratch up the leaf litter, forage for food, or walk in the snow, leaving footprints with the toes perfectly aligned from one step to the next. Earlier this spring, a new sound could be heard; the loud report of a male, or “gobbler,” resounding through the woods as he tries to entice a female through ruffled feathers, fan-tail displays and strutting. These are the sights and sounds of the courtship and breeding season for turkeys, aka the spring gobbler season.
A month or so ago, I transported a female downy woodpecker to the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center (PWRC) in Stroudsburg, PA after my neighbor found it in her driveway, suffering from what appeared to be a broken wing. The tiny bird’s feisty spirit kept it strong enough to make the trip and upon intake, its prognosis was deemed to be good.
With spring’s arrival, most of the migratory birds that were gone all winter have arrived to start their breeding activities. A few birds, loons for example, are migrating through the region to points north. More bird songs are heard in the mornings now and even at night; last night, I was awakened by the call of a barred owl (“Hoo…hoo…who cooks for you?”). It’s the time of year that bird walks and other events are being held by local bird clubs and other organizations.
Lucky me, to chance upon a most delightful bird last week. At the edge of a Pennsylvania State Game Lands parking area was an adult American woodcock and her four wee babies. They hastily scurried into the forest, except for the one depicted here, who froze in place long enough for a few quick photos before Mom came bobbing back to retrieve her baby.
People usually associate spring with the appearance of daffodils and emerging buds from plants in the garden. Indeed, there are many cultivated plants appearing now. Greens from garlic and other good things from vegetable plots are showing themselves, offering promises of tasty culinary delights a little later in the season.
Spring has sprung, and along with it, a host of fun and informative opportunities to get out of the house and into the world of nature and its endless wonders. Make plans now to seize every chance to connect with this rejuvenating season.
From April 22 to 24, Hawley EarthFest takes place in and around the town of Hawley, PA. Activities for all ages are planned, including an Environmental Expo in Bingham Park and the ever-popular Species Parade. See the full schedule of events at www.hawleyearthfest.com/schedule.
Scott enjoys the outdoors and wildlife conservation; and is currently assisting NYSDEC with an ongoing eagle study taking place in the Upper Delaware corridor.
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Sandy Long has a lifelong interest in the natural world and has explored this in words and images through the River Talk column since 2005.
Email Sandy Long