A Warbler Walk in the Morning

Warbler habitat - the forest at Schulykill Center for Environmental Ed.
Warbler habitat – the forest at Schulykill Center for Environmental Ed.

It was a wonderful early summer morning, not hot, but with a slight cool breeze blowing. The walk was a “warbler walk”. A walk through favorite habitats of the migrating and resident nesting warblers of Philadelphia.

The walk was led by Schuylkill Center Executive Director, Mike Weilbacher. Mike has only been at the Center for a year, but it has spent the time to walk the trials and get to know the land of the Schuylkill Center.

Our group of about ten, walked the trials through the forest passed, pine tree groves and sunny open meadows.

Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) basking in the sun,

We passed Painted Turtles basking in the sun.

(Red Columbine) Aquilegia canadensis L.
(Red Columbine) Aquilegia canadensis L. just waiting for a hummingbird to visit.

Columbine in bloom as ready to attract hummingbirds.

Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens L.)
The Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens L.) ready to bloom and attract hummingbirds

Ditto for the Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens L.)

Multiflora Rose in bloom.
Multiflora Rose in bloom.

The dreaded/dreadful Multiflora Rose bloomed innocently beneath the shade of forest trees. The fragrance was sweet and pleasing. It is really too bad these rose has become invasive and threatens the viability of native habitats.

A Skipper, Southern Cloudywing? (Thorybes bathyllus)
A Skipper, Southern Cloudywing? (Thorybes bathyllus)

I think this is a Southern Cloudywing Skipper. Skippers are those butterflies that look like a cross between a butterfly and a moth.

American Toad (Bufo americanus)
American Toad (Bufo americanus)

This American Toad (Bufo americanus) was so well hidden among the dried leaves of the forest floor, it was hard to spot it.

Black Toad Tadpoles in Freshwater Pond
Black Toad Tadpoles in Freshwater Pond

Tiny black American Toad tadpoles swim in the sun.

Green Frog (Rana clamitans)
Green Frog (Rana clamitans)

A Green frog relaxes in one of the Schuylkill Center’s ponds. These pond dries up over the winter and refills during the spring rains. Because of this, I would say this is a vernal pool. A vernal pool is a temporary pool that usually lacks fish. Since there are no fish to eat frog and toad eggs and tadpoles, these animals are free to develop.

A hidden pond at Schuylkill Center for Environmental Ed.
A hidden pond at Schuylkill Center for Environmental Ed.

A pond half-hidden behind the trees.

But, along trail we scanned the treetops for warbler. Fast-moving insect eaters that move too fast for photographs. I quickly learned that to photograph warblers I would have to have super-human reflexes and the fastest camera in the world. I have neither. I once asked a ornithologist how people take photos of warblers? He stated that photographs of warblers are not simply examples of a lucky shot. A photographer usually puts out food to lure a warbler in for a quick portrait or maybe use a webcam. Or catch them when they are on a nest or taking a break. I saw neither.

But we did see several warblers.

The American Redstart was gorgeous. It used to be one the two  most common birds in Pennsylvania when the land was mostly forested. The other most common bird was the Red-eyed Vireo.
We also saw: Red-eyed Vireos, Blue Jays, Cardinals Crows, Carolina Wren, White-breasted Nuthatch, Rufous Towhee , Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and Robins. All these species right inside the city.
If was a lovely cool morning. And I had a good time.

One comment

  1. Hey, fantastic post, Donna–I love the new look! Your environmental ed center looks really awesome. The shots of the forest are just delicious–that’s my favorite kind of habitat right there! Really love the amphibian shots. Glad you had a good time!

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