Crosswicks Audubon Sanctuary

Saturday, 28 March 2010 – Jenkintown, PA

Weather: 7:30 am – cool, clear, sunny. Location: Crosswicks Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary.

Purpose: bird walk and cleanup.

Habitat: Piedmont upland woodland of 13 mostly wooded acres with several small streams. The sanctuary is a small second or even third-growth woodland. The canopy trees are tall, many over 150 feet at least. These are so thin, they can’t be that old.

But they are thin trees. It seems trees shoot up in height and then the rest of their long lives concentrate on gaining girth. And the trunks widen until they are massive giants that humans can barely wrap their arms around.

Understory trees are beginning to leaf out. The Red Maple has a fuzzy head of red flowers. The Spice Bush is full of yellow-green flowers and small leaves are sprouting on shrubs.

The woods are criss-crossed by several streams. The streams run clear and swiftly in the cool morning air.

The woodland was wet and in some places, muddy. At least after all the rain and snow we have had over the winter. From January through March 25th, the Philadelphia had 12.78 inches of precipitation. That is 4.84 inches more than normal.

Skunk Cabbage is beginning to bloom.

Birds: On our bird walk we saw and heard: Golden-crowned kinglet-2, White-breasted Nuthatch -2, Red-belied Woodpecker-1, Crow-1, Bluejay-1, Flicker-1, Turkey Vulture-1, White-Thorated Sparrow-1, Starling-1 and House Sparrow-1.

We watched a Turkey Vulture rise up and fly in tight, smooth circles high above the tree canopy. It must have been feeding on carrion or even creating a nest. I know they nest early, at least by April.

Lesser Celadine covers the woodland floor in spots. It is an invasive species hard to eradicate in Delaware Valley forests.

Fresh green moss is alive and well on a rotting log.

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