River Talk


TRR photos by Scott Rando

This is the female young which is a few days short of three weeks old. Like many raptors, the peregrine falcon is sexually dimorphic; the female is slightly larger than the male on average. Even in this brood, this female was slightly heavier than its male sibling: 610 grams vs. 420 grams. The ear orifice can be seen to the lower left of the eye.

Peregrine falcons return to historical cliff nest site

When we think of peregrine falcons nowadays, we think of them nesting on high building ledges and bridge superstructures in urban areas.


TRR photos by Sandy Long
Natural wonders come in many forms, such as this strand of eggs deposited by an American toad. Tuning in to their presence is a multi-sensory skill that goes beyond simple observation. Learn how to develop this skill and improve your photography during my “Wonder Watch” walk on June 30 at 10 a.m. Bring your digital camera or smartphone to capture the natural wonders of the Gales Property at the 2018 Upper Delaware BioBlitz in Starlight, PA. A limited number of macro and wide angle lenses will be available for use with smartphone cameras. The lens kits are provided by the event’s fiscal sponsor, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy.

Upper Delaware BioBlitz is back

Don’t miss this! On June 29 and 30, the fourth Upper Delaware BioBlitz will return to the site where it was launched in 2013—the 63.5 acre Gales Property in Starlight, PA.


TRR photos by Scott Rando

Wood frogs have finished their breeding activity in the vernal ponds that they favor. During the summer, they are not near water, but you can find them on forest floors, usually well camouflaged.

'Tis the season of the frog

If you pay attention to what you see and hear when outside and equate it to the time of year, you have just practiced the science of phenology: the study of when events happen with given species of plants or animals.


TRR photos by Sandy Long

The Pike County Training Center features several stormwater best management practices (BMPs). The vegetated diversion berm at right in this photo conveys runoff around the site rather than through it, minimizing erosion of soils and the amount of stormwater that needs to be managed on site. Other features include a wetland forebay and wet pond, which receive runoff from impervious surfaces, as well as infiltration berms, which trap pockets of water, allowing it to soak into the ground. The various elements are all part of the site’s “treatment train” of stormwater BMPs. 

BMPs are VIPs

When it comes to protecting water quality in the Upper Delaware River region, best management practices (BMPs) are very important practices.


TRR photo by Scott Rando

This orphaned bear cub is being re-introduced to an existing family of cubs by PA Game Commission staff. It is hoped that the mother will accept the new cub as one of her own. It is unknown how the cub became orphaned in the first place.

Youngsters in trouble

Spring is looked upon as the renewal of life; in the wild, most animals are breeding, and many species have young walking along with parents or in the nest, in the case of birds. Newly born or hatched young are much more vulnerable than the adults, and nature typically provides some protection for these young.


TRR photos by Sandy Long

A blaze of bright yellow along regional roadways at this time of year typically signals the presence of the cheerful flowers of coltsfoot. This sunny bloomer favors gravelly roadsides and waste places. Flowers precede the appearance of leaves thought to resemble a colt’s foot.

Harbingers of spring

Much to our collective relief, the local landscape is brightening with color as spring sweeps her painterly brush across the lackluster view we became accustomed to while wintry weather lingered a little too long.


TRR photos by Scott Rando

Painted turtles are among the first reptiles to be seen in the spring. They can frequently be seen basking on logs or on the shore of lakes and ponds. A suitable log may host a dozen turtles as they seek the warm rays of the sun.

If you don’t like the weather, blink

April is the first full month in spring, and she can be one of the most changeable months of the year weather-wise. A few days of balmy, sunny warmth can be followed by near blizzard conditions.


TRR photos by Sandy Long

Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has identified trees as a top tool in addressing climate change. The agency is urging citizens to plant native tree species along streams to improve riparian buffers, as well as in backyards and community spaces. Riparian buffers are the trees, shrubs and grasses that serve as transitional zones from land to water. They act as filters for sediments and pollutants and help to keep them from reaching the water. Find helpful information in Common Trees of Pennsylvania (https://tinyurl.com/ya526lkf) or through the riparian buffer initiative (https://tinyurl.com/yd6n643c) or from TreeVitalize (https://tinyurl.com/y79amt9d). 

Trees please

The Upper Delaware River region experienced excessive damage to and loss of many trees during intense winter storms that delivered heavy snow and powerful winds during the final weeks of winter. Evidence of those impacts can still be seen in Pennsylvania’s Pike and Wayne counties, and in Sullivan County, New York.


TRR photos by Scott Rando

Two wood frogs are in amplexus; the male is above the female with his forelegs locked together. They will remain so coupled until the female deposits her eggs, usually on an under branch or other object, next to egg masses of other wood frogs. Color phases of wood frogs can be dark brown to a light tan, with the lighter colors seen during the summer when they are out of the water.

Hearable herps

April is usually the month when you can count on hearing the first frogs of spring. Sometimes, they start in late March, but this has been a colder spring than usual.


TRR photo by Sandy Long

Tick populations are soaring throughout the Upper Delaware River region, and ticks that were once uncommon, such as the lone star tick depicted here, are increasing in number. According to the PA Department of Health, Pennsylvania has led the nation in confirmed cases of Lyme disease for three straight years. The black-legged deer tick is the species most likely to transmit Lyme disease and has been found in each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Visit https://bit.ly/2HtmxTJ to learn more. Download the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society’s helpful informational brochure on ticks at https://bit.ly/2HC3nIL. The PA Lyme Resource Network offers additional information at www.palyme.org.
 

Tick time

Although I’d prefer not to be the bearer of bad news, there’s no avoiding the fact that it’s tick time in the Upper Delaware River region. My dogs have already had several, and I came home from a 30-minute photo ramble in Pike County recently with four blacklegged tick nymphs making their way up the legs of my pants.

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