“Teakettle! Teakettle! Teakettle!”, announced a Carolina Wren flitting on a bare branch of the Arrowwood Viburnum adjacent to the WVWA parking lot. The midday sun was unusually warm for February 15 but inviting! Lured by the balmy weather I decided to explore the Wissahickon Creek during my lunch time.
The wrought iron bridges rise above the Wissahickon Creek by nearly 8 feet. At this elevation it is an advantageous observatory to scan for birds. Mallards and Black Ducks, singly and in pairs quietly paddled along the edges of the creek albeit for an occasional “quaaack”! Turkey Vultures lazily cast a shadow above me as they sallied back and forth upon the warm updrafts. Meanwhile, the gurgling waters challenged the first back swimmers as they struggled to stay afloat! Small fishes would suddenly dart from the waters’ edge as I walked by.
“Chich, chich chich!”, a Winter Wren scolded me from a fallen log while several others scampered to hide amid the debris along the shoreline. I cannot remember the last time I saw a small group of Winter Wrens like this! Woodpeckers were ubiquitous; Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker and Red bellied Woodpecker hammered the dead trees in search of grub.
Brown Creeper, Black capped Chickadee, Golden Crowned Kinglet called at different intervals while a male Eastern Bluebird alighted upon a branch silently above me. The striking blue plumage was a sharp contrast upon a background of beige, grey and pale brown! Soon a female followed the male in peering into woodpecker holes, nooks and crannies of the trees. Could they be ready to be nesting already?
While spring may officially begin March 21, the early stirrings of mating, carving out territory and breeding actually commences now for some species. Timed by the length of day, the height of the warming sun in the winter sky and early rustling of insects, nature’s synchronicity continues unabated. Rustle yourself out of the winter doldrums and catch a glimpse of nature’s unannounced annual pageantry on the Wissahickon’s Green Ribbon Trail. You won’t be disappointed!