By Ricky Vereneck, TTF Intern
On the last Saturday of March, fifteen people joined us for our special “Opening Day for Trails” bird walk at Tacony Creek Park! Community Watershed Leader Doryán De Angel and I welcomed a group of enthusiastic participants at the I Street and Ramona Avenue gateway. It was good that the group came prepared for the windy day.
We were graciously assisted by Wyncote Audubon Society experts Martin Selzer and Jane Henderson who helped us locate and identify the bird species we saw. We were so grateful for the binoculars that Wyncote Audubon donated to TTF for these walks. For some time, we have used cardboard binoculars which, of course, are not sufficient for observing the beautiful birds of Tacony Creek Park up close. These state of the art binoculars really enhanced our experience! We were able to see the birds’ wings, beaks, and wonderful, displayed colors.
We also inaugurated our new Tacony Creek Park Bird Guide! This pamphlet includes a checklist of the birds that live in or migrate through the park. Early in our walk, we spotted a hawk soaring in the sky, and we were able to correctly identify it thanks to our binoculars and bird guide. By observing the colors, we were able to conclude that it was a red-tailed hawk!
Martin identified an Eastern Phoebe and a Fox Sparrow, two rarer birds. He also pointed out male mallard ducks with a green sheen on their heads, who were swimming in Tacony Creek a week before trout season. An amazing moment was when we hiked up from the path to a grassland meadow, and saw one of two Great Blue Herons we had seen soaring earlier, perched on a branch in a tree about 100 yards in the distance.
We also spotted a cat sitting as sentinel far off in the thicket, and some Northern Flickers fluttering about in search of a meal. After returning to the path, we walked by Fisher’s Lane Bridge, one of the oldest bridges in Philadelphia, dating to 1759!
Our “Opening Day for Trails” bird walk was exciting…and windy. This walk was part of the special Rails to Trails Conservancy effort to encourage everyone to get outdoors and experience trails.
Here’s the list of birds: