October Wildlife Sightings
From late fall foliage to a rare pre-Halloween snow, it was an odd month! At least we had some days of gorgeous weather after months of record rain, and we were still able to see some reptiles, which will soon go into hibernation until March or April. These two Red-eared Sliders swam across the pond and out of sight with that large caught fish! The region’s most common striped snake, this Common Garter Snake was still out at the end of October.
We spotted some White-tailed Deer… did you know they were hunted to extinction in Delaware County by 1862, then reintroduced from Michigan in 1906 for hunters? (see endnote) You would if you heard our park natural history presentation to the Media Providence Friends Middle School science class!
We are enchanted by the (slowly-changing!) foliage. We especially love the Sassafras tree, in part because of its three different leaf shapes- including mittens & ghosts!
The beautiful American Beech tree is plentiful in the park- you can identify this large tree by its smooth gray bark. This beech was hosting a Tufted Titmouse…
Which brings us to the birds! We are beginning to really appreciate why this park was dedicated as a Bird Sanctuary, and why early newspaper articles raved about the birds to be found. We’ve entered our own sightings and historical data on eBird.org, creating the Glen Providence Park Bird List: a database of birds sighted in the park covering over 100 years!
As birds are often heard and not seen, we recognized the need to learn bird calls (try eNature.com). Two easier ones to start with: the Mourning Dove’s doleful “… cooo, coo, coo,” and the Carolina Wren’s three-syllable chant that sounds like “tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea.”
Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, White-breasted Nuthatch, Black-throated Green Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warblers… so many have hyphenated names! You can find the park’s complete list for the month on eBird, or scroll through our photos on facebook.
We saw many hikers, dog walkers, and a family having their portrait done. Among the school classes visiting the park, Penncrest High School science students spent three days conducting water studies.
In the midst of it all, we took part in early planning to figure out how to make the pond healthy and sustainable. Read Upcoming Changes: Pond & Wetlands for a summary. And we enjoyed a beautiful morning installing a stepping stone stream crossing and discovering the source of two natural springs at our second Park Clean-Up & History Reclamation! We also saw that part of the Shingle Mill Trail is flooding due to a large fallen tree in Broomall’s Run… and it does not look like that tree will be easy to remove. Wear your boots!
As for the snow on October 29… how did we not get a picture of that?!
End Note: According to George Smith’s 1862 “History of Delaware County,” the county’s White-tailed Deer had been hunted to extinction, along with elk, wolves and bear. According to the 1999 “A Land of Providence and its People”, White-tailed Deer were transported into this area from Michigan in 1906, “to answer the desire of hunters and others.”