Spring 2015 defeats me. I have stopped looking for its arrival in natural settings. When an entire week goes by without wearing my ski jacket. the new season will have arrived.
Here is a photo essay of a recent bi-state excursion to find the vernal:
View from Footbridge from NJ to PA at Bull’s Island below Frenchtown
Last week, in quest of spring, I spent more than three [but fewer than four] hours at Bowman’s Hill Wildlife Preserve, below New Hope, Pennsylvania. You know from my recent post that most of the world in that exquisite refuge was brown, with some courageous and welcome exceptions.
That Delaware view was taken mid-river that same day. I walked west from Bull’s Island over the Delaware, because interstate walking is a rare past-time for someone from Michigan.
As you can see, on the New Jersey and the Pennsylvania sides, most trees remain bare.
Beautiful Bridge Structure, Empty Trees
Spring on the Delaware River Footbridge at Bull’s Island
Ultimately, on the footbridge, the winds were so fierce, I did not set Foote in Pennsylvania. My mother would say, “You turned tail and ran!”
However, NJWILDBEAUTY readers who know me in person remember that I tend to ask, perhaps too often for some, “Where is the Gift?”
Come with me on the Bull’s Island Towpath and answer this question in mid-April in New Jersey/Pennsylvania.
Emptiness of Spring — Bull’s Island Towpath mid-April 2015
Alluvial Plain near Bull’s Island Towpath Trail
Mile Marker 21 – Bull’s Island Towpath Trail
Farmhouse Opposite Bull’s Island Towpath Trail
Alluvial Plain Adjacent to Bull’s Island — When the Delaware Floods, This is Where She Goes, What She Nourishes
Endangered Species Ahead
American Bald Eagle on Nest, in sycamore – a first for me:
6/10 Mile Below Bull’s Island Sign
That tiny head is pure white, in person. See for yourselves!
If any of you still wonder, why preserve? The above hint of an eagle sighting is our answer.
This parent is strong, serene, vivid. She faces our benevolent yet powerful, and yes, fish-ful Delaware River. This eagle pair is likely to raise healthy young, so there will be more eagles on more nests in our riverine future.
Never forget that, in the 1970’s, there was but one eagle nest, at Bear Swamp, near the Delaware Bay, and it was unsuccessful. DDT thinned their eggs, which therefore cracked and could not hatch. Brilliant and committed people, beginning with Rachel Carson in her seminal, earth-changing “Silent Spring”, turned this around. Naturalists in New Jersey went to the Chesapeake for healthy eggs. They gingerly carried these treasures to the Bear Swamp nest. Those unknowingly surrogate parents raised and fledged young, who returned to the area. So the eagle Renaissance of New Jersey began.
This day, of Bowman’s followed by Bull’s Island followed by Lambertville, [through the spotting scope set up at Homestead Farm Market (across from the CVS and Rago)], then to ‘our’ Princeton Mapleton eagle’s nest, brought me three eagles on three nests in three towns in three hours.
The Lambertville eagle nest is on a power tower in the River, visible from the toll bridge when driving to PA from NJ. The other two are in preserves.
I suddenly realize, if those Bull’s Island trees had been leafed out for this person longing for spring, I might never have spotted the nest, for the warning sign came south of the impressive nest…
Princeton’s Eagle Nest, Mapleton Avenue, Above the D&R Canal State Park