Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Swamp Roseate (sic) Mallow and you know it's hot when. . .

photos (c) Don Freiday

Besides the birds detailed by Jason's post (below), a true highlight at Brig/Forsythe and many other wetlands right now are the abundant gigantic blossoms of Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), which in the morning fog created a pink haze around the gull tower yesterday morning, apparently masking the elusive Roseate Spoonbill. The root of this flower was formerly used to make, you guessed it, marshmallows.
The heavy morning air foretold a truly sweltering day. When my (thankfully indoor) meeting at Brig ended at noon, I gave the gull pond one more try, and found it spoonbill-less but laden with other waders trying to cool off, including a Black-crowned Night-heron that stood up to his neck in the water for at least 10 minutes! That was the time it took me to inspect the collected herons for things like spoonbills, Little Egrets, and Bare-throated Tiger-herons, the latter of which I last saw on similar feeling late May day in Mexico a few years ago. Who knows, after all, what a warming planet might bring to NJ?
The night-heron remained submerged as I pulled away longing to join him for a cool swim. . .

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