October 22, 2021
Seasons are coming and going in First Landing State Park


By Mary Reid Barrow

The white blooms  of saltmarsh elder give the illusion of snow-covered shrubs,along  the 64th Street trail in First Landing State Park.   Clouds of white blooms crowded close together crown the shrubs like soft pillows.

Saltmarsh asters are blooming along the marsh edges..  The tiny white daisies  are too fragile to grace a tough salt marsh,  but they do.

Glasswort  is turning red in the marsh  and  cedar berries on trees along the trail are turning from summer ivory to  blue.

Glasswort  is a regular non-descript green in summer, but when it turns red in fall, a big stand of it a can make the marsh look on fire   And nothing beats cedar berries when they are lush and a beautiful  icy winter blue.

And to top the scene off,  literally, the eagle pair is perched high in a tree snag in the big marsh near the trail bridge.

What a day it was last week the  park! Fall and winter are meeting each other,  coming and going,  and everywhere there are signs of  what was, what is and what’s next.

This time of year eagles in this area are kicking off the eagles’ “what’s next” which happens to be nesting season.  They are returning to their nest sites and beginning to repair their homes.

All the eagles that raptor expert Reese Lukei monitors with the Center for Conservation Biology in Williamsburg  are back at their nests now, Lukei said

The First Landing pair that visits the marsh on the 64th Street trail probably nests in the main part of the park to the north of 64th Street.

The female should lay eggs by early February. Baby season arrives  in March and by the time the young are about 3 months old,  they will fledge.

When I first saw the eagles they were perched  on two separate snags. Before too long , one,  probably the male,  flew to the female’s  tree, perched nearby and began chortling sweet nothings to his sweetie.

Honey , It’s time  for us to  get our season underway too, he said.

Do you have a favorite tree or plant with a story to tell?  What relationships have you observed  between plants and critters?  Who eats whom?  Who has babies where?   Send an email to


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