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 firstname.lastname@example.org