Leaving the rose garden by the house, today, bent upon our knees
and close enough to kiss the ground of Little Crum Creek,

we might just listen to the stridulation of abdomen and wings
beneath the armor of a passing “Betsy” beetle–Horned passalus, Odontotaenius disjunctus–

with the urgency of, otherwise faint and muted, unsettling screams…





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Several days before, I’d seen this gentle, solicitous sow
transport a newborn kit by mouth from one tree cavity to another.

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Then one day a high lonesome cry filled the air,
answered only by a soothing reply, encouraging the youth to venture forth
on trunk and limb, which it did, eventually, with trepidation and a helping paw…

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 leaving them both exhausted and ready for a long afternoon nap

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 in the shelter of their leafy home.


Bonus Material: Behind the Scenes …






Some parts of our nature we might never see.
But under a rising moon, out from a waning season,
an imploring eastern screech owl sounds — savor the mystery.


An earthquake on Tuesday (August 23, 2011).

A hurricane on Saturday & Sunday (August 27-28, 2011).

And Little Crum Creek isn’t any worse for wear.

The earthquake shook ground up and down the east coast, felt here by some but not by others.

Meanwhile Hurricane Irene pruned a lot of leaves and dead branches along these banks, bent a few small trees, and flattened some weeds.

But, despite over 5 inches falling, the creek itself didn’t rise so high in the steady rain. Nor did Ridley Lake, just downstream in Ridley Park.

As a short stream, just over 3 miles long, Little Crum Creek is flashy and fills more dramatically in heavy rainfall over a shorter period of time.  In fact, it rose higher in a storm nearly two weeks ago (August 15, 2011) than it did in Irene.

Surrounding streams, however, accumulating more runoff over greater distances, responded more dramatically to the hurricane.  Darby Creek, Ridley Creek, and Crum Creek (into which the Little Crum flows) each flooded its banks in places.

Lots of folks stopped by the falls of Crum Creek, along Yale Avenue in Swarthmore PA, to see this unusually high flow of water over the old stone dam.

Hopefully, you can get a sense of the water’s response to Irene in this video of comparative views from the falls at different rates of flow:


Today is sunny and calm.

Little Crum Creek resumes its normal variations.

New post in a couple days or so.


On the slim margin of Little Crum Creek, few moments, though tender, can be private.

Like last year’s fawn, this summer’s newborn deer waits patiently on a hill under maple shade and weed, occasionally roaming to browse, until momma returns for a suckle and nuzzle in the surrounding sound of cicada songs.



The Great Blue Heron resides year-round in Pennsylvania.

But, here on Little Crum Creek, it most visibly strides upstream at the start of spring.

By mid-May, the flowering boxelder in this video is full of leaves, and nearby knotweed reaches six feet.

Then it’s easier to spot the large heron in more open waters.

Just downstream, one fishes from the dam beneath the bridge at Ridley Park Lake. 

Still others cast their patient eyes nearby at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Tinicum, a freshwater tidal marsh where the Muckinipattis, Darby, and Hermesprota Creeks meet the Delaware River:


Surely our visiting heron is familiar with Tinicum.  Perhaps some of the heron’s fellow wetland denizens also make their way to Little Crum Creek.

The refuge posts a list of recent bird sightings to give us an idea of who those visitors could be.

February was full of Grackles.

Hundreds perched on bare tree limbs like raucous leaves.

Others scattered seeds of backyard feeders or splashed in Little Crum Creek.

Suddenly for a spell, few of winter’s usual birds were seen or heard amid the mobbing throng & din.

But a few, notorious for aggressively flocking with their respective species, found themselves almost indistinguishably at home when mingling with the Grackles.

More about them on Wednesday & Thursday.

For now, you might spot a Red-winged Blackbird bathing in the stream, flashing its orange & scarlet epaulettes in flight (at about 0:30).







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