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When not setting its spread wings above in trees, an occasional red-spotted purple
descends for the nectar of flowers, lending the butterfly bush its name.

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Last March I watched a solitary Pekin duck

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make close friends with a mallard

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before matting a bed of grass on the rocky banks of Ridley Park Lake.

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The Pekin, I’ve read, is a domesticated mallard,
bred in China for thousands of years before it was brought to New York in the 187os.

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Paddling through the winter lake,

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some stick close together,

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especially this group of five,

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 which includes one duck curiously colored …
any ideas why?

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Update:  A reader’s close observations of these lake ducks lead me to agree that the the curious-looking gray one is, as she points out, an Indian Runner.  For more, see the comments by brookeduffy. Thanks, Brooke!

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Here by the autumn creekside,

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a stealthy fox emerges from cover

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to prey upon a squirrel

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 that nimbly leaps away.

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And here the next morning, back set to the sun, the fox bends to it again.

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This summer, when not zipping from flower to flower,

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some ruby-throated hummingbirds settled for a spell upon a creekside feeder.

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Daily male & female fed in turn

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until one day, bound beyond Mexico by way of the Gulf,
our red-bibbed males first headed south

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and, just this week, by look of the vacant feeder,
a final female followed.

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Not to be outdone in color and design, but a bit more shy than red-banded leafhoppers,

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broad-headed sharpshooters tirelessly scurry round leaf and stem to avoid detection.

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Here an adult and nymph just happen to meet a marksman equal to their game of hide & seek.

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A few weeks ago, while peddling along the woodland edge of Ridley Creek State Park, an eastern tiger swallowtail fluttered past my slow roll up an incline.

Standing to gain on its flight, I accidentally jammed gears, ground to a halt, and had to surrender the pace.

But the butterfly doubled back, flashed left and right before my handlebars, and resumed the way only when I set off again.

Later parting at a fork atop the hill, I waved thanks & praise to my continuing friend and rolled to rest alone in the shadow of a tulip tree.

It was flowering unusually low to the ground.

So I left the park with this picture of a bloom and the memory of a curious companion that led me there.

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Later, while mulling it over along Little Crum Creek, someone called me to a large moth perched wide on a window screen.

Carefully I removed the docile thing to a nearby trunk, snapped some pictures with the hope of discovering its identity, and soon marveled at how the moth’s name could have been recognized in the curious convergences of our day.

For here was Epimecis hortaria, the tulip tree beauty, a moth named for the recently seen flowering tree that hosts its larvae (a tree, incidentally, that I have not yet noticed here along Little Crum Creek).

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A lone pied-billed grebe,

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blending well upon Ridley Park Lake,

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suddenly dives to feed,

or otherwise

elude our gaze,

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and emerge some spot distant

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to dry in the air of day.

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Click the picture to register.

Did rain dampen your plans for Earth Day?

No problem.

You can join the CRC’s 15th Annual Streams Cleanup.

Volunteers will meet to pitch in and clean up the creeksides on Saturday, May 5,  from 9 to 11:30 am.

Just choose one of several meeting sites in the Chester, Ridley, and Crum watersheds.

Then register to attend.

Sites include two spots along Little Crum Creek:  one upstream at Little Crum Creek Park in Swarthmore and one downstream at Ridley Park Lake.

Free t-shirt and picnic following cleanup.

After all, it’s always an Earth day, right?

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Thanks to spring blooms that fed the bees
that pollinated the flowers that produced fall’s fruit,
a gray squirrel dangles from hind legs, to pluck a ripe crabapple,
and nibble the food in its paws on a nearby branch.

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The 14th Annual Streams Cleanup is here!

Join volunteers on Saturday, May 7th, from 9  to 11:30 am, at one of several sites in the Chester, Ridley, and Crum Creek watersheds. 

There are even two sites along Little Crum Creek:  Ridley Park Lake & Swarthmore’s Little Crum Creek Park.

Simply find a full listing of cleanup sites here.

Then register to attend one here

You can also contact the CRC Watersheds Association at 610-892-8731 or crc@nni.com.

Free t-shirt and picnic afterward at Ridley Creek State Park – Pavilion 8.