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Heinz Refuge Wildlife Photowalk - Jan. 8, 2022

Ned_L Ned_L

Is from: Philadelphia, US
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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter Member
Sat 01-Jan-22 01:28 PM | edited Sun 02-Jan-22 08:20 AM by Ned_L
Hi.

I lead an officially scheduled wildlife photowalk 10 months of the year (January, March through November) at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge (JHNWR) in Philadelphia, PA. The Heinz photowalks are free and open to the general public. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. We have an informal structure during the photowalk. Photographers of every skill level and any kind of gear from cellphone to flagship camera are welcome, though we have few beginners who come on the walks. I generally choose a particular topic to discuss during the walk.

During these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic, we take some specific precautions, particularly since the emergence of the Omicron variant. I encourage every photowalker to be fully immunized and boosted. (I am fully vaccinated and boosted.) We're outside the entire time so masks aren't required, but anyone who wants to wear one will have my full support. Social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed at all times. No equipment sharing will occur. Anyone with COVID like symptoms will be firmly asked to go home.

My January photowalk will start at 9am on January 8, and end at about noon or so. We'll cover about 5 miles. It's really an easy walk. We'll meet in the main parking lot in front of the visitor center. You enter the Refuge at the main entrance to the Heinz Refuge, at 8601 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the intersection of 86th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard.

The January photowalk will stay in the impoundment pond area (The impoundment pond is an artificial lake built in the 1920's to provide ample water for firefighting at the nearby former Gulf Oil Refinery who developed alternate firefighting water reserves and donated the lake and surrounding area to the City of Philadelphia's Tinicum Preserve in 1955. It's not tidal.) for the most part, though we will go to the edge of the Refuge's tidal marsh (The marsh will be well on its way to low tide when we arrive. It will hit low tide official at 12:26pm, soon after we leave the Refuge.). The path we'll take will be somewhat convoluted because of the finishing of construction of a new fishing pier which is blocking the dike road trail. The paths we will take are flat, though comfortable hiking shoes are a must. I request that no clothing with bright reds, oranges, yellows and neon colors be worn because they will enlarge the animals' circle of fear. Muted colors are best and hats to alter the human form are encouraged.

The JHNWR is America's first urban refuge. Established in 1972, (formerly Philadelphia and Pennsylvania lands) it was created specifically to preserve, restore and develop the Tinicum Marsh, the last significant fresh water tidal marsh left in the four-state region (PA, NJ, DE, MD). It's approximately 1,000 acres in size. In addition, the refuge was established to provide environmental education and an opportunity to study nature.

The refuge supports a diversity of habitats, including freshwater tidal marsh, open waters, mudflats, and woodlands that hundreds of species call home. Over 300 different species of birds have been recorded at the Refuge, with more than 90 species known to nest on the refuge. The refuge provides a home for a wide variety of mammals, ranging from the White-tailed Deer to the White-footed Mouse. In addition, many species of turtles, frogs, and toads live in the refuge’s wetland habitats. They find ample food including fish, insects, and invertebrates. Non-venomous snakes can also be found on the refuge.

Of course, what we'll see at any time during a wildlife photowalk in the Refuge depends on many factors including, time of year, weather, time of day, luck, etc. I do expect to see a variety of water fowl among other birds. I'm going to walk the trail a few days before Saturday to get a good feel from what's in the woods and on the pond before we go, and will use eBird to obtain more information.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to post them in this thread.

Ned
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