August 2, 2018
- as seen by -Julie Larsen Maher
A green frog’s distinctive call, like the plucking of a rubber band, echoes across the fen in the Delaware Water Gap. The marshy space is a peaceful place. Graying snags stand like sentries on a verdant carpet of ferns and provide cover for many kinds of local wildlife.
All is still as the afternoon light leaks through the dense foliage around me. I hear a snap and turn to see a white-tailed deer fawn rise from its tall grass nursery. It stretches one wobbly leg at a time as it makes its way to its mother. The young deer’s reddish-brown coat is marked with hundreds of white spots that help it blend in to its woodland home and protect it from predators. Fawns are born in mid to late spring according to the National Park Service, so this bespeckled baby is just a few months old.
The Gap, a national recreation area spilling across the borders of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, has more than 100 miles of hiking trails that meander along brooks, bogs, and rocky ridges. Groundhogs, coyotes, crows, fox, frogs, snakes, skunks, and white-tailed deer are all among its inhabitants.