Winter, 2017. Not much is happening at the Park these days. It's cold. Plants are in hibernation. The diehard joggers pass by, as well as the dog walkers and the bicyclists, but they don't stay very long. Some light snow showers have been seen but the effects don't last. The giant snowstorms experienced in past years have not yet been here.

The days are getting longer, but it's hardly noticeable. Canada geese that used to migrate decades ago are now a permanent fixture of the Delaware Valley. Canada geese have wintered here for decades rather than fly south. Large raptors such as falcons and cormorants also weather here year-round. Intrepid ducks stay here all year. The non-native, more colorful birds start migrating from the south in April, so they'll be seen and heard in a few weeks. But for now, everything is grey and quiet.

winding path in snow

Spring and summer events planned for the Park are in the very early planning stages.

Piers 55 and 57. Also in early planning stages is the first-stage development of 'Liberty on the River'—a building plan by K4 Associates for development of the area directly south of Pier 53.

K4 expects to break ground in the spring of 2017, with initial building of a rental tower of approximately 268 units, a hotel, and an open space entrance connecting to the off-ramp from I95.

The final plan is for ten towers, two of which are to occupy Pier 55, and two to occupy Pier 57.

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Washington Avenue Green and the surrounding piers are part of the Atlantic Flyway—a complex ecosystem which includes forests, beaches, and coastal wetlands. With the threat of sea-level rise, wetlands like the Delaware River waterfront around this park become increasingly important as wildlife habitat and flood plain.

First to arrive from the south during the third week of April will be the Henslow's Sparrow, the Ovenbird, and Prairie, Black-and-white, Blue-winged, Palm, and Yellow-rumped warblers. The Park changes to spring colors, and it becomes noisy with songbirds.

white heron

Herons and hawks stay here all year.

Sources: www.birdnature.com,  www.audubon.org.

 

 

 

Conjuring Ghosts. The Metro Section of the February 1 Philadelphia Inquirer did a feature story on Susan McAninley and her work collecting stories of immigrants coming to Philadelphia through Pier 53. Here's the link.

Ongoing at Washington Avenue Green is the Pier 53 Project—a historical study of the immigrants who arrived at the Pier from 1876 to the 1920's, their stories, and the stories of their descendants. Each story is part of a mosaic that contributes to the history of Philadelphia and its waterfront, and ultimately to the history of immigration in the United States.

Here's the link to the Pier 53 Project page on this site. Pier 53 Project .


Photo of sign above is by Kathy Martin. Flyway map compliments of the Audubon Society. All other photos and artwork by Susan McAninley.