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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Winter Wetland Wonderland

February 2 was World Wetlands Day.  Though it was on my calendar I missed it.  On February second, I was more concerned about Groundhog day. If you want to learn more about World Wetlands Day just click here: Environmental Concern web site.  You can soon learn some of the "hows" and "whys" of World Wetlands Day.

Though I forgot to celebrate on February second I did not forget the wetlands.
I have visited the Williamstown Wetlands several times this past winter.   Beyond My Garden first introduced you to this particular wetland on May 27, 2010 when I wrote Swamp Things, a discussion on "swamp" vs "wetland." Later, that month I wrote about Painted Turtles from the wetland.

While I've posted a few photos here and there through time, the next post devoted to the wetlands was July of 2011 in a post with the title, The Williamstown Wetlands.  From this post and from hundreds of the photos I've taken I've developed a presentation on the Williamstown Wetlands which I have presented once for the Williamstown Women's Club, the original sponsors of the Wetland project.
All of these postings have been during the spring or summer months which might lead you to think that there is nothing to see in winter. If so, I'm sorry to be blunt, but you would would be wrong.
My friend Kitty wanted some ideas of what  grade school students might see during a February field trip so a couple weeks before World Wetlands Day I decided to find out. 
It is pretty easy to see great scenes during summer but I had to work harder in January.  Once I paid attention, though, there was plenty to see.
One of the first things I noticed were the seeds.  There were seeds everywhere just waiting to be eaten by hungry birds.
Whether it was seeds neatly aligned in an open pod . . .

. . .  the dust-mop offering of grass seeds clustered at the end of  a stem,

. . . or the starburst of a Button bush, there was a variety of food stuff for the birds.  
One of my favorite, though, is that hallmark of a wetland - Cattail.
By winter, Cattails have turned into furry rods waiting for the whim of a breeze to carry them away.
Some are carried far, finding their way into distant water but most land nearby as did these five, suspended, momentarily floating, dry above a floor of foliage.
 There were birds ready to feast on the seeds.  Most stayed hidden, only showing themselves as a flash of brown like this sparrow that seemed to play with me. Do you see it, well protected by a confusion of branches?
Finally I caught its image.  I have little doubt that the small bird knew I was there. Look at those eyes . . . staring right at me.
Later in the month I met Kitty and the artist, Debbie Dick, at the wetland to find some of the scenes they were searching for the grade school scavenger hunt.  This mallard, below, let me know that others had probably been visiting the wetlands this winter.  As soon as we women stopped to talk, he swam the length of the swamp like he expected us to feed him.  

The mallard eventually realized that it just wasn't going to happen today and he left to be consoled by his girlfriend.
During all this coming and going, a stealthy bagworm hung tightly to a twig, discretely waiting for spring.
A few feet from where we talked a ruby red gall encompassed a berry brier and . . .

. . . fungus clung to trees.  

I saw many homes: 



and future.

 Tracks of one of the residents, came out from under the boardwalk, across the ice and into the brush.
These photos from two winter visits shows that there is plenty to see at the Williamstown Wetlands no matter what season we visit.
One of my favorite sights, though, was this next one. While I was talking to Kitty and Debbie I noticed this dog driving by. 
Obviously, even the dog was interested in what was going on at the Williamstown Wetlands.  Still, though, I think he should keep both paws on the steering wheel don't you?


黄清华 Wong Ching Wah said...

A wonderful time with you at the wetlands!
Those furry rods are amazing !

Mark and Gaz said...

Great photos of the wetlands!

TexWisGirl said...

i love the browns of winter. very nice.