Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Williamstown Wetlands

Grab your handkerchief. We will be hot. Today I'm taking you to The Williamstown Wetlands.

Located in Williamstown, West Virginia on Highland Avenue, The Williamstown Wetlands are on property owned mostly by DaVinci's Restaurant. DaVinci's has leased the land to the Williamstown Women's Club who are developing the small wetlands into an observation, study and sanctuary site.
The best parking is behind the restaurant where we will find the beginning of a wide trail that circles the wetland. 

     Volunteers, led by Betsy Caltrider and Rita Stephan of the Williamstown Women's Club, have begun building a boardwalk over the wet areas of the trail.  Today we will head left onto the completed part of that boardwalk.  Let's pause at the observation deck.
Sagittaria or Duck potato covers a large area before us.
With plenty of Narrow-leaved cattail (Typha augustfolia) around.
Looking toward our left we see the far end of the wetland.
looking down, just beyond the observation deck, we are met with "the in-between" - that area where dry fades into wet.
Back on the trail there is plenty to see also.  Volunteers planted some of the surrounding plants such as 
Button bush  and Pin oak but there is a good chance that this sweet-flowerd thistle was planted by Nature.

They also put up bat houses. If you ever lived near a wetland you know about mosquitoes.  Bats will eat thousands of them. It seems only fair to provide them nice lodging. Do you see that board at the bottom of the house? Evidently bats need a rough, flat place to crawl up into the house. 
Swallows and bluebirds will help control the insect population, too.

Today, though there is very little activity by anything. Humidity is heavy enough to convince us that we are part of the swamp.  Mosquitoes are the only life with enough energy to overcome the heat-induced inertia that has affected us all.   My glasses fog . . . my camera eyepiece fogs between it and my glasses . . . my brain fogs.  But the four o'clock light is actually not too bad here at the wetlands so let's keep walking.
Further along the gravel path we see Teasel (Dipsacus),
. . . both naked and dressed.
There's a Mallow (Hibiscus), some sort of Swamp mallow I assume because, after all, we are in a swamp.
 On the woods side of our path there are plenty of blackberries,
Field mint (Mentha arvensis)
and Wild grapes (Vitis rotundifolia). According to several internet sites, our Wild grapes are the same as the Scuppernongs and Muscadines prevalent in trained rows in so many back yards of the southern United States.
A nice thing about the Williamstown Wetlands is that there is already seating available in the way of benches provided by area businesses.  
These benches will be great - on cooler days - to sit and watch the songbirds and migrating ducks. Today, though, there are just a couple ducks that have ventured out from the shade.
Today is NOT one of those cool days, so as I, once again wipe the fog from my glasses, we shall return to our path. The air conditioned car will feel good and will quickly revive us so that we forget the heat and only remember the quiet, verdant beauty of The Williamstown Wetlands.
check my store at the link, above for books about the wetland.


TexWisGirl said...

looks like a beautiful place, but yes, i bet it is a swelter-box!

Karen said...

There has been a lot of work done on the area with all the boardwalks and seating, how wonderful! I bet it was a sweltering day though. Great pictures you have shared, I felt like I was on the walk with you.

MadSnapper said...

gorgeous photos and this is my kind of place, like the board walk shot and the flowers are awesome. would love to visit this myself

RedPat said...

I can feel the humidity from here!
Did your family spell Denison with 1 n - if so you should google Denison Ave Toronto and read the wikipedia page - it is all about your family. It actually is quite close to the lane - about a 20 min walk. Dovercourt isn't too far away either.

Out on the prairie said...

A lovely area indeed. The sweat index is what we are calling the heat.It was 80 at 7 oclock here.Many farmers are seeing how returning area wetlands helps them with flooding and the water they drink, these areas filter out a lot of different things.The teasel makes a nice dry flower arrangement, you can even paint it.I have found blue and white varieties this year.

Nellie from Beyond My Garden said...

Teasels were also used to comb flax.

Leigh said...

I love wetland areas, they are so interesting and diverse. Looks like Williamsburg has a great one.

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

THAT was a beautiful tour! great images...and the heat didn't seem to bother me a bit ;)

Lisa said...

It's like I join to that tour. Thanks for sharing those beautiful photos.

Lisa from Acoustic Guitar Software

NCmountainwoman said...

What a beautiful area! You'll have to go back when the weather is better.

pumpkydine said...

What a wonderful thing for the Womens Club to do and make this little piece of creation more accessible to everyone! It is amazing how diverse the flora and fauna of these little wetlands can be. Thanks for sharing.

Daricia said...

i always like to see a boardwalk because boardwalks usually mean wetlands...and i love wetlands! the humidity and insects make them not so great to visit this time of year, but aren't they beautiful and interesting. your tour takes us right along...and we don't even have to leave the air-conditioning!

Anne McCormack said...

Your wonderful photos really make it seem like I've been on a field trip.

Rick said...

Thank you for taking us to and through such an interesting place. Beautiful shots of so much that the area has to offer - nicely captured !

JSK said...

This looks like a wonderful resource - and so conveniently located. No excuse not to visit.

BirdGalAlcatraz said...

Beautiful in every way! Than ks for your comments about the Wood Duck photos my blog which led me to your blog. Lovely!