Saturday, 24 March 2012

2nd Marsh -- March 24th, 2012

When I haven't been to the marsh for a week or so I always wonder if maybe I'm missing some developments. With the hot weather we had, I thought I might see something unexpected. Not the case. The day offered more  green sprouts than last time but not much else, though I did see my first Great Blue Heron of the season.

Some of the moss is brilliant green, looking even more so on an overcast day when the colors appear saturated. It's not the only green in the marsh now but there's still lots of it.


When you look closely you note the variety of mosses in the marsh. Some look like miniature forests.

The Beaver Pond has open water but no sign of life today.

With the ice now gone, the vernal pools are ready for the Mallards that usually visit them.

A couple Crows were pestering this hawk but surprisingly being very quiet about it... they usually caw loudly. (Terrible back-lighting, and a poor view of the hawk too. You win some, you lose some.)

Whatever these are, they're popping up in big numbers.

I always think this channel along the berm is a restful scene, sometimes with geese or ducks or maybe a heron.

A male Red-Wing Blackbird, not singing... just taking in the scenery.

Judging by the number of cattails in full seed, there won't be any shortage of them in the marsh in the future.

Lots of Coltsfoot along the berm...

It's looking pretty barren along the berm now, but it won't be for long. The channel to the left won't be visible in a few weeks.

I'm not good at identifying plants in their early stages, but I'll work at it. Several are off to a good start.

John Foster ID'd the following for me. This is Common Burdock.

And this is Queen Anne's Lace (aka Wild Carrot).

And this is Bull Thistle. I actually guessed them right it turns out. Thanks for the confirmations John.

This pair was swimming up the channel, looking for a cozy spot to rest for a bit.

They found one...

As I left the geese behind, a Great Blue flew up.

It only went about 100 ft down a side channel.

A pretty severe crop of the previous image for a better look.

These Mallards were enjoying their private, but small, green island.

I think they're off to look for a bigger island. The Mrs. wasn't happy with the last one.

My usual view of Farewell Creek from the foot bridge, looking upstream.

And the view I take much less often... Farewell Creek from the foot bridge looking downstream.

There's lots of Garlic Mustard about...
 Some type of Turkey Tail I think.

One of nature's designs on an old Birch tree. Some Woodpecker thought it needed his touch.

The fungus makes this stump look like an Octopus.

As I left, I noticed the Forsythia by the east entrance is blooming, as it is in town.

So, nothing very exciting, but Spring is marching on.

We're leaving for Cuba on Monday so I'll look forward to see how things look when we return in early April.

The Friends of Second Marsh web site... 

A direct link to a map of the paths/trails in the marsh...

A link to a page that has my past posts re the marsh, in one place rather than scattered throughout this blog...

- fini-


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

On the Path -- March 20th, 2012

Officially the first day of Spring today, but with a temperature of 22 degrees or whatever it got to, it felt more like early summer.

It's easy to spot the Poison Ivy patch with the berries so dominant this time of year.

I'm pretty sure these are Trembling Aspens. The catkins lengthened considerably in the last 2 days.

Yellow Birch almost light up the woods when the sun hits them late in the day.

It's surprising to me how many leaves and buds of plants & trees start out red and yet the plant/tree  doesn't end up with any red on them. These are Silver Maple buds and a Silver Maple doesn't have any red on it later. Poison Ivy is another one. It's leaves start out reddish.

I see Coltsfoot in three main areas on the path. Yesterday I saw about 80 in all. But today was a late day walk so most were closed for the night and almost "invisible".

There are 8 or 9 Black Locust trees at the start of the path and they drop 100s of seed pods--more like a few thousand really. The only green in this shot is some Garlic Mustard.

I think I'll head back to the marsh tomorrow.

- fini -


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

2nd Marsh -- March 14th, 2012

I was down at the marsh today to see how Spring is progressing. It's moving right along. The first thing of note was these brilliant green algae pads in the Beaver Pond. The green was stunning in the sunlight.

The avian trio was out today... White Breasted Nuthatch.
Downy Woodpecker

The back view shows its markings well.

I swear, if birds could talk, Chickadees would have more to say than most. They're very expressive the way they cock their heads and look at you, or just check out the seeds.

Here's a lousy shot but it's a challenge for me in the future. I'd like to get this type of shot, without branches everywhere, and freeze at least the body. This one was was sitting when I took the shot, but this is what I ended up with. I'm guessing I'll need at least 1/2000th of a second-- and a lot of luck. "Machine-gun" mode should help.

I may even spend an hour with Photoshop someday and see what I can do with this shot.

These leaves were underwater. They hold their color (somewhat at least), through the winter months.

I don't see many Mourning Doves in the marsh. They are a beautiful bird.

This was a first for me at the marsh... actually getting a shot of a Song Sparrow. I've heard them dozens of times, and often seen them flitting about in the reeds, but had never been able to get a shot of one until today. Not only are they a smart looking bird, they have a beautiful song and they love to sing.

Too bad I didn't notice the cattail behind it when I took the shot. I could have moved left a touch and had a much better result.

I haven't been able to find out if this is aggressive behaviour or something else. It looks aggressive but this was between an isolated pair (so I assume a male & a female) and they were both doing it. Maybe it's like the nod-swimming that Mallards do.

American Coots... another name I like.

I walked the berm to the lake shore. These Dogwoods lining the creek added a nice splash of color.

Lake Ontario... I'm still a little awe-struck when I think how large it is. I checked the stats on it again today (I never seem to remember) and it's 193 miles long and 53 miles wide at its widest point.

When you think that it would take over 3 hours of non-stop driving at 60 mph to drive the length of it, it gives you a better feel for just how big it is. And Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes.

A lake has to be pretty big before you have surf. Do you like the sound of surf? I recorded a 20-second video of it-- handheld, so it's not as good as it should be. This link will take you to it. It's on my YouTube account.

This is looking south towards the U.S. About 30 miles and you'll be in New York state.

A nice contrast... Dogwood and a Willow tree.

My first Wooly Bear of the year. It was on the berm.

This is what the Wooly Bear will become... a Tiger Moth.

 The Tiger Moth image is from Wikipedia.

I thought this was incredible:
The banded Woolly Bear larva emerges from the egg in the fall and overwinters in its caterpillar form, when it literally freezes solid. First its heart stops beating, then its gut freezes, then its blood, followed by the rest of the body. It survives being frozen by producing an "anti-freeze" in its tissues. In the spring it thaws out and emerges to pupate. Once it emerges from its pupa as a moth it has only days to find a mate before it dies.

Was I ever happy to find this... my first Coltsfoot of Spring. It was all by its lonesome on the berm, in its typical rough-ground surroundings.

This caught my eye. There were several of them on the berm... a beautiful tone of red.

A channel in the marsh that parallels the berm and is popular with the fishermen.


And what do I find further along but a second Coltsfoot. I love 'em. They herald Spring!

The geese are pairing up now and looking for nest sites.

This pair found one.

And further back up the berm I discovered a couple dozen more Coltsfoot. I guess I passed all the Coltsfoot I saw today on the way down to the lake, or they popped out while I was at the lake front, which I doubt. How often we see things retracing our steps that we didn't see the other way.

All this Coltsfoot... Spring is here!

Most of the ice is gone. The vernal pools will be alive with life soon.

Dangling catkins & small pine cones of the Speckled Alder. Thanks John. There's a small stand of them near the pump house.

I end where I began... another look at the gorgeous green algae.

Today was my first real encounter with Spring. Not just one sign, but several. The land is awakening again-- so we can shed our winter blues... even if it was one of the mildest winters of late.

Spring. Bring it on!

The Friends of Second Marsh web site... 

A direct link to a map of the paths/trails in the marsh...

A link to a page that has my past posts re the marsh, in one place rather than scattered throughout this blog...

- fini -


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