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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