Wetland Wildlife in Early Spring

The source of a nearby reservoir and pond is a wetland complex with a mix of wooded swamps, cattail marshes and surface waters. After three months of hunkering down in cold and snow,

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it’s exhilarating to see the biological diversity of these precious habitats come alive!

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Common Merganser, drake, just after a foraging dive; a hen was nearby

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Great Blue Heron landing near the edge of a cattail marsh

Cattail marshes, as pictured above, are the preferred habitat of muskrats: they provide food, retreat cover and home-building supplies. Muskrat populations have crashed in recent years, due in part to the replacement of native cattails by an aggressive, invasive perennial plant – Common Reed (Phragmites). Needless to say, I was pleased to see two of these small furbearers on my wetland excursion.

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Great Blue Heron, navigating to another section of the wetland. Rain and melt-water have made good perches and wading sites hard to find.

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

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10 thoughts on “Wetland Wildlife in Early Spring

  1. Great photos and post. Glad to see Spring is starting to finally arrive in your part of the world Nick. Love the Heron photos. Great work catching them in flight with perfect wing spread. Beautiful. 🙂

  2. The herons have it a bit rougher here in Niagara with the ice. Our bunnies are still tucked away underground. I really like your muskrat photos. The blue water looks so clean and refreshing. I saw a Common Merganser pair here today. You got a beautiful shot of that fellow.

    • I’m still seeing ice and snow in places; deer are still raiding the bird feeders; much rain at temps just above freezing, which has to be stressful for terrestrial birdlife —- we’re not out of the woods yet. Glad you liked the muskrat shots. It’s difficult to capture those little guys in an appealing way and I was excited when I saw the results. I love closeups of bright, colorful water currents as a backdrop to waterfowl and furbearers. Thanks for the visit and nice comments Donna.

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