Wetlands: Like a Box of Chocolates

My early summer haunts are mostly wetlands: swampy places, vernal pools, undeveloped canals and small ponds.

Cattails, lilies and swarming insects at the edge of a Leland Pond swamp

These habitats are indeed like a box of chocolates. I never know for sure what I’ll find, and each experience is uniquely rewarding.

One of the more common predators in wetlands and sluggish waters: the Snapping Turtle. This one was foraging in the quiet, weed-choked waters of the Chenango Canal and is heading for shallow water near shore (and me).

A snapper basking in the midday sun along the edge of a farm pond; MSC Equine Rehabilitation Center

Family of Wood Ducks, adult female and young; Chenango Canal

I travel light and walk and stalk a lot, but also stop and get comfortable when things are slow. Detailed landscapes in the foreground then become the center of attention.

Fragrant Water Lily and damselfly (Bluet)

Green Frog in a tiny, seasonal pool

Swamp Milkweed on the edge of a cattail marsh

Following up on a tip from a former student, a midday excursion to a small pond at the Morrisville State College Equine Rehabilitation Center provided me with a rare opportunity to observe the foraging behavior of a Green Heron. Small fish, frogs and tadpoles are dietary staples; in this instance, tadpoles (probably Bull Frog) were the main target.

A happy heron, with fresh tadpole for lunch

Common Elderberry, approaching full bloom; thrives in open, moist habitats

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

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7 thoughts on “Wetlands: Like a Box of Chocolates

  1. I really enjoyed this photographic walk. I am not sure which is my favorite photo, but the waterlily and damsel fly may be my favorite. Of course what is not to like about the stalking/hunting Green Heron….

    • Much appreciated Gunta. I’ve been following your kayak adventures and it looks like you know what your doing (?). Recently, a friend moved to AK and I bought her kayak. Any advice re: kayak photography, e.g. gear protection?? Thanks!

      • Coming back here, I can’t help but notice the typos in that very first sentence. Oh well! I’m really not the kayak expert per se. My dear friend Eric has been kayaking since he was knee-high to a grasshopper and he has been guiding me through the adventure. My impression however is to start out in still waters and go from there. Get to know your kayak and how it performs. As for gear protection. I’m a bit (a whole lot, probably) foolish in that department. I still use my “starter” camera (the Canon Rebel) and am probably not as careful as I ought to be with it. Just noticed that there’s quite a bit of sand embedded near the on/off switch -likely everywhere else, too from all the seascape shots over the years.

        I have the sit-in type of kayak and Eric put together a plastic bucket sort of thing for the camera when it’s not in use. The first time I headed out with a camera, I started with the point ‘n shoot. Then I got daring and headed out with the normal zoom (15-85mm) on the Canon. That was too frustrating with the many birds I was seeing, so the final outing I went out with the longer zoom (70-300mm). That turned out great! I suppose if I were to tip the kayak, I’d be looking for that camera upgrade I’ve been thinking about and putting off for quite some time, but in the meantime I just enjoy using it out there where the birds are. Still hoping to spot an otter!!! 😀

        Hope this helped, but probably not as much as you may have hoped.

    • Thanks Jo! That was an exciting shoot for me because I’m usually looking at the tail end of these small herons as they squawk in retreat after I inadvertently push them from a shoreline feeding site. Wish all of my wildlife subjects were as slow (on land) as those turtles!

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