Aquatic Habitats in Summer

Late July in Central New York is usually hot and dry and this year is no exception. Water levels in wetlands and surface waters are at a seasonal low, exposing habitats and life processes not visible at other times.

Dragonflies like this male Widow Skimmer are extremely active, foraging on the wing for tiny insects.

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Avian predators – shorebirds, herons and kingfishers – capitalize on the availability of prey in exposed mud flats and shallow waters.

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“Soft Landing”

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Another avian predator can be seen hunting for prey above the water’s surface rather than below it. Clouds of tiny mayflies (“Tricos”, short for the genus Tricorythodes), pulsating over the riffles of cool, alkaline streams, are fair game for small flocks of Cedar Waxwings.

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A “Trico” trapped in a spider web during the morning hatch; the Trico body is 3-4 mm long

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Tricos in a web

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“For many of us, water simply flows from a faucet, and we think little about it beyond the point of contact. We have lost a sense of respect for the wild river, for the complex workings of a wetland, for the intricate web of life that water supports.”   – Sandra Postel

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Aquatic Habitats in Summer

  1. I very much enjoyed this post. No surprise. I learn so much here. I’m anxiously waiting to settle into the new/old house which sits above a creek. Someday once we’ve cleared the tangle of blackberry vines, we might be able to get down to it and explore! 😀

    • Glad you liked it! Of all of the wetlands and surface waters that I know, the cold, free flowing creeks are my favorite. So many memories. Riffles, pool and runs. Gravel bars. Surprises around every bend. Looking forward to hearing more about your new abode.

  2. You have captured so well the delight of a body of water. There has been much work done in my area to restore habitat but sadly, the surprises I used to enjoy as a child are long gone. I still look, though….

    • Thanks Melissa. I see special places degraded daily and pray that images and narrative like this will slow the process by increasing awareness and understanding of the foundation and life-blood of our existence, the natural world.

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