Thursday, May 28, 2009

Marsh Walking

Not too far from where I live is a large freshwater estuary. It begins at the head of 'my' river which winds its way gently through acres of marsh grass, wild rice, cattails and all sorts of other wonderful plants before it grows into a wide tail heading for the ocean, and just before that, passing through my back yard. This estuary is home to many birds and mammals and reptiles. Today was wet and cool and the smell of fresh rain was heavy in the air. Because of the days gentle rains off and on there were no bugs or marsh smells other than green, clean green air. There was the call of the red-wing black bird and I could see several darting everywhere as they are territorial this time of year. As I stood on the boardwalk high above some the marsh area I could also see many swallows gleefully skimming the air just above the leaves of the plants.

The lightest green above is a restored wild rice area. The wild rice had begun to disappear dramatically about 8 years ago and when data was collected it appeared that the resident Canada geese population increase was one of the reasons for the demise of the rice. After replanting, some controlled hunting, and monitoring, the wild rice fields are beginning to return to their natural state. Mankind spends much of its time trying to keep nature's balance. We keep thinking we can maintain control.
The largest population of water plants is the Spatterdock or some call it by the romantic name of "cow lily"! Doesn't that name just make you want to pick a bouquet and give to your loved one? This plant is a one-stop market-place because it is grazed by deer, the rhizomes are consumed by beavers, muskrats, and nutria, and the seeds are eaten by ducks and other waterbirds.

The flower is round and yellow and may stand above the water or float on its surface.

I think it is very sensuous and exotic looking.

There are cattails and other grasses all providing homes and hideaways for all sorts of animals. I was careful to stay on the boardwalk as the mud can be several meters deep if you fall and sink to solid ground!

Here closer to the boardwalk is the familiar arrowroot.

With some sadness I realized that it was time for me to turn and head back up the trail through the rich dark green of the forest passing these lovely ferns and heading back to my car. (Make sure you enlarge the photos for a closer look at the real beauty of mother nature.)

1 comment:

Hilary said...

Fantastic photos, Tabor. Thanks for the tour. :)