World Wetlands Day

Today is considered to be World Wetlands Day; I love these unofficial holidays especially the ones that directly relate to nature and wildlife. Even though today in Mid-Michigan; the entire area pretty much had a snow day.  Some areas actually received 18.7 inches of snow last night.  Mother Nature just wanted to remind us who really is in charge.

Wetlands provide habitat for various types of wildlife and plants. Here in Michigan, we have wetland areas.  I will often refer to them as river flats; the name everyone in the area calls them.

Wetlands have various benefits.  The areas reduce flooding by absorbing the rain or snow melt off.  At the same time, wetlands act as a filter getting rid of pollutants and other contaminants by breaking down the material. In Michigan, there are actually three different types of major wetlands: marsh, swamp, and bogs.

Marshes

The river flats are more like marshes.  Depending on the time of year, they can an inch of water to several feet deep or completely froze solid.  I like these areas; I can grab my camera and photograph all types of wildlife.  I have spent hours photographing herons, cranes, ducks, geese, and much more.

Swamps

Swamps are more wooded. They are usually home to various types of little creatures including frogs, owls, and raccoons.  The plant life in the swaps can also be beautiful.

Bogs

Bogs are a result of decaying vegetation.  Bogs have different type of animal species including turtles.

Watching the wildlife in the wetland areas is fascinating.  I can spend hours outdoors during the warmer months.  Not today, when the temp is about 3˚F right now. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the winter months too.  I just don’t get outdoors as much.

According to the Michigan DNR website, these are the plant and animals that frequent the wetland areas:

Arrowhead
Bald Eagle
Baltimore Butterfly
Black Spruce
Black Tern
Bowfin
Brook Stickleback
Bulrush
Cardinal-Flower
Common Cattail
Common Loon
Cotton Grass
Damselfly
Dragonflies
Dragon’s Mouth, Wild Pink
Dwarf Mistletoe
Eastern Newt
Great Blue Heron
Green Frog
Green-backed Heron
Iris
Kingfisher
Kirtland’s Snake
Lichen
Liverwort
Marsh Wren
Marsh-Marigold
Michigan Holly
Minnow
Northern Harrier
Osprey
Pitcher Plant
Poison Sumac
Red Maple
Red-bellied Dace
Red-winged Blackbird
Sandhill Crane
Smartweed, Knotweed
Snail
Sphagum Moss
Spotted Turtle
Sundew
Tamarack
Trumpeter Swan
Water Milfoil
Water Shrew
Water-lily
Waterweed, Elodea

So, the next time you see a wetland area on the side of the road while you are zooming down a freeway; take a moment to think about all the wildlife the area has to offer.

Reference:

Michigan DNR (2015). Wetlands. Retrieved from:

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10370_22664-61132–,00.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s