Critter of the Day: Mallard Ducks

In my area of Michigan, the water is still high. The increased water levels have both negative and positive aspects. I love the fact that I get to view so many different forms of wildlife. Swimming in an over filled pond, this pair of Mallards were fun to watch. They would dive and skim insects off the top of the very murky water.

The downside of the water…. my yard looks horrible. I can only mow certain sections. The uneven grass looks as if I was trying to mow paths to each standing water area. Oh well, at least I can enjoy the wildlife.

Until next time….peace

Exploring the Underneath

When I am out walking, my mind tends to wander. I wonder what lives in the hollow of the trees, under the lily pads, and beneath the natural debris on the woodland floor. I photograph different areas to use as inspiration for my stories.

Earlier I watched lily pads move in the opposite direction of the wind. I, of course, imagined water fairies playing or gnomes skipping along the large leaves. In reality, the lily pads were moving along due to five little baby ducks swimming around underneath.

I assume the little ducks were hiding from predators. Or perhaps, they were just trying to get some shade from the hot afternoon sun. In any case, I really enjoyed spending time watching the little ducks swim between the lily pads.

Anyways, the little ducks provided me with the inspiration I needed to continue working on my book.

Until next time….peace

 

Another Spring Day?

Another Spring day here in Michigan.  I say this with a tone of sarcasm. Even though the weather is really typical for Michigan. I woke up this morning to snow.  Not much just enough to let me know the air would be cold and damp all day. In fact the snow has actually disappeared already.  According to the weather report, there is a promise of warmer weather coming in.

So, I took my own advice from yesterday’s blog and went for a walk. The walk was a bit “crispy” but I enjoyed seeing all the wildlife. I was able to view a magnificent Sand Hill Crane fly over the back property. She (no I don’t know if the crane was a female for certain, I don’t have that knowledge) was spectacular to watch. Her enormous wind span is such a sight. I could watch cranes all day especially when they use that low throttling call. I find their “song” beautiful.

The Canadian Geese were making their voice heard down on the river flats as I approached. I accidentally startled a small pair of wood ducks.  When I returned to my house, I noticed a small herd of Whitetail Deer (around 12) were making their way across the field. I am happy to see the wildlife returning to the area. As more and more wildlife becomes visible or heard, I know the warmer weather is fast approaching.

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