Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Great Blues are Back

Kodi and I returned to the Sweet Trail today, the third time in five days. Today was the kind of Spring day we've been waiting for: the temperature rising into the 50s, full sun and blue sky, a gentle breeze. A day to be outside, raking the yard, listening to birds singing, and walking on the Sweet Trail. Kodi likes this trail; he finds little treasures to gnaw on there (no more details to be forthcoming). I like the solitude and the meandering nature of the wooded trail as it passes by large beaver-maintained wetlands and small, woodland (vernal) pools.

A few days ago the wetlands were just thawing around the edges. Today, open water covered more of the wetlands. Some vernal pools were completely free of ice, although they remained silent - the wood frogs had not yet migrated from the uplands to the pools to breed.

But other animals were active in the wetlands. A dozen pairs of hooded mergansers cruised around the bigger wetlands among the stumps and hummocks and fallen and standing dead trees. A nearly equal number of wood ducks were also cruising about, although there seemed to be many more males than females. A few pairs of mallards, black ducks, and Canada geese rounded out the list of waterfowl.

On Sunday, the biggest wetland was still mostly frozen and the great blue heron nests (the rookery) stood empty. As I approached the wetland today I did not expect to see anything in the nest, but when I looked up, two herons stood like statues in their respective stick nests - absorbing the sun's warmth and surveying the wetland below.

 The wetland on Sunday, March 27th

The wetland today, March 30th - more open water and herons!

The heron sits atop a nest today

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