Tuesday, April 5, 2011

At the Water's Edge

The first warm rain fell last night; fog and light rain continued into the day. Spring seems late. I still have yet to hear wood frogs calling from woodland pools -- maybe they moved in the rain last night. Today I heard a few spring peepers as Kodi and I walked the wetland edge behind our house at mid-day. Yesterday I watched an osprey circle over the wetland.

As I sit at my office window writing this post, another spring sighting greets me.  A pine warbler -- a new spring arrival -- just appeared at the feeder. I just heard him sing his soft trill. Nice.

On my wanderings along the wetland, I watched a pair of hooded mergansers cruise among the buttonbush. A pair of Canada geese has taken up residence on the beaver lodge; the female is already sitting on a nest on the side of the lodge. The male lingered nearby, keeping a watchful eye and emitting honks if he sensed danger. We slipped away so as not to disturb the female.

 Click on the photo and look closely for the the female Canada goose
sitting on the beaver lodge; the male is nearby in the water (to the right)

Fresh beaver chews littered the water's edge and fish scales left between hummocks of sedges is a sign of an otter meal.

 Fish scales -- the remains of an otter's meal

In the adjacent woods, beneath hemlocks and pines and red maples, I lifted a small rotting log. There rested a red-backed salamander. This is our most common salamander. It breathes through its skin and spends its entire life in moist uplands. The female lays a small grape-like cluster of eggs in a crevice under a rotting log or tree stump.

A red-backed salamander beneath a rotting log

Spring may be a little late, but the tempo is picking up. I sense the rush of spring bird migration, frog and salamander movements and mating, and the emergence of early woodland wildflowers is at hand. This makes me chuckle (and sigh) thinking that some people rush off to the store to check out the newest spring clothing fashions. Just think what they are missing. I'd rather be at the water's edge.

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