Thursday, June 23, 2011

Visit to new wetland

I wake to the dripping of water and the day brings a heavy sprinkle or a soaking mist, depending on when you are out in it. I have finished a couple of projects and fell unburdened. The calm day gives me a chance to explore some new wetland that I located on the far side of the big lake.

I head out for the portage in my red wool jacket, an old item that sheds rain as well as most raingear, an old item that my dad gave me. I wear it on special occasions, such as anytime I am in my canoe or outside. It always brings me an inch closer to my dad, a foot closer to the forest and lakes of my home state, and it moves me well back in time.

At the lake's edge, the rain stops and I pack the wool jacket away. I have a 2 mile crossing ahead under calm grey skies. The wetland is another mile. When I looked at it on a map, I saw the potential for a healthy spot. It is a "patch" and not just a transition zone, so it has the possibility of having a vibrant interior with a fair amount of plant and wildlife diversity.

There is an inlet that penetrates the shoreline. It is guarded by some cattails and a shallow mud bar, but the canoe passe by with ease. In my layman limited knowledge, it appears to be quite a healthy spot. There are cattails and the appropriate shrubs and alders. No blackberries....and lots of birds. The inlet ends in a high grass wet meadow, the continuing passage too twisty for the canoe. As I paddle back, I hear running water up a brushy opening to the right. I can get in, but not far enough. It appears that there is a beaver dam ahead, although it may not be well tended.

I have seen some trimmed branches on the way in, but no evidence of a lodge. Then, I see a large mammal serpentine swimming. But, I only get a glimpse - otter most likely, but maybe a beaver. A second later, a muskrat swims towards me (no confusion here, a muskrat is much smaller than either an small otter or a small beaver).

I spot a Virginia rail and a cedar waxwing, neither of which I've ever seen in person before.

The wind stays down and I have a calm crossing back to my home marsh with little to note other than an osprey passing overhead as I neared Wilson Point.

1 comment:

Steve said...

It's great to get a good look and photo of a Virginia Rail. I enjoy the blog and the nice photos (like those Cinnamon Teals and Marsh Wrens!).