As I posted a couple days ago, I spent some time at my favorite wetland earlier this week. It was a cold, but very pleasant morning. The sun was moving in and out of thin clouds, creating attractive light and a nice sky for photograph backgrounds.
A beautiful early March day at The Nature Conservancy’s Derr Wetland.
An ice ridge formed along the edge of a flowing channel prior to the most recent cold spell. It apparently caught blowing snow during last weekend’s flurries.
I assume the gap near the bases of these cattails was formed either by wind or by the relative warmth of the cattail stems, but I can’t explain the mounded ice.
Beaver activity was obvious along the stream that runs into and through the wetland. Numerous dams are being maintained, and I found lots of recent tracks and marks from the dragging of sticks in patches of snow or bare sand. The beavers’ slowing of the streamflow probably enables the surface to freeze more quickly – to the detriment of waterfowl looking for a place to roost and feed – but the concentrated flow through the dams maintains small areas of open water where wildlife can access it.
Water pours over a small beaver dam.
The only open water left after the most recent cold snap was just below some of the larger beaver dams, though the ice was very thin in other places, especially above some of the more active springs.
Water flows through the spillway of a dam just upstream of the open wetland area. There are at least seven separate dams being maintained by the inhabitants of a single beaver lodge.
The beaver lodge is several hundred yards upstream of the main wetland area.
Beavers weren’t the only wildlife species active along the wetland. Based on recent images I downloaded from our timelapse cameras on site, waterfowl have also been using the wetland in big numbers. Canada geese, especially, have been abundant – especially before the surface froze last week. Based on evidence found at the scene, they have continued to use the frozen wetland too…
Goose feathers littered the frozen surface of the wetland
Here and there, tiny fluffs of feather clung to plants of all kinds.
Feathers were not the only thing geese left behind on the ice. I can’t think of a better way to end this blog post then with a big pile of goose poop. So there you go.
No beavers or geese were harmed during the making of this blog post. However, more than 300 images were shot during a two hour period.