Great Egret

Great Egret

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Wetland Wanderings

Wetlands are fun places to explore, especially if you can keep dry. Fortunately there are various opportunities in the area with trails traversing these habitats and include Rondeau Provincial Park, St. Clair National Wildlife Area and the two trails up along the Lake St. Clair shoreline both north and south of Mitchell's Bay.

I decided to check out some wetlands in the Mitchell's Bay area recently. Some friends (Bill & Judy) who have waterfront property on the lake near one of the trails, has a very nice wetland right in front, where waterbirds are seen daily. I had been particularly interested in photographing one of the pair of Common Gallinules that occur in the wetland, and Bill has been able to get numerous fabulous full frame shots. Unfortunately the two times I was there recently, they decided to stay well hidden. I did get some decent photos of the resident Pied-billed Grebes. This first one is of an adult.
 There were several full grown young around as well.

I spent a bit more time at the Mitchell's Bay North Nature Trail. It is always fun to check, since it goes through various wetland areas. Some of the drier sections have been planted into tallgrass prairie. One of the plants quite noticeable now is Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum).

 You can see by the way the leaves are joined where it gets its name.

There used to be a lot of wet prairie along the shoreline of Lake St. Clair. Some small pockets remain.
Maybe at some point, parts of the wetland at Mitchell's Bay will look like the photo above. If so, maybe the endangered Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera leucophaea), as shown in the next three photos, will appear.

Note the very long spur tube extending behind the more obvious flower. It is pollinated by night flying sphinx moths, which extend their long proboscis down the tube.

But on this trip, it was mainly the more typical wetland plants that were the prevalent ones.
Fragrant Water Lily (Nymphea odorata)

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Arrowhead (Sagittaria sp)

Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)
There were the usual bird species around.....Caspian, Common and Forster's Terns, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, etc, etc, but very few that were close enough to bother photographing (not to mention that a few that I did try and shoot were heavily backlit and did not turn out). But a family of Eastern Kingbirds were around.

The always present Mute Swans were here and there......
....and a couple of Northern Harriers flew by along the edge.

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