Another option, which I have had the pleasure to have available, is to visit the summer trailer of some friends of mine, Bill and Judy, on the waterfront of Mitchell's Bay. They have a lovely covered deck, just a few metres from the water's edge. These first two images were taken with a wide angle lens, from the deck. The water's edge is literally about 3 metres from the deck, which is raised just high enough to look over the marshy vegetation and see into some of the open areas.
Because these trailers are here all the time, and the human activity is minimal, the wildlife have gotten used to the setting. So this is effectively a permanent wildlife blind, and because the semi-open wetland is attractive to wildlife, it provides numerous photo ops. A huge bonus of this location is that there is no Phragmites! It used to be present but several years ago there was an effort to get rid of it, and fortunately it was quite successful.
In the first photo above, there is a Great Egret in the stand of Pickerelweed at the centre left. Being taken with a 17mm wide angle lens, it doesn't appear very large. But a decent telephoto makes all the difference.
The farther log is smaller, but also is used.
Great Blue Herons are frequently seen, flying by or hunting in the emergent marshy vegetation.
Caspian Terns are frequent as well, especially late in the summer.
Osprey show up on occasion.
The semi-open marsh is perfect for nesting birds. At least one family of Pied-billed Grebes is in the area.
|Adult Pied-billed Grebe|
One of the highlights in the last few weeks has been the ongoing activities of a family of Common Gallinules. This is at least the second year in a row where they have nested close by. This year they were in the patch of cattail in the lower right of the first image above. The nest is no more than 15-18 metres from the deck we photograph from. Unfortunately it is not visible from the deck, but one often heard the coos and clucks of the adults, and the adults would occasionally be out in the open.
But there are risks to such vulnerable members of wildlife. A day or so later there were only three chicks. We don't know what got one of the chicks.....it could have been a turtle, or it could have been a Northern Water Snake, one or more of which was known to hang out in the general area.
At any rate, the gallinule family was down to three chicks, but they carried on in the area as before, travelling along the edges of the marsh, and sometimes crossing open areas to access the large stand of Pickerelweed.
While one feels a sense of loss after watching these gallinule chicks grow in their new world only to disappear one by one, at the same time many folks anxiously look forward to the raptor migration, which is now underway. We would be chagrined if the numbers and diversity of raptors dwindled, but in order for that not to happen, raptors need to feed on a lot of young wildlife! Such is the balance of nature....
This shoreline of Mitchell's Bay is great for sunsets, too. The North Shore Nature trail is just a short distance from the 'wildlife blind', and a great spot to view wildlife and sunsets as well.