Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Return to Normalcy at Our Local Wildlife Refuges

A trio of Tundra Swans gain altitude as they depart from the
Cayuga Pool at the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge in late February.

By late summer last year, the drought of 2016 had taken a toll on a good number of the marshes at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge as well as the state run Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas. Waterfowl and other migratory species were forced to look elsewhere for sustainable water. 

Thankfully, the water levels are back up at all three locales and by late winter this year the usual cast of characters began showing up once again. A series of trail hikes in late Feb. and again last weekend resulted in these pics we’d like to share with you.
Mating season is underway and the gander on the right is sending a clear
 message to his would-be rival; "Three's a crowd and you're outta here, fella!"
A drake Mallard at home in the cattail marsh makes for a classic waterfowl photo.  
Hey, what do you know? There's a coot!
A member of the Rail family, the American Coot is a marsh-dwelling bird with a short, rounded body and long toes. Unlike other members of the Rail family, the coot likes open water, often feeding alongside ducks. Excellent swimmers and divers that feed on a variety of aquatic plants, Coots are the most aquatic members of the Rail family. 

We shall return for more visits to the refuges as spring turns to summer and then on to fall.  We look forward to sharing those journeys with you as the cycle of life continues here in the marshes.

Until Next Time,
Jim & Claudia