I used to view swamps as stagnant, dead places except for creatures such as snakes and biting insects. I now know they support a great diversity of wildlife and as wetlands, provide important resting places for migratory birds. I have visited our local swamp a few times this spring, twice in the evening and once after dark from the car. It was the noisiest at night with a symphony of frog song as well as a surprising amount of goose and duck accompanyment.
Migrating waterfowl may just rest for a few hours or a day. I have seen Northern Shovelers, Wood ducks, Teal ducks, Buffleheads, Gadwalls and migrating Canada Geese. I largely ignore Canada Geese, but noticed one sporting a bright orange neck band with four numbers on it. I can find little information about neck banding but read that the colour and numbers on the collar are significant. We have Canada Geese in the city all year but this one was obviously a migrant.
Last evening I watched bright blue Tree Swallows swooping over the water. A Kingfisher flew noisily from perch to perch and a single Great Blue Heron moved from one end of the swamp to the other. Many Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles were also present.
Esther Garvi is a lovely young Swedish woman who has lived in Niger since the age of six. She works as a volunteer for the Eden Foundation which endeavours to help people in this very poor nation live a sustainable life. She blogs about her work, the people of Niger, her horses and Rhodesian Ridgeback dog, Sheba. She recently posted this picture of birds who share the drinking water put out for her animals. I found it interesting to see a dove and grackle that looked very similar to our North American birds.
A stagnant, dead place?... I now know better. Change happens around us every day in every corner of our world whether we take notice or not.
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