Wood Duck in North Marsh © Mary Anne Borge

Wood Duck in North Marsh (© Mary Anne Borge)

In every season, the abundance of the Marshlands is easy to see.  During spring, wildflowers blanket the forest floor and the cacophonous chorus of Spring Peepers can be heard. Wood Ducks swim from hiding place to hiding place, as orioles build their nests high in trees, often overhanging the water, and warblers return from their southern wintering grounds.

As the days lengthen and spring turns into summer, Red-winged Blackbirds settle into sparsely woven nests in vegetation near water, and dragonflies can be seen skimming above the waters occasionally dipping low to lay eggs.  Butterflies find nectar in flowers of Milkweed and Joe-pye Weed.  Throughout summer, Kingfishers, Ospreys and Great Blue Herons, with keen vision, hunt fish.

Fall brings fruits that provide fuel for many birds preparing for their journey south, as well as those who are permanent residents. Asters and Goldenrods provide food for late season pollinators.  Later, uneaten seeds may become the next plant generation.

Wingstem © Mary Leck

Wingstem (© MA Leck)

In winter, the call of the Great Horned Owl resonates through the marshland nights, and during the day, Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers and Kinglets can be seen foraging together.  Large flocks of ducks spend the winter on the open waters of ponds and rivers. Evidence of Beaver, Red Fox or Muskrat can be found as tracks in snow along trails.

While the change of seasons is readily marked by the activities of animals, the marshlands and woodlands also offer a continuing visual change in the palate of colors that reflect the diverse plants that grow here.