World Wetlands Day
Yesterday (February 2nd) was World Wetlands Day; a lot more important than Groundhog day. So here are a few pictures of the wetlands around our home. We live in Kawartha Lakes which, as the name hints, has many lakes. It is largely flat so the lakes and rivers have large borders of wetlands.
Wetlands are important for many reasons, but I’ll let them speak for themselves via this sign at Windy Ridge Conservation Area, about 20 km downstream from where the Pigeon River flows past our home.
Here’s two pictures of the Pigeon River at Windy Ridge, just before Fleetwood Creek joins it.
The next Windy Ridge picture is of one of the many duck nesting boxes along the river.
This is inside a conservation area. The smart ducks live here. Just downstream, there are more hides for hunters than there are nesting boxes in this part, so I don’t think ducks would be safe.
The next picture is of a stand of elms just by the river. I hope they are healthy. We have two healthy-looking elms on the edge of our garden but they’re not yet showing the classic elm shape, even though they’re 10m (30′) high. However, I’ve had to cut down most of them and burn them, because of dutch elm disease. I had to cut two this year.
About a kilometer upstream from us is where the Pigeon starts, in another wetland. I was surprised to find it still flowing, as further downstream it is frozen over (not solid). I suspect that the wetland is spring-fed with slightly warmer underground water as I don’t think the bog is big enough to contain enough water to feed that amount of flow all winter.
Back to our home
The frontage of our home, along the road, is edged by a small strip of bog, which has shrunk considerably since the council put culverts in. Still, I was lucky it was frozen as I had to walk across to retrieve garbage that had blown into the bushes. I have also retrieved balloons from here and all over our 13 acres from time to time. It’s not just the people who wander over the land that leave them, but also airborne garbage that is cluttering up the countryside.
The very mild weather has left us with very little snow. Usually there is an extensive underground network of vole tunnels, but this year they are very exposed. No doubt our local hawks and owls are happy.
I expect the birds prefer warmer weather. The ground birds are particularly happy as there are more seeds to eat when the weeds are not covered with snow. But this downy woodpecker felt the need to fluff up and shelter on the south side of the tree from a bitter north wind.
Finally, as a warning, make sure you set alarms when multi-tasking with bread baking, so that this doesn’t happen. The bread turned out fine, maybe a slice less, but the cleanup was a nuisance.