Taking the opportunity to visit our nearby wetlands again this morning I was rewarded with this photo op of an immature wood duck drake checking out a tiny painted turtle.
Having hidden where I could view the last remaining pool of open water I first spied the little wood duck waddling out of the surrounding vegetation into the water and swimming across almost directly towards my location. Only a short distance away he made a left turn under the overhanging branches with his attention riveted on the turtle. When I began photographing him his attention immediately became focused on the clicking of the camera’s shutter and he wasted no time beating a hasty retreat into the thick cover surrounding the pond.
After silently watching the wetland for a couple of hours I spent some time checking out the changes since my last visit about a month ago.
With the drier weather lately, the open water area has shrunk from a couple of acres to one small pond of maybe 50’ x 200’. Areas where I was previously photographing ducks swimming about are now covered in lush vegetation with some of it as high as my waist.
The flooding and drying cycle is what makes these wetlands so valuable to wildlife. The vegetation present now will be submerged during the winter and spring providing food for microorganisms along with larger creatures as it breaks down.