I often write about a particular seasonal marsh located in the Allegan Forest. In the summer months the marsh is home many dragonflies, frogs, and other small creatures. In addition, it’s not uncommon to find a few deer along its edge, or running through it, on a summer day.
For me, it’s also one of those places I just enjoy visiting. Going there is like hanging out with an old friend – never mind that I first found the place just five years ago. So imagine my surprise when I stopped by today, just to say hello, and found that the seasonal marsh was now… a pond!
It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago I would walk across the marsh, the tall grass reaching chest high. I used to talk about the “heart of the marsh” – a small area just a few hundred square feet in size that would remain wet year round, while the rest receded and dried up during the summer months.
I guess the last few years have been pretty wet, and things must have reached a tipping point. Last fall the water level was high, but grasses still waved several feet in the air above the surface of the water. By winter a solid sheet of ice covered the marsh. Now that it has thawed, the marsh is a pond of open water.
But just as a point of reference, here’s the same marsh/pond as of last November:
I wonder when fish will appear.
Certain dragonflies – like the Spatterdock Darner – thrive in fishless ponds. If the water levels stay this high I guess it’s only a matter of time until bluegills and minnows appear.
In the meantime, frogs were abundant, judging from their croaking. This field is always full of blue jays, and they gave me a raucous welcome (or scolding) as I wandered around. There was even a good sized
eastern box Blanding’s Turtle, sunning itself by the edge of this new pond.
Comment from: Michael LeValley Visitor
The turtle in the photo is not a Box Turtle, but rather a Blanding’s Turtle. The Blanding’s Turtle is listed as a “species of special concern” by the State of Michigan. It’s pretty cool to see one, I’ve only seen two in the wild in the last 8 years.
Comment from: Member
Thanks, Michael, I’ve corrected the main post. I thought the turtle’s shell wasn’t as bright as an eastern box turtle’s, but didn’t expect it to be anything exotic.
FWIW, in case you are interested in things herpetological, I believe I saw a couple of Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs in the same area last summer. I say ‘believe’ because I just caught a glimpse of them before they disappeared into the ground cover. While I did not get a good hard look at them, they did look like cricket forgs.