Woodland Colour


It’s still cold, and only yesterday (May 6) did the last bit of ice melt off the pond. It was the first night since I’ve been back from turkey hunting that a substantial part of the pond didn’t freeze overnight. Indeed, it didn’t freeze at all, which was nice, because it prompted the wood frogs to start calling. Soon it will be a cacophony.

Except for browns and yellows, there’s not a lot of colour in the woods as yet; and even the greens are mostly conifer trees, moss and lichen, all of which are evergreens.

The biggest splash of colour comes from the ducks, especially the drake mallards and woodies. Each of these two species are fighting a lot among themselves. A few days ago I watched a slug fest between two wood duck drakes and a hen. I took some pictures – unfortunately, they were a bit far from my blind – and in some photos one of the drakes shows eye damage. I don’t know if it was the result of the fight, ot had occurred at some other time. It was certainly looked like a vicious fight, but after it ended they still hung out together, and continue to do so as of today.

Without the beavers, the pond shrinks considerably once spring is over. We think that’s why the ducks haven’t reared a brood on the pond in recent years – when the pond becomes too small and shallow it becomes an easy hunting ground for both avian and mammalian predators. It’s not even safe for the Canada geese, although we are hoping the pair nesting here will be successful. Canada geese are excellent parents.

Still, early feeding and courting ponds are important too. There’s always life around a marsh.


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