Above the water, Barred Owls (Strix varia) rest in the shade while keeping an eye on the shallow water at the swamp's edge. Crayfish exploiting access to new food sources expose themselves to a variety of predators, but none as deadly efficient as the Barred Owl watching from on high. Owls will spot a crayfish in shallow water, grab it with their talons, pull off the claws, and swallow the rest whole. Owl pellets found on the boardwalk are often nothing but undigested crayfish exoskeletons.
As late summer is not normally a time of high water, it is a pleasant change to see deep, dark water reflecting the palette of green leaves and blue sky!
Images by Mark Musselman