Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Water in the Swamp

All the recent rain has filled the old-growth swamp at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest! It has been quite some time since the water has been at its current level. Walking along the 1.75-mile boardwalk, one sees nothing but a sheet of black water in every direction!

The higher water means something different to each of the animals here in the swamp. Reptiles, like snakes and turtles, find fewer spots (logs, stumps, etc.) that are above water and in the sun. Fish find new territory to exploit for food and shelter as water floods areas that have not been underwater for a year or more. Barred Owls (Strix varia) find that their favorite crayfish-hunting perches are no longer over shallow enough water. However, other animals find the changing water levels a musical experience!

During last Saturday's Beidler Forest Swamp Stomp, some aspiring musicians were captured checking the tonal quality of the ubiquitous cypress knees! You can see the video here.

The spring is full of activities in the swamp at Beidler Forest. Come join in the fun!

Image by Mark Musselman