What’s Happening in the Marsh?

Red-winged blackbirds have been scouting for nest sites in the marsh.  The male shows his red epaulets bordered with yellow when he wants to be seen.  He can cover the colors when he is feeding or resting.  The boardwalk bench is probably in this male’s territory and he wants other birds to know it’s his.

IMG_0754-RWB on bench  SSA

Female red-winged blackbirds look like large streaky sparrows.  The faint hint of orange above the eye is one identifying feature.

IMG_0922-Perched   SSA

Their streaky plumage is perfectly evolved to disguise the female when she is on the nest in the marsh.  This bird is gathering nest building material.

IMG_0896-Nest building  SSA

In flight, it’s sometimes hard to identify female redwings, but the marsh habitat narrows down the possibilities.

IMG_0961-Flight  SSAOther marsh inhabitants include Northern water snakes.  Their color can vary from dark black right after they shed to pale buff.  The underside is a pattern of red, white and black bands.

IMG_0860-Two snakes  SSSpiders also inhabit the  marsh.  This fishing spider can actually capture small fish, but usually east insects.  It is a lie-in-wait predator, an opportunistic ambush hunter that often eats water striders.

IMG_0818-Spider   SSA

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