Spring at Nahant Marsh brought frequent rains this year and heavy thunderstorms. As summer solstice arrived, the Mississippi, fed by intense, drenching storms up river, was once again in flood and pouring river water into the marsh. As ever, this is good for some, not so good for others.
Water loving creatures have little trouble with flooding. There are more places to swim to when there’s more water, and the wood ducks do seem to enjoy being in flooded woods and meadows. The babies forage for themselves, keeping in a loose sort of group, knowing just what to do.
Their mother stays nearby, watching for danger as they forage. They are nearly half her size already and have lost most of their “duckling down”. They haven’t any wing feathers yet, so if mom does sound an alarm call, run and hide will have to do. I counted ten baby wood ducks following one of the hens. Nahant Marsh is good wood duck habitat.
Nahant Marsh provides room and board and serves as incubator for many species in addition to the wood ducks that are born here every year. Many birds call this place home, and many are raising youngsters. Because they are not too easy to spot, it may seem that there are not as many as there actually are.
The thick, humid greenery conceals a great deal of the goings-on of its residents. It is buzzing, thrumming and singing with life whether you notice it or not. More often than not, I hear far more action than I ever see in the dense woods and meadows. It is summer in the marsh, the flowers are blooming and the next generation of creatures are growing up. Don’t miss it.