Ode to a Wetland

My Wetlands

Life unfolds at the Fraser Wetland.
Life unfolds at the Fraser Wetland.

Between my low, flat island and my neighbours’ larger island are our own wetlands. Some would call it a swamp, full of lily pads and weeds. But for me it is a place of life and beauty.

In the daytime the dragonflies, who in their hundreds have struggled out of their nymph husks attached to my boathouse walls, swoop low in pursuit of mosquitoes, the ducks dive bottom up for snails, the osprey, teaching their young how to fly and catch fish, scream their high-pitched calls. Turtles bask on the rocks, slipping swiftly into the water even if I paddle by silently. At night the bullfrogs croak lugubriously while the loons give their plaintive cries.

This May-June the high water made my island a temporary wetland, and even now the mink and otters treat it as an extension of their territory, fearlessly crossing my path. Herons perch on the docks, patiently searching for fish.

Of course we have geese too, though I saw one trumpeter swan chase about twenty geese out of the bay. Another fascinating sight in June is the carp spawning, with great splashing and swirling in shallow, muddy water. Bass guard their young in round, carefully swept nests in the shallows. And a proud mother duck leads her troop of 9 or 10 ducklings in and out of the weeds on the shoreline.

All this life exists because of one small wetland, where the waters are undisturbed by motorboats and the shore is left in its natural state. One could wish that other wetlands could remain to help purify the water and foster the wildlife at Stony Lake. – Christie Bentham

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