Wetlands in Nature

Green Heron giving me some tail.

Some areas here are wetlands abutting the huge lakes. There are many marsh grasses, that I do not know the names of, other than plants like the cattail. The Buffalo Museum of Science owns the property and they maintain it very well.

Why don’t they fly the other way?

At least the ducks don’t mind people. This is momma and BIG babies.

Great White Heron seen from afar. Wish you could ask them to move closer. I had a 300mm lens and wish I had my 400mm along.

Red Winged Blackbird giving me some lip. I am serious too, this bird was very chatty and looked a little perturbed.

Good to be green. But not for everyone.

Messy turtles. Love that green algae (NOT), it sticks to just about anything.

Man, I am stuck, little help here, please?

But this stuff does not stick much to beaver pelt. The beaver dam is right nearby.

The beaver dam. And our little friend out having a snack on algae below.

He was very wary of me, but I stayed motionless.

The green lake. The video above explains the difference between duckweed and algae. Watch the entire video, even though chemical solutions are given. The narrator explains when to and when to not use chemicals, and why conditions as shown here are not conducive to chemicals at this time. He also shows and explains that the duckweed exists in combination with the algae. I added this video because I failed to note the duckweed and a commenter, standingoutinmyfield, pointed out the pond is filled with duckweed.

I am not sure if I ever posted on the Buffalo Museum of Science Native Plant display, but they have life-sized replicas of our native flora for all seasons. It is a great learning tool for kids and adults alike. Here are some of the displays, Pond Life, Summer and Fall Plants.

Click them to see bigger.

Now, back to the birds and bugs…

Bird on a mission. This Green Heron (if I am right) was a good hunter. I caught him catching a fish. Sneaky little devil.

At least you get to see more than tail in these photos.

The rare Blue Heron, just kidding, it is that Green Heron again. It just has iridescent-like plumage and changes color depending on the way the light hits it. Here is another bird.

A little closer look. See green and blue.

This bird did not leave this spot for 30 minutes, barely even moved at all. He went in for a fish once and came up empty. I almost felt like catching him one, or sending over the little heron to give him a hand.  I am not a very patient photographer. See how I was even hiding, trying to look like I know what I am doing being a nature photographer? A nature photographer would have been better prepared with the longer lens.

The whole lake is not green, thankfully. This bridge had a warning for Red Ants. I thought twice about crossing seeing the little buggers. But I did, and of course took a few bites for the cause. If they say Red Ants, take heed. They pack a mighty punch. Also, don’t stop walking. They can not catch up!

It really is a pretty place.

And a natural place too, with so much wildlife.

On the banks of the lake, they will open their wings too. There were hundreds of Red Admirals here.

To see more of Tifft Nature Preserve, see… A Different Kind of Green Garden, and Where the Wild Things Are. Way more animals and insects in these posts, but no beavers!

I cannot leave you thinking Buffalo has only green slime, Buffalo has some pretty waterfront, not far from the Tifft Nature Preserve. Great places for wildlife and other places for people too.

And boats galore.

The grain silos. They look like ancient ruins.

Still more gardens to come… just had to slip in some animals and blue skies.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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58 Responses to Wetlands in Nature

  1. Great Post – loving your photos – thanks for sharing!!! So Much Life Going On In One Place:)

  2. I love nature preserves because you can see wildlife in their natural habitat…one reason I go to one of our local nature areas….amazing pictures..I especially love the turtles and beavers…and that heron is wonderful…of course my fave was the line of ducks…too cute!

    • Being in their habitat make for nice photos, but makes it so much harder to capture the images. Like at the pond at the Farm it is easier to see frogs and even herons (because of the Koi) than going to the Farm lake that is so big and easy for the critters to see me first.

  3. Ogee says:

    Photos are amazing…thank you for sharing!

  4. Poor little turtles, all that algae. Reminds me of a family outing in Germany….when Becca was 3 or 4 we went with our neighbors to an 1800’s village with a grist mill and mill pond. Pond was on the high ground and Charlie and Becca were up the hill already, so he turned to watch the rest of us walk up. Becca fell in the pond and disappeared under the algae. Charlie pulled her out and she was covered with all the algae…Kilian (our neighbor’s son) thought she was bleeding green!
    Anyhow….love the Green Heron, frequent visitors in VA.
    On one of our boat rides we rounded the bend and there were 5 or 6 Great White Egrets…and I was without my camera!!!

    • I am so often without a camera at the farm when the big birds fly in. I have seen but missed photographing a Golden Eagle too. It would be hard to miss getting the egrets, they are so pretty and WHITE. Is the Great White in my photos an Egret or Heron?

      I would have nightmares falling in a pond of algae. I would never have gotten over it. Becca must have been upset and slimy. What a memory!

      • I am not sure what your photo is, egret or heron…..the heron’s white phase (according to some of the birding sites) are only in Florida. I call them all egrets.
        Becca doesn’t seem to have any issues. Not sure if she remembers it really. She is 25 now.

        • I have seen many egrets and they are a smaller bird than this one. I think egrets are prettier too. The image of the bird does not give any scale being so far away in the distance. This bird was really large. Maybe an ornithologist will write in. My post on native flowers, an entomologist wrote in to give the scientific name of the bees I pictured. Janet, the bug expert really has a nice and interesting site if you get a chance to see it. In fact, a few of the commenters in that post have such fine sites, I subscribed to them.

  5. What a wonderful place to visit. Your photos are amazing! I am impressed with the beaver photo because they are so shy. We had a beaver dam in our pond in Virginia a few years ago and never could see them though we often heard them slap the water.


  6. Victor Ho says:

    It’s quite a collection of wildlife you encountered.

    • Funny, some days you visit the preserve and all you see is a couple of Robins. This was my first beaver siting even though I always see the beaver dams. I waited and waited for the beavers to surface. Not like me either, but I was determined knowing they were swimming around.

  7. Great wildlife shots! You do some amazing things with your camera. The beaver photo, especially, is impressive–they’re hard to capture.

  8. Andrea says:

    I wonder if those green algae makes life difficult for the turtles, maybe they have to surface often to breath. I think those algae are scooped by organic gardeners because it is high in N. When decomposed it is a cheap source of fertilizer, i bet that beaver is healthy for knowing the good source of protein.

    • The algae makes it difficult for all wildlife, even the plants, being this thick and encompassing. But many animals do like to eat it. One of the posts I left a link had the geese and ducks eating a lot of it.

  9. Anarya Andir says:

    Beautiful photos once again! Love them. I love birds so I was so happy to see these photos 😀

  10. Mac says:

    Great photos, lovely to see the area and all the wildlife. I presume the algae is not the toxic sort? We have had outbreaks of nasty, and smelly, blue-green algae in our lake in recent years.

  11. newvoice says:

    I just love how you present your photos – so detailed and the clarity is outstanding!! So inspiring!! Thank you for sharing.

    • It depends on the lens and filters that I use. Sometimes I do selective focus for artistic effect. But, I have been trying to identify more of the subjects in my images and have tried to get good clean photos for others to help me.

  12. What great shots of all that wildlife in one spot! Looks like a great place to spend the day. Birds are very patient aren’t they! My youngest son could learn a thing or two from the Heron. From the comments above…I think It is difficult to tell the heron & egrets apart. It could be a Great Egret or a Great White Heron. If I remember correctly you tell them apart from the color of their legs and/or beaks. They are great shots and that beaver is adorable, especially in all that green muck!

    • We all could. That bird had perseverance, even though no luck. I think egrets are smaller too. This bird was very large, even though in the photos, it is hard to tell. I could not zoom in any closer in camera, and doing it in Photoshop, it just got blurrier.

  13. jakesprinter says:

    Your photographs always shine in the blogosphere my friend ,Thanks for sharing 🙂

  14. Beautiful! Great captures too! You don’t have fire ants there do you? A different kind of red ant bites? That stinks.

  15. These beautiful images bring to mind a favorite quote by Thoreau…

    “You only need sit still long enough in some attractive spot in the woods that all its inhabitants may exhibit themselves to you by turns.”

    Thanks for sharing your attractive spots.

  16. What a wonderful, informative, well documented post, Donna. As a kid I had a first cousin* who had a creek at the bottom of his yard. We loved to play in it. It must have had a big impact on him, because he is retiring this year as a professor at Ohio State University who is a world-renowned expert in wetlands (the Wikipedia article about him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._Mitsch ). He has accepted an invitation to head an environmental center that borders the Everglades in FL, with a mission to protect the Everglades.

    * Uh, as an adult he’s STILL my first cousin.

    • I too was always playing in the creek where I lived too. Catching crayfish and frogs. Your cousin is a very influential man. I read the bio. The everglades would be quite an honor, since they must have special permits, right? When I was in Costa Rica, I was in an area dedicated only to scientists and researchers. Only one hundred professionals were allowed in this rainforest at any one time. My job was designing and interpretive center on the fringe of this area, but I did get access because the landscape architects were designing animal corridors which passed by the interpretive/learning center.

  17. b-a-g says:

    Interesting how a simple organism like algae can affect the lives of these creatures.
    People underestimate how difficult it is to photograph wildlife – I’ve been trying and failing to photograph robins in my garden for almost two years.

    • b-a-g says:

      P.S. Will there be a W4W this week ?

    • The algae really chokes out the plants too. You are right on the difficulty level, flowers don’t move! I think it has much more to do with the waiting though. With patience, it can pay off or not. I have heard of the pros paying lots of money for a location shoot, only to come up empty. It is not like you can give directions to the animals. But you can cheat and set up feeding stations. At the farm, the corn fields are planted just for the turkeys and deer. Also at the farm, the Koi pond attracts a lot of wildlife. Similar to feeding the birds in the backyard. I really respect those that photograph the birds in the field without the aid of luring them in. Like when shooting birds of prey and baiting them. I rather like seeing them doing what they do, and me being lucky enough to capture the moment.

  18. Marisa says:

    A beautiful post and wonderful photos. There is a lovely wetlands area not far from me, where I often walk my dogs. It’s interesting to see your birds and wildlife compared to our locals (in Brisbane, Australia). Certainly glad we don’t have those red ants, although the authorities have been doing battle with fire ants since they were accidentally introduced about 10 years ago.

    • The sign said the red ants were not native to our area. I should have photographed the sign, but I remember it did not say Fire Ants but Red Ants. Our birds are really not as fancy as your birds. Even my Moluccan Cockatoo is fancier than birds I see in the backyard. The wetlands in Australia must be a beautiful place to take a stroll for those courageous souls. Any nasty snakes and gators? That would keep me and my dog out for sure.

  19. Masha says:

    Really great tele photo shots, I am amazed at the variety of wildlife you saw. Don’t you wish sometimes the camera would stop making those loud clicks when you press the shutter release?

    • It is funny, but the wildlife never wavered from clicking the camera, but did if I motioned towards them. Even the turtles and frogs took a fast dive. I had to be very still. I took photos of a bunny at lakeside at this shoot, and I almost walked right up to it. The big birds, that was not even possible to have any movement. The area was really open and they could see everything I did. The shots at the post beginning, the herons were flying away from me after I got too close.

  20. The green is duckweed (Lemna minor, probably) an introduced an cosmopolitan species. If I am not mistaken, I think it might be the smallest flowering plant (angiosperm).

    • Thank you for pointing out the duckweed. I amended the post to note your correction. I added a You Tube video explaining the difference, and also that algae and duckweed often occur together in ponds such as this.

      • Haha, you didn’t have to correct it! I just wanted to point it out because I am nerdy and think the smallest flowering plant is awesome.

        • I was very happy to link to your blog in the post. I think many here should take a gander over your way, not to many legitimate experts in this forum and you are very skilled and knowing. I am finding out you have knowledge and skill in other areas too by hopping around your site.

  21. I’m glad you mentioned there was duckweed mixed with the algae so that readers would know the difference. I’m sure the nitrogen content of that water has to be sky high. It’s a thriving ecosystem despite the algae, so at least the water isn’t hypoxic. Despite the green slime, it looks like a beautiful area.

    • I should have done what the guy in the video did and scooped up some of the stuff for a close up image, but the slime creeps me out. The duckweed on the beaver’s nose was kinda cute. It looks like a little flower on the end of his nose. I think this lake goes through periods of heavy algae and very little. I was at this place earlier this year and it was only algae, no duckweed. It must be temperature dependent, but I think they treat the water, I am not sure. I will ask next time I am there.They have park people at the visitor’s center and give guided tours. It might be fun to see if I can tag along with the groups. Mostly, when I go, no one is there but a few fishermen.

  22. The iridescent feathers and some of the colors on the butterfly wings are beautiful examples of structural color whereby the color is not created by pigments but rather by the way light is scattered.

    • You are full of great points today. I am glad you added that, it is interesting for readers to know about light/color association. It is so important in garden design and some plants exhibit changing color effect also, with time of day, strength of sun, time of year, and atmospheric conditions.

      I also thought about your post and how dogs help in prison rehabilitation. Does the inmate have a continued psychological response to the calming and nurturing aspect that occurs by caring for a pet? It kinda means owning a dog is almost optimal for complete well being. Dog owners live longer too! So many points to the benefit of dogs. I loved your post today. I would have thought the opposite effect on the dust and allergens.

  23. Grace says:

    Yeah, I could see some duckweed in there but an awful lot of algae too. What a beautiful place, despite the red ants. 🙂 Thanks for taking us along.

    • This is one of the few natural places in our area. The firm I worked for designed the Visitors Center and I believe, had input on the siting and grounds. This was long before I was even out of junior high.

  24. I’ve been to Tifft Farm and never saw half the animals you did. Great photos!

    • Like I mentioned in a previous comment, I have been there and only saw robins. This time I saw and photographed many songbirds. Did you click the other link in the post? I saw a turkey and a hawk that day.

  25. just catching up with your blog Donna, thank you for this tour and the previous post at the arboretum, thanks for the design points I could see what you mean, Frances

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