Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bumps on a Log

Wood ducks, Williamstown Swamp, September 2008.


There's not much river-bottom wetland habitat left along the Ohio River, but one small piece that does still exist is in Williamstown, West Virginia. Locals call it The Williamstown Swamp and throughout the year it hosts some nice birds and wildlife. Last week I got a call that a glossy ibis was feeding in the duckweed-covered water of this swamp, so I took my lunch across the bridge from Marietta to check things out.

Glossy ibis, Williamstown Swamp, September 2008.

Sure enough, a young glossy ibis was there, feeding in the back corner of the swamp. We don't get too many ibises through this part of the world. My guess is that this bird was a post-breeding wanderer and it will likely head back south in the next day or so.

More interesting to me was the collection of 60 or more wood ducks loafing along the edge of the swamp and resting on a submerged log. The woodies were in various stages of molt—some still sporting the remnant summer feathers, some in partial eclipse plumage, and one or two males in their finest finery.

I'm really glad that this patch of bottomland swamp is still here for the birds (and people) to enjoy.
Wood ducks, Williamstown Swamp, September 2008.

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