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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At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Mary said...

Glossy Ibis, cool bird. I'm just as impressed with the wood ducks in a row.

It's a beautiful swamp.

At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Trixie said...

Go, Williamstown, Go!

At 6:03 PM, Anonymous Deborah said...

Last week, last week . . . was this ibis on the Ohio or WV listservs and I missed it (AND the ducks)? Oh, my.


At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Julie Zickefoose said...

Stephen McCarthy, Royal Meteorologist of the Whipple Bird Club, advises that the ibis is still in residence, drowning in duckweed and wood ducks, as of October 1. Go, Deb, Go! And look for red-eared slider turkles while you're at it. They're not native but they sure look happy there. Probably started life as captives or fair prizes.

At 6:36 AM, Anonymous Julie Zickefoose said...

I must add that Sir Stephan McCarthy hath spotted yon ibis first of all.

At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Deborah said...

Thanks, JZ — two favors in one morning! I do my professor imitation today, but I can be up there in 10 minutes this afternoon! (And thanks, Steve, too.)


At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Denise said...

Lovely photos, want to take a ride into West Virginia one of these weekends. Do you have a favorite place for viewing birdlife? Hope this is not too rude of a question to ask.

At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi: I think is good and healthy to "stick" to the walk on feet ;-)
fantastic blog
regards From Spain

At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Kathiesbirds said...

I just watched the PBS special about the Cayahoga River in Ohio and how it has been and is being restored. It's quite an amazing story. Glad to see there are some other wetlands/swamps for the bird to enjoy. I love woodducks. How surprising to see the glossy ibis.


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