What Nature is Saying!

A Great Egret perched on a thin, leafless tree in a wetland

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

I am a nemophilist. That’s someone who is fond of forests; a haunter of the woods. I celebrate woodlands in all seasons, but especially look forward to the spectacular forest colors of autumn, frosted pumpkins, and adventuresome hikes as nature’s last hurrah before winter arrives. Today, however, as the end of August draws near, I’m sharing nature’s subtle signals that summer is slowly fading. Increased sightings of Great Egrets, dazzling beauties of our healthy wooded wetlands, are one of nature’s first signs that summer is fading.

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Great Blue Herons: Master Hunters, Delayed Migrators

 WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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Whether poised motionlessly in the protected wetlands of Rose Oaks County Park, or along an urban creek amidst the bustle of the City of Pontiac, one thing remains certain about the Great Blue Herons: they are a majestic sight. Bird migration is well underway in these crisp days of autumn, but our Great Blue Herons, the largest and most common of the North American herons, are not going anyplace soon. Some will loiter in Oakland County into early November. Others may never leave.

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AMBUSH PREDATORS OF THE WETLANDS

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Kayaks provides a perfect viewing platform to watch for wetland ambush hunters from early spring to the end of Autumn. Buhl Lake, Addison Oaks County Park

Kayaks provide a perfect viewing platform to watch for wetland ambush hunters from early spring to the end of Autumn. Buhl Lake, Addison Oaks County Park

Great Blue Herons, northern water snakes, snapping turtles, Great Egrets and American bullfrogs all share a common trait. They are five of the most commonly seen ambush predators of Oakland County wetlands. Ambush predators are masters of stealth and patience, remaining motionless as they wait for potential prey to come within pouncing or striking range. It’s a very effective strategy for hunting. For by staying motionless, they are less exposed to their own predators. The lying-in-wait strategy gives them the advantage of a surprise attack without the need for an energy consuming and perhaps risky chase. Now, at the dawn of summer, thick carpets of duckweed coat the shallow wetlands and the scene is set for the next lightning-fast strike.

Bullfrog

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