Secrets of Late Winter Cedar Swamps

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Dismal, dreary, forbidding, impassable, impenetrable and treacherous. Those words have all been used to describe swamps. Just say the word “swamp” and the first image some conjure up is a muddy mire “infested” with mosquitos, alligators and snakes: a wetland that must be drained to make it safe for humans. However, swamps are in many ways like giant sponges that hold water, replenish aquifers, sustain life and keep our landscape healthy.

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Rose Oaks County Park: A Wildland Gem of Oakland County

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY


“From her somber, sullenness on a misty morning in autumn, to the excitement and bustle of life on a warm summer day, there is always something interesting to see at Rose Oaks.” Those words of Kegan Schildberg, the Natural Areas Stewardship Lead for Oakland County Parks, paints the near perfect picture of a park that was designed by retreating glaciers some 11,000 years ago and now offers peaceful and passive recreation on the Wilder Side of Oakland County.

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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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