“Winter is the king of showmen
Turning tree stumps into snow men
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes
Smooth and clean and frosty white
The world looks good enough to bite
That’s the season to be young
Catching snowflakes on your tongue
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going”
–from Winter Morning Poem
By Ogden Nash
The Horicon Marsh should be entering into the slushy stage in the coming week as temperatures head toward 50 degrees. Today, the marsh remains frozen and quiet. It is a peaceful place to come for a drive or a hike. The solitude of winter contrasts with the abundant and busy wildlife in the spring. The Horicon Marsh is a pleasant and satisfying place to visit in any season.
It is a calm, gray, fall day, perfect for a drive on the auto tour. Sumac is turning red, orange, and yellow.
The velvety, reddish brown fruit is rich in Vitamin A. Apparently, birds aren’t all that excited about eating it, but they will resort to it if other food is scarce.
Trumpeter Swans and their growing cygnets enjoy a leisurely swim.
A little boy was walking with his mother along the road as I was standing taking pictures. He exclaimed, “Mom, she is taking pictures of that white bird!” He was so excited and so was I.
The prolific cattails are going to seed. Cattails are actually an herb. Each spike can contain 220,000 seeds!
Milkweed is also an herb. The plant contains cardiac glycosides, similar to Foxglove, that are used to treat some heart diseases. These glycosides are absorbed by Monarch butterfly larvae. Milkweed is the only thing the larvae eat. The glycosides make the larvae and adult butterflies toxic to birds and other predators.
Canada Geese take a break before migrating south.
This Great Blue Heron stands in the water near the road.
I love the coloring of the Red-tailed hawk. His eyes looks so dark and almost hollow. Red-tailed Hawks have keen vision. They can see their prey, like a mouse, a mile away.
Some of the information today was found in the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers: Eastern Region.