Sunday, May 24, 2015

Muskrats, Murfree Spring Wetlands

Today was the perfect day for an outing. The temperature was in the mid eighties with an abundance of sunshine peeking through the clouds and at times a nice breeze would blow through to cool things off. I decided to visit Murfree Spring Wetlands in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, southeast of Nashville. The wetland is situated next to the Discovery Center which is a children's venue accompanied by a museum. The wetlands is about 25 acres and is home to mammals, amphibians, birds, waterfowl and obviously thousands of insects. The definition of a wetland follows . . .

Wetlands are land areas that are saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, 
such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem. Wetlands include swamps, marshes
and bogs. Wetlands vary widely because of  differences in soils, topography, climate, hydrology,
water chemistry, vegetation, and other factors. Wetlands are economic drivers because of 
their key role in fishing, hunting, agriculture and recreation. 


This being my first visit I was surprised to find a large Muskrat sitting on top of marsh weeds and grasses munching on pond weeds. Pond weeds are the tiny green weeds you see in the water all around the Muskrat. This Muskrat looked to be an adult and wasn't the least bit concerned at my presence nearby on the boardwalk. So I gingerly snapped a few images of him having a midday snack. After a few minutes and having gotten his fill, he disappeared into the water never to be seen again.


After my initial walk around the parameter of the wetland, I headed back to my car for a quick drink of water. The sun was coming down pretty good at times making for a warm walk. Back to the boardwalk for a second lap around, I just happened upon several smaller Muskrat feeding on pond weeds right inside the wetland entrance. Muskrats in residential environments can be a nuisance, but these little guys were in the perfect environment in the swamps and, needless to say, there was plenty of food to be had.


My visit was packed full of sightings of all types of species from mammals to waterfowl. Along the boardwalk I happened upon large Turtles basking in the sun covered in pond weeds, Eastern Pondhawk Dragonflies, Green Frogs and, of course, the Muskrats. The birds I encountered were the Yellow Crowned Night Heron, a pair of mated Wood Ducks, a Grackle, several Eastern Kingbirds, countless Robins, and the Red Winged Blackbird which are plentiful around swamps and marshes. There was a virtual plethora of wildlife to be seen and enjoyed. I hope your Memorial Day holiday has been enjoyable and I promise I will be back in a day or two with more images from my visit. We have rain on the horizon for tomorrow. Apparently that front that has caused major flooding and storms in Texas and Oklahoma is headed my way. Although I don't think we are supposed to get quite as much rain as the Midwest has gotten. ENJOY!

5 comments :

  1. Excellent captures!

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  2. It was camouflaged in green! Keep dry, Carol.

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  3. Stay dry, heaps of snow in both South and North Island, unusual and not for 25 years in some parts. Lovely wee fellow, but not quite right for a house pet!!

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  4. Wat een geweldig mooie momenten heb je hier te pakken gekregen,hier zal menigeen jaloers op zijn.

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