Thursday, April 1, 2010

Post-Flood Report from the Delaney Wetlands

Dan took advantage of the warm weather to kayak around the flooded Delaney wetlands today. (Don't try this without a wet-suit, kids!)

The waters are starting to recede, after three storms dropped nearly 15" of rain on the surrounding watershed. Entire peninsulas of land are now underwater, and at one beaver lodge, only the very top of the log pile was visible in the high water.

Despite this, there's ample evidence that the wildlife is coping just fine. Ducks and geese have returned from winter quarters, and the honkers are loudly staking claim to the few tussocks and dry spots in the flooded marsh.

Paddling around the water's edge (which would normally be a hundred feet inland), there are signs that life is returning to normal. Beaver have begun scent marking, and the muskrats and alligators have been dragging fresh mud and black muck from the bottom to form their feeding and nesting platforms. It's unusual to see them out at mid-day, but there's lots of work to be done, and the sunshine probably feels good after a month of rain.

Soon those nests will have eggs, and while the geese take turns insulating their nests with their downy rumps, the gators will simply rely on the warming rays of the sun to heat the black, organic material surrounding their clutch of eggs. In another two months, Delaney will be reborn, with goslings and baby gators following their mothers around, clumsily learning to forage and survive on their own.

By mid-July, if you bring along your fishing pole, and a supply of minnows, you'll have no problem catching either species at Delaney. Goslings are most active in the morning. Wait for the hot weather in August for the best gator jigging. When landing the larger ones, be sure to keep a firm grasp with one hand just below the mouth.

It's still pretty cold at Delaney, so if you do venture out, wear your PFD and bring a warm sweater, and by all means, keep your little toesies and fingers inside the boat!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Dan. Now I'm psyched; I haven't had any gator tail stew in the longest time. When's the season? Perhaps you'll guide us to the best hunting spot. Thanks so much for the informative report.