Okay, let’s face it. Translating from one language to another can be a tricky thing. According to my research, the location I tramped around in, Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands, is from the Muscogee (Creek) Native American language and means “Medicinal Plant” Creek Wetlands. I highly prefer the original. It’s rhythmic, takes effort to pronounce and reminds me of a very old children’s song having to do with a soda cracker. And I didn’t find any medicinal plants, either.
What I did find was an abundance of life! Flowers were showing off their spring beauty. Tall pines and stately oaks mixed with bay, laurel, hickory and other tree species. Small mammal footprints in the mud were like a mini-census: raccoon, squirrel, opossum, white-tailed deer and otter. Tall grass pressed flat formed “slides” around the shoreline where alligators entered and left the water. A plethora of insects thrive in the wet environment. An Eastern Black Racer (a magnificent snake species for those unfamiliar) enjoyed one of those insects before “racing” off the path as I approached. Did I mention the birds?
The man-made impoundment includes areas of open water with varying depths to attract a diversity of water birds. Plantings of erosion-protecting and filtering vegetation helps insure the water remains clean and the area stable. With a relatively dense area of tall-growing plants throughout the wetlands, many birds feel comfortable nesting here. I found a family of Sandhill Cranes, new Common Gallinule chicks, Osprey catching fish and returning to a nearby nest to feed two young fish hawks and young Black-crowned Night Herons roosting on an island.
No matter how you pronounce it, Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands is a wonderful place to explore any day! (It doesn’t hurt that it’s only 15 minutes from the house, either.)
Yes, there are a few pictures of the morning slog.
Fairly new Sandhill Crane chicks are almost independent but still don’t stray too far from Mom and Dad.
A pair of American Kestrels have taken up residence in the wetlands. Hope I can get photos of some new chicks soon!
An adult Black-crowned Night Heron passed nearby grunting his displeasure at my presence.
Spring in the wetlands means plenty of Red-winged Blackbirds singing from atop trees. This guy was singing “Moonlight Sonata”. No. Really. He was.
Thistle flowers are so beautiful to observe yet so painful to touch.
Not wishing to be outdone by a blackbird, a Limpkin tries serenading his love from atop a skinny tree branch. Two lessons learned: those big claws are more comfortable on solid ground and there is no way a Limpkin’s call could be confused with a serenade. (Limpkin “Serenade”)
An Osprey scans the water below for a fresh fish breakfast which will be shared by two young chicks in a nearby nest.
The morning sun shows off some of the iridescence in the plumage of a Glossy Ibis.
Wood Ducks love the many places they can hide within the wetlands’ tall grasses and reeds.
A Common Grackle harasses a Swallow-tailed Kite. The grackle was no match for the flying skills of the kite, which flew a couple of circles around the attacker and dove toward the ground suddenly leaving the poor grackle alone in the sky.
This is a wonderful spot for a morning walk and always yields a diversity of life at which one can marvel. We hope you have a place near where you live which offers a respite from the ordinary.
Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!