Walk Through the Wetlands

 Walk Through the Wetlands

Have you ever given much thought to just how valuable and beneficial our wetlands are to people, fish, and wildlife?  While photographing some of the inhabitants of a coastal wetland, my interest in wetlands was tweaked. Without going into to an extensive marine biologist or an environmentalist dialogue about our wetlands, I will take some liberty to share some interesting facts and information about wetlands. Hopefully you will have a greater appreciation of these wetland residents through my photographs, yes, even the alligator.

Our wetlands serve several functions or services. Some of these services, or functions, include protecting and improving water quality, providing habitats for fish and wildlife, storing floodwaters and maintaining surface water flow during dry periods. Wetlands are the most productive ecosystems in the world comparable to rain forest and coral reefs. Wetlands are sometimes referred to as “biological supermarkets”.

Coastal wetlands cover roughly 40 million acres and make up about 38 percent of the total wetland acreage. The value of services coastal wetland habitat provides is in the billions of dollars.  These coastal wetlands are the source of habitat for many federally threatened and endangered species, such as the Whooping Crane.

All the photographs in this “Walk Through the Wetlands” blog were taken along the Texas Coast.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Immature White Ibis
Immature White Ibis
Blue Crab
Blue Crab
Common Moorhen
Common Moorhen
Green Heron
Green Heron
Nutria & Red-eared Slider Terrapins
Nutria & Red-eared Slider Terrapin
Sora Rail
Sora Rail
Alligator
Alligator
Roseate Spoonbills & A variety of Ducks
Roseate Spoonbills & A variety of Ducks
American Bittern
American Bittern
Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron
Great Egret
Great Egret
Whooping Cranes
Whooping Cranes

 

 

Bird Beaks

Bird Beaks

Did you ever wonder why there are so many different types of bird beaks?  The most important function of a bird beak or bill is for feeding. The shape affects what a bird eats. Beaks and bills are also used to identify birds.

This blog identifies a sampling of beaks and bills. Click on each photograph to enlarge.

 

Cone shape is to crack seeds and nuts

1 Black - headed Grosebeak
1 Black – headed Grosebeak

Thin slender pointed beaks are found mainly in insect eaters. They are used to pick insects off leaves, twigs and bark.

2 Warbler
2 Warbler

Strong beaks which taper to the tip, forming a chisel are used for pecking holes in trees for  food and nests.

3 Golden - fronted Woodpecker
3 Golden – fronted Woodpecker

Long tubular bills that resemble straws are used to sip nectar from flowers.

4 Rufous Hummingbird
4 Rufous Hummingbird
4a Ruby - throated Hummingbird
4a Ruby – throated Hummingbird

Hooked beaks are used to bite the skull or neck of the prey and to tear apart the body into bite size pieces.

5 Bald Eagle
5 Bald Eagle

Flat shovel shaped bills are use to strain plants, seeds and small animals from mud and water.

6 Green - winged Teal
6 Green – winged Teal
6a Ruddy Duck
6a Ruddy Duck

Beaks which are flat and wide at the base are found in birds which catch insects in flight. they often have “whiskers” at the corners of the mouth.

7 Western Kingbird
7 Western Kingbird
7a kiskadee
7a Kiskadee

Birds with long curved bears are used for probing.

8 White Ibis
8 White Ibis

Bills which form a pouch, scoop and hold the prey.

9 Brown Pelican
9 Brown Pelican

Long straight and pointed beaks are used for spearing.

10 Great Blue Heron
10 Great Blue Heron

Abstract Photography – Water Follow Up

Abstract Photography – Water Follow Up

Last week I presented seven photographs that I had altered using a photo editing program to change the size, color, focus and texture of the photos making them appear abstract. This blog shows the same seven photographs unedited.

Photographs 1, 5 and 7 were taken at the Dallas Arboretum during the Dale Chihuly blown glass sculpture exhibit. Number 2 is a waterfall somewhere in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Numbers 3 and 4 are of a waterfall inside the Dallas World Aquarium. Photograph number 6 is of the famous Snake River flowing over a dam in downtown Idaho Falls, Idaho

1 Dallas Arboretum
1 Dallas Arboretum
2 New Hampshire
2 New Hampshire
3 Dallas World Aquarium
3 Dallas World Aquarium
4 Dallas World Aquarium
4 Dallas World Aquarium
5 Dallas Arborteum
5 Dallas Arboretum
6 Snake River -m Idaho Falls, ID
6 Snake River -m Idaho Falls, ID
7 Dallas Arboretum
7 Dallas Arboretum