The Marsh Returns

by Carl Strang

Mayslake Forest Preserve’s stream corridor marsh went dry last July, and it wasn’t until the middle of winter that it began to show surface water again. Gradually the water level, generally capped by ice, rose thanks to some heavy midwinter rains. Now, at last, the marsh is full again, and the ice has thawed.

The marsh on March 28. Smoke from the prairie burn is visible beyond the marsh.

The marsh on March 28. Smoke from the prairie burn is visible beyond the marsh.

The ducks and geese showed their approval by returning, and the first significant news was the appearance of some green-winged teals. I had not observed this species on the preserve in my previous 5 years there.

These two male green-winged teals accompanied a female.

These two male green-winged teals accompanied a female.

The prairie fire burned off the old willow branch that tempted a pair of Canada geese into an ill-fated nesting attempt last year.

The coyotes won’t have the same good fortune this year.

The coyotes won’t have the same good fortune this year.

Meanwhile, another goose pair is nesting at Mayslake’s other marsh, at the edge of the parking lot.

Only a dense strip of cattails is between the nest, which the geese built on top of a muskrat house, and the shore.

Only a dense strip of cattails is between the nest, which the geese built on top of a muskrat house, and the shore.

The coyotes will have a harder time reaching the incubating goose without giving a warning.

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