In the Marsh

A very small part of Horicon Marsh
dwm photo
Once upon a time marshes were sometimes viewed as wasted land; developers filled them in so the area could be settled or farmed.

Wetlands and marshes play huge roles as habitat for wildlife and in flood control for people.

The Horicon Marsh, Dodge County located in east central Wisconsin, takes on both roles in large fashion.

It's the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States at 33,000 acres.

The marsh is known as a stopping point for migratory birds, especially Canada Geese.  Friends of the Marsh have sighted 305 different species of birds making stops.

American White Pelicans hanging at Horicon
dwm photo
It is so important, Horicon Marsh is designated as a "Wetland of International Importance" and "A Globally Important Bird Area."

Wisconsin named it a state wildlife area and the federal government made it a National Wildlife Refuge.

Spring and fall are the busiest times of year as birds head north or south, depending on the season.  But life is abundant all year long.

In late spring, I saw hundreds, if not thousands, of birds.  Snowy Egrets and American White Pelicans are abundant.

From one viewing area, I noticed a large mass of white on open water.  A closer look through field glasses revealed a moving mass of birds huddled so close, it looked like an island (below left).

Those white splotches on the water (mid photo)
are large flocks of birds, likely Pelican.
dwm photo
Horicon can be a bit deceiving mid-year while driving around it.

The lush green grasses wave in the wind looking tranquil.

Far from waste-land, the acres and acres are a natural national treasure which hold the keys for the survival of birds, beast, and man.

The marsh is easy to ignore, most of the year.  I'm embarrassed to say this was my first real look at it.

I plan to not make it too long before a return trip.