|Left: looking northward with some emergent vegetation beginning to green up in the marsh. Right: view toward the northeast showing the delta of Deception Creek (*).|
|Left: Looking toward the southeast with the state wildlife area in the left distance. Right: close-up shot of the marsh and area where avocets (*) were feeding in shallow water.|
|American avocets (Recurvirostra americana) were numerous on the marsh. Left: avocet wading in shallow water with smaller Baird's sandpipers (Calidris bairdii). Right: probable avocet nest and camouflaged eggs in cattail thatch.|
|Left: looking toward the northwest with Hoisington in the background. Right: shot toward the northeast showing the delta of Deception Creek at top center of view. Note muddy water around the creek inlet.|
|Left: view to the southeast with the state wildlife area in the distance. Right: looking toward the southwest showing Blood Creek and TNC barn in the right background.|
|Left: close-up shot of the main marsh and pool full of muddy water. Compare with April picture (above the eggs). Right: newly built crayfish chimney at pool margin. Little is known about the crayfish species or population.|
|Autumn foliage colors in the marsh complex. Left: looking toward the northeast with Deception Creek and its inlet to the pool and green fields of winter wheat in the background. Right: view eastward with the state wildlife area in the right far background.|
|Close-up aerial shots of mosquito fern which appears maroon-purple color in these two views along the pool margin.|
|Ground pictures of mosquito fern floating on shallow water protected by cattail and bulrush. Comb is 5 inches long.|
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|Overviews toward the northeast (left) and northwest (right). Note high water level and lush vegetation in the marsh complex.|
|Central portion of the marsh complex showing extensive cattail thickets. Cattail coverage has recovered to the level that existed at the beginning of our long-term observations in 2002.|
|Left: close-up shot of the marsh margin with wet meadow and Blood Creek in the background. Right: ground view of marsh margin with muddy water from recent runoff.|
|Left: Foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum) grows in clumps around the marsh margin and in the wet meadow. Right: muddy field vehicle. Access roads were barely passable to 4wd.|
|Overviews looking toward the northwest (left) and northeast (right) showing full pools and varied appearance of emergent vegetation within the Nature Conservancy marsh complex.|
|Close-up shots. Left: hint of maroon color on water surface suggests another bloom of mosquito fern is underway. White specks are large white birds wading in shallow water, and cattle graze in the background. Right: flock of large white birds, perhaps cattle egrets, taking off from a pool.|
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The expansion of cattail thickets that began in 2010 was briefly arrested during the drought of 2012-13, but since has renewed and filled in many portions of the Nature Conservancy marsh complex. This, in turn, has greatly reduced the area of open pools and mudflats on which migrating shorebirds and waterfowl depend.
Extensive thickets of emergent vegetation and full pools.
|Views toward the northeast (left) and east (right) demonstrate full pools, wet meadows, and emergent marsh vegetation. Water shows high content of suspended sediment from recent influx of Deception Creek.|
|Views toward the west (left) and northeast (right) display full pools and vegetation going into autumn senescence in early October.|
|Close-up oblique (left) and near-vertical (right) shots of the cattail thicket that has grown up during the past few years. A distinct patchy pattern is evident, which may reflect clonal growth as cattail filled in the former open pool.|
Early spring 2017 began with a series of heavy rains that completely filled the Nature Conservancy marsh-pool complex. This marks the fifth consecutive year of high water, and emergent vegetation has responded by infilling much of the former mudflats and reducing pool areas. We were assisted for this session by T. Nagasako, a visiting professor from Japan.
Left: looking toward the northwest with Hoisington in the far background. Blood Creek enters from the left side. Right: view northward with mostly dormant marsh vegetation in the foreground. Pools are filled with muddy water from recent runoff.
Left: looking toward the northeast. Deception Creek flows into the pool at top center of scene. Note the patchy appearance of dormant marsh vegetation. Right: view to the southeast with the state wildlife area in the distance.
|Looking toward the northwest (left) and north (right). Fields of winter wheat are prominent (bright orange) in the background, but there are only small patches of active vegetation in the marsh complex. Compare with normal-color images above.|
|View toward the northeast showing the small delta of Deception Creek (left). Emergent marsh vegetation has expanded considerably during the past several years and reduced the size of the remaining pool. Right: sun glint in lower right corner reveals shallow water beneath a cover of dead thatch.|
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