While fall colours quietly creep into woods and wetlands, one group of leaves remains vibrant green: the lily pads. In Bowmanville Marsh and Westside Marsh you may spot a sandpiper treading lightly from leaf to leaf while feeding on aquatic insects, or a beaver swimming from one lily patch to another while happily munching on a flower.
The herons, too, keep watch over lily pads for signs of movement from fish or frogs. Here a young black-crowned night heron hopes for a meal, at the edge of a dense stand of cattails which have lost nearly all their summer colour.
The fall palette is reflected in the water as a beaver makes a swift passage across the marsh by setting sunlight.
The resident mute swans are often seen feeding among lily pads – and they leave their mark even when the birds themselves are nowhere in sight.
Sandpipers prove that there are great advantages in being light of weight but wide of foot. On a quiet end-of-summer evening the surface of the marsh teems with insects, and the lily pads make even the deeper waters accessible to this wading bird.
In the vegetable garden, meanwhile, another nimble footed creature is springing from leaf to leaf – a grasshopper feasting on collard greens.
Top photo: Sandpiper Buffet (click here for larger view)