Wetlands ‘right-now’ – what’s happening?
Although International Wetlands Day happens on 2nd February each year, this is the time of year when wetlands, in the northern hemisphere, are almost dormant. If you go to visit a wetland on 2st February, you won’t see much happening.
Many of the plants and animals that normally live in the wetland are going through their winter dormancy now.
In February you will see the bare stems of the reeds and lots of dead vegetation. Under the surface however lots of things are already happening. Many of the animals that live in the mud on the floor of the wetlands are already preparing for spring. The larvae of the dragon flies are already actively feeding on other small animals in the detritus at the bottom of the pond. These larvae are fierce predators and this video link shows you how they behave on the bottom of the wetlands at this time of year if they can find prey dragonfly larvae feeding (see below).
When the risk of severe frost has passed, some of the plants will begin to emerge…..
….and when the weather warms up a bit and the average daily temperature stays above 6 degrees or so, the first obvious signs of life will appear.
In fact, it is at the wetlands that you can first see the stirrings of the new spring. The green shoots will appear on the reeds first of all. Then other smaller plants like the bog bean and the mayflower will begin to push up their foliage.
Then you know for sure that the winter is over!