Field Trip: Exploring a Marsh
From the Archives: May 2016
One of the things I love about living in Michigan is being so close to lakes and nature trails. Michigan has very beautiful lakes, and the nature scene here is just amazing. I have never really been a nature explorer, but after living in Michigan for a year, I quickly became a nature lover!
I am so happy that summer is finally here because that means I can take my children to the lake more. It also makes me happy to have many options of which lakes and parks to visit in Michigan. I already have a long list of lakes and nature trails to visit this summer!
A couple of weeks ago, my family and I decided to visit Lake St. Clair for a nature walk. It was a spontaneous visit. My husband had just got off from work and I said, “Hey, let’s go to the lake!” It was such a beautiful day out, I just felt like going somewhere.
When we arrived to the lake, we were delighted to find a marsh. The kids were so excited and made a dash to the telescopes to get a closeup view of the marsh. They discovered a swan sitting on her nest, which was pretty big! We heard bullfrogs croaking back and forth to each other.
“What is that sound?!” my children asked excitedly looking around. My husband said, “They’re bullfrogs.”
“And they’re making that loud noise?” the children asked.
They were astounded a frog could make such a deep noise. We looked closely into the marsh to see if we could spot a bullfrog. All of a sudden I saw this huge frog leap onto a lily pad. “I see one!” I exclaimed. I was really excited about seeing a bullfrog because I had never seen one in person before. I was amazed at how big it was.
“Where?!” The kids ran over to me, excited to see what the bullfrog looked like. I pointed it out to them, and then another bullfrog jumped out after the first frog. “WOW!” the kids exclaimed. The smiles on their faces were so big.
I wish I could have taken pictures of the bullfrogs, but I only have a 50mm prime lens for my Nikon. The frogs were too far away for me to capture on my camera. But we did watch the bullfrogs through the telescope.
We looked around for more bullfrogs and spotted at least 4 bullfrogs hopping around. Then two bullfrogs approached each other and started fighting.
“Whoa! The bullfrogs are fighting!” My husband said maybe the bullfrogs were fighting over a mate because we noticed as two bullfrogs wrestled each other, another bullfrog sat a few feet away from them watching the fight.
“Is it mating season for bullfrogs?” one child asked us.
“Well, it is Spring.”
As we continued our exploration of the marsh, we spotted a muskrat swimming in the water. The muskrat would occasionally stop and peep his head up and look over in our direction.
“Is that a beaver?”
“No, it’s an otter!”
“No, I think it’s a groundhog.”
“Can groundhogs even swim?”
“I don’t think it’s a beaver because look at it’s tail. It’s not wide and flat.”
“It’s a muskrat,” my husband informed the children after they debated on which type of animal was swimming in the marsh.
We also saw different types of birds flying through the marsh. One of the types of birds we saw was a black bird with a patch of red on its body. I wish I knew more about birds because I do not the name of the bird. I am still researching what type of bird we saw in the marsh. (If you know, please let me know!)
The children were amazed when they realized there were actually a plethora of these black and red birds flying in the marsh. They noticed the birds would perch on the tall salt marsh. I had to google the name of the grass in the marsh because I honestly did not know the name of it! So our visit to the marsh was also a learning experience for me, too. (I hope I got the name of the marsh grass right!)
We plan on returning to the marsh to explore it more. We discovered the trail in the marsh leads deeper into the woods, but we were not able to continue our exploration because it was getting dark outside.
The entire experience at the marsh of Lake St. Clair was absolutely beautiful. It was priceless. It was one of those feel-good moments where you feel at peace with nature and proud of yourself for taking your family out to experience nature. The kids had big smiles on their faces the entire time, and when we left the lake, they couldn’t stop talking about all they had discovered. I even heard one child say, “I can’t wait to go again!”
I will never forget our time at the marsh. I can’t wait to go exploring again with my family!