A couple of weeks ago, we had the unexpected opportunity to spend time with some Marsh Wrens.
Marsh Wrens are denizens of our marshlands. Their rattling call is easy to distinguish, but their habit of staying low in the wetland vegetation makes them difficult to observe. Like all wrens, Marsh Wrens are both cryptic and frenetic so getting photographs of them is challenging.
We were kayaking along the shallows in Buffalo Lake one beautiful morning when we noticed two young Marsh Wrens skulking through the shoreline bulrushes. We watched them for a few moments, snapped a few images and continued on.
When we returned to our put-in spot, we noticed some activity on the south side of a sandy hillside. To our surprise, we saw that there were several Marsh Wrens, both juveniles and adults, enthusiastically dust bathing! For the next hour or so, we sat quietly in our kayak watching them as they flitted about. Not only would they take turns bathing vigorously, they hunted along the underbrush, fed up higher in sweet clover, and a few of them even came over look us over. As is typical of the species, they "hang out" by balancing themselves between bulrush stalks. Lucky for us, one of their dust bathing bowls was at eye level with the kayak.
We observed that activity levels increased when the sun came out while the birds seemed to disappear when clouds darkened the sky.
It wasn't possible to tell if the individuals we were observing belonged to one or more family units, or whether we were witnessing a migration and this hillside was a popular stop over. Whatever the case, we enjoyed our time in their company!
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