Monday, April 6, 2009

The Birds have Returned!

The wading birds are returning in record numbers to nest at Lake Martin. After a gradual decline of the population of nesting birds since 2002 when the lake was first being drained, and then the great mysterious disappearance of the birds nesting along the road in March of 2006, the wading birds are staging a comeback. It is too soon to be certain if the insults, abuses and disrespect of the past are forgiven, but it looks hopefull at this point that the birds will come back to resume the use of Lake Martin as thier choice of nesting site and once again Lake Martin will be the largest nesting area of wading birds in North America. My birding friends are inquiring as of late and are anxious to see it once again become the birding location it was some years ago.

The photo above was taken in the last week of March this year,from the road where photograghers have lined up every spring morning for years to set up tripods and point long high powered lens at exotics like the Roseate Spoonbill and Black Crowned Night Heron.

The photo above was also taken at the same time, showing the diversity and abundance of species that Lake Martin is famous for.

Something else also showed up at the end of March.

Unfortunately, plant control has also returned to Lake Martin and the disturbing photos below show how the application of dangerous herbicides not only deminished the once abundant food supply at Lake Martin it also destroyed the natural beauty that our visiting guests come to appreciate.

Here is what pennywort looks like a few days after the application of the hebicide 2-4-D. Incidentally, in an other place and time, 2-4-D was also known as "agent orange".

Because the big gator above can live for 100 years, one must consider what the long term consequences of exposure to 2-4-D could do to the young gator who not only bathes in contaminated water, but also eats fish and birds which are contaminated too.

The photo above shows a young gator who is lying in an area of dying plants a short time after the application of herbicides.

It is my hope that I can find support locally and from our visiting Louisiana swamp tour guests, to protest the application of herbicides that is not only deminishing the food supply and natural beauty of Lake Martin, but also compromising the long term well-being of wildlife, as well as humans who work and play in these contaminated areas.

I have on numerous occasions witnessed wading birds a day after the application of 2-4-D in the containated areas who could not fly, and they couldn't walk and I was able to drive my boat right up and catch them.

When I brought the bird to a recovery center for evaluation they told me that the bird appeared to have symptoms of chemical contamination. In a day or two it appeared normal and we brought it back to Lake Martin, and released it, as it could fly and we assumed could care for itself.

It has been proposed to me that I should not publish this information about the disturbances at Lake Martin because it might be bad for the swamp tour business. But like last year, when the employees of the Nature Conservancy suggested that I should not say they were building a walkway into the rookery when in fact that is what they were doing, they don't know who they are talking to.