Dragons and Smartweed and Ducks, Oh My!

More color photos will be found in our Facebook page album.

By Marj Frew

The abundant rainfall in our area has caused many setbacks and problems for rural Bennett County residents. The back roads and small culverts have taken a blow from the increased flow of water. Planting and haying has been delayed because of the increase of standing water in fields.

In spite of all the hardships caused by the increased rain, the area has also seen some unexpected natural blessings.

Mosquitoes, which are an annoying problem with standing water, are also a delicious food source for dragonflies, which have been reported in abundance this year. 

Taking advantage of the extra water sources, female dragonflies deposit their eggs on the water’s surface, or sometimes insert them into aquatic plants or moss. Once hatched, the nymph dragonfly spends its time hunting mosquitoes, and are also eaten by birds.

Taylor Risse reported an entire line of dragonflies perched on the wire around her garden. Most anyone who has spent time outside has probably seen many of these glassine creatures.

Another occurrence which has developed in the Tuthill area has been the spreading of a plant known as Smartweed. The pink blooming plants have taken over the rising waters on both sides of the road just a few miles south of Tuthill. 

Kaye Hodson reported that she has traveled the Tuthill Road for years and has not seen the plant growing in the area in past years.

Many forms of wildlife were enjoying the cover of the plants as I stopped by the area to take pictures one evening last week.

On the west side of the road, a mama duck was leading her brood quietly through the waters, not paying any attention to me. On the east side, a black duck was smoothly gliding through the Smartweed, playing in and around the edges. 

Other groups of ducks could be heard playing and splashing in the interior of the waters, out of view, although they could be heard, and the splashing could be seen once in a while.

Above, on the telephone wire, a few common birds were gathering and flitting from wire to wire, while other groups of ducks and geese were landing and taking off in the distance.

Although it isn’t highly recommended to stand beside a country road with traffic passing by, the view from this little area of the Tuthill Road was well worth the effort of driving out to see it.

502 Second Avenue, Martin, SD 57551 • 605-685-6866 • booster@gwtc.net