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Marvels in the Muck: Life in the Salt Marshes

Overview


Stunning photos and expert text reveal the secret lives of salt marshes. Along the coasts, where ocean tides mix salt water with fresh water, nature has created salt marshes?soggy places full of natural wonders. For years, salt marshes were maligned, drained, or filled in. Now salt marshes are valued as the home of fascinating wildlife, including more than twenty different species of birds. Ornithologist and photographer Doug Wechsler takes the reader on a down-and-muddy tour of the year-round activity in these ...
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Overview


Stunning photos and expert text reveal the secret lives of salt marshes. Along the coasts, where ocean tides mix salt water with fresh water, nature has created salt marshes?soggy places full of natural wonders. For years, salt marshes were maligned, drained, or filled in. Now salt marshes are valued as the home of fascinating wildlife, including more than twenty different species of birds. Ornithologist and photographer Doug Wechsler takes the reader on a down-and-muddy tour of the year-round activity in these wonderlands. Young readers will marvel at the strange and skillful birds and unusual vegetation, beautifully adapted to live and thrive in salt marshes. Kids will appreciate what has taken so long for us to learn: salt marshes are delicate wetlands, well worth defending.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The engaging photograph on the cover of a diamondback turtle is enough to entice anyone to open this book. If you grew up along the coast, and especially in New Jersey as I did, then you are no stranger to salt marshes. They teem with life, but are often ignored since they are really not a place that attracts people. With an engaging text that describes the animals and seasons, Wechsler takes us on a fascinating tour of a typical salt marsh. During the winter birds from the Arctic feed on the plants while black ducks feed on snails. Bald eagles have made a comeback and they prey on the birds and fish. Spring brings the return of the gulls who will breed in the cordgrass. Gulls feed on worms, crabs, and even dead fish. There is a great description of the food chain and crisp, clear photographs to provide the same information in pictorial form, as well as a diagram. The birds were what I remember the most—big, beautiful white egrets—others were harder to spot since their coloring lets them blend in with their surroundings. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal

Gr 5-7

A season-by-season look at the ecology of an oft-overlooked habitat. Wechsler's lucid text introduces the insects, birds, reptiles, crustaceans, and other critters that claim this salty expanse as home. He explains the benefits of that smelly mud, and of the plants that take root in it and the life-forms that depend on it. He discusses the value of this seemingly inhospitable landscape as a "nursery" to a host of species, and its overall place in the natural scheme of things. Clear color photos present species mentioned in the text. Team this with Kevin Kurtz's A Day in the Salt Marsh (Sylvan Dell, 2007), which provides an hourly as opposed to a seasonal approach, or, for younger readers, Paul Fleisher's Salt Marsh (Benchmark, 1999). Salvatore Tocci's Marine Habitats (Watts, 2004) and/or Sally M. Walker's Life in an Estuary (Lerner, 2003) also contain supplemental data in specific chapters.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Naturalist Wechsler's latest takes readers on a season-by-season look at a New Jersey salt marsh. The year begins in winter with the teeming life of warmer weather mostly burrowed under the mud. Spring marks the return of migrating species and the greening of the cordgrass that makes up the majority of salt marsh flora. Summer is a good time to explore the plants that make up the salt marsh . . . if it is windy enough to keep the biting insects away. In the fall, the birds begin their migrations south to warmer marshes. The seasonal organization works well, and the density of the text allows the author to go into a fair amount of detail on such topics as nesting, tidal action and the food chain. Stunning photos of animals with which most readers will be unfamiliar decorate the account throughout. Backmatter includes an explanation of tides, a glossary (even though words are defined within the text), suggested readings and websites and an index. A solid introduction to the complexity and interconnectedness of life in a single habitat. (Nonfiction. 9-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590785881
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 10 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Doug Wechsler is a wildlife photographer, an ornithologist, and director of Visual Resources for Ornithology (VIREO) at the Academy of Natural Sciences. He lives in Philadelphia.
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