Travel In Wetland

Outdoor Etiquette

The wetland is not a controlled environment, nor should it be.

  • Be gentle with live creatures and trees
  • Lead by example
  • Learn and respect wildlife alarm signals
  •  Don’t stress wildlife by chasing, flushing, or making noises
  •  Leave natural features as you found them (overturned logs, leaves for cover etc.)
  •  Tread lightly, staying on trails
  •  Take only pictures and leave only footprints

Field Journaling Guidelines

All scientists who work in the field should keep a field journal. In it they record everything they find, observe, and collect. No matter what kind of science they are doing–whether they are studying plants or arthropods, mammals or fish, individual organisms or interactions between organisms–their journals contain the evidence on which all of their work is based. The journals scientists keep become the property of the Museum or other institution for which the study was done. They are kept so other investigators can use them as references, sometimes many years later.
  • Make observations, gather evidence and information
  • Lead by example
  • Note down questions, ideas, thoughts and theories
  •  Record scientific data

Standard Field Equipment

Outdoor Etiquette

  • Binoculars
  • GPS (if available)
  • Permanent marker
  • Sound recorder (if available)
  • Tape Measure
  • Clip Boards
  • Compasses
  • Field Guides
  • Flagging
  • First Aid Kit
  • Hand Lenses
  • Journals
  • Pencils
  • Rulers
  • Sample Data Sheets
  • Specimen Bags & Containers (zip-lock bags)
  • Site Aerial Photos and Maps
  • Whistle


  • Wear earth color cloths (earth color – colors found in nature such as brown in soil, green leaf, cloudy sky, blue water…) and hats, avoid bright colors!
  • Wear shoes that cover your feet appropriately!
  • Small, light-weight bag to carry field equipment and a drinking water bottle

Field Guidelines

  • Stop – talking – become a tree, a rock, an animal…
  • Stop – when there is an alarm call.
  • Stop – when an animal looks at you
  • Stop – learn to freeze
  • Look – with splatter vision to see movement
  • Look – at edges of fields and forests and water
  • Look – for tracks and signs
  • Look – deeply at patterns, shapes and shadows
  • Listen – to what the birds are saying
  • Listen – near and far for sounds
  • Listen – for a rustle, swish or crunch…
  • Listen – with deer ears
  • Move – when an animal looks away from you.
  • Move – in slow motion
  • Move – with the wind

What is an Ecosystem?

An ecosystem is made up of all of the living and nonliving things in an area. This includes all of the plants, animals, and other living things that make up the communities. Wetlands are also a specific ecosystem which is unique and productive where terrestrial and aquatic habitats meet. Wetlands play a critical role in maintaining many natural cycles and supporting a wide range of biodiversity. They purify and replenish our water, and provide the fish and rice that feed billions.

What is a habitat?

A habitat is the natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism. Almost every place on Earth is a habitat for some kinds of animals, plants or other living organisms. Most habitats include a community of animals and plants along with water, oxygen, soil or sand, and rocks.

Which is a wading bird?

Any of various long-legged birds that wade the shallow waters and marshes in search of food (such as herons, bitterns, storks, and ibises)

Which is a resident bird?

The birds who do not fly over long distances, and they have been able to survive any climatic season without spending energy to go around the world for food. One of the most important characteristics of a resident bird is that, they are more tolerant of many environmental conditions. They do not leave their home for season changes.

Which is a migratory bird?

If there isn’t enough food, then they migrate to find better places. Bird migration is regular seasonal movement, often north and south along a flyway, between breeding and wintering grounds. Many species of bird migrate. Some birds travel very long distances. Eg: The tiny arctic tern makes the longest migration (96,000km). When migratory birds have to travel, they align themselves with the magnetic field lines and travel to their location. Along with this, migratory birds may also find their way by creating a mental map of their route using mountains, rivers, etc.

The Colombo wetland Habitat types

There are seven major habitat types for Colombo wetlands based on the vegetation, tree dominated wetlands (woodlands), herb dominated wetlands (Marshes), water bodies with submerged or floatingvegetation, open water bodies and tree dominated terrestrial habitats present at the edge of the wetlands.

  • Herb dominated Low Vegetation
  • Herb dominated High Vegetation
  • Annona Woodland
  • Mixed Woodland
  • Water with Floating Vegetation
  • Open Water
  • Highland Vegetation associated with wetlands

What is a food chain?

Every living thing needs energy in order to live. Everytime animals do something (run, jump) they use energy to do so. Animals get energy from the food they eat, and all living things get energy from food. Plants use sunlight, water and nutrients to get energy (in a process called photosynthesis). Energy is necessary for living beings to grow.

A food chain shows how each living thing gets food, and how nutrients and energy are passed from creature to creature. Food chains begin with plant-life, and end with animal-life. Some animals eat plants, some animals eat other animals.

A simple food chain could start with grass, which is eaten by rabbits. Then the rabbits are eaten by foxes. A food web consists of many food chains.

A food chain shows how each living thing gets food, and how nutrients and energy are passed from creature to creature. Food chains begin with plant-life, and end with animal-life. Some animals eat plants, some animals eat other animals.

A food chain only follows just one path as animals find food

eg: A hawk eats a snake, which has eaten a frog, which has eaten a grasshopper, which has eaten grass.

eg: A hawk might also eat a mouse, a squirrel, a frog or some other animal. The snake may eat a beetle, a caterpillar, or some other animal and so on for all the other animals in the food chain.

A food web is several food chains connected together.

What happens to the energy in a food chain?

What happens to the energy in a food chain?

Energy is used by living organisms to fuel their life processes. Only a small part of the energy taken in by an animal over its life span is stored; the majority is used by the animal to help it keep warm and perform bodily functions such as breathing, eating and moving. For this reason, the energy available to organisms at each successive stage of a food chain is always less than the total energy taken in by the preceding organisms. Energy, unlike most components in an ecosystem, does not recycle – it simply diminishes with each step in the food chain. Fortunately, with the sun as the ultimate source of energy, there is a considerable amount of energy remaining to fuel the food chains of today and tomorrow

Trophic Levels

Each level in a food web is described with a trophic level. Here are the five trophic levels:

  • Level 1: Plants (producers)
  • Level 2: Animals that eat plants or herbivores (primary consumers)
  • Level 3: Animals that eat herbivores (secondary consumers, carnivores)
  • Level 4: Animals that eat carnivores (tertiary consumers, carnivores)
  • Level 5: Animals at the top of the food chain are called apex predators. Nothing eats these animals.

Things to think about as a little naturalist:

  • What is your animal called?
  • Which layer of the rainforest does your animal live in?
  • What does your animal like to eat?
  • Who likes to eat your animal?!
  • Is your animal at risk from people?
  • How has your animal adapted to rainforest conditions?
  • What does your animal look like?
  • What is the level of work you are producing?

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