Friday, July 11, 2014

Boggy Margins

Big Beauty So Small                                         27 June 2014

Grass Pink Bog Orchid

The end of June often finds me walking in bogs, usually in search of bird data, but sometimes in the quest for a simple photograph, perhaps some dew or raindrop accenting one of the bog's many seldom-visited, little-known beauties.

Ruffed Grouse hen

In the Black River State Forest, the boggy pay-out is a wealth of grass pink bog orchid, genus Calopogon. The grass pink go unnoticed for most of June, and then, in the second half of the month, the bloom takes off and takes us by surprise.  The bogs, wet this year and rich in ericaceous leaf out and sphagnum mosses, have been hiding this secret.  Now, to the delight of  polinating bees, perhaps the adoring eye of the bog's Nashville Warblers, and to the joy of this ornithologist, the green and watery expanses explode to carpets of purple, lavender, pink, and white blossoms.

Crawling around low to the ground gives a unique perspective, making orchids into giants, bringing a human face to face with other low-to-the-ground animals.   Surprised by a short-tailed weasel, I squeaked with kisses on the back of my hand and lured the cautious weasel back for a curious peek.  As the weasel approached, intently studying my alluring sounds, I could only detect its approach by an occasionally nodding sedge.  Finally, the weasel eased into view, inconvenienced from its original intentions by a few moments. I made just a few images and watched it skulk away.

Short-tailed Weasel

All images were made with a refurbished Canon 7D, a Canon 300mm f4L IS lens, and a Gitzo Basalt tripod.