Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Scenes from the Black Bay Fen

Last weekend, we spent the better part of a day slogging along muddy logging roads and sodden fen near Nipigon. Our destination was the Everard Fen, a precious wetland on the Black Bay Peninsula, acquired by the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists in 2000. The fen is home to a population of Sharp-tailed Grouse and LeConte's Sparrow. While we didn't see either of these species, we did see and hear the resident Sandhill Cranes, Palm Warblers and courtship flights of Northern Harriers. Only minutes from where we parked our car, we watched a Great Gray Owl capture a small rodent at the edge of a clear-cut.

[click on images to enlarge]
Accessing the fen necessitates a walk of about four km along a very soft logging road before bushwhacking for another km through cedar swamp.

We crossed paths with a Striped Skunk who seemed to be in a hurry.

At last we found ourselves on the open fen, which appeared pretty dry.
The fen itself was quiet and we had the sense that we might have been a little early to find orchids in flower. Many of the expected heaths were in flower including Velvet Leaf Blueberry, Leatherleaf, Bog Laurel, Small Cranberry and Bog Rosemary.

Buckbean was also coming into flower.
It was a great day. We'd love to take a few weeks to explore the Black Bay Peninsula on foot and by kayak.

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