Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Bog in Autumn

November 2, All Soul's Day, the Day of the Dead.  But it wasn't at all a dismal day, what with the brilliant sunshine and bright blue sky, a frosty morning with the promise of warmth to come.  We couldn't have had a nicer day, Sue and I, to revisit our favorite bog near Lake George, to see how the typical bog plants there were changing with autumn's chill.  So we pulled on our rubber bog-trompers, pushed through a hedge, and headed out across the sphagnum mat, surrounded on all sides by plants of spectacular color.

I don't think I've ever seen Winterberry so abundant or so vividly colored.

The Tamaracks' golden glow was intensified in early morning sun.

Just looking at all that gorgeous color brought big smiles to our faces.  I would say that Sue looks very happy to be here.

The fluffy tufts of Cottongrass looked as if they were floating above the bog mat as they swayed and bobbed on their slender stems.

The predominant plant of this particular bog is Leatherleaf, which, this time of year, carpets the ground with colors like stained glass.

Blueberry leaves with the sun behind them resembled tongues of flame.

One leaf in particular caught the sunlight and glowed like a Christmas light.

Down close to the sphagnum mat, ripe cranberries dangled like tiny Japanese lanterns.

Where sunshine had not yet reached the ground,  ruby-red sphagnum was sparkling with frosty ice crystals, as was this little brown leaf, edged with rime.

Although frozen solid, this pretty pink mushroom retained its distinctive color.

An orange jelly fungus had found a home in an old sawn log now covered with moss and lichens.

The Tamaracks and Black Spruces of the bog were veritable lichen farms, their branches festooned with beard lichens, mostly, but Sue found this one carnation-like clump of ruffly lichen, its pale green "petals" outlined with a darker hue.  Very pretty.

This Bartonia was quite a surprise find, a tiny plant hiding out in the grass.  Not very common to begin with, it's a miracle we ever saw it.  Although dried out now and gone to seed, it actually looks pretty much the same as when it was newly in bloom with minute yellow flowers that barely emerge from its sepals.  The five-angled stem is what clinched the ID.

After walking about the bog for an hour or so, sinking up to our ankles at times in the ice-crystalled  moss, our rubber-booted feet began to feel too cold for comfort.  So we headed back to our car, changed into our shoes, and stopped off for a walk at nearby Lake George.

Its surface unmarred by the roaring speedboats of summer,  the lake today was as lovely and serene as a lake could be, dotted with islands and surrounded by mountains that merged with the blue of the sky.

Walking along the beach, we were enjoying the ripples of golden light cast on the sandy bottom, when we stopped to puzzle over this anomalous commotion in the water.  After watching its upwelling motion for a while, we decided it must be a spring.

Here's an apt image to mark the Day of the Dead.  In a nearby park, we found an abundant patch of Partridgeberry with its glossy red fruits and dainty evergreen leaves.  As I knelt to take this photo, I was surprised to find the dried remains of several millipedes curled among the leaves.

Even more surprising was finding this sprightly Dandelion.  In fact, we saw a good number of these sunny yellow blooms starring the green grass of a lawn.  Considered a quintessential spring flower, the Dandelion will often bloom again in autumn, when the length of the day equals that of early spring.  As winter's dark and cold begin to descend, it's nice to have this little reminder that spring will again return.


suep said...

It's so much fun to go walking with you -- as usual ! And YOU were the one to spot the Bartonia (and ID it properly afterward) -

Anonymous said...

Oh Jackie, Your pictures are always so beautiful! And then I saw Lake George in all its glory. It's so nice to be reminded that the Adirondacks are still there, especially from the other end of the state. I miss my mountains. So glad that you are able to enjoy them, and share them with us!

Anonymous said...

You do find beauty everywhere! The small sometimes more precious than the large - the large, in this case the lake, astoundingly breath-taking.

Wayne said...

Wonderful collection of eye-candy! I especially like the bog beauties. Tamaracks are some of the nicest big treats in the fall. I photographed some cottongrass not long ago, and had no idea what it was, so thanks for featuring that. Your blog makes a wonderful field guide to... just about everything!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks for your kind comments, dear friends. It gives me much pleasure to think that you like to come along on my adventures, even if just through this blog. We are blessed with amazing natural beauty all around us, and I feel so grateful to cameras and computers that allow me to share what I see out there.