Saturday, November 12, 2011
Late Fall on the Fen
"Come on in! The water's fine!" And Sue was right, the water was fine for a paddle through the Glen Lake Fen today. Too cold for a swim, of course, but with high water filling channels now clear of frost-killed lily pads, we could paddle way, way back into the fen to parts we could not slog through in high summer.
Who knows how far we could have paddled, if we hadn't run into this beaver dam? Sure, we could have climbed out and hauled our boats over, but it was just too chilly this morning to risk a possible tumble into that cold, cold water. So we turned around here, deep into the fen in an area marked by a number of beaver lodges and many beaver-felled trees. Sue just couldn't stop remarking about what a great turtle habitat this will be, come summer.
I am more grateful than I can say to have a friend who knows how to amble slowly along a boggy shore, poking into the reeds, trying to identify the remnants of summer's flowers, stopping to photograph the odd anomalous aspect, and just generally reveling in the delights of a bright crisp day to glide along on a beautiful waterway before the ice closes in.
We explored the shore of a Tamarack-studded island, noting the presence of such bog-loving plants as this Bog Rosemary, distinctively purple against the brown-grass background.
We found just one Pitcher Plant, ruby-red in that cold blue water, its single flower still erect and intact.
It was Sue who noticed a whole bank of Bunchberry plants, their leaves the most radiant shades of pinky-purple against a carpet of moss and lichens.
Judging from all the rose hips along the banks, the air must surely have been filled with fragrance in summer.
The remains of Canada Lilies stood out, with their stout pods split open to reveal neatly stacked layers of dark red seeds. (On second thought, these could be the pods of Blue Flag instead.)
Smooth Sumac is now in its glory, its crimson berry clusters held high against the dun background. What lovely Christmas decorations they would make, adorning sprays of evergreens! I wonder how long they keep that gorgeous color. Do they darken with winter's freeze?
For part of our journey today, we were accompanied by a soaring Osprey, who wheeled overhead, then flapped away, only to return shortly to settle into a tree and observe our approach. I sure wish I had a telephoto lens. I can make out that Osprey at the very center of this photo, only because I know he is there. Of course, he flew away again as we drew abreast. A breathtaking sight!