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  • Writer's pictureEmma Flickinger

Seen in the Bog: Week of February 19, 2024

Updated: May 30

Seen in the Bog

Only a few shriveled berries still cling to the branches of the winterberry holly. Is winter coming to an end?

Bare winterberry holly with a single shriveled berry on one of the branches
A lone winterberry holly fruit

From the marsh boardwalk, a visitor spotted a large, blue bird—a blue jay?—perched in the tall shrubs. The group advanced softly along the boardwalk, careful not to disturb the bird with loud footfalls or raised voices. There was no need. The "blue jay" was a plastic bag.

Once we had entered the bog, however, plenty of real birds made themselves heard. Smaller birds were chirping throughout the walk. We occasionally heard distant geese and the cries of a red-tailed hawk.

The water level was a bit higher than it was in the previous "Seen in the Bog" post. Air bubbles, seeds, leaves, and the occasional fallen berry were trapped under ice.

A knee-height view of hummocks, with bare shrubs growing out of them, with ice covering the water between them
Low waterways between hummocks of sphagnum moss have frozen over

In the eye of the bog, another attentive visitor pointed out a creature swimming in the water—a large bullfrog tadpole approaching the surface, then diving again. The tea-colored water made it appear rusty orange.

The restoration project in the bog continues. Cut shrubs and neon tags like these mark the work of diligent volunteers.

A view from the bog boardwalk showing an area where most of the shrubs have been cut close to the ground. Some of the remaining plants have bright pink ties affixed to them.
Letting the sunlight in

Seen Around the Bog

Thin, patchy ice sheets floated on the marsh water. No critters were glimpsed in the marsh, but on the way back to the visitor center, we caught sight of the hawk we had heard earlier.

A bright, sunny view of an area of open water in the marsh. The water is frozen in some places and is bordered by dry cattails.
Ice here and there on the marsh

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