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  • Writer's pictureEmma Flickinger

Seen in the Bog: Week of November 12, 2023

Seen in the Bog

In mid- to late fall, after the tamaracks are past their peak, does any color remain in Volo Bog? Of course! This Sunday, the bog’s delicate autumn shades of brown were accented with bold primary colors. The sky was bright blue—a perfect sunny day for bog tours!—and the winterberry holly was decorated with vibrant red berries.

A section of the Volo Bog wooden boardwalk. Golden-brown tamarack (larch) needles cover the boardwalk. The trees and other plants in the bog have few or no leaves.
Fallen tamarack needles on the boardwalk

Golden brown tamarack needles carpeted the boardwalk, making footsteps quiet. I startled a tiny mammal that darted under the boardwalk before I could get a look at it. A mouse, vole, or shrew?

A view from the Volo Bog boardwalk. The ground has many fallen tamarack needles. "Beads on a stick" - the fertile fronds of the sensitive fern - are visible in the foreground of the image.
Beads on a stick: how many can you spot?

With (almost) no leaves left on the bog plants, interesting textures revealed themselves among the branches. Large, frilly patches of light green lichen drew the eye. Many “beads on a stick,” the spore-bearing parts of the sensitive fern, poked up close to the boardwalk. The stems of red osier dogwood stood out from their brown surroundings.


The eye (open water center) of Volo Bog. Many short brown plants line the edge of the water. Across the water, tamarack trees are visible.
Shades of brown and blue at the eye of the bog

The water level was also fairly low, exposing more “ground.” Near the eye of the bog, sparrows could be glimpsed foraging around plant roots.


Seen Around The Bog

In the marsh, there were cattail and woolgrass seeds blowing everywhere, as well as prominent signs of recent habitat restoration work.


A sign explains why winterberry holly has been cut back in this section of the bog. The red berries of winterberry holly are visible in the background.
Habitat restoration is underway

A view of the marsh surrounding Volo Bog. Many fuzzy cattails are shown, backlit by the bright sun.
Fuzzy cattails in the marsh



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