Big Moose Inn was wonderful with several days of Common Loon (Gavia immer) sightings on Big Moose Lake just outside our window.
Ferd's Bog seemed to be the most promising. Its location was just minutes from where we were staying, so I was eager to spend some time there.
Weather was generally cloudy and cool with intermittent rain all week, but breaks of sunshine produced some really nice sky contrast for photography. Fall colors ranged from ~5% when we arrived on Saturday (11th) to about 45% by the time we returned home on Friday (17th). Birding was overall very quiet, so most of my time was spent photographing the flora of Ferd's Bog using both the Nikon Coolpix P6000 and Nikon D300 with either the Sigma 18-50mm Macro or 400mm f/5.6.
13 Sep 2010
landed on a snag about 200 ft. away, a bit too far for a decent digiscoped image. But I had just picked up a Hoodman Loupe and was anxious to give it a try. A few minutes later I was treated to a pair of Sharp-shinned Hawks (Accipiter striatus) soaring overhead (unfortunately too far away to photograph against the dark skies).
Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia spp.) everywhere I turned. Clusters of the carnivorus plant were nestled among the Sphagnum and Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifolia) and ranged in color from bright greens to dark purples. Tamarack (Larix laricina) trees were everywhere, as well, and were just starting to change color from summer green to autumn gold.
photographing the moths and the varieties of mushrooms, mosses and lichens in my near vicinity. The mushroom at left showed a sulcate (furrowed) stipe and is thought to be Laccaria spp. (possibly L. striatula).
Creeping Snowberry was everywhere, and almost as numerous as the mosses and shelf fungus lining the trees. I found this (suspected) Vermillion Waxcap (Hygrocybe miniata) and had to photograph it w/ the Coolpix. Tiny Red Maple seedlings were bright red and stood out among the mosses and snowberry.
I was done by noon, and got back to the car to find some lunch. I managed to scare up a Veery (Catharus fuscescens) on my way out, but saw no other birds the rest of the day.
14 Sep 2010
The American Kestrels were still about, but rarely close enough to observe. I hiked into the bog toward an open stream, hoping to get close enough to a pair of Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) that had flown by, but they were gone. As crouched in a thick patch of Bog Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) soared momentarily overhead before flying back to the north.
Pitcher Plants. I was careful to avoid stepping on anything but sphagnum moss, and was rewarded with a few, fairly exposed clumps of Pitcher Plant. The image at left even had a nearby Vermillion Waxcap (?) mushroom growing alongside. As I walked I found numerous tiny clumps of these bright red mushrooms, always within inches of the Pitcher Plants.
panoramas with the 18-50mm lens, orienting the camera so as to capture sequences of images in portrait mode. I would then later stitch (up to 16 images) a series of images using Adobe Photoshop CS4's Photomerge Utility. What a brilliant piece of software. It managed to create some wonderful panoramas with seamless effort. As hard as I tried, I could not do it manually.
As I reached the boardwalk I realized that my 400mm lens had fallen out of my vest pocket. I had to wander back out onto the bog mat with the hopes of finding the lens. Luckily, it only took a few minutes to see it lying in a clump of moss. Close call!
small stream connected to an open portion of the bog. A small foot trail led along the edge of the stream, so I was confident that I wouldn't go through the mat. The grasses were starting to turn yellow, and the contrast against the sky was really something.
Reindeer Moss (Cladonia spp.) and lichens (Cladonia chlorophaea) are some of my favorites, and it was fun to see and photograph them again.
Vermillion Waxcap that I photographed yesterday appeared just a bit drier today, but still quite lovely.
'wet' sphagnum was gradually replaced by 'drier' ferns, mosses and lichens. Club mosses (Lycopodium spp.) became more apparent, and British Soldier Lichens (Cladonia cristatella) appeared. This possible Pholiota squarrosa stood out like a prickly golf ball on a decaying log. This bright yellow-orange Dacrymyces palmatus looked like wet brains oozing out of the wood.
15 Sep 2010
16 Sep 2010
I decided to hike the bog mat around the perimeter of the lake to see if I could pick up some birds. Not 150' from the boardwalk when I heard a pair of Boreal Chickadees (Poecile hudsonicus) singing along the edge of the woods. Try as I might, though, the birds wouldn't come out into the open. I did attract a pair of Chestnut-sided Warblers (Dendroica pensylvanica) but couldn't photograph them through the trees.
I picked my way out to open water where I spotted 3 Wood Ducks swimming in the open. They were too far away to digiscope, besides, I had no secure ground to plant the tripod. A pair of American Kestrels were flying back and forth along the far shoreline.
beautiful bird against the light sky. They stayed only a few moments to check me out, then flew off to the woods behind me. Still, I managed a few nice keepers and got to enjoy them up close! Woo-hoo!
Problem was, though, my buddy/boss Mike I. was at a business conferene giving a poster of mine and needed information. This required driving into town where I could get a cell phone connection, so instead of driving in one direction to go back to the hotel (no phone service) I drove to town to talk to him. Once that session was over, I figured I could grab a quick sandwich and head back, but the sandwich took forever to make, and I now had the opportunity to visit Robin (who was now on her lunch break). So, after visiting w/ her a bit, I drove back and cleaned up. Luckily, no reactions to bog flotsam (yay).
Timing couldn't have been better, 'cause no sooner did I reach the Big Moose Inn that the skies opened up for heavy rains. They wouldn't cease for the next 2 days, and we were ready to head home. So, Gray Jays put a nice ending to a wonderful bog trip!
Click here for slide show of all images taken during the trip! Hope you enjoyed.