Monday, October 11, 2010

Bog blog

Volo Bog is a relic of the Ice Age about 50 miles northwest of Chicago. A massive chunk of ice was stranded here ages ago and left behind the makings of a rare ecosystem. We visited yesterday on a warm, sunny fall day.

The 1,000 acre park includes much more than the bog habitat--prairie, upland forest, savanna to name a few. The open water of this quaking bog, which makes it so unique, is roughly the center of many concentric rings of differing habitat. Around the half-acre of open water is a dense stand of tamarack that includes sphagnum moss and carnivorous pitcher plants. We walked a 2.75-mile loop trail and a half-mile boardwalk that leads to the circle of open water.

The wildlife highlight was a glimpse of a great horned owl, in broad daylight, flying up from the trail about 100 yards from us. We also saw two sandhill cranes very close to the boardwalk and great egrets, green-winged teal and mute swans.

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