Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Down at the Bog

Oh, the places you will go on a Christmas Bird Count!  My partner Ryan Steiner and I pulled the lucky task of having Brown's Lake Bog in our Wooster CBC route.  This property is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy and is a dedicated Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves site.

Ryan clued me in to the great birding along this edge line.  It was a happy spot for White-throated Sparrows, Tufted Titmice, Northern Cardinals and a calling Carolina Wren.

But always the weed-picker, I would not be satisfied until we had a quick peek at the bog mat in the center of this preserve.  Growing out on the mats of lime green moss, we found our winter wonders. Pitcher-plants, Sarracenia purpurea are carnivorous plants, a rare find in Ohio due to their habitat requirements.  Mid-Ohio especially, does not offer many kettle hole bogs.

Pitcher-plants, Sarracenia purpurea in winter.  

It is a little easier to understand the Latin name's specific epithet  "purpurea" once you've seen these plants in the winter!  They take on  a reddish-to-purplish hue due to anthocyanins- the same chemicals that make maple leaves change colors in the fall. 

The pitchers weren't catching many flies on this chilly winter morning, but we looked deep into the pots for evidence of previous prey.  Enlarge the photo and note the one-way (down-down-down) hairs that prevent a fly or beetle from crawling away from certain death.   Sarracenia are  exciting plants- anytime of year!

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