rainbow shores arethusa

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Location
elmer, nj
After checking out the previous spot for arethusa and finding nothing, I decided to go to a place we had looked before and found the orchids. This was earlier than the last time still, so I was hoping to find some of them emerging with unopened flower buds, so that I could document them. I went searching the day after the long pond trip

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upon arriving at the parking spot for the fen, I remembered that it
was overlooking the eastern shore of lake ontario. this was the middle
of the very busy season at work, and my stress level was pretty high.
it was nice to sit on the guardrail and listen to the sound of the waves
rolling in for a while

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not too far after beating through the bushes and the mud (moat) surrounding
the fen, I spot this very tiny plant/flower of wild cranberry (next to the foot
of my tripod)

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emerging grass pink orchid in bud, quite early

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old seed pod of rose pogonia

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I spotted this grassy leaf/stem which was of an orchid, and thought
at first that it might be an arethusa. later on I realized that though they look very similar it was a grass pink orchid

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two nice double-budded rose pogonias

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after looking all around the main open area and edges of the open fen, I
decide to look over to the right area, where we had found them a number
of years ago. finally I find my first arethusa, and it's a beautiful lilac color!
I was surprised and a little worried that the flower was already looking old.
I had expected to find things coming up, not on their way out :confused:

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close up of the pale beauty

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I soon start spotting more orchids, including this very fresh one which has just opened

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one of new york state's bladderworts; aquatic carnivorous plants

I found a fair amount of orchids, but called Ken to let him know what I'd found. I assumed that he would want to see them so offered to show them to him in a few days

(rest of pictures in following reply window)
 
next day's visit

I called my orchid hunting friend Ken Hull from the fen and asked him if he wanted to come up and check out the orchids. He was definitely up for it, but was concerned that there might not be an easy way to get into the fen, across and through the moat area. I sourced small trees and saplings (in a swamp there are often many fallen trees) and made a 'path' of sorts to the open bog/fen part of the wetland

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a representative view of what the orchids' habitat looks like

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a nice flower with an interesting visitor posing on it!

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a beautiful flower just opening up

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ken corralling a pair of dragon's mouth orchids

more in next reply window
 
last batch

ken took a picture of me while I was trying to figure out the best way to get an image

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I think that from my expression, that my hat has fallen off for the
fourth or fifth time (smile)

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old flower and seed pod of arethusa; note the old flower in the
front left corner

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blue flag iris

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this cute little arethusa was growing in the middle of what I think
was an old footprint, into the middle of a hummock of moss! it had
only about a three inch stem

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one of the nicest ones, though had a little wear and tear around
the edges

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extreme close-up of the lip, showing very unusual shape. dragon's mouth
orchid flowers sort of resemble a cross between a rose pogonia (the lip), and
a grass pink

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on our way out of the fen through the open area, lo and behold
we find an open grass pink orchid! this is really early as well

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a plant and old stem full of dried seed pods of northern white fringed
orchis; there are a good number of these in the open area, some a fairly decent height

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an extreme close-up of a sundew, which can be very difficult to get a
really nice picture of. though it's bright red, often the moss it's growing
in is red as well, along with the other plants like cranberry

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on our way out in the middle of the moat, we are greeted by this cheerful
yellow iris, which is also a little early

there were nearly 150 or so arethusa in flower, either old (about 65%) or
new (maybe only 35% or less). there were some in nice groups around the
edges of an 'open shrub room', and many underneath the shrubby areas. I
still haven't seen them here in the open, but I believe that they must come
up during quite moist and cool years. the first time I was here, we found
some arethusa in the same front right corner of the fen, but didn't look back
further. this year on the first day, I found quite a few but again didn't look
back too far. on the second day I had more time so kept wandering back further
and further towards the other side of the fen, and kept finding more orchids
though most were getting old. i've been told that it's quite a find to have well
over a hundred of these flowering in the same place!
 
Great Charles! Looks like a blast. I wonder if that first shot isn't of a "blue form" of the species. Have you seen any fresh flowers with this pale cast before?

I'm guessing those small trees are quaking aspen, Populus tremuloides. Any other trees in the fen? Arborvitae? Spruce?
 
Interesting shots. I love close-up shots of the sphagnum communities. I presume all this is under snow in winter?
 
Great set Charles!
Nice variety and number of blooms.
Looks like you bullseyed the timing on these.

We got dragon's mouth on the 4th, but could not get close enough to shoot any detail. No grass pink where we were.
Was told beavers are destroying that honey hole by flooding it.
 
Great Charles! Looks like a blast. I wonder if that first shot isn't of a "blue form" of the species. Have you seen any fresh flowers with this pale cast before?

I'm guessing those small trees are quaking aspen, Populus tremuloides. Any other trees in the fen? Arborvitae? Spruce?

lots of questions :) I've seen in books, description of a lilac form of arethusa, white and various shades of pink. that one was the first that I remember, truly lilac color. they will usually be whatever color they will be at the start, and when they get old it will just be faded. they don't usually change color so i'm pretty sure that lilac was it's true color. would have been great to see that prime, though was nice to just see it period

there might be aspen towards the edge, but usually in these fens there aren't any in the open areas. if I remember right there are tamarack and maybe hemlock though maybe not hemlock in this fen... sometimes there is spicebush around fens. in this fen there are mainly tamarack and then shrubs

Interesting shots. I love close-up shots of the sphagnum communities. I presume all this is under snow in winter?

yes, there is often a lot going on on the ground. yes, usually there is snow on most fens/bogs. this spot would normally have tons of lake-effect snow because it's east of lake ontario, but I heard that places like the tug hill and the adirondacks east of there 'only' got 28 inches of snow last year (only two days of snowmobiling, as I was told)

Looks like fun. Tell Ken to stay clear of high-steep slopes. BTW, I can send you a shaver if they've run out in your area! :poke:

i'm sure ken will avoid cliffs from now on without too much prompting. what?! use precious day-off time for shaving? :confused:
 
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