When I drove to the Brownfield Bog, aka Major Gregory Sanborn Wildlife Management Area, this afternoon, my intention was to pay attention to the shrubs that grow there.
But, as usual, the distractions were many and a black swallowtail landed as I stepped out of my truck.
I did note a tremendous amount of wooly alder aphids coating the alder stems everywhere I walked. In fact, I’ve never seen so much fluff. And I found only one ant eager to milk the sweet honeydew produced by the aphids as they sucked the shrubs sap. Once in a while the white fluff danced in the breeze. Was it an aphid on the fly?
Or did it come from the willows that were in the process of sending their seeds forth into the future?
So you see, I was paying attention to the shrubs, especially those in flower like the Northern Arrowwood. There was another with a similar flowerhead, but different leaves and I need to return and spend more time studying it.
Because I was in the bog, I did pause occasionally to peer across its advance, usually with a view of my favorite mountain (Pleasant Mountain) providing the background.
But the dragonflies live there. And the chalk-fronted corporals became my BFF, since as many as twenty lifted off with each step I took. They led me all the way down the trail and all the way back, usually a few feet in front.
The corporals weren’t the only dragons of choice.
Dot-tailed white face dragonflies were happy to pose.
And I even found a few calico pennants–happy to make their acquaintance again.
Between dragon and damselfly opportunities, white globs and . . .
green caught my attention. They were the size of apples and totally new to me. My thought right now is that they are galls, similar to the azalea gall, but these were on maleberry shrubs. If you know otherwise, I welcome your information.
The bog was swollen with water only a few weeks ago, but that story line has passed and life sprang from the spring like a fountain of youth.
My noticing continued when I spied a couple of youthful damselflies . . .
he’d attached himself below her . . .
and ever so slowly advanced . . .
until the circle of love was complete.
Canoodling of all kinds occurred.
Even the dragonflies tried to get in on the action.
She wasn’t very tolerant, however, and a couple of seconds later detached herself from her forward position and took off.
I moved on, looking here and there and thrilling at the sight of the beautiful and iridescent sedge sprite damselfly.
Following the trail to the Saco River, I found tracks galore in the muck below, and a river jewelwing–appropriately named.
As I headed out, I startled a Canada goose family that had been feeding along the edge.
And then I paused for one last look at the bog and Pleasant Mountain.
That’s when I realized I was in the presence of a male ring-necked duck. If you like to bird, this is the place. I saw several but heard so many more. And even if I couldn’t apply a name to a song, I did enjoy the symphony that followed me throughout my adventure.
Though I said I went to look at the shrubs because I do want to learn them, my real reason for going was to see this new installment.
Maine Master Naturalist (and potter) Kathy McGreavy created this handmade and painted map of the bog for her capstone project. Her husband recently installed it and it’s a work of art worth looking at not only to appreciate Kathy’s talent, but also to learn more about the bog and those that call it home.
My hope is that the spotlight will continue to shine brightly on Kathy’s creation . . . made with love in honor of her bog.