Unfortunately, I only had about a half an hour on the island and it was part of a guided tour group so I was limited by what I could do (or what I could get away with doing). Unfortunately the tour took place at midday which is the WORST time to photograph outdoors.
For those that don't know, the Cranberry Bog is an island of sphagnum that our guide said went down about 47 feet. The island has shrunk tremendously in the last few decades and is down to only about 10 or 11 acres and there is no way to stop the depletion. Part of it is due to the wake of boats, but much of it is natural.
Here we approach the bog. It is the second clump of trees from the left.
There is a small dock at the head of the trail which goes through the bog basically in a U shape and comes out at another similar dock so I couldn't go through the bog a second time.
Upon entering the bog, I stepped off of the boardwalk onto a clear patch next to it and wasn't quite ready for how squishy it was. There was a bucket of live sphagnum that the guide let people touch as he explained what it was and how the bog environment exists. The difference in ph level from the surrounding lake outside of the bog to the water within the bog was something like 3 ph levels. After the talk about what NOT to touch, we came upon a large patch of-what else?-cranberries. There was another pot with some cranberry plants in it so that we could view it up close without worrying about the Poison Sumac that was spread amongst the berries.
The next stop was an area right next to the path where a small area looked like it had been cleared of the grasses and ferns that cluttered the rest of the path. There were two magnifying glasses on the path and everyone was encouraged to use them to view the little plants in this cleared area:
Personally, I thought that they were huge compared to the D rotundifolia that I usually see. The guide admitted that they needed to keep the brush in check to keep from smothering the sundews. There had been a large patch on the other side of the path but it had long since become overgrown.
He told us that the open meadow areas of the bog are kept cleared of trees and such to keep the sunlight available as much as possible. An odd peculiarity with this floating island is that the trees around the perimeter play a major role in weighing the bog down and are certain ones are routinely removed. There is a story that a chunk of bog broke free and a guy woke up and looked out of his window at the lovely view and there were trees out there that hadn't been there previously!
Most people probably saw this on the tour:
But of course all I saw was:
From this point on, paying attention to the guide proved to be a bit of a task. Everywhere I looked were S purpurea purpurea
The guide did not say a word (that I heard) about the orchids on the island. As I understand it, there are two species but since he never said anything I have no idea what this is. I'm sure someone can ID this on here:
There was a NICE potted specimen of the purps that people could touch if they wanted. It didn't look as though any of these potted examples were freshly potted which made me wonder how they kept things alive over winter in the pots but I didn't get a chance to ask about them.
playing with depth of field extremes:
The carnivorous plants on this island are especially aggressive:
The guide's suspicion was that perhaps an osprey dropped it in mid-flight but I think that some free-spirited sarracenia grew weary of the same old gnat and fly soup. Hey, if evolution brought these plants this far, who is to say that some of them aren't carrying it a little further and expanding their menus?
There are a few more generic bog shots that I hope to add when they're available. I do hope that I can return someday without the guide so that I can take some time and really soak it all in. There is an interesting thermometer station about 2/3 of the way through. There is a thermometer on a pole that registered the air's temps (often in the 90s or above) and at the base of the pole is another thermometer stuck in the moss that extends just about three inches in and it reads about 60 most of the time. It was a great example of the insulation properties of the mat of live sphagnum.