Monday, May 28, 2007

Webb's Mill Bog Walk

This weekend must have been "bog weekend." Laura, from Somewhere in NJ, posted a report and some great pics from Webb's Mill Bog, located in the Pine Barrens of NJ. Beth and I also visited this location yesterday. Webb's Mill is the most accessible place in NJ to see unique plants such as Pitcher Plants, Sundews, Bladderworts, and several rare orchids. The prime time to go is in late June or early July, but this time of year is full of pleasantries in its own right.

Webb's Mill Bog

Beth and I had been planning to visit here for a long time and we finally made it down. The bog is accessible due to the existence of a terrific boardwalk that lets you get close to the habitat without disturbing it. Upon entering the bog, we quickly discovered Pitcher Plants and the only orchid of the day - Arethusa (aka Dragon's Mouth). The Arethusa were a little too far away to get descent pics. Among the sphagnum moss, we quickly found the three species of sundew: Thread-leaved Sundew, Spatulate-leaved Sundew, and Round-leaved Sundew. We had some trouble separating the latter two, but I think we saw both. None of them had flowers yet, but they should relatively soon.

Pitcher Plant Flower

Thread-leaved Sundew

Interesting shrubs abound in the bog. Sheep Laurel, Leatherleaf, Highbush Blueberry, and Swamp Azalea are all over the place. The Sheep Laurel are just beginning to bud and we managed to find one in bloom. Leatherleaf just finished blooming and some Blueberry bushes had flower buds and one or two had flowers (one even had some young berries).

Sheep Laurel in bloom

The dominant tree here is the Atlantic White Cedar. At one time covering a good portion of NJ, this tree is now restricted to a few areas of the state. Pitch Pine and Black Jack Oak round out the dominant trees.

Bird-wise we heard Pine Warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, lots of Common Yellowthroats, and Blue-winged Warbler among the more common birds. On the entomology front, we observed several Odonates including White Corporal, Blue Corporal, Common Whitetail, and Pine Barrens Bluet. Pine Barrens Bluet is a damselfly endemic to the pine barrens habitat.

Thanks to Beth for taking the pictures while I was hunting dragonflies. We can't wait to go back and we plan to before the end of June.


LauraHinNJ said...

Glad you found it. On my first visit I drove up and down 539 at least a dozen times searching.

It's interesting to read what you found that I missed. I looked for the other sundews, but didn't find them - maybe next time I should bring a hand lens - they're so tiny! I didn't find sheep laurel there, but saw lots of it at Whitesbog. I have a pic of huckleberry which I was glad to find there- I know it's really common, but it's a favorite.

I must have walked near to 5 miles at Whitesbog looking for some reservoir where Golden Club is supposed to be abundant. Those darn sand trails are so confusing I finally turned around and headed back to the car before I was totally lost out there in the barrens. That's partly what's so nice about Webb's Mill - no hiking to get there and no chance to get lost.

Anyway - I look forward to seeing what you find on your next visit.

Larry said...

Boardwalks are great-I wish there were more of them.-Nice job with the photos!-Who's the better photographer?