Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Fen Adventure

So this spring/summer we explored a fen a few times . What's a fen you ask? Well to be precise, Merriam-Webster says a fen is low land that is covered wholly or partly with water unless artificially drained and that usually has peaty alkaline soil and characteristic flora (as of sedges and reeds).

We say it's a very cool place that one has to explore to fully appreciate, but here are some photos to show you:

Grasses, sedges, rushes - oh my! (Remember: sedges have edges, rushes are round)

A whimsical little path just calling my name!

Fens support all kinds of wildlife including the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly. This butterfly needs White Turtlehead (a pretty flowering plant that looks like a white turtle head) for food for its larvae = caterpillars. Since a lot of our wetlands have been drained here in the Midwest and across our country White Turtlehead is not abundant anymore and so this butterfly is declining. It was quite a cool find. Go Steve!

Dragonflies live in and around fens too. This particular dragonfly, a male Calico Pennant, loves water that is shallow and highly oxygenated. Check out those colors!

I get pretty excited about this stuff as showcased by me in the fen. :)

Steve had to work while I played, but he enjoyed himself too.

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