Posts Tagged ‘wetlands’

Follow me on a dragon hunt along this bracken bordered path into the bog. Don’t be afraid, but be careful where you put down your feet. The bog is never as it seems.

Moss that appears ankle deep will sometimes make you sink up to your hips in green. Grassy and muddy open areas can be as deceiving and  treacherous as quicksand.

Ancient northern peoples often hid their treasures and their dead in bogs. The bog swallowed them whole, preserving them indefinitely for centuries with its magical mud. Perhaps that’s why the dragons are here…

Known through the ages as protectors of treasure, dragons are part of the lore of many cultures. Sometimes good, sometimes evil, in Medieval England they were symbols of greed.  Back then, conquering a dragon was a metaphor for conquering one’s desires for the material world.

Nobody knows what treasures are protected here by these dragon’s mouth orchids.  One can only imagine. Dare you look down into the mouth of a dragon and ask?

Looking into the mouth of the dragon

Although they have mouths, these dragons aren’t likely to tell us what treasures are buried here. They’ve kept their secrets well hidden for centuries already.  Why tell now?


More information about the dragon’s mouth orchid can be found at John Crabtree’s  Mushrooms and  Wildflowers of Nova Scotia.

Text and images copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

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‘We’ve been expecting you,’ the salt marsh sentinel announces from his roost at the top of the spruce.  It’s the first time I’ve seen great blue herons perched high on the treetops.   Though it all looks like business-as-usual in the marsh, there are always wonders waiting to be discovered.   It’s good to be back. 

‘We heard you’d been combing the beaches looking for us,’ the sea stars say collectively.  ‘We thought if we gathered together in one spot, you’d know how much we missed you and you missed us.  Why did it take so long for you to seek us here?’  

‘It’s a long story,’ I tell them, ‘one with lots of drama that didn’t involve me but nevertheless took a toll on my days.  Children suddenly needed me and caring for them took all of my energy.’

 ‘Tell me about it,’ another heron adds.  ‘We know what it takes to rear the next generation in an environment that seems more and more out of our control.’

‘I knew you’d understand,’ I tell them.  

A kingfisher ‘s compact body finds a stable position at the end of a dried twig.  I marvel at how expertly birds keep their bodies and lives in balance.  

In spring and summer their focus is on ensuring that the young ones survive to maturity.  No hardship or sacrifice seems too great as they provide sustenance and safety to the next generation.  But then, after giving their all for a season, they quietly revert back to concerns for their own well-being.    Could it be because they carry no burdens in their hearts that they are light enough to fly such long distances to warmer climes?

Thank you to all who sent emails or left kind comments asking where I was over the past few months.  It is good to be back 🙂


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According to the Canadian Ice Service, an enormous chunk of ice, 260 sq.km. in size, separated from a glacier in Greenland last week, becoming the most spectacular event to take place in the Arctic in 50 years. The broken piece will eventually fragment and inevitably melt in warmer waters, contributing to rising sea levels worldwide.

The first 6 months of 2010 were the hottest globally on record.  [See Ice Island Breaks Off Glacier at the Weather Network].

It’s dawn and the sandpipers are gathering at low tide along the shoreline in the marsh.  They’re so intent on eating that they take no notice of humans next to them on the trail.  Their gentle piping calls to one another are a fitting accompaniment to the rising sun.

Sandpipers have always seemed to me to be among the most delicate of the shore birds.  Like the endangered plovers, their fleeting movements, whether in flight or along the edge of the water,  never give me a chance to appreciate them for long.  I wonder if they’ll be affected by the oil spill down south when they migrate this fall.  [See BP oil spill could affect Maritime plovers at CBC].

Further along the shore, growing near the strandlines, statice is beginning to bloom.  It seems odd that such a delicate flower chooses to grow here along such a rugged shoreline.   Yet it manages to survive, despite winter’s stormy waters and winds.

When I think of rising sea levels, I wonder how wildlife such as sandpipers and statice will be affected in the years to come.  Will they simply disappear?  Or will they find a way to cling to life beyond the present shoreline?

This is a beautiful planet and not at all fragile.  Earth can withstand significant volcanic eruptions, tectonic cataclysms, and ice ages.  But this canny, intelligent, prolific, and extremely self-centered human creature has proven himself capable of more destruction of life than Mother Nature herself…. We’ve got to be stopped.

~ Michael L. Fischer

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sunrise november 9

The sun is just rising along the Salt Marsh Trail when the sound of geese begins to float in from the north.  They are waking up just beyond the island and preparing for flight.

geese arriving 2

Moments later, their distant honking turns into a loud roar.  What are they calling out to each other as they head out to sea?

geese overhead

Their numbers are in the thousands and it’s impossible to photograph them all in the sky.  To see so many geese flying directly overhead at dawn is an awesome experience.  The rays of dawn light up their feathers, revealing the beauty of their markings.

geese overhead 2

Their formations are like ribbons in the sky as they begin to organize themselves for their long journey south.

geese at sunrise

Within a couple of minutes, the event is over as they head out beyond the marsh to the Atlantic.  The sun is still rising beyond the horizon.

lone gooseForty minutes later, a lone goose can be heard flying around the marsh.  Its calls are distinct and clearly those of a Canada goose.  How did it possibly miss the wake up call? 

Its unanswered calls sound lonely and frantic.  Geese are known for their manner of leaving no goose behind.  How could this have happened?  Hopefully there will be more geese passing through here this week and this lone goose will be able to join the rest of its kind in their long journey south.


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The Salt Marsh Trail is finally clear of snow and ice after a long winter.  It’s an ideal place to go for an easy, quiet walk with lots of panoramic views.   The trail cuts right through the middle of a watershed, providing close-up views of wildlife as they go about their daily business.  As the tides come and go, you can hear the water rushing under the bridges. 

These wetlands lie just beyond Rainbow Haven Beach and are accessible from Bissett Road.

For further information about the Salt Marsh Trail, see https://flandrumhill.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/the-salt-marsh-trail/

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