Saturday, August 21, 2010

Eel Brook Bog (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) SOLD!

16 August finds us in the bog at the headwaters of Eel Brook, very nearly in the centre of the Jacquet River Gorge Protected Natural Area. The bog is rosy with red Sphagnum hummocks and patches.  Bog Cotton bobs little white popmoms in the light wind, and gardens of Pitcher Plants nestling their hollow  leaves in the moss raise tall-stemmed, leathery red "lampshade" flowers.

The bog mat, Sphagnum laced together with the roots of low heaths, floats here, depressing several centimetres under each step, and weak enough in some places for a foot - and leg - to punch through.  Biologists wander all over the bog, collecting beetles and rasshoppers, catching Green Frogs and Wood Frogs, baby Maritime Garter Snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis pallidula), netting water insects. and not finding fish or snails.  This is a true bog - with no flow in or out except seepage toward Eel Brook, and so there is no way for purely aquatic animals to reach it except by accident.

This time we entered the PNA from the south, in a four-vehicle "caravan", taking a logging road in from the southern boundary, bumping and splashing carefully up the logging roads, navigating by GPS.  I got an interesting photo from the back seat of three different maps, each inadequate in its own way, being read by the driver and the navigator, while the vehicle was in motion.  Fred was making waypoints at every turn, so at least we would know where we had been.

We stopped at the end of the road and followed Moose trails through forest and Alder thicket, out to a boggy stand of stunted Tamaracks, where I taped my umbrella to sticks and a tree for painting what seemed to be the opening of the bog - but Don returned from the other direction saying that he'd found the main bog, with lots of open water, so I dismantled my field studio and followed him through the bushes - and here we are!

The thing that strikes us about both of the bogs that we've seen in the PNA is how red the Sphagnum is.  The brilliant red carpet of moss that makes up the bog mat here is enhanced by red Pitcher Plants - and red grasshoppers...

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What do you think of this painting, and what do you know about the subject that I have painted?