new munster bog island is sandy knoll of hardwoods surrounded by shrub-carr and tamarack bog. the kids were along for this one, and a couple did try to bushwhack with me, but that shrub-carr was tough, and we got turned back before we reached the knoll.
however, after some time crawling around in the mud and moss, we went back and enjoyed the habitat around and in palmer creek, which lies between the sna and the parking area. saw waxwings and herons, springs under bold spring skies. lovely.
i did find a patch of watercress (thanks to the wdnr and british poet geraldine clarckson for the i.d.), which was very pretty, but also a non-native that can choke out other plants in cold-water springs. and it was in a spring run. next time i’ll forage it, giving other plants some room and us some food direct from the earth.
texas island woods is a mature hardwood forest inhabiting an “island” upland surrounded by marsh and shrub swamp in jefferson county, wisconsin. access is via a causeway path, which i assume is man-made. this was my last hike of the day, and it had gotten really hot for the first time this year.
that wasn’t so bad, but the fact that the woods is surrounded by wetlands meant there was also a serious number of mosquitoes—while this is wisconsin and i should be prepared for them, it was early enough in the year that this was the first time i’d been swarmed. trying to take pictures, my hands were covered by 8-10 mosquitoes by the time i was able to close the (digital) shutter…
but a delightful wood with what appears to be a healthy under story, with lots of large-flowered trillium and mayapple. the highlight of the trip was getting close enough to the wood’s edge to see that it was in fact an “island” by the break in trees and water/marsh plants beyond (as above). this was the last sna to visit in jefferson county!
allen creek wetlands is a small wetland complex of wet sedge meadow, wet prairie, and fen along allen creek, which flows into the rock river a bit south of the site. access is limited, but we were able to have some fun interaction at the wetland’s edge. a lovely stand of marsh marigolds said ‘hi’ from the ditch on the other side of star school road.
rhine center bog is a bog lake formed within a kettle, the depression left by a melting block of buried glacial ice. tamaracks to the south, a mesic hardwood forest on the uplands, and dense, boggy ground all about.
my trip was punctuated by light submersion in the peat (with appropriate footwear) and by the leavings of animal and bird corpses—the latter a poignant reminder of the aspect of nature walks we don’t often like to think about. and caution: a few pictures of the remains (not too graphic) appear after the final three-liner.
(note again: still on the excursion with the flip-phone, so photos aren’t all that clear.)