Bogs and Bog Plants, NJ Barry Caselli
May 23, 2009


Today I went up in Wharton State Forest  to eat my lunch and then to search out wetlands plants, especially carnivorous plants, to photograph with the digital camera. First I went to the ghost town of Harrisville and saw some sundews there. I'm not sure if they were round-leaf or spatulate-leaf sundews. The Harrisville pond had thousands of Swollen Bladderwort on it, in full bloom. That was cool. Then I went up to the ghost town of Martha Furnace. Near there, there is a bog along the Wading River. I checked that out and photographed tons of either spatulate-leaf or round-leaf sundews and also thread-leaf sundews. There are dozens or perhaps hundreds of pitcher plants there, many of them in full bloom. But I estimate that there are tens of thousands of sundews, probably of all three species. After spending time in that bog and along the river bank I went into Martha Furnace and checked out all the Catalpa trees there, which I've discussed here before. I
 wanted to see if all the ones I thought were alive actually were. They are! One was barely hanging on to life, while all the other half-dead-looking Catalpas that I thought were alive last winter definitely are. Catalpas seem to be a really tenacious tree. They are amazing, living with the roots half out of the ground, trunks hollow or broken in half, etc.
After I was done there I drove to the ghost town site of Calico, arguably the most mysterious and least known ghost town in the Pine Barrens. I wanted to see the wetland where the beaver pond is. The beavers have expanded a pre-existing wetland into a good-sized pond, making two large and deep puddles in the sand road that goes through there, the Calico-Warren Grove Road. When I got to the beaver pond I found a man there who was sitting in a lawn/beach chair, relaxing, listening and watching birds, and whatever else. I hung out there a long time. Every now and then some frogs would call. Finally some Pine Barrens Treefrogs started calling. I turned on my digital camera to video and recorded the sound during the last time the frogs were calling. That was very cool.
During the entire day I photographed trees and ferns. I took pictures of several Blackjack Oaks. Most of them are either very young or stunted. I only saw one that was tree-sized, and it wasn't big. It's rare to find a large fully grown Blackjack Oak. I also photographed some Scrub Oak. Most Blackjack Oaks are about the same size as nearby Scrub Oaks, even though they are supposed to get to be tree-size.
So it was another fun day out. The day I stopped at Batsto to see the chopped-up oak tree I photographed a lot of Blue Flag iris along one of the roads, and then tons of Blue-eyed Grass in an open semi-wetland near Batsto.
By the way, the Mountain Laurel, all around, is now in bud. In fact I found one or two that were starting to bloom. I also found blueberry bushes with blueberries on them. The berries are small and green right now, as it's still early in the season. While I'm out in the woods I often wonder how old and how big a blueberry bush can get to be, or how old and how big a Scrub Oak can get to be. It would b e interesting to know.

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