Monday, September 13, 2010

Volo Bog - 9.04.10 - Post 1

This was my second trip to Volo Bog, and it won't be my last.  There's a lot more information on Volo Bog on their website, but the short version is that it's the only open-water "quaking" bog in Illinois - a relic of the last ice age!  It was the first genuinely cool day Chicago had had in months and I alternately needed my sweatshirt, wanted a heavier coat and was happy in my t-shirt, depending on the amount of sun and wind at any given moment.

Volo Bog

Adult Supervision
Okay, I have to say, this sign just amuses me, because when you see it, you can't quite figure out what needs adult supervision.  Turns out that if you go around to where that second sign in my shot is, there's a path down to a dock into a small pond-bog that has bird habitats and tadpoles.  There are a lot of school groups that tour the bog, so it makes sense, but on the surface, it's just this odd sign out in the middle of the path.
Vervain on the Savanna

Besides the bog, there's a large wooded and savanna area that I didn't get the chance to hike the first time I went out there because I was with a group.  Being on my own, I was able to walk the roughly 5 miles of trails and click to my heart's content.  This would have been significantly easier if we weren't having hurricane force winds.

No, really, it was windy.  Check out the flags in the parking lot.  This kept some animals in hiding, but others, like the dragonflies tended to land on something and hold on for dear life... which made for easier shooting if I could catch the plant when it wasn't swaying in the wind.

World Turned Upside-down

Anyway, the bog is fascinating.  This is a shot of the surface reflecting the skies and nearby tamarack forest.  Those are lilypads floating on the top.  I managed to catch this shot early enough in the day that the really, really nasty winds hadn't kicked up yet and the bog was fabulously still.

Waterlily Glow

I love waterlilies, as you may have noticed.  There's something about the way that the seem to glow from the inside.  The water here is so still it's black and the leaves of the lily pads are dark green, which makes the white just stand out and glow.
Light Shines Through

Here's one that's more open and has a fantastic reflection in the still water.
Ripple Effect

This part of the bog - the section that has the floating boardwalk around it - has thousands of ridiculously active frogs in it.  They were hopping up from the water catching bugs and disappearing.  There's something very peaceful about the lily and the ripples here.

Froggy Finger Hold

Here's one who sat still for a few minutes.  I like how he's hanging onto the leaf with his little froggy finger.  This is your good old, standard Green Frog.
Leopard Frog Lies Low

And this, as far as I can tell, is a Southern Leopard Frog.  I think it's a little on the young side and his spots haven't quite come in yet.  I know there are quite a few frogs still developing - in the next post I'll have shots of tadpoles and one of a polywog (a frog that still has the vast majority of his tadpole tail.)

And these were all taken in the half-mile of floating boardwalk (which makes for interesting shooting if you aren't the only one on it.  See my post about trying to shoot from a moving ship in the water.)  I hadn't even gotten into the nature preserve.

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