The deer flies were present in small numbers; however, without the Racket-tailed Emeralds to follow me around they annoyed me the whole time I was there. The Chalk-fronted Corporals were quite numerous, but only a few zipped by to snack on my small entourage.
Sphagnum moss, also known as peat moss, forms the heart of the 3,500-hectare bog. This plant thrives in the cool, acidic, oxygen- and nutrient-poor conditions that characterize northern bogs. When it decomposes, it forms layer upon layer of dead organic matter (called peat), the bog substrate. Because the sphagnum moss tends to grow fastest in the center of the bog, the peat accumulates below and the water table rises. The high water table allows wetland plants to keep growing and for peat to accumulate, increasing the size of the dome over thousands of years. The Mer Bleue bog is about six metres thick in the center of the dome and has taken thousands of years to develop.
Our last event of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival was a relaxed nature walk along the Old Shore Road Trail on Sunday morning. Our guide, Margaret Anderton, intended to visit the beach area north of the Visitor Center, the Pitcher Plant Marl, and various wetlands, hardwood and coniferous forests in between. This event didn’t start until 9:00 so my mother and I took the opportunity to sleep in. When we arrived we were still early, so I stopped to take some photos of some of the Yellow Lady’s Slippers growing just beyond the Visitor Center parking lot. The day started out cool and cloudy (as usual), though thankfully it didn’t rain.
In late May my mother and I set out on our fourth annual birding vacation. Our destination this year was not Point Pelee and the Lake Erie shores, but rather MacGregor Point Provincial Park on Lake Huron at the base of the Bruce Peninsula. This park is the home of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival, held annually on the first two weekends after the May 24th long weekend. The birding festival features guided hikes both in and outside the Park, showcasing the various birds, wildflowers, butterflies and insects that call this area home. We signed up for the first weekend (Friday, May 27th – Monday May 30th) and drove to Port Elgin, our base of operations, on Thursday morning.