Spring has only just sprung around here but Tuna and I have already managed to get in a few nice hikes. The photos above are from the O.D. von Engeln Preserve at Malloryville in Dryden, NY. This little known swath of land located between Cortland and Ithaca is owned by the Nature Conservancy. I’ve lived in this area most of my life and was never aware of this hidden gem until we took a field trip there for my Wetlands class at Cornell. What makes this place so special is that you have more than half of the six wetland types and corresponding plant communities represented in an itty-bitty parcel of land (the preserve is only 35 acres which makes this a super easy hike). As you walk along the well-marked dirt trails and wooden boardwalks, you’ll find a bog with sphagnum mats and pitcher plants, a wooded swamp, groundwater-fed fens and if memory serves me correct, I think there’s even a marsh nearby. The preserve also serves as a fantastic lesson in glacial deposition with its wooded esker trail and kame and kettle topography.
The photos above are from our Chicago Bog hike last week. As you can see, there was still a bit of ice and snow happening. I kept my eyes peeled for migrating amphibians and sadly, all I saw was death. One adult spotted salamander was hit in the road and I found these frogs dead in the shallows of the bog. Looks like they had an even worse winter than we did–which I didn’t even think that was possible! I wish I had the motivation to go out at night to help the sallies cross the road. That’s one of those things I prefer to do with a partner because you’re right by the road and you need that extra person if something goes wrong or even just to be more visible to drivers. Anyone want to night herp with me? There’s still time for us to be heroes! For more pics on my previous Chicago Bog and the Lime Hollow Nature Center hikes click here.