It was the end…. the end of Mississauga Road. Muah ha ha. Not menacing in May? Well that is OK, this was a pretty fun and short field day in the thick of it. Although, wetlands are often portrayed as some pretty creepy places in film, during the day they are just beautiful. Site A was visited on May 26th just before noon. It was a lot greener than I had expected. Since it has been debated that cedar swamps contain the densest populations of vegetation, I wasn’t sure what to expect of a fen so close to one.
Turns out the fen itself is extremely poor. We see pitcher plants, Newfoundland’s Provincial flowers. We see some sedge, cattail, tamarack, mos, fern, ‘maybe’ a handful of other plants and that is it. On the ‘boat launch’ more cattails are seen. Soil samples cannot be taken from this site as it is an open floating fen. So unfortunately I cannot compare anything to what was seen in Rattray Marsh, but I image a darker loose organic peat for some reason.
The poor, poor fen and mixed cedar organic swamp weren’t exactly teeming with diversity. There was a lot of the same thing. Hydrology readings from my peers pretty much confirmed what we expected. Life was trying to find a way regardless. However it was still well worth the visit. I highly recommend the visit for anyone studying wetlands. Once we returned to the vehicles, I decided to put on a pair of gloves and pick up all the litter around the road. I had time to kill while waiting for everyone to return.
Off to site B. Plan B? PART TWO of our day. The End. Just kidding. I’m sorry, it has been a long 5 days with little to no sleep. Not too far from Site A, yet far, far, away from here, we have a forest conservation area with plenty of data points yet no information at all. They collect sounds, images, water measurements, plant information, salamander information, and have transects set up everywhere. There is even a Provincial Groundwater Monitoring Well that has solar power. This site is something we don’t like to mess up, so we stick to designated trails and boardwalks at all times to minimize harm and damage not only to the surroundings, but to the data points. We certainly son’t want to interfere with someone else’s work.
While standing around the groundwater well, I can see some of Ontario’s Provincial flower, the Trillium. Not far away I can already spy a wide variety of plant life. I already have an idea that this site promising to be vastly different from what was seen earlier. Once we reach the boardwalk, little eyes can be seen from the frogs peering at us silently from the waters edges. Camouflaging themselves in the bubbles and leafy organic matter that can be seen below the waters surface. This wetland site contains varieties of ferns, mosses, amphibians, trees, leafy organic matter/peat, grasses, and lifeforms. Hydrology readings from my peers confirm better conditions for life. Not surprising.
to be continued…