Monday, May 11, 2009

Browsing through Cranberry Glades


Our walk on the boards through the largest bog in West Virginia was simply perfect in the warm sunshine. Around every bend were unique and exotic plants or birds.


When it was time to listen and learn, I couldn’t concentrate, really, as my eyes and camera lens were focused on an array of eye candy I found below or in back of me – slowly turning around to capture it all, like an enchanted pre-school child.


Every color,


every shape,


in a bog so moist and lush I could smell the life it held. I wanted to wear waders, lift leaves and rocks, and splash around a little.


Ovenbird Belly.

Through dimming shade into bright sunlight our trail took us to birds,


which here may be a Northern Parula.

Still, my thirty-eight life birds are confusing me


and I don’t remember the difference between a yellow-breasted blue-eyed vireo or a yellow-headed gray-winged warbler. Thirty-eight species is a lot to digest in a week. I’m still laughing!

Spying on vireos and warblers with binoculars was a thrill, especially on this day when we saw a Blackburnian Warbler in perfect light. My neck ached after that viewing but the bird is so striking I followed it for several minutes. Taking a photo wasn’t so easy because warblers aren’t easy. Period.


A Black-capped Chickadee (lifer) humored me that day and rested right before my eyes.

Some of my most breathtaking views of the week were at this bog.



Near the end of the boardwalk we walked alone or in unorganized groups, into the wide openness.

For an instant, I remember being stunned by the silence,



at the vastness,

and beauty of it all.


Have you ever felt so small?


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Wasn't that just the loveliest place? I think it was my favorite. The air smelled the best there too.
I understand about the feeling small.
Standing on the prairie in South Dakota made me feel small.
Looking up at the stars on a pitch black night makes me feel like a speck.

denapple said...

Ah, Mary! You write so beautifully about feelings, when most of us (namely me) are only busy with identification.

Kim said...

OMG Mary! Gorgeous!! Love the Ovenbird shot even if it was just the belly. I have been trying to get a photo of that bird for a couple of weeks now with no success. Congrats on all of the lifers!

Vickie said...

Wonderful, Mary. Thank you for sharing your walk and your awe with me. Its breath taking. I'm also glad to know someone who gets confused like I do when too much new happens too fast! But what a wonderful whirlwind.

Susan Gets Native said...

Felt like swimming in a giant's cereal bowl.
And the smell....was heaps better than the smell of New Jersey. : )
That day runs a close second to Muddlety for me.

Keith at Opossum Creek said...

Mary, nicely put. Having you all with us that day made it just like the first time all over again! Thanks.

Wendy said...

You must have had a blast! I've never seen a cranberry glade. Thanks for the pics. They are so clear. That boardwalk looked like fun.

KGMom said...

Looks like you were really in your element--surrounded by scene after scene after scene, all photo worthy.
See--it wasn't intimidating at all!

Dawn Fine said...

Yes..Yes...I have felt so small..
great post Mary!

Diane AZ said...

Enjoyed strolling the cranberry glades through your stunning pictures. That is a lot of awesomeness to take in for one day. The colors of the trees in the last photo are mesmerizing.

Richard said...

Beautiful series of photos. I could feel the quiet and smell the woods.

NatureWoman said...

I *love* bogs, too, Mary. What fun this looks like. Yes, I have felt small many places, and with complete silence, my ears actually become very sensitive expecting sound to occur anytime, but it doesn't. The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is one such place where I feel small. The Grand Canyon, I feel really tiny.

SaraG said...

Awesome post and absolutely beautiful photo's!
Thanks for taking us on your journey too!!

Anonymous said...

Nice! Wonderful post. You know, I've never seen an Oven Bird, but I've heard them. What a treat!

mon@rch said...

Wonderful birdies! I just love seeing all your photos!

jason said...

Gorgeous place, Mary, and you captured it well. I'm thrilled you came away from this trip with so many excellent photos coupled with even better experiences and stories!

Corey said...

Your vireo cracks me up! I got caught reporting a yellow-headed vireo last week to the MAS list, and Ron told me I was vireo-challenged. Smartypants . .

Cool pictures, as usual.

Tina said...

Very Nice Mary!
I love reading about everyone's WV trip and seeing all the pictures..different points of view and different birdees to look at but everyone is wearing the same happy smiles!!
Your walk today was quite peaceful and I shared your feelings of being overwhelmed with warblers and who is who..along with the warbler neck feelings..thank goodness for your chickadee friend!!

Cindie Ulreich said...

What an amazing day and some great pictures!

You know, I think I take my chickadees for granted--they're at my feeders almost every day. That was a great photo--it looked almost hairy.

dmmgmfm said...

Really beautiful photos and post, Mary. Sounds like a wonderful place.

Q said... many beautiful photogrpahs.
I can tell you had the best of times.

Balisha said...

What a wonderful spot.Thanks for the journey.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Mary, thanks for checking in. For some reason my blog posts are still not updating in your Blogroll or in the other people's Blogrolls. I've been working on that today trying to get it figured out. It is over my head and so frustrating!

My dad got out of the hospital today; he had a little set back. Hopefully he will start to feel better now.

I'm really hoping to get this blog feed issue straightened out soon.

Heidi said...

A beautiful place! I wonder what it looks like in the summer and most especially the fall. It must be amazing with all the colors turning then. Must be filled with life like Eden.

JeanMac said...

Awesome, Mary.

Kathie Brown said...

Mary, I too, am having a hard time keeping all the birds and their patterns and colors straight. I frequently have to consult my bird guides. I love the ovenbird belly and that last photo of the mountainside. I, too, noticed the colors and patterns climbing up that steep slope! Your photos captured it all beautifully!

Now, how's your warbler neck doing?