Sunday, July 6, 2014

Glocke Lake State Natural Area (Oconto County) Plus Some Marinette County Highlights

Glocke Lake State Natural Area
I'm finally getting caught up on my whirlwind birding and orchid quest trip to northeastern Wisconsin last weekend. Saturday June 28, I completed the second of my breeding bird surveys in Marinette County near Wausaukee. Nothing exceptional to report from this route.

However following the survey, I returned to Benson Lake Road (survey route from the previous day) in Marinette County and found an American Woodcock doing its Bee Gees strut on the side of the road.

American Woodcock

Kirtland's Warbler
I also visited an undisclosed area to observe a male Kirtland's Warbler that has been returning to Marinette County since 2011. The bird was heartily belting out its loud resonant song midday from the lower branches of a pine. After quickly locating the bird, I headed on my way so as not to interfere with the breeding success of this endangered species. I hope he successfully reproduces this year! For more information about the Kirtland's Warbler in Wisconsin, read more at the Wisconsin Kirtland's Warbler Updates page.

Glocke Lake State Natural Area
Following a little more birding in Marinette County, my next stop was Glocke Lake State Natural Area in Oconto County where Dragon's Mouth and Grass Pink Orchid had been reported in recent weeks. With an approaching storm, my visit here was rather brief.

The walk into the seepage bog surrounding the lake was much easier than the trek into Town Corner Cedars SNA, but not as captivating. Immediately my sight was filled with sprays of pink orchids and red and green pitcher plants in impressive numbers.

Pitcher Plant
Pitcher Plant

Upon close inspection I identified three orchid species: Grass Pink, Dragon's Mouth and Rose Pogonia. The latter two were firsts for me in Wisconsin as I've done most of my bog tromping in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Grass Pink and Rose Pogonia were most numerous.

Grass Pink
Rose Pogonia

Rose Pogonia looked to be nearing peak. Whereas the Dragon's Mouth were more difficult to find and well past peak. However a few fine specimens were enough to satisfy my Arethusa desires.

Dragon's Mouth Orchid
The bog was alive with dragonflies and butterflies, but I had little time to document what I saw. I did manage to capture a single species, a Silver-bordered Frittillary.

Silver-bordered Fritillary

And with that my brief visit to Glocke Lake SNA was cut short by threatening clouds which fortunately delivered showers AFTER I found refuge at my vehicle.

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