Sunday, July 14, 2013

Places, #1 - Petrel Point

I started this blog to make note of things I observed over the passing seasons in the rural landscape here in the Beaver Valley in southern Ontario.  But I have often thought of writing about other things.  The most common is simply other places, so starting now, I'll occasionally be posting a few photos and observations about other places we visit.  (The other story I'd like to share is about 'The Making of a Garden', our garden, but that will have to wait awhile).

When we visited Georgian Bay the other day, we carried on west to the Lake Huron shoreline, and the nature reserve owned by Ontario Nature at Petrel Point.  This is one of the most fascinating little bits of habitat in southern Ontario.  A shoreline 'fen', it's best known for its orchids, including this Grass Pink, or Calopogon, above.  In my mind it's one of the most beautiful pink colours of any pink flower.

Another orchid species that grows here and a few other places along the sandy flat Lake Huron shore is the paler pink Rose Pogonia.  Neither of these are fabulous pictures, but there is a boardwalk to protect the sensitive habitat from trampling, and we carefully stayed on it, getting what pictures we could from there.

This Tall White Bog Orchid is a distance away, but with some heavy cropping you get the idea - growing in the wet sand, surrounded mostly not by what looks like grass, but by wetland sedges and rushes.

The fen habitat is unique.  Although Hudson's Bay is bordered by thousands of square kilometres of it, this far south in Ontario it is very rare.  It occupies the wet band behind the shoreline edge, often marked by a low dune or ice ridge, and the first rise to higher sandy ground where the taller trees grow (on the left above).  Especially in the spring, it is usually 3-4" deep in water, and it is a very harsh alkaline environment for plants. It's easily subject to trampling, so all access to this fen is by the boardwalk.

Orchids my be the plants that draw people to visit, but there are a number of unusual other plants too.  Above is the very unusual flower of the Indian Plantain, composed of little five-ridged capsules, held vertically at the top of a 3 foot stalk.

And finally there are the insectivorous plants - here the Linear-Leaved Sundew, and the Pitcher Plant, both of which gain nourishment in part by capturing small insects and dissolving them.  The 3 or 4 dozen vertical Sundew leaves in this picture all have tiny hairs which wrap around their victims; the reddish 'pitchers' of the Pitcher Plants have downward pointing hairs that trap their victims.  Both very unusual plants to see - here growing in profusion.


  1. Gorgeous photos --and what a fabulous place. Love all of the color in those flowers.. Incredible.

    1. Thanks again for visiting. Loved your daylilies; I'll be posting some of ours soon.

  2. Hello and thank you for visiting my blog and for your lovely comment. I have come to see your beautiful photographs of "Life In Canada" and they are so beautiful. My blog also is more of a photographic journal of Maine...where I live and love...and like you I love the seasons too.

    I am your newest follower and I look forward to visiting your blog to see all of your beautiful photos and to learn more about Canada.

    1. Well thanks for visiting us us in Canada; hope you can come again. We hope to visit Maine someday.