Thursday, December 1, 2011

Silver Lake Bog -- © Dave Spier

 Tamarack and spruce beside the Bog Trail (early October) - © Dave Spier

I know it simply as Silver Lake Bog, but in the 2011 annual report from The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter, it’s listed as Silver Lake Bog Nature Preserve and on eBird it’s “Silver Lake Camp Preserve” referring to the Silver Lake Camp for Girls which operated from 1911 to 1972 before 61 acres were donated to the recently-created Adirondack Nature Conservancy in the mid-70’s to become one of its earliest preserves.  The original size has grown to 98 acres now.  You can take a virtual tour via a slide show on the TNC website.

The bog is in the southwestern corner of Clinton County on the old Hawkeye Road off Union Falls Road.  From Hawkeye travel west about 1.5 miles and turn south on Old Hawkeye Road.  Parking is about a half mile down the dirt road.  Exact directions [with an interactive Google map] are on the Conservancy’s website.  In DeLorme's N.Y. Gazetteer, Silver Lake's north shore is bottom center on page 102, but the Old Hawkeye Road is too short to be labeled.

  Boardwalk across Silver Lake Bog (early October) - © Dave Spier
The highlight of the preserve is a roughly half-mile boardwalk west across the wetlands.  The depression supports a Northern White Cedar swamp and Black Spruce-Tamarack bog.  A trail guide describes plants and animals at 15 stops along the Bog Walk.

At the far end of the bog walk, the trail rises into an upland forest of northern hardwoods and hemlock and then turns south on its way to a pine bluff overlooking Silver Lake.  The flip side of the trail guide describes eight stops along this Bluff Trail. 

  Eastern Hemlock roots beside Bluff Trail (early October) - © Dave Spier

The preserve seems larger than its size because it’s generally narrow and L-shaped.  Total trail length is 1.25 miles one way to the lake.

  Pine Bluff overlooking Silver Lake in October (super-wide angle lens) - © Dave Spier

Birds at Silver Lake Bog

The eBird bar chart for Silver Lake Camp Preserve lists 70 species so far, but the data is very incomplete, especially during the winter months.  (There’s no data for November and January and none for the first three weeks of December.  For all of February there is only one week covered and that has only 2 bird species.)  If you’re in that area, please stop and record any and all birds seen or heard, even if they’re just from the beginning of the trail near the road, and submit to eBird.  At least it will be a start toward filling in the gaps.  Another hole in the data is the lake itself; there are no eBird records for waterfowl – zero – not counting Common Loon reported in May and July at this location.

For another perspective on the bird life in the general vicinity, Silver Lake Bog is in N.Y.S. Breeding Bird Atlas block 5892A.  A block is roughly nine square miles and this one includes the western 3/4ths of Silver Lake, the eastern part of Union Falls Pond and the west end of Taylor Pond.  There were 88 species (including Wood Duck, Mallard and Common Merganser) reported in 2000-2005 during the nesting seasons.  Of the Anatidae waterfowl, only Mallard is actually a confirmed breeder in 5892A.  There were 30 other species also confirmed.  [To see the complete list, click the link above, type in 5892A and click "submit."]

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A few more Silver Lake Bog (early October) photos

  Prime ingredient of a bog is sphagnum moss [there are
numerous species]; Silver Lake Bog - © Dave Spier

  The bog is supported by a high water table; Silver Lake Bog - © Dave Spier

  Tiny Marasmius mushrooms (October) - © Dave Spier

  Carnivorous Pitcher-plant, Sarracenia purpurea - © Dave Spier

  Puffballs, likely Lycoperdon sp. (possibly perlatum) in October;
sorry, I only stopped long enough to photograph them - © Dave Spier

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