I took a walk in the fen today.
A unique ecosystem, a gem. Fen-only plants and flowers along with what’s found in Illinois elsewhere. I don’t know the name of these plants and flowers, but I do know:
The colors have changed since we last visited. More reds, blues, purples.
We need rain. Toads looked too dry and searching for water.
All around us we heard skittering animals. Didn’t see them. Just heard hints of animal life.
The red winged blackbirds are no longer dive bombing from behind as we walked. Their wee birds must have flown the nests.
Next visit: early autumn.
Thanks for reading.
Who walks in the fen when it’s raining? The Big Guy and I do. Peaceful. Beautiful. Today is cloudy, so the leaves are not in a riot of sunshine, but they are lovely. The raindrops glowed on the leaves, hard to see from cell phone photos.
Nonetheless, the fen is an interesting and often lovely walk.
What is a fen? Definition of fen
While a wetland, a fen is not a bog, swamp, or marsh. So what is a fen?
It is an unusual wetland; The US Dept. of agriculture defines a fen as:
Fens are a type of wetland. Wetlands are ecosystems where the water table is at or near the ground surface for most of the growing season on most years, and as a consequence, the substrate is poorly aerated, and inundation or saturation last long enough that the dominant plants are those that can exist in wet and reducing conditions. The long duration anaerobic conditions limit the decomposition of plant roots, leaves, and stems and over time this organic matter accumulates to form peat soil. Wetlands include the margins of streams and rivers, and the shores of lakes. There are several types of wetlands: swamps, marshes, bogs, and fens.
Furthermore, there are a number of types of fens, and described here: Types of Fens. Furthermore, there are both rich fens and poor fens. Scientists are beginning to determine the age of fens, and since peat accumulates slowly, fens are being determined to be thousands of years old, as discussed here: Age of fens
In our many years of walking here, we know the fen as the place of interesting plants.