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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group, a place where everyone is welcome to note the observations you have made of the natural world around you. Fledglings, insects, blossoms, fish, climate, reptiles and/or amphibians: all are worthy additions to the bucket. Ask questions if you have them and someone here may well have an answer. All we ask is that you let us know where you're located, as close as you're comfortable revealing.
Gooseville, WI

Leafless trees allow the bog to suck the sky into its mirror of sogginess between mossy island hummocks. The broody dark depths of the bog in summer will have to wait until the freshness of spring unfolds from a long winter sleep.

Spruce Lake Bog
Spruce Lake Bog National Natural Landmark

The bog possesses relict flora and fauna from early post-glacial times dragged south from more northern reaches. I tread lightly along the boardwalk leading down into the bog.

Pitcher Plants

This bog nurtures Wisconsin's largest and showiest carnivorous plant. The leaves can be a foot long and form a crowded cluster of flaring purple hoods eager to digest the unwary or curious.

purple pitcher plant closeup
Purple Pitcher Plant Sarracenia purpurea
The emerging green and wine-red speckled spathe of the skunk cabbage curls protectively around its yellow flowering spadix. These flowers have no petals, but the profuse stink draws willing pollinators. I've stuck my nose into a spadix to smell the flower, I'll politely decline this time, but I recommend the experience.
Skunk Cabbage and spathe
skunk cabbage Symplocarpus foetidus
The fiddlehead ferns stand tender in pale silky cocoons waiting to unfurl into broad deep green fronds. These are the first I find, too young to identify.  
Fresh Fiddleheads
Marshmarigold buds

The sunshine smiles of marsh marigold buds and blooms are the earliest to brighten bogs and wetlands. They're a bit late this year.

Marshmarigolds
Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris
Spagnum and spruce seeding
Black Spruce seedling Picea mariana

A soft pillow of sphagnum moss nurses a black spruce seedling toward the sunlight. A replacement to follow those that mature and return to earth with a crash.

Broardwalk and Black Spruce
Tight spirals of new spring needles unwind on this deciduous conifer. In autumn, tamaracks shed their old needles in a bright bronze shower, becoming naked for winter.  
Tamarack needles
Tamarack Larix laricina
Alder Catkins

Male catkins hang like ruby jewels on a chain, while the small female aments cling tightly to the branch. Alder shrubs are one of the earliest blooming flowers of the spring.

Alder leafing
Speckled (Tag) Alder Alnus incana
May 5, 2013. 1st spring hike into the bog.

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Your turn. What's happening in your neck of the woods or backyard? Spring has sprung with a muted eloquence this year.

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