Rare Species in the Mer Bleue Conservation Area

“Mer Bleue” is the name of a large peat bog in a conservation area in southern Ontario, part of the Greenbelt of the city of Ottawa. It is the remnant of a sea, the Champlain Sea that formed when the glaciers melted, close to ten thousand years ago. Ecologically it is similar to ecosystems in the Arctic, much further north. Used for bomb practice during WWII, it is now a protected ecological enclave. The bog mat is made of thick peat, heath and small black spruce and tamarack trees. In the mat several rare plants survive in spite of the extreme acidic environment: sphagnum moss, sundew, pitcher plant, rare orchids, bog rosemary, Labrador tea, cotton grass, blueberry. The fauna is also rich: snowshoe hare, beaver, muskrat, mink, a diversity of birds and waterfowl as well as some much rarer and unique species such as the spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) and the Fletcher’s dragonfly (Williamsonia fletcheri).

Occasionally, the bog is also visited by another rather rare and possibly dwindling species: Radius amans (radio amateurs) of the QRP/Portable variety. Two specimens (VA3QV and VA3PCJ) were seen in the bog area this afternoon (Aug 29 2016), probing the HF propagation from picnic tables near the bog traildeck. VA3QV used his vintage FT-817 and the PAR EndFed Tribander operating digital with his NUE PSK 31 modem. VA3PCJ brought with him his KX3 and the W3EDP Jr. and was able to log CW QSOs with three other DX (distant) specimens of the same species: XE1RX (Mexico, in 15m), OM5XX (Slovakia, in 17m) and YT9M* (Serbia, in 17m), thus adding two new bands to the successful spectrum of the W3EDP Jr. antenna.

IMG_5603

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* Zoran YT9M has confirmed since both in eQSL and LoTW

 

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