“Birches, Beech, and Balsam”
“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.”
― Wallace Stegner
Here’s a familiar sight along the “Boreal Trails”, an interspersing of the dominant species of trees, namely: Birch, Beech, and Balsam. All three are seen in this image with a few maples, oak, and poplar, in the background.
Beech is easy to identify by its bark, which resembles a gray elephant hide. At this time of year, its about the only tree still hanging on to its leaves, which have turned a beautiful coppery orange. Birch, of course is known for it’s white, papery bark, though there are several species in this area: paper birch, which is seen here, and yellow birch, which has more of a silvery, tattered bark. Finally, there is the deep green balsam, an evergreen that grows as a shrub along trails but can grow into quite a large tree, over time.
The balsams tend to enjoy the ample light available along the trails and pathways and form thick clusters between the hardwoods that grow alongside them. They offer cover for larger ground birds, like ruffed grouse, which is quite common here. Often you can hear the grouse ‘cooing’ along the trails but can’t see them in the thick green balsams whose branches nearly touch the ground.
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@112mm
1/4 sec, f/16.0, ISO 400