The Pinelands Institute for Natural and Environmental Studies (get it? P.I.N.E.S.), is a unit of Burlington County College with offices at Whitesbog Village.  They conduct a number of activities during the year and I attended one of them, a van tour through Whitesbog to look at wildflowers.   It  was a beautiful day and the tour was enjoyable.  One of the party commented that they were impressed that I was getting down so low to photograph; the trick, I replied, was getting back up again.

Pyxie - Five petals, five stamens

The Pyxies were the first.  Our three guides were excellent as these tiny blossoms, less than a dime in size do not leap out at one amidst the ground cover and dead leaves.  But get closer and there they are.

What the area's all about: blueberries

The blueberry blossoms above were on bushes alongside the trails that keep getting trimmed down to keep the trail open so they were really low, lowbush blueberries.

Sand Myrtle, a small delicate evergreen shrub.



Today’s forecast was decent; not much sun but no gale winds so I drove down to Whitesbog.  It was a great day; briskly cold, some occasional thin sun, and peacefully quiet.  The kind of quiet that you suddenly notice. My only company was, from time to time, three pickups and a van.  As you can see below, the slushy village street was empty, the old workers’ houses moody in the thin sun but with some modest touches for the winter holiday.

Even on a largely overcast winter day there is beauty to be seen and enjoyed. On the right below, an ice-tree.

Here’s a typical pond, created by overflow from an adjacent bog. Its attractiveness is enhanced by the ice and the few remaining patches of snow.

Finally, my colleague, Lou Dallara, had a lovely image of a clump of pine needles with snow on them as his first blog image of the new year.  See his blog , scroll-find and click on Pine Needles.   It brightened my day.  The image below is the closest I could come.  The snow’s gone but I loved the remaining droplets.


The annual Blueberry Festival was held last Saturday at Whitesbog near Browns Mills in Burlington County.  It seemed successful as the parking lot was full by 11:30.  Lots of people, crafter booths, public interest booths, food, music, blueberry picking out in the bogs and all manner of blueberry foods.  Fun and good eating.Image 01

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At last Saturday’s Pinelands Short Course I attended the lecture on Tundra Swans as a filler for that hour. It was however, interesting and well done. The presenter commented that there were still some of the swans out on the bogs at Whitesbog. So, Saturday morning Barbara and I set off to Whitesbog. Since the swans leave the area in March to begin their long journey back to the Arctic we weren’t sure what we’d find but we were fortunate. There were probably between one and two hundred of the birds still there, and it was thrilling to see them all. 
For a few pictures taken that morning click here.