Well, not really.  At the south end of the Yellow Mountain swamp, really a bog, I have often watched various birds.  The bog is caught at the top of the watershed and perched on the top of the hill, it actually drains to the north, in between two steep ridges.   While cold, the ridges protect the area from the wind, and most of the surface water is collected, unable to penetrate the bedrock of the ridges.  This protected habitat shelters birds, while the bog prevents tree cover leading to an impenetrable tangle of blueberry, dogwood, and ilex.

In any case, I haven’t paid much attention to the trees I was under.  About twenty feet tall, with the overall appearance that many understory tree/shrubs take on: incredibly slow growing trunks only a few inches in diameter but decades old, arching and bending to reach the light.  But I noticed them this time.  Instead of the ubiquitous yellow of witch-hazel (the dominant, next to laurel, understory tree), these were a fluorescent orange shading to red. 

So I look a bit closer, poke at the bark a bit, ponder this….grab a leaf for further identification.  I thought I knew, but I wasn’t sure… continue on my way.  Note several more trees of this type, some a bit larger, all in the protection of the ridge but at the sunny edge of the bog.

My initial, ‘but it can’t be’, identification turned out to be right: Nyssa Sylvatica, also known as Black Gum, Tupelo, or Pepperidge.  A bit farther south this is a spectacular and immense tree, rivaling oaks in stature.  It has beautiful fall colour, birds and bees Love it, and it is as tough as the proverbial nail*; but while I have two nursery grown babies that are beginning to take hold…now that I have moved them out of the wind…I thought that Fairfield County was its northern natural extent, with maybe a few in the major river valleys farther to the north.  But on further research, it turns out that ‘cold mountain swamps’ are another of its natural habitats, extending its range to Ontario, if there is enough water and enough wind protection.  I feel a bit stupid, but very happy!

*Naturally, it has been completely ignored by the nursery trade in favour of invasive and/or far less elegant species