Recently returned from a trip to New Jersey's Pine Barrens -- now referred to as the Pinelands -- a tract of land over 1 million acres which covers 30% of the state. It's a convenient 2 hour drive south of New York City.
Geologically, the Pinelands is part of the Outer Coastal Plain; it's soil is sandy and mostly infertile. It sits atop a very large acquifer, estimated at 17 trillion gallons of potable water, making it a battleground for developers vs conservationists. The Pinelands has three different ecosystems: pine forests, mixed pine and oak forests, and cedar swamps, bogs, and streams. It is probably best known by naturalists for its distinct flora and fauna.
I go to observe and to photograph the special plants and animals. This year, I was not disappointed. In the bogs, grass-pinks, rose pogonias, purple pitcher-plants, horned bladderworts, gold-crest, and yellow bog-asphodel were in abundance and at peak bloom. The early morning light was perfect. In addition, blueberries were ripe and ready to eat (yum), and R. viscosum (swamp azalea) blooms were perfuming the air with the sweet fragrance of honeysuckle.
Check out my New Jersey Pine Barrens gallery for images. If you wish to see an image of the Pine Barrens treefrog, see my Reptiles and Amphibians gallery.