Carden Alvar:

An Alvar is unique in that there are not too many Alvars around the world. It has very little top soil and it is kind of marshy and only certain birds can survived there, with many of them on the endangered list and close to being extinct.

This type of landscape is prone to flooding in the springtime and then droughts in the summer. Each spring we head north to this beautiful spot. We usually leave early in the morning.

On arrival, as soon as we turn of the main road our ears can hear the welcoming chorus of the Meadow Larks and the Bobolinks. There are many Wilson Snipes and they tend to be able to appear right before our eyes, yet without us having the ability to spot them, or by the time we do spot them, it’s too late to get a photograph of them.

Trees Stand Out:

Carden Alvar

Because there are so few trees, the ones that are there tend to stand out. I’m always drawn to the beauty of this birch tree and how the white bark glistens in the sunshine.

Carden Alvar


Many Swallows can be seen, and for some reason this year they seem to be taking over the nest boxes of the Blue Birds.

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Blue Bird

While the female was busy sitting on her eggs, this Blue Bird kept quite busy flying back and forth to feed her.

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The female Swallow is looking at the male Swallow in flight. He kept flying around her, coming very close to her, and barely missing her. She also stood her ground quite well.

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Lichen & Moss:

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Lichen & Moss

There are many trees and stones where lichen and moss can be seen. Apparently moss is plant like while lichen is simply a type of fungus.

You may wonder why I seem to enjoy hanging out in the woods or in nature, taking photos of fungus and moss and things like rocks. 😂 Well, I wish I could answer that question for you. If I ever figure it out I will let you know. I just know that it is possibly pure torment for the ones who may accompany me that have no interest in moss or fungus and rocks. At least the scenery and the birds they can enjoy.

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Lichen On Rock
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Moss On Rock

Seen In The Landscape:

Carden Alvar
Savannah Sparrow

Carden Alvar

So far we have never ventured beyond this point of the trail. The path can be quite muddy and have many potholes filled with water. On this particular day we ran into some tourist who were visiting from England, and they saw a black bear further down the path. So its just as well we didn’t venture any further. A few years ago we did spot some Moose, but also in the distance.

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The Meadow Larks were quite busy catching insects. We watch them go back and forth. They are beautiful birds to see up close. with a bright yellow chest they stand out, and they also have a beautiful song.

Carden Alvar #2

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It was a beautiful day to spend out in nature as you can see from the reflection in the water. It was a bit cool, but lots of sunshine.

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Carden Alvar #2
Prairie Smoke

It will be interesting to see what wildflowers will be in bloom during the summer months. Apparently while it can be quite cool and wet and muddy in the spring time, extreme heat and drought can come with the summer months. Probably not a good time to be at the Alvar.

What Is An Alvar:

An alvar is a biological environment based on a limestone plain with thin or no soil and as a result sparse grassland vegetation. Often flooded in the spring, and affected by drought in midsummer, alvars support a distinctive group of prairie-like plants.


22 Replies to “What Is An Alvar”

  1. In 2014 Pam and I visited the Burren in western Ireland, the views and numerous plant growing in the cracks of the limestone pavement. Avlar was a new term for me, know I know it.

    1. Yes, it’s certainly unique. The thing that really stood out to me was the lack of tall trees.

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