Thursday, May 21, 2015

Spring Is In The Air: Fort Yargo State Park, Section B To The Dam, May 1st (Part 2)


May 1st. When I visited Fort Yargo State Park in mid-February, there were few signs of Spring. The only wildflower plants that were obvious were the leaves of Cranefly Orchids (Tipularia discolor) that I found in many places.


The route… I’ve described it here, here, here, and here This walk doesn’t have the variety of wildflowers as my other walk from the Group A Shelter to the Old Fort but it does have some gems. One of the Smallflower (Asimina parviflora) had developed fruit, the Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) Orchids had been blooming for a week or so and some Green Adder’s-mouth Orchids were beginning to bloom.


Starting down the trail from the dam.


An unidentified gall on a small oak tree. I haven’t been able to identify it. Does anyone know what it is?


I was surprised to find a Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) still blooming beside the trail.
  

Then on down the trail…


Ebony Spleenworts (Asplenium platyneuron) grow along this section of the trail.


This is an especially pretty section of the woods.


The Woolsower galls aren’t as obvious now. The red spots that made them so easy to spot earlier are now brown. It’s hard to spot them if you don’t know where they area.


The Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchids (Cypripedium acaule) plants were still blooming.

I was anxious to see how the…


Green Adder’s-mouth (Malaxis unifolia) Orchids were doing. I found a total of four near the trail.


One was developing a long flower stalk.
 
One looked like it would still have a very short flower stem. Maybe they would be starting to bloom by the next time I walked this trail.
  
As I left the orchid patch I spotted a...


Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus) bush with flowers, as well as a...


couple of Pipsisssewa (Chimaphila maculata) plants. I’m a little surprised at the larger number of plants that have buds this year. I’ve never seen one of these plants bloom along this trail.
 
Harvestman spiders are plentiful this year.

At the top of The Hill, and going…


down the other side.
  

About to come out of the woods again.


Along the trail, in the open, I found this toadflax. It looks like a Texas Toadflax (Nuttallanthus texanus) although it’s a much deeper mauve that normal.


A Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) was flying down the trail ahead of me.


The Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica) plants were in bud.


The bridge to the parking lot, a welcome sight especially on a hot day.


In the shade, near the end of the trail, The hawthorn (Crataegus sp.) near the end of the trail still had some blooms.

Related posts: 

Spring Is In The Air: Fort Yargo State Park, Section B To The Dam, May 1st (Part 1)

May 1st. When I visited Fort Yargo State Park in mid-February, there were few signs of Spring. The only wildflower plants that were obvious were the leaves of Cranefly Orchids (Tipularia discolor) that I found in many places.



The route… I’ve described it here, here, here, and here This walk doesn’t have the variety of wildflowers as my other walk from the Group A Shelter to the Old Fort but it does have some gems. One of the Smallflower (Asimina parviflora) had developed fruit, the Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) Orchids had been blooming for a week or so and some Green Adder’s-mouth Orchids (Malaxis uniflora) were beginning to bloom.



Setting out on the trail on another sunny morning; so nice after the many gray days we’d had.



There were many Virginia Pepperweed (Lepidium virginicum) plants in the grass. The flowers are so tiny that they go unnoticed until the…


seedpods are developing on the stems.


I was checking some lichens on a branch that also had a lot of Amber Jelly Roll (Exidia recisa). I’d never thought much about what happens to a jelly fungus when it dries up. This is what one looks like when it's dry. 

A Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) was warming itself up in the sun.



The woods were becoming more shady. 


Having found the dried-up Amber Jelly fungus, I looked for the…
  

Witch’s Butter (Tremella mesenterica) that had also dried up. It was still there.



One of the hawthorns (Crataegus sp.) in the woods still had a couple of blooms.



Then to climb up ‘The Hill’ to check on the…



Smallflower Pawpaw fruit. Several fruits were still attached.



Two little pine seedlings were still growing in the cavity on a fallen log.



I took the trail to the…



Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). Many of the flower buds had fallen off; only one remained close to the trail.



There were a lot of Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) butterflies around this spring but they rarely stayed still.



The woods, viewed from the end of the dam, were still a mixture of different greens.



Then off down the trail to the Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid patch. 

(To be continued…)


Related posts: 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Spring Walk At Fort Yargo State Park: Shelter A To The Old Fort, 30th April, 2015 (Part 2)


April 30th. (Continued from…) I started to walk again at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia. One of my favorite walks is from the Group Shelter A to the Old Fort and back.This is a rewarding walk for viewing wildflowers and I’ve been trying to walk it weekly and document the wildflowers I see.

The route, which I described here, here, and here.

As I started into the Rock Garden a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) flew in to the lake shore just ahead of where I was. My walk through the Rock Garden was going to be distracted as I tried to photograph the heron while paying attention to plants. The bird was going to win for as long as it was there.

I could catch a glimpse of the herons head; it was fishing. I wasn’t sure how much attention it was paying to me because it was catching fish, but I was sure it was keeping an eye on me and I wasn’t going to get too close.


I spotted a cluster of Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) plants that were blooming. This was the biggest cluster of plants that I’d seen here; most plants were isolated rather than in clusters.


A closer view of the flowers. I wonder if the ant was fertilizing the flowers.


A view from underneath the flowers.


Some Wild Yam (Discorea villosa) plants were developing flower buds.

One Eastern Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) still had flowers, and at least…


one flower stem was swelling. Hope for another seedpod?


Somewhere, up high in the trees, Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) vines were blooming but all I was going to see were fallen flowers.


Another view of the heron. It would spot a fish and pounce. Having disturbed the fish in the area it had just pounced on, it would return to shore a little further away from me.


The Perfoliate Bellwort (Uvularia perfoliata) plant was still healthy although there was no sign of the flower stem enlarging. Time will tell.


The last photos of the heron. It did get a rather large fish, possibly five to six inches long. Soon after, however, some kayakers paddled by and the heron decided to try a new, quiet location and flew off down the lake.


Netted Chain Fern (Woodwardia areolata) fronds. There is a patch of these plants at the end of the Rock Garden trail just as the trail goes uphill back to the main trail.


The fruit were still on the Smallflower Pawpaw (Asimina trifolia) plant just past the end of the Rock Garden trail.
  

Looking back along the lake shore from the end of the Rock Garden trail.


The trail from the end of the Rock Garden to the Old Fort, and…


back towards the Fishing Area on the main trail.



The small Woolsower gall on the White Oak (Quercus alba) near the trail were drying up and would now be hard to find if you didn’t know where they were. The larger galls were also harder to spot now that the red spots had turned brown.


As I approached the bridge at the Fishing Area, I spotted a small Yellow-bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta) turtle – its shell was probably only about three inches long - basking on a small, floating log. For some reason it didn’t slide off into the water so I was able to get quite close for some photos.


Approaching the cliff, where I was able to look back to the…


Fishing Area, then back down the trail and…


up the final hill to the parking lot.


A fallen Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) flower near the end of the trail. Usually, this is the only way we see these flowers in old woods where the Tulip Poplar trees are so tall. 

Identification resources: 
- The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension: Native Plants for Georgia, Part II: Ferns