Sunday, July 26, 2015

Canada Geese: Flotillas


June 24th. I was at Fort Yargo State Park, starting on my walk from the Section B to the Dam. I was crossing the bridge from the parking lot when I noticed some Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) swimming from an inlet on the west side of the bridge.


They were in considerable disarray when I first saw them. It took a minute or so to realize that there were two families. The goslings of one family were older than those in the other family; their white face patches were much more obvious since the feathers on their necks were darker. The younger goslings didn’t appear to have the face patches; they actually had face patches but their neck feathers were a lighter brown so that their was less contrast between them.


They were swimming towards the bridge. They started to separate into their respective families.


The ‘older’ family with the older goslings, and the…


‘younger’ family with the younger goslings; the younger family seemed more organized than the older family.


They all finally got themselves organized into separate families and approached the bridge in almost straight lines.


As the older family emerged on the east side of the bridge, they were in disarray again. In contrast, the…


Younger family were still somewhat organized and it was a while before they spread out.

I was a little amused. It looked like the older goslings were more independent and, while they were willing to approach the bridge in single file under their parent’s guidance, they were beginning to assert their independence compared with the younger goslings that still needed their parents guidance.


Summer On A Fort Yargo State Park Trail: Section B To The Dam, June 24th (Part 2)

June 24th. (Continued from…) 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 that, unfortunately, it had lost; the Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) Orchids had bloomed, and some Green Adder’s-mouth (Malaxis unifolia) Orchids had bloomed and two were setting seeds. The occurrence of slime mold fruiting bodies added a new focus of interest for this walk.



Before I started down the return trail from the dam, I checked several wildflowers at the west end of the dam.



Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) were still blooming, as were the…



Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota), and the…



Bigroot Morning Glory (Ipomoea pandurata).



I love this tree. It’s not too far down the trail and has an enormous gall that must have started when the tree was very small and has grown with it.



The seed capsules on New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) were still developing.



The mystery galls on the Blackjack Oak (Quercus marilandica) sapling were starting to look sad. There’s no evidence of any insect having chewed its way out of the galls.



An interesting pattern on a Sweetgum (Liquidamber styraciflua) leaf. Some creature had made its way around the leaf and damaged the surface cells, creating a fascinating pattern.


Some Bicolor Lespedeza (Lespedeza bicolor) bushes were blooming along this section of the trail.

I walked around to the…



Perfoliate Bellwort (Uvularia perfoliata) plant. The plant was still healthy and the…


seed capsules were still attached and the plant. 

A little further along the trail, I checked a large, fallen pine log for slime molds. I didn’t expect to find any because this log was in a much more open area that I thought would be too dry for slime molds. But I was in for another surprise. I found more…



Chocolate Tube (Stemonitis sp.) fruiting bodies on the side of the log. This was, by far, the largest single collection of fruiting bodies I’d seen so far.



The same image inverted, and…


from the side. 

It wasn’t until I was processing this image that I found these…



much smaller tiny ball-shaped fruiting bodies that appear to be joined - in the lower left and right side of the image. I believe these are Multigoblet Slime (Metatrichia vesparium). They are probably only a few milimeters tall. In my defense, these fruiting bodies were in an awkward-to-reach spot on the log and the log was in an awkward location to reach.



The Green Adder’s Mouth Orchids (Malaxis unifolia) had finished blooming, and

seed capsules were developing. There are at least 13 developing seed capsules on this plant, and some on a second, smaller plant. It’ll be interesting to watch these mature.



The Oak Apple galls I had found nearby had turned from an apple green to a deep green. Unfortunately these had disappeared before my next walk. 


I walked on up The Hill hoping  that there might be some slime molds on one of the logs at the top. I wasn’t disappointed. I found…



a large patch of Dog Vomit/Scrambled Egg (Fuligo septica) that had fruited.



A close-up view of this fruiting body showing its fine structure.



I continued from the top of The Hill. My final sighting of the day was a…

Trapdoor Spider (Ummidia sp.). This spider was walking across the trail on the western side of The Hill. It looked quite fearsome, like a tank with its ‘armored’ thorax. According to Bug Guide, males are often found in late spring, presumably looking for mates.

Once again, an interesting walk on a trail that I hadn’t considered to be particularly interesting in the past. Just shows that walking the same trail over time can change one’s mind about it.



Related posts: 

- Margined Leatherwing (Chauliognathus marginatus)
















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


















Summer On A Fort Yargo State Park Trail: Section B To The Dam, June 24th (Part 1)


June 24th. 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 Pawpaws (Asimina parviflora) had developed fruit that, unfortunately, it had lost; the Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) Orchids had bloomed, and some Green Adder’s-mouth (Malaxis unifolia) Orchids had bloomed and two were setting seeds. The occurrence of slime mold fruiting bodies added a new focus of interest for this walk.


An auspicious start to the walk? I was standing on the bridge from the parking lot when a Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis) landed on my boot. Unfortunately I was standing in the shade of one of the railing. The butterfly didn’t approve when I tried to move into the sunlight and flew off.


The Hoary Mountainmint (Pycnanthemum incanum) was still blooming. The leaves didn’t look as ‘hoary’ as they had earlier.


When I entered the main woods, I was pleasantly surprised to find a ruellia blooming in the shade. Even more that it was a Stalked Wild Petunia (Ruellia pedunculata). The Carolina Wild Petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis) is much more common in this area.


The Starry Rosinweed (Silphium astericus) was still blooming.

Again, I had to stop and check ‘my slime mold’ log.


My first sighting wasn’t a slime mold but a little insect – it looked like a stick-type insect – that was barely 0.5 inches long. 

I wasn’t disappointed in the slime mold department on this walk.


These young (pink) Wolf’s Milk (Lycogala epidendrum) fruiting bodies were nestled in a bed of moss. 

My next find was a real surprise. I saw a few gray ‘patches’ on the log. They just looked like smudges but I took a closer look and was rewarded with…


several clusters of a tiny gray-white, stalked slime mold fruiting bodies.


These belong to the genus Arcyria – possibly A. cinerea. The fruiting structures (stalk and sporangium) were only about 1 to 2 mm tall. They looked like little lumps of chalk. It takes a magnifying glass or a macro lens to see these little guys. These were relatively recent; they are just starting to release spore, the tiny clumps on the surface of the sporangia.
 

The sporangia in this cluster of fruiting bodies look powdery because they have released a lot of spores.


Back on the trail to ‘The Hill,’ Bicolor Lespedeza (Lespedeza bicolor) bushes were still blooming. 

At the top of the hill, where I follow the unmarked trail over to the Outer Trail, there is a large fallen log. I’ve photographed pine seedlings growing in cavities on this log, but thought it was too dry to be particularly interesting. But on this day I couldn’t miss the large clump of…


Red Raspberry (Tubifera ferruginosa) slime mold. I couldn’t help but notice the millipede at the edge of the fruiting body, but was the millipede eating the slime mold.


Yes, it was! I wonder how many slime molds we don’t see because ‘someone’ has eaten them. But then, we might be overwhelmed by slime molds if something didn’t eat them. 

Having found one slime mold on this log, I went back to the other end of the log and worked my way along it. I found more Chocolate Tube (Stemonitis sp.) fruiting bodies on the side of the log. Some clusters had…


formed very recently. The sporangia were still ‘attached’ to each other from when they formed. (See how stemonitis sporangia form here).


Other clusters were older and were looking a little frayed as they had already been releasing spores. 

I found…


young (pink), and… 


older (brown) Wolf’s Milk fruiting bodies, as well as…


Coral (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa var. fruticulosa) nearby. Interestingly, the Wolf’s Milk fruiting body in the lower left of this photo was starting to release its spores.
I tore myself away from this log and went over to check the…


Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) fruit which was still doing well.
Then on down to the dam. 
(To be continued…)

Related posts:  

- Margined Leatherwing (Chauliognathus marginatus)

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