Sunday, November 21, 2010

Field Trip: Oconee-Greene County. Part 1, Elders Mill Covered Bridge

In early October there were still some butterflies and wildflowers around about but the season was rapidly winding down. So this was a perfect time to start scouting locations to find new and such year. Roadsides and fields that are not mowed are the best places to find wildflowers. Most roadsides in Georgia are mowed at least once, if not twice, each year. Although mowing reduces the amount of flammable material that might fuel a brush fire, wildflowers – particularly annuals - may not go to seed before they are mowed and are eradicated within a few years. So we look for rural, gravel roads that are not mowed often if at all. State parks and clear-cut areas in national forests, wildlife management areas or national wildlife refuges are also great places for wildflowers and butterflies. So it’s a matter of driving roads to find areas to visit next year.

Our first trip was through part of Oconee and Greene counties. We started in Watkinsville, the county seat of Oconee County and drove south on Greensboro Hwy (GA-15). We stopped at the Elder Mill Covered Bridge before we continued down into Greene County to circle through a section of the Redlands Wildlife Management area and the Oconee National Forest before circling back via Fishing Creek. Elder Mill Covered Bridge (A) about four miles south of Watkinsville and is one of 15 covered bridges in Georgia.

The historic marker that gives a concise history of the bridge.

The approach to the bridge, both from east and west, is down a steep, gravel road. There are a few parking places on the west side of the bridge. The bridge is in excellent shape and it’s worth stopping for a closer look.

A view of the bridge from the southwest side. There are no ‘windows’ in this bridge.

The timbers are held with wooden dowels.

Mud wasps have built nests along the upper supports. This is a perfect spot out of the weather. It's interesting that there are at least three different colored clays in these nests.

This is not a prime area for wildflowers. However there are some and this Green Anole (Anolis carolinsis) was hunting insects in the brush.
Click on an image to view a larger image

- Georgia Outdoors: Map, Redlands WMA

- Georgia’s Covered Bridges:

--- Interactive Map

--- List and directions


Mike B. said...

Love the mud wasp nests- I guess they've found a few different sources of clay!

JSK said...

Yes, it does look that way. I've never seen wasp nests with more than one color before. I'm sure they exist; I've just never seen a set with more than one color.
I must say that they had a wonderful location out of the weather.