Saturday, April 30, 2011

Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve: Rocky Trail – South Lake Trail

Continuing from the Frog Pond Trail

From the quarry buildings at the end of the Frog Pond Trail, the South Lake Trail travels west over the stone outcrop to the woods and Arabia Lake. The South Lake Trail is marked with stone cairns. We left the trail on the Rocky Trail to find the Fern Trail and follow it to Arabia Lake.

Where the Rocky Trail left the South Lake Trail, the bank was covered with a blanket of Oneflower Stitchwort (Minuartia uniflora) in the foreground, Woolly Ragwort (Packera tomentosa) in the background, and False Garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve) to the right.

Close up of the False Garlic flowers.

The bank at the edge of the woods to the east of the Rocky Trail, a trail that is not marked with stone cairns. The bank was about 4 feet high. Organic matter from the woods has accumulated on the bank which no longer has the harsh scars from quarrying.

The outcrop to the south side of the trail also shows signs of quarrying that have not softened with time. Some Loblolly pines (Pinus taeda) have established on the outcrop.

As we approached the woods at the end of the Rocky Trail, we crossed a seep. Elf Orpine (Diamorpha smallii) blankets the thin soil on the outcrop in the foreground. Woolly Ragwort grows in the thicker soil along the seep.

As we were looking for the Fern Trail, we found the forest floor at the edge of the stone outcrop covered with fruiting Polytrichum commune moss and trout lilies (Erythronium sp.). We also found this small patch of Pixie Cup lichen (Cladonia carneola).

We couldn’t find the Fern Trail. We worked our way along the edge of the stone outcrop in the hope that we would spot the trail.

We found another area with a carpet of Elf Orpine in the foreground and Woolly Ragwort in the background.

At the southwest end of the stone outcrop we gave up our search for the Fern Trail and made our way back northeast around a patch of trees to the South Lake Trail. As we walked across the outcrop, a Kildeer (Charadrius vociferus) dashed from an area of Elf Orpine and began its ‘broken wing’ routine to distract us from its nest. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any photographs as she moved around so quickly. We looked around for the nest but the Elf Orpine carpet was so large, it would have taken a long time to search thoroughly.

We crossed this seep just before we reached the South Lake Trail

The last section of the South Lake Trail to the arch at the edge of the woods was fairly bare, with just a few scant patches of Elf Orpine.

From here we ventured entered the woods to reach Arabia Lake after a short walk. Then to the Arabia Lake and Forest Trails…

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Related posts:

- Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve: RR Trail - Frog Pond Trail

- Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve: Frog Pond Trail

- Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve: Bradley Mountain Trail (Part 1)

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