Sunday, March 11, 2012

Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge: Late Winter Surprises (Part 1)

March 10th, 2012. On our recent trip to the Piedmont NWR a couple of weeks ago, we saw Dimpled Troutlilies just beginning to bloom. We figured that they’d be full bloom now so we drove back down to photograph them.

We took a slightly different route from our last trip. We took the route from GA-83 south on Starr Road through the Oconee National Forest into the NWR. We drove through Tribble Fields to the bridge over Little Falling Creek and then north to Pond 2A. We returned the way we’d come and then took the first road on the right down to the Round Tree – Juliette Rd, drove east and then back into the NWR on the first road on the left. From there we drove north to the intersection with Sugar Hill Road, turned west and forded Stalking Head Creek. We then drove north and took the first road on the right to ford Stalking Head Creek again, east past a small pond and southeast to meet Sugar Hill Road again and then east to GA-11.

We didn’t really expect to see too much but we were surprised.

Juvenal’s Duskywing (Errynis juvenalis). At first we only saw a couple when we stopped. However, a dozen or more where gathered on the sand just east of the bridge over Little Little Falling Creek, sipping minerals from the sand.

Field Pansy (Viola bicolor). Viola plants forming a carpet by the side of the road.

A closer view of this viola

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus). It was a real treat to finally be able to photograph this butterfly. They don’t occur around where we live. We’d seen several as we drove south on Starr Road but they were on the move and didn’t settle. This butterfly was also sipping minerals from the sand. Once it had settled, it let me walk very close to it. I was almost standing over it when I took these shots.

False Garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve). This is one of my favorite wildflowers of the Spring. Its flowers are so simple and clean. Sometimes it blooms again in the Fall. These were blooming near a small stream that flowed into Little Falling Creek.

Pond 2A. The road ends at the pond. The water level was higher than we’ve seen it for a while; the water was lapping the deck of the fishing pier.

We finished this leg of our trip as we crossed back over the bridge at Little Falling Creek
To be continued…

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

- Westcentral Georgia Butterflies by Michael Beohm: Juvenal’s Duskywing (Errynis juvenalis)

- Southeastern Flora: Field pansy (Viola bicolor)

- Westcentral Georgia Butterflies by Michael Beohm: Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

- Southeastern Flora: False Garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve)

Related Posts

- Piedmont NWR: The First Dimpled Troutlily (Erythronium umbilicatum) Of Spring

- Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge: October Wildflowers (Part 1)

- Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge: October Wildflowers (Part 2)

- Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge: October Wildflowers (Part 3)

- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower – Wildflower Index


Kay G. said...

That zebra swallowtail. WOW!
I would have been so happy to see that! Great photos of it too!

JSK said...

We were excited. We've seen them before but at this time of the year they're flying and, previously, I'd only seen them drinking water. But 'mining' salts really keeps them still