Saturday, July 14, 2012

Scull Shoals Experimental Forest: Just Checking In

July 6th, 2012. We made our almost-weekly stop at Scull Shoals Experimental Forest. Usually, we can drive to the end of the road to a turn-around and drive back out. But on the 6th 

we found the road blocked by a fallen tree trunk. It was a snag and much of the wood was rotten. But the trunk was probably about 18 inches in diameter and too large to move. So we satisfied ourselves by climbing over it and walking a little way up the road. We could check a couple of plants we have been following and were treated to a variety of wildflowers and insects.

We’d just had rain after a long drought and ants had to clear their tunnels of sand that had washed into them. There weren’t any ants in sight; just the evidence of their housekeeping.

This Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) is about three feet high now and had five suckers this year. It’s long since finished blooming for the year and one of its suckers is developing seeds.


Passionflowers vines (Passiflora incarnata) are blooming. Insects are feeding and inadvertantly fertilizing the blooms.


Angularfruit milkvines (Matelea gonocarpos) vines are blooming. It’ll be interesting to see if any develop seedpods this year.

A Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades) skipper was flitting from bloom to bloom, feeding on the last of the Heal All (Prunella vulgaris) plants still blooming. This butterfly wasn’t posing for photos and wouldn’t let me get a good shot of the top of its wings; I’ve posted some photos of this butterfly previously.

Six-spotted Tiger beetle (Cicindela sexguttata). Several of these beautiful beetles were scurrying around the road and they weren’t posing for photos either. I had to make do with a zoom shot which I’ve enlarged here.

A robber fly. I don’t know what species this is. It, also, was nervous about being approached but allowed me to get this photo.

One of several Eastern Tailed-blue (Cupido comyntas) along the road was folding its wings as soon as it landed. And last, but not least, a…

Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta) had a favorite perch just where we parked the pickup.

All-in-all, it was a fruitful stop even if we couldn’t get to the end of the road. Hopefully next time we visit, the snag will have been cleared from the road. It’s a long walk to the Green Comet Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora) flowers we’re following.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources: 
 Southeastern Flora:

Bug Guide:
- Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta)

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