December 31st, 2012. I’ve never done a year-end review of the year’s posts before but we’ve had some interesting finds and it’s fun to look back on them. So here goes…
Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides). We found these plants blooming in the full afternoon sun in the Piedmont NWR. This was the first time I’d seen the Rue Anemone and I was surprised to see it blooming in the full afternoon sun. I had expected only to see it blooming in shaded areas.
Devil’s Urn or Black Tulip fungus (Urnula craterium). We found a couple of patches of these growing on fallen branches above Stalking Head Creek. Another first for us this year.
Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule). I visit this particular Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid each year. It’s growing by the trail south from the Fishing Area in Fort Yargo State Park in Barrow County, Georgia. And I mean right by the trail. There are two orchids only a few inches apart but they are unimposing and I suspect that few people see them.
Atamasco lillies (Zephyranthes atamasco). Therse were growing in a wet area where we turned from GA-83 onto Starr Road in Jasper County, Georgia, to drive south into the Piedmont NWR.
Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum). We found a stand of plants above Stalking Head Creek in the Piedmont NWR that developed fruit later in the season. Most of the Mayapples we’ve found have been growing in deep shade that defies getting a good photograph in natural light.
This year extended a love affair with milkvines. In 2011, we stumbled upon the Anglefruit Milkvine (Matalea gonocarpos) at the Scull Shoals Experimental Forest. In late Fall, we spotted seed pods in Hancock County, Georgia. When we returned in Spring, we found not only two different Matelea sp. but also a variant of one of these species.
As we were driving away, we spotted this pair of Canada geese that had found a secluded spot to build a nest. They weren’t particularly concerned by our presence as they swam in this quiet backwater.
Spiked WildIndigo (Baptisia albescens). It’s easy to overlook the Baptisia species. I’ve only seen the white-flowered species in this area but I’ve seen fascinated by the species I’ve seen in different counties. This was photographed in Hancock County, Georgia; we’ve also seen this species in Jasper County
Canada Goose goslings. On a trip up the Oconee River, we were treated to a pair of Canada Goose goslings exploring the world. Dad is standing on the top of the bank as the goslings came down the embankment into the river, swam around for a little while, and then scrambled back up to re-join Mum and Dad.
Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica). We saw these in the Piedmont NWR in Jones County, and in Hancock and Wilkes counties. They ‘hide’ in the grass but their brilliant red gives them away.
A female Spangled Skimmer (Libulella cyanea) with lunch. It wasn’t a good year for dragonflies with the very dry weather we had but… We rounded a bend in the road beside Sandy Creek swamp in Greene County, Georgia and found a grassy area alive with Spangled skimmers. One female had a prime hunting spot that was accessible to us too. Hence, this wonderful opportunity to catch her munching on a katydid.
Appalachian Fameflower (Phemaranthus teretifolius). In southern Greene County, Georgia, there’s a small granite outcrop right beside the road. It’s only about 10 yard by 20 yards but has several of the small granite outcrop wildflowers: Appalachian Stitchwort (Minuartia glabra), Elf Orpine (Diamorpha smallii) and the Appalachian Fameflower. It was worth lying on my back on the rock and gravel to photograph this flower.
Boykin’s Milkwort (Polygala boykinii). We’ve only seen these in Jasper County and in the Piedmont NWR. We saw our first flower on the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Trail in 2011 and then spotted them on Starr Road just north of the Piedmont NWR and on the west-facing wall of the dam on Pond 2A. I’m still surprised to see these delicate flowers thriving in the full afternoon sun in 90+F temperatures..
Click on an image to view a larger image