Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Walk At Fort Yargo State Park: Shelter A To The Old Fort, 26th March, 2015 (Part 1)

March 26th. I started to walk at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia.
One of my walks is from the Group Shelter A to the Old Fort and back. This is a rewarding walk for viewing wildflowers.
The route which I described here.

New signs of Spring and the expected increase of people using the park. The paths near the group shelter had been raked. It hadn’t been a problem to follow the trail but then I’m familiar with it. 

The first signs of herbaceous wildflowers on this trail. A small patch of Common Blue Violets (Viola sororia) were blooming beside the trail just beyond the pine woods. 

A small sapling was covered with these oak marble galls. I’ve never seen so many in one place. Early in their development, the galls are green and fleshy and look like grapes. 

The area around the first bridge looks unchanged. 

I’m always amused by this tree. It looks like an inviting ‘chair’ but it’s a little too high to be used as such. It’s possible that there is a more serious side to this tree. It’s possible that it could be an Indian Trail Tree, trees that were bent and secured as young saplings. Apparently the indians would then mark these trees with their own or their clan insignia. I’ll have to take a closer look at this tree on my next walk.

Remember the large bud from my previous post? This is what emerged in the six days since my previous walk. It’s a Black Walnut (Juglans nigra).

I climbed up to the fence above the cliff. 

I was looking at some moss about to fruit, and when I stepped away from the trail, I suddenly noticed a number of relatively large bracket fungi growing on the side of a tree away from the trail. Their color causes them to blend nicely into the trunk. 

At first, it looked like they might be thin bracket fungi that had collapsed over the ones below but, when I felt them, they were quite solid. I haven’t been able to identify them. 

Small Rhododendron – R. canescens, I believe – grow along the edge of the cliff. Although they look more like a collection of sticks at the moment, they had buds. 

Then I noticed that leaves were emerging on a few of the stems. 

Some stems still had quite striking remains of seedpods. I’d never thought much about these shrubs producing seeds but obviously they do. I’ll have to keep an eye out for them this year.

The Rattlesnake Weed (Hieracium venosum) plants have developed more distinctive coloring. 

A flash of white out over the water caught my eye. A couple of Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) trees were in bloom. I’d been thinking that they should bloom before long but almost missed them. These trees had only a few flowers. There’s a tree on the trail to the dam that blooms profusely.

A closer view of the flowers. 

Some of the bare stems along the trail are now being betrayed by their developing leaves. There are several Strawberry Bushes (Euonymus americanus) along the trail between the cliff and the fishing area. These are already setting their flower buds. 

When I crossed the bridge into the fishing area, I saw it. The scum of pine pollen that forms around the shore of the lake in the pine pollen season. Not as attractive as the fine layer on the water on my previous visit.

The Elliott’s Blueberries (Vaccinium elliottii) were still blooming. 

The Green Arrow Arum (Peltandra virginica) leaves are growing. The arrow leaf is quite distinct on one of them now. 

A couple of Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) were flitting around in the shade under the pines. I managed to stalk one of them. Unfortunately their color is muted in the shade. In the sun, they are a pretty blue.

I made my way though the fishing area to the Rock Garden.
To be continued… 

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