Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Walk At Fort Yargo State Park: Shelter A To The Old Fort, 4th April, 2015 (Part 2)

April 4th. (Continued from…) I started to walk at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia. One of my favorite 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. Things, in the way of Spring wildfowers, was starting to warm up on my most recent walk, documented here and here.

The Green Arrow Arum (Peltandra virginica) leaves are clearly identifiable now. 

One leaf on a clump very near the shore is much more developed although not at full size yet.

I made my way along to the Rock Garden and found…

the Eastern Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) plant that I followed several years ago. Its flowers were starting to open. As I walked along the trail, I could see more and more Eastern Sweetshrub plants; the area was ‘infested’ with them. It looks like this area, including that leading up to the fishing area, is becoming a good location to see flowers of this species without having to look too hard.

I went in search of the best cluster of the wild ginger, Little Brown Jug (Hexastylis arifolia). Most of the flowers are open now.

A closer view of the flowers. Again, I carefully covered the flowers with leaves when I had finished photographing them.

I almost missed these Perfoliate Bellwort (Uvularia perfoliata) plants; the flower caught my eye. I’m sure the plants must have been there last week but their stalks are gray and would be easily missed if the leaves are just developing. They are plants that I’ve followed in the past. I did find another individual plant further along this trail.

Back onto the main trail to the Old Fort. One tree, in particular, has leafed out well.

The trail looks quite different when walking back south. The shadows thrown by the trees in the sunshine produces a strong contrast with the trail itself.

Looking into the woods from the trail.

I found this slug eating moss and lichen that had grown in the crevice between the split trunks of this tree. I had found one munching on rock lichens last week. This probably explains why a lot of the lichens are not in pristine condition.

Looking back north along the main trail as I approached the fishing area.

I’ve been stopping to examine a small area just be the trail just south of the fishing area. And they are up! Leaves of Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule) have finally come up. They are about 2 to 3 inches long now. I always look forward to seeing these orchids. I almost walked past them the first time I saw them and I’ve watched other people walk past them without noticing them. The Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid is protected in Georgia; a complete list of protected plants in Georgia may be found here. A fact sheet for this species may be found here. (The Georgia State index to lists of protected mammals, reptiles etc. may be found here.)

Approaching the cliff. Green leaves everywhere. 

I almost didn’t stop to look at the Rattlesnakeweed (Hieracium venosum) plants above the cliff. At a glance I couldn’t see any changes. But then I looked a little closer and found that one plant was sending up a flower stalk. 

A close view of the Rattlesnakeweed flower stalk. 

The American Beech (Fagus americanus) leaves are still ‘sneering’ at me. They show not signs of opening yet. 

At the south end of the trail above the cliff, I found an Eastern Sweetshrub flower that was opening. I had missed this on the way up. It does make a case for walking out and back along a trail rather than a loop trail. 

On to the bridge and back to the parking lot at the end of a particularly rewarding walk. 

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