Saturday, May 16, 2015

Wilkes County, Georgia: Fishing Creek And Broad River Wildlife Management Areas

April 24th, 2015. We take a road trip to Wilkes County at least four times each year. W volunteers to monitor frog species diversity and numbers on a prescribed route in the county. We take the opportunity to visit different places in the county before we ‘run the frog route’ after dark. Usually, these include

two swamps on Enoch John Road, Fishing Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and the Broad River WMA; we return to the beginning of the route via Pistol Creek.

We left the swamps on Enoch John Road and drove down Jones Chapel Road to Fishing Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

On the way, we sighted a Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis) butterfly, and 

Yellow-sided Skimmer (Libellula flavida).

The boundary of the WMA had undergone maintenance recently. Vegetation along the boundary had been cleared and the trees marking the boundary were visible. Trees are marked with one, two, or three orange bands. A tree with one band indicates the boundary and a tree with three bands marks a ‘corner’ where the boundary changes direction; I forget what the two bands means.

A new sign had been installed at the entrance to the WMA. This WMA is intended primarily for hunting and camping is allowed only near the entrance.

The roads wind through pinewoods. It was along this road that we found a Luna Moth.

We have visited this WMA because it is a good place to see Clasping Milkweed (Asclepias amplexicaulis) plants near a couple of the roads within the WMA.

We left the WMA and drove north on Ohara Standards Road, not expecting to see much in the way of wildflowers. However, we found more…


Common Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) plants in bloom.


The real ‘find’ for the day were the Narrowleaf Evening Primrose (Oenothera fruticosa) plants in bloom along Ohara Standard Road before we reached Morris Creek. (I’ll post these photographs separately.


I found a lone Violet Woodsorrel (Oxalis violacea) in bloom. 


From Ohara Standard Road, we drove north on GA-44 and GA-79, and then turned left on Delhi Road to reach Bolton Road. We have found a lot of Clasping Milkweed plants along Bolton Road, particularly north of Pistol Creek. We’ve found Monarch Butterfly caterpillars on milkweed plants at the north end of this road. From here, we turned right onto Broad Road and, then almost immediately, turned onto Anthony Shoals road into the Broad River WMA. 


We drive both of the roads – Anthony Shoals and C Johnson Road – in this WMA. Originally, we drove these roads in search of Clasping Milkweed plants. Over the years, we’ve encountered Black Rat (Elaphe [Pantherophis] obsoleta) near C Johnson Road but we were out of luck on this trip.


We found a patch of…


Needle-tipped Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium mucronatum) blooming on Anthony Shoals Road. 


Interestingly, there are two WMA border corners near Anthony Shoals Road. The corners are marked with four trees, each with three orange bands. The marker for the boundary corner is in the ‘center’ of the area surrounded by the trees. 


The marker is usually attached to the top of a concrete block.


The marker. It reads 







In the clear-cut near the end of Anthony Shoals Road.


The pine forest re-growing in 2015. It’s impressive how high these trees have grown, compared with..


the view, to the east, from this road towards the Broad River that I took in 2011 when the trees were only a couple of feet tall and you could see the Broad River in the distance.


Having completed our tour of both the Fishing Creek and Broad River WMAs, we made our way back to the starting point of our route on Oscar Walton Road which crosses…


Pistol Creek; upstream (top) and downstream (bottom). This is, without doubt, the most scenic creek in the area and always a favorite stopping point on our tour. 


Related posts: 

- The East Swamp On Enoch John Road: Death And Rebirth

- The Swamp On Anderson Mill Creek

- Clasping Milkweed (Asclepias amplexicaulis):Flowers

- Black Rat Snake (Pantherophis obsoleta): Broad River Wildlife Management Area, Wilkes County, Georgia

- Another Luna Moth

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