Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summer On A Fort Yargo State Park Trail: Section B To The Dam, June 24th (Part 2)

June 24th. (Continued from…) When I visited Fort Yargo State Park in mid-February, there were few signs of Spring. The only wildflower plants that were obvious were the leaves of Cranefly Orchids (Tipularia discolor) that I found in many places.

The route… I’ve described it here, here, here, and here This walk doesn’t have the variety of wildflowers as my other walk from the Group A Shelter to the Old Fort but it does have some gems. One of the Smallflower (Asimina parviflora) had developed fruit that, unfortunately, it had lost; the Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) Orchids had bloomed, and some Green Adder’s-mouth (Malaxis unifolia) Orchids had bloomed and two were setting seeds. The occurrence of slime mold fruiting bodies added a new focus of interest for this walk.

Before I started down the return trail from the dam, I checked several wildflowers at the west end of the dam.

Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) were still blooming, as were the…

Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota), and the…

Bigroot Morning Glory (Ipomoea pandurata).

I love this tree. It’s not too far down the trail and has an enormous gall that must have started when the tree was very small and has grown with it.

The seed capsules on New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) were still developing.

The mystery galls on the Blackjack Oak (Quercus marilandica) sapling were starting to look sad. There’s no evidence of any insect having chewed its way out of the galls.

An interesting pattern on a Sweetgum (Liquidamber styraciflua) leaf. Some creature had made its way around the leaf and damaged the surface cells, creating a fascinating pattern.

Some Bicolor Lespedeza (Lespedeza bicolor) bushes were blooming along this section of the trail.

I walked around to the…

Perfoliate Bellwort (Uvularia perfoliata) plant. The plant was still healthy and the…

seed capsules were still attached and the plant. 

A little further along the trail, I checked a large, fallen pine log for slime molds. I didn’t expect to find any because this log was in a much more open area that I thought would be too dry for slime molds. But I was in for another surprise. I found more…

Chocolate Tube (Stemonitis sp.) fruiting bodies on the side of the log. This was, by far, the largest single collection of fruiting bodies I’d seen so far.

The same image inverted, and…

from the side. 

It wasn’t until I was processing this image that I found these…

much smaller tiny ball-shaped fruiting bodies that appear to be joined - in the lower left and right side of the image. I believe these are Multigoblet Slime (Metatrichia vesparium). They are probably only a few milimeters tall. In my defense, these fruiting bodies were in an awkward-to-reach spot on the log and the log was in an awkward location to reach.

The Green Adder’s Mouth Orchids (Malaxis unifolia) had finished blooming, and

seed capsules were developing. There are at least 13 developing seed capsules on this plant, and some on a second, smaller plant. It’ll be interesting to watch these mature.

The Oak Apple galls I had found nearby had turned from an apple green to a deep green. Unfortunately these had disappeared before my next walk. 

I walked on up The Hill hoping  that there might be some slime molds on one of the logs at the top. I wasn’t disappointed. I found…

a large patch of Dog Vomit/Scrambled Egg (Fuligo septica) that had fruited.

A close-up view of this fruiting body showing its fine structure.

I continued from the top of The Hill. My final sighting of the day was a…

Trapdoor Spider (Ummidia sp.). This spider was walking across the trail on the western side of The Hill. It looked quite fearsome, like a tank with its ‘armored’ thorax. According to Bug Guide, males are often found in late spring, presumably looking for mates.

Once again, an interesting walk on a trail that I hadn’t considered to be particularly interesting in the past. Just shows that walking the same trail over time can change one’s mind about it.

Related posts: 

- Margined Leatherwing (Chauliognathus marginatus)

- Spring Is In The Air: Fort Yargo State Park, Section B To The Dam, May 1st (Part 2)

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