Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mushroom: Yet Another Amanita sp.

This Amanita sp. also fruited in early-mid October. It had a light orange cap with white patches and is probably either an orange variant of Amanita muscaria or a look-alike. The caps of the fully opened mushrooms were 6 to 7 inches in diameter. These mushrooms occurred in fairly open wooded areas at the edge to the immediate north of the parking lot at the Fishing Area and just south of the bridge from the parking lot (Segment 13). I didn’t see them deeper in the woods where I found the previous amanitas.

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Related posts:
- Mushroom: Another Amanita sp.
- Mushroom: Amanita sp.
- A Little Rain… Then Mushrooms

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fort Yargo State Park: More Fall Color

The cove at the juncture of Segments 15-16 has a cluster of trees that were more muted in color than those in the previous post.

The vista

Close up of the right side

Close-up of the left side

Today, the prominent tree on the point – on the right side in the first and second photos - has lost its leaves but is still photogenic.
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Related Post.
Fort Yargo State Park: Fall Color

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fort Yargo State Park: Fall Color

Pines are the dominant tree in the park. As a result fall color is, for the most part, the contrast of deciduous trees against a green background. At the moment, the west end of Picnic Area #2 is one of the most colorful areas in the park.

This photo was taken from the beginning of Segment 2 looking toward the island (Segment 16). The following photos were taken from left to right.

These trees were on the shore of the lake at the far left-hand side of the first photograph.

This tree is on the west side of the island.

These trees are on the shoreline behind the island. This photo was taken from in front of the Picnic Area (Segment 15) looking behind the island.

This tree is on the shore at the west end of the picnic area.

Although the view from the water is unique, it is possible to view all of these trees from the trail that runs from the Boat Launch to Picnic Area #2.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Common Eastern Bumblebee: Last Insect of the Season?

This year the fall weather has been wetter and cooler than last year. Most of the wildflowers are ‘done’ for the season. There are a few dandelions, goldenrod and a couple of flowers left on the butterfly bush. This Common Eastern Bumblebee is among the last insects of the season.

During the day, they are feeding on the few remaining wildflowers...

In the evening they settle where they can. This one has taken refuge in one of the last flowers on the butterfly bush.
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Great Blue Heron

Some sunny weather at last. The temperature was 47F and the lake was smooth – to start with at least. The Blackgums (Nyssa sylvatica; Black Tupelo) started to change color a few weeks ago but other trees had shown little inclination to follow suit. In the last couple of days, however, many trees have started to change color in earnest.

This is a view of the shoreline above the boat launch (Segment 18) on Marburg Creek reservoir in Fort Yargo State Park.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

A Great Blue Heron (
Ardea herodias) flew to the point at Segment 11-12
when I entered Segment 11 and didn’t fly off when I rowed back. I pulled wide of the point and floated towards the point in the wind. The heron watched me closely but didn’t fly away until I was quite close.
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mushroom: Another Amanita sp.

Yet another Amanita sp. in the woods just north of the Fishing Area (Segment 12/13) at Fort Yargo State Park. This species fruited in early October. This one was pure white.


The cap on this one was about 12 inches in diameter. This mushroom had been open for some time and discolored from leaves that had fallen on it during recent rainfall.
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Related posts:
Mushroom: Amanita sp.
- A Little Rain… Then Mushrooms

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall Is Here: Time To Gather Wood…

Fall is here. The shadows in the woods are long.

This photo was taken on the path that runs along the ledge above the creek. The woods are distinctly chilly although the sun still has a warm bite even this late in the afternoon.

It’s time to harvest firewood for the winter. We harvest only dead trees. Even these sometimes resist leaving the woods. This one hung up on a nearby tree and additional tackle was required to bring it to the ground.

This tree will provide firewood for a good portion of winter.
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Cloudless Sulphur: Settled For The Night

The butterfly bush was in the shade when I walked by tonight. It was already quite cool. Surprisingly, a Cloudless Sulphur had settled in the bush for the evening. The butterfly showed no inclination to move and let me move the branch around to get photos from a better angle. It would not have been possible to get this close if it had been warmer.

A full profile…

A macro photo…

Related Posts:
- Cloudless Sulphur: Late Afternoon Treat

- Butterfly And Caterpillar: Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
- Butterfly: Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans): Instars

This Green Lynx spider laid eggs around the second to third weeks in September. When she spun the egg case, she spun web between nearby branches and the branch on which the case was attached to stabilize the egg case.

As it got closer to the time the eggs hatched, she spun more lines to make sure that the egg case was secure. This photo was taken on September 29, 2009.

By the time the eggs hatched, the egg case was really secured. In this photo, the instars cluster on the egg case and in the webs around the case, the female is on the branch above and to the right of the case, and the remains of the egg 'shells' hang in the web below the case. This photo was taken on October 4th, 2009.

A close up of the same egg case with instars. This photo was taken on October 4th, 2009.

Close up of an instar. This photo was taken on October 9th, 2009. I couldn’t find the female this day. The instars appeared to be ‘on their own.’

PS: I couldn’t find the egg cases or any sign of the instars after the heavy rain last week. I hope at least some made their way down the bush into the grass below and survived the bad weather.

Related Posts:

- Green Lynx Spiders (Peucetia viridans)

- Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans): Egg-laying Time Again….

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spider: Bold Jumper (Phidippus audax)

Yesterday was the first sunny day after a week of rain and clouds. The butterfly bush was alive with Fiery Skippers and a couple of Gulf Fritillaries that appeared desperate to feed after days of inclement weather. It’s not often that I can get my hand within an inch of one of these skippers.

Among the skippers was one that wasn’t moving. I suspected that it was a victim of a spider since Green Lynx and crab spiders often hunt here. I was quite surprised to find that the spider in this case was a Bold Jumper (Phidippus audux). I’ve seen many of these spiders but it’s usually difficult to get a good photograph.

Identification resource:
- Bug Guide: Bold Jumper (Phidippus audax)

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Marburg Creek Reservoir: High Water

We’ve had more than 4 inches of rain at our place during the last week. Fort Yargo State Park probably got more than we did since we’re in a slightly drier area.

The lake level this morning was about 6 inches higher than a month ago.

September 13th, 2009

October 16th, 2009

At the overflow tower…

September 13th, 2009

October 16th, 2009

At the Fishing Area…

The water has already dropped about 12 inches from its high point judging by the line of pine needles left by the boat launch when the water receded. It is likely that the deck of the water overflow tower was submerged when the water was at its highest.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Frogs At The Pool

A year or so ago, W and J dug a pool on the ledge above the creek to provide still water for frogs to breed. This has been quite successful. We know that Southeastern Chorus frogs (Uplands Chorus frog; Pseudacris feriarum), Southern Leopard frogs (Rana sphenocephala), and Cope’s Gray Treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) have bred in this pool.

Normally the pool looks like this. The water level is even lower in the middle of summer.

But after 3 inches of rain, it looks like this.

Normally the frogs that gather near the pool jump into the water or into the undergrowth out of sight and I haven’t been able to get any photos.

Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala)

I don’t know whether this young Southern Leopard frog was waterlogged and not thinking straight or whether it simply thought that since it was under cover it couldn’t been seen. Wrong! Admittedly I didn’t get a photo of it when it was in the open but I did get photographic proof that it was a Southern Leopard frog.

Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus)

I was quite surprised to happen upon this Southern Cricket frog (
Acris gryllus) that posed for this photo. It is usually quite difficult to get close to a cricket frog but this one allowed me to get a macro shot. Cricket frogs don’t breed at this pool but in shallow water further along the creek so it was a surprise to encounter it here. It is a handsome specimen.

It is interesting that Walton County is not included in the range for the Southern Cricket frog. We should only encounter the Northern Cricket frog (
Acris crepitans) here. However, thanks to John Jensen at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for confirming this identification.

Identification resources:
- Frogs and Toads of Georgia: Southern Leopard Frog (
Rana sphenocephala)
- Frogs and Toads of Georgia: Southern Cricket Frog (
Acris gryllus)
- Personal communication: John J Jensen, Georgia Department of Natural Resouces

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Mushroom: Amanita sp.

The area north and just south of the Fishing Area (Segment 12/13) at Fort Yargo State Park has been an excellent site to view a wide variety of mushrooms – especially Amanita sp. – to the extent that I've nicknamed it ‘Amanita Heaven.’

This Amanita sp., which I think may be the Rag-veil Amanita (Amanita cineropannosa), fruited in mid to late September.

Related Post A Little Rain... Then Mushrooms
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