Thursday, February 6, 2014

1st of February

On Saturday we went to the last day of Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge. This was our first year to go.  As we were pulling out of the driveway, we saw a flock of sandhill cranes fly over!  Awesome!  I pulled the camera out as quickly as I could, but this was the best I could do:
  photo f496c151-9d67-4c6f-8b9d-7c0cc6de28a1_zpse47c3b95.jpg

At the conference, I took an introductory class on lichens, taught by a lady whose website is my first choice resource for identifying local wildflowers.  After the class, we took a short walk around the building.
We found Smoky-eye boulder lichen.
 photo 88cd9e8f-6585-496c-8226-317219068905_zps79852a57.jpg

Ressurection fern
 photo dbb4fac2-d3ca-46c8-8bdf-310c09929d07_zps4c229565.jpg

And maples with a variety of lichens.
 photo 669337ad-ca34-457b-b150-4ba08af3ed0a_zps65b52ad9.jpg

Meanwhile, Jeremiah had taken the kids to listen to a storyteller.  My class got out before theirs, so i went for a little walk.  To see what I could see.
American cliff swallow nests
 photo c8d60366-8e84-493d-a47c-df7d96113453_zps9bc5c947.jpg

 photo b72f50fb-dc5d-4c3a-a198-e92bbcf29805_zpsd1a8bb2f.jpg

female Eastern Bluebird
 photo ef9f6b77-f9dc-4437-902a-c0d6c65fb599_zpsd029c054.jpg

female Downy Woodpecker.  They can be distinguished from hairy woodpeckers by their shorter, thornlike beaks.
 photo 41473442-5f7a-4666-8f83-7c081d766203_zps85633fe9.jpg

This eastern gray squirrel had quite a bit to say to me.
 photo 89dcb57b-bde0-4898-a339-5f990a8f2967_zps8b998c4c.jpg

Canada geese
 photo 2da596ab-a546-4fc5-bfdd-aa5f5aabf47a_zpsa53d7005.jpg

 photo b37e0da7-a1fe-46ba-af67-01037b4fe68e_zps55f8ed48.jpg

When I returned, the kids were outside talking about the mountains.
 photo 0856ea11-6e93-4eab-b3ff-bb4c3a10f854_zpsa0af3eb9.jpg

Jeremiah had a class on toy making after lunch.  Then we decided to use the rest of our sunny day in the mountains to take a little hike.
But first a quick stop for doughnuts and hot chocolate.
 photo 22c03654-25f8-43d2-969c-d051b8822975_zps48e1db45.jpg

We went to Newfound Gap so I could look for black-capped chickadees.  They are only found at this elevation in Tennessee. With five rowdy kids, slipping in the snow and throwing snowballs, my chances of seeing birds plummeted to zero.
 photo 79b45b64-d5b6-4d23-8af4-9eba3fc1a67e_zps4dfb0ec2.jpg

But I did see these lovely yellow birches. It's been said that driving up in the Smokies is like driving from Georgia to Maine in a couple of hours due to the variety of ecological niches with change in elevation.
 photo d8fb2992-93af-4053-b527-70b4644e3b4f_zps20800cd1.jpg

 photo e0fe4d5f-bb9e-499e-9bfa-f70c51df0b47_zps4b555742.jpg

There was a lot of lichen, a good indicator of clean, pollution-free air.
 photo fa251f0c-922c-44a7-a226-95b1515ce715_zps3ea25620.jpg

These little peg lichens were covering a rocky section of the mountain.
 photo 3f2bfac9-b2dc-4bb6-99e3-61d1d870aa46_zpsdd395059.jpg

 photo c83d1d05-b23e-4028-ad56-bccf7a4f63af_zpsc52f4372.jpg

Lung lichen
 photo 14149090-fef1-4b17-b638-5b6e18ed6efc_zpsa632a6b1.jpg

 photo 9fd289a5-a655-415d-ad1c-d51fcb9c44f1_zpsde482a73.jpg

Gold dust lichen.  it looks just like elfin candleflame lichen but grows on quartz/marble type rocks instead of wood.
 photo 876256f7-6933-49ea-a0e8-ee809817da57_zps0e4bee72.jpg

 photo e109bf83-9def-42b2-8461-46858a5ddfd3_zpsbdcfe011.jpg

Red Spruce
 photo 4394cdd4-cb07-4e82-b0e9-de706da8c5b2_zps030cbe65.jpg

 photo 90aee3cc-786f-4845-bc80-74ec67dd0d63_zpsdb637117.jpg

 photo df080df3-6099-47f7-b8de-c4ff84728f4c_zps25a966db.jpg

 photo fd9160e4-8066-4bff-bcbe-c3c59bad944b_zpsba6878c8.jpg

 photo 66359d06-6f26-4414-bbf7-1ec03e6552ba_zpsda70b080.jpg

 photo dfe8be23-7a4a-4553-854f-ffbb4ee9fa9d_zps75623379.jpg

 photo 60e34aaa-74e1-4f87-aa88-90346c072ec0_zps4aaddf7e.jpg

 photo 6e2b8b42-06eb-46bd-a19e-fbd2fa17d8b7_zps015b1ea9.jpg

Sapsucker holes
 photo 37a8ad3d-5cb2-4ceb-938b-b45e6459e06b_zpsd8bf5ae4.jpg

Catawba rhododendron grows up here.  It has smaller leaves and pinker flowers than the rosebay, which grows lower down.
 photo 102a85c9-5906-4621-bf13-6ce8aa3d7df8_zps49816dc5.jpg

On our way back through Sevierville, we spotted this Great Blue Heron rookery.
 photo d4365a28-fe55-4bb7-b56b-25430e4567e7_zps22819899.jpg

And closer to home, we saw a groundhog.  We saw him the next day too, on Groundhog Day.  Our groundhog most certainly did not see his shadow!
 photo 228696dd-6440-4641-b91a-1fceb2037809_zpsce25208a.jpg

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great time! I hope we can go next year. I love all of your pictures. I would love to learn more about trees and such.

    ReplyDelete