Exploring Nature One Step At A Time

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Why did the Hercules Beetle cross the sidewalk?

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Why did the Male Eastern Hercules Beetle cross the sidewalk?  I am not sure, but he was an surprising sight! About 3 inches of shining beauty in the late afternoon sun.

New Forest Friend – Eastern Wood Pewee

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I am an inconsistent whistler.  Until today the birds I could imitate with answering results were Hawks, Mockingbirds and Thrashers.  The later two basically taking pity on my lame attempts, plus they imitate everything. I saw a Hawk fly over and did my classic impersonation.  Instead of an answer from above a slightly different call rang out from the Trees to my left.  I scanned the canopy and came up with no sighting.  In an attempt to find the bird with the clear voice  I did my best imitation.  To my amazement it answered back getting closer with each exchange.  In the fading light I was  finally able to spot the sweet little olive brown bird and took several photos.  after a few minutes of musical exchange it flew down toward the trail, turned and hovered within inches my face.  It sang, I sang and then it returned to the branch high above my shoulder.  I thanked the lovely Eastern Wood Pewee for a lovely duet in the fading light.

Love to ALL!
Lee

 

Life and Death on the Trail in Cedar Glades

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Last weekend early morning in Cedar Glades Park I photographed a bit of Nature on the side of the trail that I did not realized was an empty Box Turtle shell.  The sun was still low and I could not see everything clearly.  Later on the hike we discovered a male Box Turtle in the middle of the trail.  My husband Rick picked him up and to move him off the mixed use (mountain bikes and hikers) trail.  A team of three cyclists had buzzed past us earlier and now after seeing I had photographed an empty shell I know my husband likely saved a life that day.

Love to ALL!

Lee

Beautiful Beings On An Early Soul Day Hike

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July is the birthday month for both myself the 4th and my husband the 16th.  So we celebrate our special Soul Day on the 10th of July.  This year we took an early morning hike and were blessed with the beauty of seeing many beings in the Forest.

Breakfast was stuffed in the mouth of a chipmunk as above a pair of warblers (Vireos I think) collected nesting materials.

A lovely Whitetail Doe pick at us from the brush then stepped fully out into the open.  We did not want to startle her as it was clear she is nursing at least one fawn.  She turned several times on the trail pausing to eat and then leap up a small rise.  I sprinted down the trail once he was gone to a rock look out and saw her in the ravine below with a fawn and a juvenile Doe.

Near the end of our hike a flash of red in the pines alerts us to the presence of a family of Summer Tanagers.  A vibrant male in transitional colors, a tiny buff green chick and a female in her green.

It was a perfect start to our Soul Day!

Love to ALL!
Lee

Twin Fawns and Beautiful Birds

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Often we are focused on the obvious like a Male Summer Tanager as he distracts us from seeing his mate.  Female Tanagers are a pretty green and usually  blend into the dense spring and summer foliage.  It was a blessing to look up and see a Lovely female Summer Tanager a few branches away from her bright red mate.

A week ago I saw a flash of red and gold diving between the Trees at the top of of North Mountain. It looked like a tiny fireball darting from limb to limb.  Finally I got a glimpse of a vibrant juvenile Male Scarlet Tanager.  His transition from yellowish green to red gives him a dazzling fiery appearance.

As we came out of the trail head and on to the road I spotted a Whitetail Doe and her twin Fawns.  It was the perfect end to a marvelous evening hike.

Love to ALL!
Lee

The Wildlife Comes Out At night

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As the heat and humidity rise we have begun enjoying lovely early evening hiking.   We were delighted to see a flock of juvenile Robins that still had speckling on their chests and a lovely Whitetail Deer stepping out onto thepath ahead of us. A colorful Indigo Bunting and Summer Tanager sang beautiful songs above us in the Trees. Fungi and Wildflowers painted the Forest floor attracting mollusks (snail) and Insects (False Bee).

There is no better Soul therapy than escaping in to the Mountains and communing with the Trees and beings who call the park home.

Special thanks to my husband Rick for spot the lovely Whitetail Doe quickly enough so I could get these photographs without startling her.

Love to ALL!
Lee

Rare Find: Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys) A Parasitic Wildflower

HSNP Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys)

HSNP Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys)

 

This is the plant geek portion of our programming…

On June 06th of 2010 I was searching for fungi on the trails of Hot Springs National Park and I took a photo that I labeled “Fungi Flowers”.  The past four years I have searched the Upper Dogwood trail for another sighting of the unusual flowers.  On June 17th of 2014 I was bless with a eureka moment and found a cluster of the same plant at a later growth stage.  After further investigation I discovered they are Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys) a Parasitic Wildflower.

Location: Hot Springs National Park – Garland County, Arkansas
Mountain: North
Trail: Upper Dogwood
Years: 2010, 2014
GPS (2014 only):
Latitude: 34;31;26.627999999996987
Longitude: 93;2;46.936999999976237
Altitude: 304.8

The USDA cutbacks mean they no longer have anyone accepting images and data regarding rare and endangered plants.  According to the data on their site Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys) has not been verified as sighted in Garland County Arkansas. http://plants.usda.gov/java/county?state_name=Arkansas&statefips=05&symbol=MOHY3  I am creating this posting as a record for later use to update their information.

I have sighted and photographed Pinesap (Monotropa hypopitys) twice on the same trail in separate years but only have GPS data for 2014.

Test below is from the USDA website:
Monotropa hypopitys – Pinesap, Dutchman’s Pipe

Pinesap is an herbaceous perennial wildflower with a wide geographic distribution throughout the United States and Canada. However, Pinesap is a rarely encountered wildflower.

Monotropa hypopitys (Monotropa – once turned; hypopitys – under the pine or fir from its habitat) ranges in height from 10 to 35 centimeters. The entire plant is a pale creamy white, coral pink or red. The leaves are scale-like and occur along the flower stalk (peduncle). The inflorescence is a raceme of 2 to 11 flowers at the tip of the flower stalk. Upon emerging from the ground, the flowers are pendant. As the anthers and stigma mature, the flowers are spreading to all most perpendicular to the stem. The fruit is a capsule. As the capsule matures, the flowers become erect. Once ripened, seed is released through slits that open from the tip to the base of the capsules. The plant is persistent after the seeds have dispersed.”

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