Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mid Summer 2016 In The Appalachians


June 29, 2016 at 6:20 AM
Shallow Morning Fog In Powell Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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[ For climatology purposes I consider June-August as summer and break early-mid-late season down by individual months.  In this case
I have hedged, by a day or so, my beginning to mid summer to highlight a classic morning setting amid the High Knob Massif ].

One of the most amazing aspects of a set of photographs like this is the changes in light that occur over time, with an amazing interplay between the atmosphere and complex mountain landscape, in going from pre-sunrise to post-sunrise. 

June 29, 2016 at 6:24 AM
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Shallow Morning Fog In Powell Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

June 29, 2016 at 6:33 AM
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Shallow Morning Fog In Powell Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The inversion producing this featured a shallow layer 
of moist, cool air that had reached the dewpoint to condense out visible moisture in the form of fog.

June 29, 2016 at 6:36 AM
Amid Core of The High Knob Massif
Shallow Morning Fog In Powell Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Many such settings develop fog that is many hundreds of vertical feet ( more than 1000 feet at times ) deep.  

In this case the fog did not completely obscure tops 
of interior ridges that rise only 100-300 feet above 
the valley floor. 

June 29, 2016 at 6:39 AM
Looking Southwest To The Powell River Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

June 29, 2016 at 6:40 AM
Looking Toward Maple Gap
Shallow Morning Fog In Powell Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

June 29, 2016 at 6:49 AM
Shallow Fog In Upper Part of Powell Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The undulating crestline above marks the northwestern edge of the 
Big Cherry Lake Basin where the South Fork of Powell River heads 
in the high country southwest of the High Knob peak.

June 29, 2016 at 7:03 AM
Amid Core of The High Knob Massif
Shallow Morning Fog In Powell Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

June 29, 2016 at 7:24 AM
Amid Core of The High Knob Massif
Shallow Morning Fog In Powell Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 9, 2016
South Fork of Powell River Basin
Majestic Big Cherry Lake of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Big Cherry Lake Dam
Monthly Precipitation Totals
Observer: Gary Hampton
Water Elevation 3120 feet

2016

January: 7.43"

February: 8.03"

March: 2.18"

April: 4.64"

May: 6.57"

June: 5.75"

July 1-9: 4.10"

May 1-July 5: 16.42"

2016 Total: 38.70" ( M )

12-Month Total: 76.92" ( M )

Average Per Month: 6.41"

( M ) - Indicates missing data due to evaporation between
hand-measurements throughout the year and from losses in
deep snowfall during the cold season

The lake level at Big Cherry Dam was still below the spillway on July 9, but mostly due to more than 200 million gallons of water being released for Powell River flow augmentation and for usage in the surrounding region ( 60+ million for usage ) during the June 1-July 9 period.  This amount of release-usage accounted for approximately 1/3 of the total water holding capacity of the entire lake ( 633 million gallons ), 
leaving room to collect recent heavy rains.

July 9, 2016
High Knob Massif
Mossy Covered Boulders In South Fork Gorge
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Although all flooding can never be prevented, Big Cherry Lake Dam plays an important role in reducing high water and flooding downstream along both the South Fork and main stems of the Powell River.

*The Powell River is one of the most biologically diverse in North America, being just behind the Clinch River ( which the massif also feeds ).
Both are within the Upper Tennessee River Basin.

July 9, 2016
Elevation 3120 feet
Majestic Big Cherry Lake of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Some bird species observed July 9 
around the 3000 foot level included:

Black-throated Green Warbler
( Setophaga virens )

Black-throated Blue Warbler
( Setophaga caerulescens )

Chestnut-sided Warbler
( Setophaga pensylvanica )

Hooded Warbler
( Setophaga citrina )

Northern Parula
( Setophaga americana )

Blue-headed Vireo
( Vireo solitarius )

Dark-eyed Junco
( Junco hyemalis )

July 9, 2016
Elevation 3120 feet
Majestic Big Cherry Lake of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Rufous-sided Towhee
( Pipilo erythrophthalmus )

Wild Turkey
( Meleagris gallopavo )

Turkey Vulture
( Cathartes aura )

American Crow
( Corvus brachyrhynchos )

Sharp-shinned Hawk
( Accipiter striatus )

American Goldfinch
( Spinus tristis )

Wood Thrush
(  Hylocichla mustelina )

American Robin
( Turdus migratorius )

Indigo Bunting
( Passerina cyanea )

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
( Archilochus colubris )

Carolina Chickadee
( Poecile carolinensis )

I also thought I heard a Veery Thrush ( Catharus fuscescens ) in the distance but could not get enough calls to verify.  The Wood and Veery meet or slightly overlap in this area.

It is also possible that the Hermit ThrushCatharus guttatus ) could be in the upper basin as Dr. Phil Shelton has found them adjacent to that area for the past several years ( but not yet this year ). 

July 9, 2016
Big Cherry Lake of High Knob Massif
Majestic Skies & Water Reflections
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 9, 2016
Big Cherry Lake of High Knob Massif
Majestic Afternoon Skies Above Big Cherry
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 9, 2016
Late Afternoon Sunlight
Upper South Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 9, 2016
Late Afternoon Sunlight
Upper South Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 9, 2016
On Valley Floor Looking Northeast
Sunset From Cracker Neck of Powell Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 9, 2016
Looking Toward The Big Stone Gap
Sunset From Cracker Neck of Powell Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 1, 2016
John & America Mae Mullins Gardens
Pink-White-Yellow Gladioli ( Gladiolus spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 1, 2016
John & America Mae Mullins Gardens
Majestic Orange Gladiolus ( Gladiolus spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 1, 2016
John & America Mae Mullins Gardens
Beautiful Pink Zinnia ( Zinnia elegans )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 1, 2016
John & America Mae Mullins Gardens
Cultivated Hydrangeas ( Hydrangeas spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 5, 2016
Approaching Peak Bloom In Cumberlands
Rosebay Rhododendron ( Rhododendron maximum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July means peak bloom for beautiful Rosebay Rhododendrons, from high valleys in the High Knob Massif, such as at High Knob Lake and Big Cherry Lake, into middle and lower elevations of the Cumberland Mountains.

July 9, 2016
Flag Rock Recreation Area
Stone-Pickem Mountain of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 9, 2016
Big Stone Gap Water Plant
Luna Moth ( Actias luna )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 10, 2016
John & America Mae Mullins Gardens
Pink Calla Lily ( Zantedeschia aethiopica )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 10, 2016
John & America Mae Mullins Gardens
Blue Hydrangea ( Hydrangea macrophylla )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 10, 2016
John & America Mae Mullins Gardens
Nice Pinkish-Red Zinnia ( Zinnia elegans )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 10, 2016
John & America Mae Mullins Gardens
Beautiful Variegated Gladioli ( Gladiolus spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 10, 2016
John & America Mae Mullins Gardens
Nice Pinkish-Red Zinnia ( Zinnia elegans )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 14, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Mushroom Grows In Mid-Summer Wetness
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 14, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
White Coral Mushroom Catches Sunlight
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Anyone who has photographed within the woods of the southern Appalachians knows how dark it tends to be inside the forest, and that wind can help illuminate subjects by blowing tree tops in ways that allow sunlight to reach the forest floor.  The two pictures here being an example of dim sunlight versus a burst of bright light with a gust of wind ( above ).

July 14, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
White Coral Mushroom Catches Dim Sunlight
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 18, 2016
Cold Air Drainage Hollow
Barred Owl ( Strix varia ) Hunting
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 19, 2016
High Knob Massif
Water Elevation 3318 feet
Water Reflections On Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 19, 2016
Upper Norton Reservoir of High Knob Massif
Gem Studded Puffballs ( Lycoperdon spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 19, 2016
High Knob Massif
Gem Studded Puffball Lycoperdon spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 19, 2016
High Knob Massif
Gem Studded Puffballs ( Lycoperdon spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 19, 2016
Water Elevation 3318 feet
Water Reflections On Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The afternoon was pleasant with temperatures in the low-mid 70s, with decreasing humidity that would allow temperatures to drop down into the low-mid 50s by morning hours of July 21.

July 19, 2016
High Knob Massif
Water Reflections In Cove of Upper Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

I love all 5 of the mountain top lakes across the massif as they act like mirrors to reflect colors during any time of the year, when conditions are right!

July 19, 2016
High Knob Massif
Water Reflections In Cove of Upper Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

I stopped right in the road, literally, when I saw the glow of these beauties ( below ) as the sun was getting low on the mountain horizon.  Thankfully, I got there just in time before this gorgeous light faded away and while there was little traffic on the road.

July 19, 2016
High Knob Massif
Turk's-cap Lily ( Lilium superbum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

It is awesome to have a mountain mass where Turk'-cap & Canada lilies grow below croaks of Northern Ravens ( Corvus corax ) and dozens of species of Wood Warblers, many with northern affinities like these lilies of this 
great sky island.

July 19, 2016
High Knob Massif
Canada Lilies ( Lilium canadense )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 19, 2016
High Knob Massif
Sunflowers ( Helianthus spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 19, 2016
High Knob Massif
Sunflower ( Helianthus spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 19, 2016
Summit of High Knob Massif
High Knob Lookout In Early Evening Light
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 19, 2016
Approaching Sunset In Summer Haze
Looking SW Across High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 19, 2016
View From High Knob Lookout Tower
Approaching Sunset In Cumberland Mountains
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 19, 2016
High Knob Peak - Elevation 4223 feet
Approaching Sunset From High Knob Lookout
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

I have seen many sunsets from up there and this one was by no means classic, with clouds obscuring the great ball of fire before it reached the crest of Black Mountain; however, this sunset offered a few interesting twists.


July 19, 2016
Looking Across High Knob Lake Basin
Moon Rise Before Sunset = Yellowish Glow
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Looking southeast the Moon rose up before sunset 
and this gave it a very interesting yellowish glow, in combination with abundant haze in between clouds, at the same time as a towering cumulus toward the S-SSW glowed with fading light from the setting sun 
( it was getting dark by this time ).

July 19, 2016
Looking South-Southwest
Towering Cumulus Illuminated By Setting Sun
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 22, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Queen-Anne's Lace ( Daucus carota )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 22, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Queen-Anne's Lace In A Developing Stage
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 22, 2016
Running Up Side Of Wooden Shed
Virginia Creeper ( Parthenocissus quinquefolia )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 22, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Fishing Spider ( Dolomedes spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 23, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Mushroom After A Summer Thunderstorm
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 23, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Mushroom After A Summer Thunderstorm
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 23, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Mushroom Just Emerging From Earth
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 23, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Coral Mushroom After Summer Thunderstorm
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 23, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Mushrooms After Summer Thunderstorms
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

July 23, 2016
Taken With Flash Amid Darkness
Millipede of Possible Brachoria Genus
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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