Saturday, March 12, 2016

Early Spring 2016 In The Appalachians


March 15, 2016
Beautiful Spring Scene In Cumberland Mountains
Trout LiliesErythronium spp. ) & Fruiting Moss
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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March 17, 2016
Fungi, Lichens, Mosses, and Majestic Bokeh
Polypore Fungi On Decaying Cherry Birch
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

There is an entire and rather complex community of life forms above, which most might overlook on a dead, decaying log.  Something to consider, as the value of a tree extends far beyond its period of actually being alive.  The decay stages 
of trees, in fact, form important components of a forest ecosystem ( which can not be complete without them ).

March 18, 2016
Fresh & Young With Beautiful Petals-Stamens
Beautiful Spring Scene In Cumberland Mountains
Trout Lilies ( Erythronium spp. ) & Fruiting Moss
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

I revisited the flower above which had just come into bloom on March 18 and found it still beautiful on March 22 ( below ), with main changes being something had eaten the tip of one petal and the anthers ( of the stamens ) were now producing spores ( not smooth and slick as seen above ).

Revisited This Flower On March 22, 2016
Beautiful Spring Scene In Cumberland Mountains
Trout Lilies ( Erythronium spp. ) & Fruiting Moss
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 26, 2016
Bumble Bee ( Bombus spp. ) Working A Group
Of Grape Hyacinths ( Muscari armeniacum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 16, 2016
Cumberland Mountain Overthrust Block
Diversity of Early Spring In The Cumberlands
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The focus species above being emerging basal leaves 
of Golden Ragwort ( Packera spp. ), surrounded by many
other species ranging from mosses, grasses, dandelions,
and Amercan Beeches ( to note only a few ).

March 27, 2016
Canadian Hemlock ( Tsuga canadensis ) Cone
Along With An Array of Mosses, Clover, Grasses
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 27, 2016
Early Spring Scene In Cumberland Mountains
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 20, 2016
Cumberland Mountain Overthrust Block
Diversity of Early Spring In The Cumberlands
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 20, 2016
Cumberland Mountain Overthrust Block
Diversity of Early Spring In The Cumberlands
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 11, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Reflections In Rain Drops On A Spider Web
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

At just the right angle for refraction & reflection of light these rain drops, caught in a spider web on the forest floor, reflect images of nearby leaves and trees in the Cumberland Mountains.  Note that
 reflections are multiple "copies" of the same leaves in most drops.

The beginning of March 2016 marks the start of Meteorological Spring, which has recently featured warmth more typical of late spring ( the March 1-7 period being near average, with several inches of snow even falling at highest elevations in the 
High Knob Massif ).

March 11, 2016
Cumberland Mountain Overthrust Block
Yellow Daffodil ( Narcissus spp. ) In Bloom
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Typical early spring scenes featuring Easter Flowers, or the Yellow Daffodil, are common and always welcomed sights following cold, snowy weather in the mountains.

March 11, 2016
After A Rain Shower In The Cumberlands
Yellow Daffodil Just Beginning To Open
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

( Shot with a macro lens to generate a poster-like background ).

March 18, 2016
Yellow Daffodil Bloom Cluster
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 19, 2016
Introduced Plant Species
Grape Hyacinth ( Muscari armeniacum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 19, 2016
Another Introduced Plant Species
Young DeadnettleLamium purpureum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 27, 2016
Ground-Ivy ( Glechoma hederacea )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 20, 2016
First Cultivated Phlox Beginning To Bloom
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 31, 2016
Early Spring Phlox ( Phlox spp. ) In Bloom
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 31, 2016
Early Spring Phlox ( Phlox spp. ) In Bloom


March 26, 2016
Red Primroses ( Primula vulgaris )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 31, 2016
Close Up of Red Primroses ( Primula vulgaris )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 31, 2016
Observe The Pollen Being Produced
Flowering Quince ( Chaenomeles spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Insects are beginning to get active.

March 24, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Possible Hover Fly Species ( Syrphidae Family )
On Common Dandelion ( Taraxacum officinale )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 24, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Possible Hover Fly Species ( Syrphidae Family )
On Common Dandelion ( Taraxacum officinale )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 26, 2016
A Grand-Daddy Long Legs
Harvestman ( Phalangium opilio )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 26, 2016
A Grand-Daddy Long Legs
Harvestman Phalangium opilio )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 27, 2016
Low Light Photograph
Fishing Spider ( Dolomedes tenebrosus )
on American Beech ( Fagus grandifolia ) Leaf
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Low Light Shot Late on March 27, 2016
Insect Community On A Dandelion Composite 
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 30, 2016
Eastern Newt ( Notophthalmus viridescens )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

This little fellow "ran" into me while I was photographing wildflowers in the woods.  It was about "supper" time and he was likely heading out for a bite.  When he saw me; however, 
a turn was made as he sneaked back toward an elongated crack in the ground.

March 30, 2016
Eastern Newt ( Notophthalmus viridescens )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 30, 2016
Eastern Newt ( Notophthalmus viridescens )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Once back inside the ground he was content to "spy" on me as I worked.  I was, of course, talking to him all along ( wonder if he/she understood? ).

March 30, 2016
Eastern Newt ( Notophthalmus viridescens )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Early wildflowers are the true signal of the spring season, with Coltsfoot and Yellow Trout Lilies both being among the earliest to bloom in the Cumberland Mountains.

March 7, 2016
UVA-Wise Wetlands
First Coltsfoot ( Tussilago farfara ) In Bloom
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

To learn more about this wetlands project:
The Wetlands At UVA-Wise

The nice restoration wetlands on the campus of UVA-Wise featured the first Coltsfoot that I found in bloom by the end of the first week of March.

Just a couple, of many to come, blooms were poking up through the leaves near the wetlands.

March 7, 2016
UVA-Wise Wetlands
First Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara ) In Bloom
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 7, 2016
UVA-Wise Wetlands
Running-cedar ( Diphasiastrum spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The mountains have a considerable amount of winter greenery, which provide food and shelter 
for wildlife.

March 5, 2016
Pickem Mountain of High Knob Massif
Great Rhododendron ( Rhododendron maximum )
and Mountain Laurel ( Kalmia latifolia ) On Pickem
Mountain In Proposed U.S. Forest Service Burn-Cut
Area Adjoining City of Norton on High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Spring ephemerals, for which the southern Appalachians are famous, are long awaited each season as they emerge to take advantage of 
sunlight reaching the forest floor.

Most Trout Lily photographs are different plants.

March 9, 2016
Amid Bright Sunlight On Forest Floor
Yellow Trout Lily ( Erythronium spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

I have found many Yellow Trout Lily plants this spring and now have found many in bloom.  I first thought White-tailed Deer ( Odocoileus virginianus ) were eating them all up, and while they have likely eaten some, for sure, I have found so many in recent days that I think the bloom is just now peaking ( March 17-18 ).

Trout Lilies are edible for humans, up to a certain 
point, then they will make you throw up!

For more information please reference:

Edible Wild Foods - Trout Lily Information

March 12, 2016
Beneath Mostly Cloudy Skies
Yellow Trout Lily ( Erythronium spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

There are actually two varieties in this area, with most of the ones in these photographs being the Dimpled Yellow Trout Lily.

Yellow Trout Lily
Erythronium americanum ssp. americanum )

Dimpled Yellow Trout Lily
Erythronium umbilicatum ssp. umbilicatum )

March 12, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
 Trout Lily ( Erythronium spp. ) Just Opening
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 12, 2016
Beneath Mostly Cloudy Skies
Yellow Trout Lily ( Erythronium spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Like Day Lilies, these Trout Lilies close up shop 
for the night and droop their curved petals down together as sunset approaches.

March 13, 2016
Getting Ready For The Night at 7:23 PM
Trout Lily ( Erythronium spp. ) Closed Up
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The next Trout Lily was so tightly curled that it reminded me of the way Turk's-cap Lilies ( Lilium superbum ) look on High Knob during summer.

March 15, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Yellow Trout Lily Tightly Curled Up
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 15, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Yellow Trout Lily Tightly Curled Up
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

I have shot Trout Lilies this spring in all types of conditions and from just about every angle ( most shots being different plants ).

March 16, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Yellow Trout Lilies Reach Peak of Bloom
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 16, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Shot Amid Gusty Winds & Warmth
Yellow Trout Lilies Reach Peak of Bloom
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 17, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Yellow Trout Lily Shot In Harsh Light-Wind
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 17, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Yellow Trout Lily Shot Amid Gusty Conditions
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 17, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Yellow Trout Lily Shot In Harsh Light-Wind
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 17, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Yellow Trout Lily Shot Amid Gusty Conditions
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 18, 2016
Yellow Trout Lily With Distinct Bloom Shadow
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 18, 2016
Fresh & Young With Beautiful Petals-Stamens
Trout Lilies ( Erythronium spp. ) & Fruiting Moss
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 18, 2016
Diverse Scene In Cumberland Mountains
Yellow Trout Lily At Base of Oak Tree In Woods
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 20, 2016
Diverse Early Spring Scene In Cumberlands
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 20, 2016
Diverse Early Spring Scene In Cumberlands
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 20, 2016
Vegetation Along Creek In Cumberlands
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 22, 2016
First Golden Ragwort ( Packera spp. ) In Bloom
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

While I found the first Golden Ragwort in bloom on March 22 ( above ), most were still like this or even younger ( below ) and without any developing flower buds.

March 22, 2016
Fibrous Plant Yet To Bloom
Golden Ragwort With Developing Flowers
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 23, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
The First Bloodroot ( Sanguinaria canadensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

I found the very first Bloodroot to bloom on March 23, on a steep slope, with no other plants in sight.

March 23, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
The First Bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 24, 2016
Lower Elevations of Cumberland Mountains
White Form of Common Blue Violet ( Viola spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 30, 2016
Lower Elevations of Cumberland Mountains
Halberd-leaved Yellow Violet ( Viola hastata )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 30, 2016
Lower Elevations of Cumberland Mountains
Halberd-leaved Yellow Violet ( Viola hastata )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 24, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
First Wood Vetch ( Vicia caroliniana ) Blooming
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 25, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Rue-anemone ( Thalictrum thalictroides )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 25, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Rue-anemone ( Thalictrum thalictroides )
Beside Wild Geranium ( Geranium spp. ) Leaf
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 25, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Rue-anemone ( Thalictrum thalictroides )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

A variety of fungi are visible, but many of these actually over-wintered and were present throughout the cold season.

March 9, 2016
Present Throughout The Winter Season
Hairy Polypore Shelf Fungus On Cherry Birch
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 11, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Another Overwintered Polypore Shelf Fungus
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 20, 2016
Reminiscent Of Expandable Foam
Fungi Plugging Holes In Decaying Tree
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 20, 2016
Cumberland Mountain Overthrust Block
Polypore Fungus On Decaying Upright Tree
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 13, 2016
Polypore Fungi Growing Out Of A Large 
Poison Ivy ( Toxicodendron radicans ) Vine
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 13, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Cup-Like Fungi Growing On Decaying Wood
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 13, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
A White Fungus On Decaying Wood
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 27, 2016
A Foliose Lichen Entirely Covering Twig
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 11, 2016
Soaking Up Moisture
Sphagnum Moss ( Sphagnum spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 20, 2016
Cumberland Mountians
Moss Reproduction On American Beech Stump
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Due to its spreading, colonial nature, Common Periwinkle may be considered an invasive in some places.  It still possesses pretty, star-like blooms. 

March 12, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Common Periwinkle ( Vinca minor )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 22, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
Periwinkle Surrounded By Christmas Ferns
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

I have been looking for the first Rue Anemone but found only a single white blossom that appeared to be a member of the Rubus genus ( below ).

Something had eaten tiny holes in the petals, with a macro lens
used to isolate it against a black background in late afternoon light.
A tiny blossom about the size of your little finger nail.

March 22, 2016
Cumberland Mountains
White Woodland Berry Blossom ( Rubus spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 12, 2016
Amid A Cover Of Bryophytes
Downy Rattlesnake-plantain ( Goodyera pubescens )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 12, 2016
Blue Growth Inside Black Rings
Interesting Mold-Fungus Growth In Center
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 13, 2016 at 7:29 PM
6 Second Exposure - Nikon 5T Diopter
Mountain Hollow In Cumberland Mountains
Moss Fruiting Bodies Taken As Darkness Falls
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 13, 2016
Creed Mullins Family Cemetery
Red Maple ( Acer rubrum ) Budding
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 13, 2016
Creed Mullins Family Cemetery
Lonely Bench At Mountain-Top Cemetery
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

A tradition in Dickenson & Wise counties has 
been for placement of family cemeteries atop high ridges, with stones facing east toward the rising morning sun.

March 13, 2016
Creed Mullins Family Cemetery
Pretty Late Afternoon Skies - Looking Southeast
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

A symbol, in part, of the rising to life again when all can be with their departed loves ones once more!

March 15, 2016
Still Devoid of Any Buds or Leaves
American Beech ( Fagus grandifolia ) Woods
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Large, spreading limbs of American Beech remain devoid of buds and leaves as cold air drainages will have a long way to go before trees green ( i.e., the mid-April to mid-May period being the time typically observed for explosive rebirth and greening of this mountain landscape ). 

March 29, 2016
Along Route 83 Between Pound-Clintwood
Spreading Eastern Redbud ( Cercis canadensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

A milder and drier than average March has Redbuds in full bloom, ahead of their typical blooming schedule, with trees prolific along
 many highways in the area.

March 29, 2016
Along Route 83 Between Pound-Clintwood
Buds of Eastern Redbud ( Cercis canadensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Observe the many lenticels, or raised up pores, along the 
stem where gases are exchanged between the atmosphere 
and inner, living tissue of the tree.

March 29, 2016
Along Route 83 Between Pound-Clintwood
Buds of Eastern Redbud ( Cercis canadensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

March 29, 2016
Along Route 83 Between Pound-Clintwood
Pretty Eastern Redbud ( Cercis canadensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

When redbuds bloom, dogwoods can not be far behind, but this is some 2 weeks or more ahead 
of schedule ( only during the anomalously warm March of 2012, in recent years, have dogwoods opened up so early amid the spring ).

March 31, 2016
Cold Air Drainage In Cumberland Mountains
First Dogwood ( Cornus florida ) Opening Up
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Yet another species running well ahead of schedule is Mayapple, with the first ones coming up amid lower-middle elevations in the Cumberlands.

March 30, 2016
Lower Elevations of Cumberland Mountains
Mayapple ( Podophyllum peltatum ) Coming Up
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved