Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Mid-Spring 2017 In The Appalachians


April 4, 2017
Russell Fork River Basin
Northern Dickenson County, Virginia
Majestic Spring Afternoon Along Pine Mountain
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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April 4, 2017
Beautiful Skies Along Pine Mountain
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 4, 2017
Cumberland Overthrust Block
Greening Pastures Along Pine Mountain
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 4, 2017
Along Rugged Pine Mountain
Majestic Setting On Childress Family Farm
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 4, 2017
Family Cemetery On Childress Farm
Beautiful Afternoon Along Pine Mountain
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Signs Of Spring

April 2, 2017
Yellow Tulips In John & Mae Mullins Gardens
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 2, 2017
Honey Bee Working Pussy Willow ( Salix discolor )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 4, 2017
Lower Elevations of Cumberlands
First Golden Ragwort ( Packera aurea )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 4, 2017
White Form of Early Blue Violet
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 5, 2017
Mixed-Mesophytic Forest
Woodland Blue Violet ( Viola Spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 5, 2017
Cumberland Mountains
Halbert-leaved Yellow Violet ( Viola hastata )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

As of mid-April the upper elevations of the High Knob Massif are full of Halbert-leaved Violets, many in bloom.

April 5, 2017
Cumberland Mountains
Halbert-leaved Violet ( Viola hastata ) Leaves
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

In Wake of Mild 2016-17 Winter Season
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid ( Adelges tsugae )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Killer aphids re-appear in lower elevations 
following a mild winter season.  While I have not yet seen them in upper elevations, where cold temperatures extirpated these killers during the 2014-15 winter, it will only be a matter of time since a tree in Legion Park of the City of Norton 
is heavily coated with adelgids as of mid-April.

In Wake of Mild 2016-17 Winter Season
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid ( Adelges tsugae )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 5, 2017
Cumberland Mountains
Pennywort ( Obolaria virginica )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 5, 2017
Preparing For Winter Blast
Bloodroot ( Sanguinaria canadensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

It appears that mid-April is also seeing the peak of Yellow Trout Lily bloom in upper elevations of the High Knob Massif.

April 5, 2017
Cumberland Mountains
Yellow Trout Lily ( Erythronium americanum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 5, 2017
Cumberland Mountains
Hairy Leaves In Late Afternoon Light
Wild Comfrey ( Cynoglossum virginianum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Late Season Elevation Snow

April 7, 2017 at 3:57 PM
Looking Across The High Knob Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

An array of budding maples in the Central Appalachian Northern Hardwoods of the High Knob Massif combined with mountain wave clouds, and other forms, to generate gorgeous conditions during afternoon hours of April 7.

A late season fall of wind driven heavy snow coated the high country during afternoon hours of April 6 into morning hours of April 7, with accumulations being generally restricted to elevations above 3000 feet in the High Knob Massif.

Afternoon of April 7, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Snow Drifts Along High Mountain Ridges
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Snow drifts of 6" to 18" were common along 
the high ridges, with locally greater amounts, 
driven by wind gusts of 50-60+ miles per hour.

Afternoon of April 7, 2017
Wind Blown Snow In Upper Elevations
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Although much snow had melted by the time I 
took these photographs, the evidence for high winds blasting snow onto the windward sides of trees was still evident during mid-late afternoon.

Afternoon of April 7, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Snow Blasted Onto Trees By High Winds
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Afternoon of April 7, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Snow Drifts Along High Mountain Ridges
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

While snow drifts were deep in places, other slopes were swept by the strong winds with limited snow accumulations.

Afternoon of April 7, 2017
Wind Swept Slope At High Knob Lookout
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Afternoon of April 7, 2017
Looking E-NE Across High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Afternoon of April 7, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Looking SE Toward The Roan Mountain Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Afternoon of April 7, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Looking NE Toward Russell Beartown Mountain
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 7, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Looking E-SE Toward Mount Rogers-Whitetop
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 7, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Looking E-SE Toward Mount Rogers-Whitetop
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 7, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Looking E-SE Toward Mount Rogers-Whitetop
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Afternoon of April 7, 2017
High Knob Lookout Tower In Strong Winds
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Afternoon of April 7, 2017
Water Elevation of 3318 Feet
Upper Norton Reservoir In Benges Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Snow accumulated from Flag Rock Recreation Area and the Norton Reservoirs, upward in elevation, with no snow below this level.  By afternoon most of the snow had already melted below 3500 feet.

Afternoon of April 7, 2017
Upper Norton Reservoir of City of Norton
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Afternoon of April 7, 2017
Upper Norton Reservoir of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Afternoon of April 7, 2017
Upper Norton Reservoir of City of Norton
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


More Spring Shots

April 8, 2017
Cumberland Mountains
Wild Geranium ( Geranium spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 10, 2017
Cumberland Mountains
Large-flowered Trillium ( Trillium grandiflorum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 12, 2017
Cumberland Mountains
Long-spurred Violet ( Viola rostrata )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 12, 2017
Cumberland Mountains
Golden Ragwort ( Packera spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 14, 2017
High Knob Lake Recreation Area
Warm Spring Afternoon At High Knob Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Spring growth above 3000 feet in the High Knob Massif remained limited in nature as of April 14, with budding maples and early spring species such as violets ( e.g., Halbert-leaved & Canada ) and Chickweed in bloom.

April 14, 2017
Flag Rock Recreation Area
Above The Lower Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Emerging spring vegetation increases significantly below 3000 feet, especially within the thermal belt elevation zone ( as seen below ) where nocturnal temperatures are warmer than valleys resting both below ( lower elevations ) and above it 
( in the high country ).

April 14, 2017
Looking Below 3000 Feet
High Contrast Shot of Spring Growth
Looking Toward Little Stone Mountain Gap
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

There truly is a huge difference in spring emergence between locations below 3000 feet and those resting above this level, except for cold air drainages which also remain mostly bare as they drain chilly air downward into middle and lower elevations from the high country.

April 14, 2017
Rugged Stone-Pickem Mountain
Looking Above 3000 Feet In High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Budding maples and "sarvis" or Serviceberries 
are the main trees seen with spring growth within upper elevations of the High Knob Massif 
( above 3000 feet ).

April 14, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Smooth Serviceberry ( Amelanchier laevis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


Big Cherry Wetland Valley

April 14, 2017
Big Cherry Lake Wetland Valley
Eastern Gartersnake ( Thamnophis sirtalis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Portions of the Big Cherry Lake Wetland Valley dropped to around or just below freezing into morning hours of April 14 ( temperatures 
were also frosty cold into April 13 ).

April 15, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Beauty In Big Cherry Lake Wetland Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The valley floor here is higher than the Birch Knob of Pine Mountain, the highest point in Dickenson County ( at 3149 feet ) and one of the highest peaks along the 120 air mile length of Pine Mountain.

April 15, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Beauty In Big Cherry Lake Wetland Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Despite being constantly water logged, this is one of numerous cold valleys amid upper elevations in the High Knob Massif.

Big Cherry Wetland Valley 4
March 2017 Temperatures

Average Daily MAX: 51.0 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 25.9 degrees
MEAN: 38.4 degrees
Highest Temperature: 68 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 0 degrees 

*During the same period, for comparison, the MEAN temperature in
the Tri-Cities was 47.8 degrees ( Average Daily MAX: 60.0 degrees
and Average Daily MIN: 35.6 degrees ).

**Compared to the Kentucky foothills differences are even greater.
During the same period, for comparison, the MEAN temperature in
Jackson, Ky., was 48.5 degrees ( Average Daily MAX: 59.0 degrees
and Average Daily MIN: 38.0 degrees ).

April 15, 2017
Big Cherry Lake Basin of High Knob Massif
Water Logged Valley Floor Of The Wetlands
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Big Cherry Wetland Valley 4
April 1-15, 2017 Temperatures

Average Daily MAX: 62.9 degrees
Average Daily MIN: 34.0 degrees
MEAN: 48.4 degrees
Highest Temperature: 77 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 25 degrees

*During the same period, for comparison, the MEAN temperature in
the Tri-Cities was 57.8 degrees ( Average Daily MAX: 72.5 degrees
and Average Daily MIN: 43.1 degrees ).

**Compared to the Kentucky foothills differences are even greater.
During the same period, for comparison, the MEAN temperature in
Jackson, Ky., was 61.6 degrees ( Average Daily MAX: 72.9 degrees
and Average Daily MIN: 50.4 degrees ).

April 15, 2017
Big Cherry Lake Basin of High Knob Massif
Water Logged Valley Floor Of The Wetlands
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

MEAN temperatures in this wetland valley have been averaging around 10 degrees colder than in the Tri-Cities, with the first half of April here being essentially identical to March in the TRI and at Jackson, Ky., ( JKL ) in the adjacent foothills.

*The actual elevation difference between this wetland valley and
the TRI would predict a MEAN temperature difference of around
5.9 degrees Fahrenheit ( about 3.3 degrees Celsius ).  So why is it nearly double that?  It is due to a combination of orographics ( cooling with rising air ) and cold air drainage with pooling on the high valley floor.  At any given time factors causing these differences are more complex than this generalization.

MAX temperatures on this high valley floor are generally milder than on adjacent high ridges in the massif, and occasionally significantly milder when air sinks over the lofty ridges into this valley.

April 15, 2017
Upper Elevations of High Knob Massif
Beauty In Big Cherry Lake Wetland Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved


More Spring Shots 2

April 18, 2017
Lower Elevations of Cumberland Mountains
Golden-seal ( Hydrastis canadensis ) In Bloom
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 18, 2017
Lower Elevations of Cumberland Mountains
Showy Orchis ( Galearis spectabilis ) Beginning
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 18, 2017
Lower Elevations of Cumberland Mountains
Pink Lady's-slipper Orchid ( Cypripedium acaule )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 21, 2017
Cumberland Mountains
Squirrel Corn ( Dicentra canadensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 21, 2017
Cumberland Mountains
Wild Bleeding Heart ( Dicentra eximia )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 21, 2017
Cumberland Mountains
Getting Close To Maturity ( Yet To Turn Pink )
Pink Lady's-slipper Orchid ( Cypripedium acaule )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

April 21, 2017
Another Hairy Little Fellow
Pink Lady's-slipper Orchid ( Cypripedium acaule )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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