Sunday, September 2, 2018

Summer 2018 Recap & Signs Of Autumn


September 1, 2018
Beautiful Afternoon In High Country
Pickem Mountain of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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September 22, 2018
High Knob Lake Basin of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Although some nice color is developing, I do not expect color to be as good this year in upper elevations due to an Anthracnose Fungal infection of many maples and northern red oak ( variation borealis ) species, with brown to dark spotted leaves.  Note brownish trees in the view above looking across High Knob Lake Basin from Route 238.


High Knob Lake: Sept 1-22
Elevation 1074 Meters ( 3523 feet )

Average Daily Maximum: 73.2 degrees
Average Daily Minimum: 61.1 degrees
MEAN: 67.2 degrees
Highest Temperature: 78 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 59 degrees

*University Of Virginia's College At Wise Research Station
National Weather Service calibrated temperature sensor

( Data Period: November 19, 2016 to Present )

*A wet, humid, seasonably cool summer above 2700-3000 feet has promoted fungal growth which first began showing up during Spring 2018.  Some trees appear healthy while many others are showing significant effects, to include early leaf drop.  Recent wetness has not helped with September 
1-22 featuring an abundance of low clouds-fog and mean temps that have been warmer than Summer 2018.  

Announcing the 12th Annual 
High Knob Naturalist Rally

Split-gill Polypore ( Schizophyllum commune )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

And The 20th Anniversary 


September 1, 2018
Early Signs Of Autumn
Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Although conditions remain mild, the end of August marked the conclusion of Meteorological Summer and the beginning of Autumn 2018 ( September-November period ).

Eagle Knob – August 2018
Elevation 1277 Meters ( 4188 feet )

Average Daily Maximum: 68.4 degrees
Average Daily Minimum: 59.8 degrees
MEAN: 64.1 degrees
Highest Temperature: 74 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 48 degrees

*University Of Virginia's College At Wise Research Station
National Weather Service calibrated temperature sensor
( Data Period: November 12, 2016 to Present )

August temperatures were similar to those
observed during the entire 3-month season. 

High Knob Lake – August 2018
Elevation 1074 Meters ( 3523 feet )

Average Daily Maximum: 71.6 degrees
Average Daily Minimum: 58.6 degrees
MEAN: 65.1 degrees
Highest Temperature: 77 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 48 degrees

*University Of Virginia's College At Wise Research Station
National Weather Service calibrated temperature sensor
( Data Period: November 19, 2016 to Present )

September 1, 2018
High Knob Lake Basin
Evidence Of Vast Mycelium Network
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The largest living organism within the 200 square mile expanse of the High Knob Massif could very likely be a fungus, via vast filamentous networks of subterranean mycelium that essentially connect all floral elements together.  Since these networks mimic the neuronal network of the human brain, or vice versa, it can be argued that a forest ecosystem has an inherent intelligence!  Science is discovering this fact. 

What most folks call mushrooms are only the fruiting bodies, or spore producing reproductive structures which in many cases are transient in nature.

The vast network of mycelial connections remain and continue to grow and expand over time, at least until broken by human disturbances.

September 1, 2018
High Knob Lake Basin
Evidence Of Vast Mycelium Network
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Eagle Knob – Summer 2018
Elevation 1277 Meters ( 4188 feet )

Average Daily Maximum: 69.5 degrees
Average Daily Minimum: 59.7 degrees
MEAN: 64.6 degrees
Highest Temperature: 79 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 48 degrees

*University Of Virginia's College At Wise Research Station
National Weather Service calibrated temperature sensor
( Data Period: November 12, 2016 to Present )

A total of 2.5 hours ( 150 minutes ) at or above 80 degrees were observed at High Knob Lake during the June-August period.

High Knob Lake – Summer 2018
Elevation 1074 Meters ( 3523 feet )

Average Daily Maximum: 72.4 degrees
Average Daily Minimum: 58.2 degrees
MEAN: 65.3 degrees
Highest Temperature: 81 degrees
Lowest Temperature: 48 degrees

*University Of Virginia's College At Wise Research Station
National Weather Service calibrated temperature sensor
( Data Period: November 19, 2016 to Present )

The ''coolest'' summer MEAN on the High Knob Massif Mesonet was observed in the head of Big Cherry Lake basin where the June-August average was a few tenths of a degree lower than on the northwestern slope of Eagle Knob ( * ).

High Knob Massif
Near Big Cherry Wetland Valley 2 Site
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

*The highest summer temperature observed at 
the Big Cherry Valley 2 site reached 79 degrees
at an elevation of just over 3200 feet.

How can such relatively cool temperatures occur at these elevations?  That is part of the research objectives of the Undergraduate Research Project at the 
University Of Virginia's College At Wise.

September 1, 2018
High Knob Lake Basin of High Knob Massif
Gelatinous Gasteroid Fungus ( Calostoma cinnabarinum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Calostoma cinnabarium is found in sub-tropical 
cloud forests, and while it occurs across eastern 
North America this species becomes more common 
with increasing elevation in the Appalachians ( ** ).

The High Knob Project for Undergraduate Research At UVA-Wise has found it in both the Big Cherry Lake and High Knob Lake basins, and it has also been reported from other upper elevation sites in the High Knob Massif which spend many days every year in clouds.  

**A general 53.00" to 60.00" of precipitation has fallen across upper elevations in the High Knob Massif so far during 2018 ( as of August 31 ), despite an ''off-summer'' with respect to a drier feedback being in place across 
the City of Norton-Massif area.

September 1, 2018
High Knob Lake Basin
Violet-toothed Polypore ( Trichaptum biforme )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Trichaptum biforme is one of the Turkey-tail ( Trametes versicolor ) look-a-likes and one of the most common of the White-Rot fungi found in the forest that breaks down lignin in wood.

Hairy Polypore ( Trametes hirsuta )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Turkey-tail is one of the most celebrated medicinal mushrooms, with Adam Haritan of LearnYourLand doing an outstanding job presenting these outstanding benefits.  Adam also shows how to identify these species in the field.

White With Pores On Back
Alternating Hairy & Smooth Zones
Turkey-tail ( Trametes versicolor )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Fungi take on many roles and can during their 
life histories occupy more than a single role in 
the ecology of a forest.

Curved Shaped - Smooth On Back
False Turkey-tail ( Stereum ostrea )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Saprophytes
Work upon dead and decaying wood.

Parasites
Work upon living tissues.

Mycorrahizal
Form symbiotic relationships among species.

Endophytes
Are fungi which live inside all living plants.

Mass of Polypores Working As Saprophytes
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The same fungus can look very different 
over different substrates, and as they age.

September 1, 2018
High Knob Lake Basin
Functioning As A Saprophyte On Dead Wood
Young Artist's Conk ( Ganoderma applanatum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Although the huge fungus below can not be fully seen, except from the bottom, it has to be very strong to hold heavy snow, rime, and ice accumulations in winter.

It has been growing for years in High Knob Lake basin on an American Beech tree in this wet habitat of a high-elevation cove forest community within Central Appalachian Northern Hardwoods.

September 1, 2018
High Knob Lake Basin
Functioning As A Parasite On Beech
Huge And Old Ganoderma applanatum
Growning High Up On Fagus grandifolia
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

I love these Basidiomycota medicinal mushrooms 
of the Ganoderma genus as well, as highlighted by 
Adam Haritan on his YouTube Channel.

September 1, 2018
High Knob Lake Basin
Hemlock Reishi Fungus ( Ganoderma tsugae )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The Hemlock Reishi Mushroom.

January 14, 2017
Big Cherry Lake Wetland Valley
Hemlock Reishi Fungus Ganoderma tsugae )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The High Knob Massif contains a vast array of fungi.

Cup Fungus In Big Cherry Wetland Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Big Cherry Lake Wetland Valley
Gem-studded Puffball ( Lycoperdon perlatum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

September 1, 2018
High Knob Lake Basin
High Knob Lake Recreation Area
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Big Cherry Lake Wetland Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

September 1, 2018
High Knob Lake Basin
Clinch Ranger District of Jefferson NF
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Big Cherry Lake Wetland Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

September 1, 2018
Clinch River Watershed
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Powell River Watershed
Big Cherry Lake Wetland Valley
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Big Cherry Lake Wetland Valley
Club Fungi ( Clavulinopsis aurantiocinnabarina )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Along Rim of Big Cherry Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

High Knob Massif
Chicken Mushroom ( Laetiphorus sulphureus )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

High Knob Massif
Chicken Mushroom ( Laetiphorus sulphureus )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Big Cherry Lake Wetland Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Big Cherry Lake Wetland Valley
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Early Colonizing Mycenoid Fungi
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Unidentified Species
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

White Coral FungusClavulina cristata )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Striking Gilled Mushroom
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Unidentified Species
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Oyster Mushroom ( Pleurotus ostreatus )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Unidentified Species
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Unidentified Species
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

September 1, 2018
High Knob Lake Basin
Tussock Moth ( Lymantriinae )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Transition from mountain to valley winds generated nice conditions during early morning hours of September 5, near the Pound Gap of Pine Mountain, with fog covering valleys across northern Wise County as the High Knob Massif capped the far horizon.

September 5, 2018
High Knob Massif Capping Horizon
Morning Fog Over Wise County, Virginia
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Looking more east, the even-topped nature of plateau terrain can be seen to contrast with the much higher, more undulating crestlines of the High Knob Massif 
( a tectonically folded mountain ).

September 5, 2018
View From Near Pound Gap of Pine Mountain
Looking East Across Dissected Plateau Terrain
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The approach of Florence remnants produced gusty winds during September 15, especially at mid-upper elevations.  Sumac leaves below are turned upward to display their bottom surfaces.

September 15, 2018
Gusty NE Winds Thru Little Stone Gap
View From Powell Valley Overlook
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

While trees remain mostly green in Powell Valley, some signs of autumn are becoming visible as seen by looking up along Rocky Hollow in the Head of Powell Valley.

September 15, 2018
Powell Valley Overlook of High Knob Massif
Looking Upward Through Rocky Hollow Gap
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Signs of autumn are much more pronounced in upper elevations, as viewed in the high country surrounding 
Big Cherry Lake.

September 15, 2018
High Country In Upper Gorge of South Fork
South Fork Gorge Near Big Cherry Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

Observe standing dead spirals of Canadian Hemlock 
( Tsuga canadensis ) due to the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid ( Adelges tsugae ) infestation of the past decade.

The good news, extensive young Hemlocks are growing nicely in the understory and mortality from the Adelgids have greatly diminished since the severe winter weather 
of February 2015.

Temperatures were in the 60s and the water choppy at Big Cherry Lake, on gusty NE winds, well ahead of the approaching remnants of Florence.

September 15, 2018
Gusty NE Winds In High Country
Choppy Water of Big Cherry Lake
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

The effects of an Anthracnose Fungi infection is visible above with many brownish looking trees in Big Cherry Lake basin, and below in High Knob Lake Basin.

Although some nice color will develop, the general color quality is not expected to be as outstanding as it typically is at elevations above 2700-3000 feet.

September 22, 2018
Color Changes In High Knob Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

September 22, 2018
High Knob Lake Basin
Northern Tooth ( Climacodon septentrionale )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

September 22, 2018
Color Changes In High Knob Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

September 22, 2018
Large Fruiting Body In High Knob Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved

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