Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Carolina in my Mind

I'm just back from a long weekend in the Deep South.  I flew into Atlanta, and spent some time in Georgia, which I have only been in briefly, and South Carolina and Alabama, which I have never visited before.  I first went east to South Carolina.  Day 1 involved insect collecting and photography in Sumter National Forest, where I ran into the population explosion of Question Mark butterflies that I recently blogged about.

Along the banks of the Saluda River, I saw lots of cool bugs, including tiger beetles and southern butterflies, including this Sleepy Orange and Clouded Skipper.  On sweetgum roots that had eroded out of the river bank, I saw a buprestid beetle in the genus Chrysobothris. 

Day 2 in South Carolina I ventured north into the mountains.  My first stop was at Cesar's Head, where I hiked for a couple of hours through the woods during rhododendron time. 

There were lots of spring wildflowers still inbloom, including somepink azaleas and handsome red trilliums.  I also got to see some striped pipsissewa, a favorite woodland plant from my childhood in New England.

My afternoon hike was at Table Mountain.  The rhododendrons had gone by there, but the mountain laurels were in full bloom.

The trail meandered up a watercourse that was punctuated with small waterfalls.  There wasn't much insect life to photograph, but it was still a beautiful day of hiking in the mountains.

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At 17:24, Blogger Randy Emmitt said...


Sumter did you see lots of Creole and Southern Pearly-eyes? The place should be loaded with them this time of year. Your azalea is what we call Pinkster Azalea. Glad you had fun, sorry you missed North Carolina.

At 08:20, Blogger Floridacracker said...

It's hard not to love the Carolinas.

At 22:36, Blogger Ur-spo said...

will you have to study for the flora and insects of Alaska, or do you know them already?

At 11:18, Blogger Kathie Brown said...

Doug, It sounds like a great time! I love Mountain Laurel and trillium but I have never seen or heard of striped pipsissewa!

At 21:56, Blogger JosephAlsarraf said...

Cool pictures, looked like a great place to hike! : )

At 15:50, Anonymous Mark H said...

I had forgotten about the Rhodies in the south...those flowers are ALL so richly textured, Doug, thanks for the pics. And the butterflies aren't bad either, hehehe.

At 15:29, Blogger Harper's Keeper said...

What beautiful pics! Thanks for sharing.

And how nice that you operate a time machine. I click on your blog and "poof" it is May again.

At 05:56, Blogger Will said...

Looks so beautiful there! As always your pictures are superb.


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