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.

Labels: ,