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mole Jan 10, 2014 9:00 PM

Frozen Bays Mountain
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As for much of the US, we too in East Tennessee recently experienced unusually cold weather. Several mornings with temperatures in the 0-5 degree (fahrenheit) range and several inches of snow in the higher elevations. Lacking a 4-wheel drive vehicle, was unable to get up to the highest places, but did have some time to roam nearby Bays Mountain to enjoy the unusually wintery scenes.

mole Jan 10, 2014 9:01 PM

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The lake at Bays Mountain was once used for the city water supply. No longer providing drinking water, it's now the "blue gem" at the center of this 3,500 acre city park and nature preserve.

mole Jan 10, 2014 9:02 PM

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Higher ridges at Bays Mt are ideal locations for large old Chestnut Oak trees.

mole Jan 10, 2014 9:03 PM

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Several of the park trails follow old roads, where frozen puddles and frost heave made for some interesting patterns.

mole Jan 10, 2014 9:04 PM

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Most of the rock here is rather pervious sandstone, so there are many small springs and seeps. The springs are fed by deep groundwater, and so were not frozen. But the splashing water sure did freeze quickly in the cold air! Here are some views of ice riming a little spring.

mole Jan 10, 2014 9:05 PM

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And some splashing spring water "decorating" the Christmas Ferns and moss spore-cases.

mole Jan 10, 2014 9:06 PM

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Folks here in East Tennessee often call Juncos "snowbirds," because we see them most often in cold snowy weather. Our local populations have a vertical migration - instead of flying north in the spring, they move up to the higher elevations. Then their "southward" migration is back down to the valleys. Here are a few views of one (back at the home park) feasting on grass seeds and soaking up some winter sunshine.

mole Jan 10, 2014 9:07 PM

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Also back at the home park, was out clearing fallen branches off some of our trails, and stopped to check the poison ivy "crop." Poison Ivy berries are important winter food for many birds. Expected to see several species, but all we saw were Yellow-Rumped Warblers. One individual spent all its time chasing all the other birds away, and barely took time to eat!

mole Jan 10, 2014 9:08 PM

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Well, we are returning to more normal East Tennessee temperatures, and I hope to have some time to visit the high country soon. Hope you enjoyed these wintry glimpses of the lower elevations, and that you'll share your comments & critique!

Wingman Jan 11, 2014 9:38 AM

Stunning series Mole...I especially like the first picture in the first series. You should be publishing these and all you others!


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