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Old Jun 10, 2010, 5:31 PM   #1
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Default Wild Orchids and more

Been out on the trail and out in the park a lot lately - mostly working with park visitors and not photographing. But did have some time to check out some new and different East Tennessee species.

First the mystery dragonflies from last week - Many dragonfly species emerge rather pale, and don't develop full color for several days. The little golden dragonflies are not so golden now. It looks like they are Banded-Winged Meadowhawks - which is a new record for our county!
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Old Jun 10, 2010, 5:32 PM   #2
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Had heard a report of some Orchids up on Holston Mountain in a rather remote wilderness area. So we headed on up there to check it out.
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Old Jun 10, 2010, 5:33 PM   #3
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Found lots of Common Mullein blooming down below, and lots of Poke Milkweed blooming up higher.
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Old Jun 10, 2010, 5:34 PM   #4
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The Poke Milkweed was very attractive to lots of butterflies - especially the Tiger Swallowtails.
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Old Jun 10, 2010, 5:36 PM   #5
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Up even higher we found lots of these strange little wildflowers called Indian Cucumber Root.
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Old Jun 10, 2010, 5:40 PM   #6
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After several miles on the trail, we came to "jumping off point" to begin our off-trail trek. We crashed through the thickets for about 1/2 mile or so, to the marshy, boggy beginnings of a small mountain creek. Here we found our goal - a rare native orchid called Purple Fringed Orchid - just a few plants, but plenty of bloom. It was tough getting a decent photo - lots of wind shaking the plants, light kept coming and going, and we had to be careful not to get too close and impact the roots. But did have to get some good details, to confirm that this rare plant is here.

Which view do you prefer?
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Last edited by mole; Jun 11, 2010 at 3:57 PM. Reason: (to conceal location of rare plants...)
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Old Jun 10, 2010, 5:42 PM   #7
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Hope to return soon, as the busy summer permits, to check for more unique critters and plants in this fine soggy wilderness. But for now, it's back to the home park and all the summer crowds!

Thanks for any comments, critique, suggestions!
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Old Jun 10, 2010, 5:49 PM   #8
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As always a great chance to see the plants and animals of your part of the world. Great images. I do like the ones of the orchids. There are some wild orchids throughout parts of Canada that in additon to being rare are also very small and difficult to spot.

Thanks for sharing.

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Old Jun 10, 2010, 7:23 PM   #9
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hello, Fantastic photos...wanted to know what you were shooting with...I also wanted to know the size of the Orchids? They seemed tiny, no more than an inch to two across?
Love doing flowers and insects as well. mine are not even close to the caliber of yours though. Well, not yet.
Beautiful country you have there.
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Old Jun 10, 2010, 7:42 PM   #10
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Great series Mole.
Those Orchids are beautiful! And I love your closing shot, Stunning!
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