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Old Mar 14, 2011, 7:09 AM   #1
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Default Even more Almost-Spring shots

Sure do hope I'm not boring you with even more shots of spring returning to East Tennessee! It's so exciting to see life returning to the landscapes...

Have been roaming over a number of local trails lately, and noticed many new blooms. Here are some alders blooming over at Laurel Run. The long yellowish catkins hold the male blooms, the little reddish things are the female blooms, and the brown scaly things in the 1st photo are last year's female flowers that became seed-cones.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 7:12 AM   #2
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Meadows and grassy places are full of tiny blooms. Many of these are considered "weeds," and most are non-native species. But they are full of amazing details (and also full of nectar & pollen for the soon return of pollinating insects). Here's one very common such plant - Chickweed.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 7:14 AM   #3
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And here are two others - both members of the Mint family, both in the same genus (Lamium) and both with odd names - Dead Nettle and Henbit!
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 7:16 AM   #4
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Early plants are also sprouting in the deep woods. Here are several views of Twinleaf just sprouting (which do you prefer?). It will have some fine white blooms soon, and then its odd, twin-looking leaves will expand.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 7:21 AM   #5
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Hepatica is one of the first forest flowers to open. It's named for the three-lobed leaves (like the three lobes of a liver). Once thought to be a useful cure for liver disease, and still used in some medicines. Certainly good "medicine" for winter-weary eyes!

Here is a fine little clump along a wooded stream in our park:
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 7:23 AM   #6
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And here are two views of the same bloom. Isn't it amazing what a difference a passing cloud can make! (Do you like the sunny or the cloudy photo better?)
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 7:27 AM   #7
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It's not just the shrubs and small plants coming into bloom. Many trees's buds are beginning to swell, and the Red Maples are in full bloom now!
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 7:29 AM   #8
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Only a few of the springtime "bugs" have emerged. Here's a fine fat beetle (I believe it's a blister beetle) who was wandering a forest trail recently.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 7:31 AM   #9
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And of course the small birds are very active at this near-spring season, sorting out territories for nesting season. These Chicadees & Tufted Titmice were recently part of some large mixed winter flocks, now separating and searching for mates and good nesting sites.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 7:33 AM   #10
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Again, I hope I'm not boring you with yet another batch of nearly spring photos! Thanks for coming along on these wanderings, and for sharing your comments & critique!
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