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Old Apr 6, 2011, 10:21 PM   #1
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Default Spring comes to Buffalo Mountain

Buffalo Mountain suffered a serious forest fire about three years ago. Since then, numerous volunteers have worked tirelessly to make the trail safe again, and to insure that the forest can regenerate. And it is indeed regenerating very well! We had a great hike up on the mountain recently, to enjoy the views and check out the recovering vegetation. Here are some views from the highest point, appropriately called "Tip-Top" (about 3300 foot elevation).
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Old Apr 6, 2011, 10:24 PM   #2
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It seems appropriate to find Fire Pink at Buffalo Mountain! I believe the name "fire" refers more to the color of this bright member of the pink family, but it does seem to thrive in dry, exposed locations, such as after a forest fire...
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Old Apr 6, 2011, 10:27 PM   #3
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Dry harsh conditions are also ideal for lichens. We found an abundance, including one of my favorites. Can you see why these are called Pixie Cups?

(PS - again playing with DOF - do you prefer #2 or #3?)
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Old Apr 6, 2011, 10:31 PM   #4
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Parts of Buffalo Mt were somewhat protected from the worst of the forest fire - such as some of the deeper valleys near streams. Here the forest is still rich and shady, and providing seed source to help revegetate the more damaged areas. Here also the Rue Anemones and Trout Lilies are thriving...
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Old Apr 6, 2011, 10:34 PM   #5
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Hartsell Hollow Creek is quickly recovering, despite its damaged watershed...
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Old Apr 6, 2011, 10:37 PM   #6
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And all the abundant sunshine and bloom is great for the Falcate Orange Tips (these are all males - the females don't have the orange on their wings). These tiny butterflies are only out for about a week or two in the spring, and are usually very skittish...
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Old Apr 6, 2011, 10:41 PM   #7
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We also found where a dead raccoon had become a feast for the vultures. I might show you the disgusting photos another time, but there was one better-looking discovery in the midst of all the cleanup work. Vulture droppings must be a magnet for moths. This Grape Vine Epimenis moth let us get very close!
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Old Apr 6, 2011, 10:44 PM   #8
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White Rock (elevation 3100 feet) is another great overlook on Buffalo Mt. You can really see how the green of spring is filling the valleys, and will soon be climbing up the mountains...
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Old Apr 6, 2011, 10:46 PM   #9
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Another fine day in the East Tennessee mountains, and especially nice to see how quickly nature can recover! Hope you enjoyed the hike, and that you will share your comments & suggestions.
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Old Apr 7, 2011, 9:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mole View Post
We also found where a dead raccoon had become a feast for the vultures. I might show you the disgusting photos another time, but there was one better-looking discovery in the midst of all the cleanup work. Vulture droppings must be a magnet for moths. This Grape Vine Epimenis moth let us get very close!
I've been a natural science enthusiast all my life. Until I read this post, I never realized that there would be clean up animals/insects...cleaning up...in the most mundane ways...of the animals (vultures, etc.) doing the bulk of the cleanup.

Nature truly does find a way.

Also the pictures of the Tennessee Mountains...the layering is beautiful.
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