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Old Jul 27, 2011, 6:05 PM   #1
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Default Viking Mt and Cutshaw's Bog

Took a fine little hike along the AT beginning at Viking Mt and out past Firescald Knob. Weather was threatening, and so camera was put away in the pack many times. But did get a few opportunities to photograph the cloudy views...
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Old Jul 27, 2011, 6:07 PM   #2
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Moths were hiding from the frequent showers, using the ancient trees for cover. Could not get this Underwing to show off his bright under wings, so here's a view of his camouflaged upper wings...
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Old Jul 27, 2011, 6:10 PM   #3
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Much of the old-growth Appalachian forest is described as a temperate rain forest. Parts of the trail did indeed look like a rain forest!

(PS - do you prefer the shaded view of the steps, or the one with the sunbeam?)
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Old Jul 27, 2011, 6:11 PM   #4
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Beautiful!

Sunbeam.
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Old Jul 27, 2011, 6:14 PM   #5
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High country rain forest is perfect for Rosebay Rhododendron (some were much pinker than usual), and for multitudes of mushrooms. These were tiny ones (cap smaller than a pencil eraser) on a mossy Oak trunk (not sure what mushroom species...)
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Old Jul 27, 2011, 6:18 PM   #6
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Last year about this time, we found 100's of Pipevine Swallowtails enjoying the Turk's Cap Lily nectar up on Viking Mt. This year, the rain kept the butterflies away, but there were several lilies at peak bloom...

(PS - how do you like the A 70-210 for a wildflower lens?)
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Old Jul 27, 2011, 6:21 PM   #7
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On the way back down the mountain, we stopped at Cutshaw's Bog. Higher elevation wetlands are rich habitats. Earlier in the year it was rich in wetland wildflowers. In mid-summer, it's rich in insects and such!
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Old Jul 27, 2011, 6:24 PM   #8
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Spreadwings are a group of Damselflies that keep their wings at an angle when perched. These Southern Spreadwings were busy laying eggs at the bog. Most kinds of dragonflies and damselflies lay their eggs directly in the water, but these 'flies were laying eggs in the stems of rushes. (Can you see the "drill holes?")
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Old Jul 27, 2011, 6:28 PM   #9
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There were also several Ruby Meadowhawks mating at the bog, and MANY Blue Dashers perched, or chasing every other dragonfly in the place! (Blue Dashers are such aggressive little 'flies!)
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Old Jul 27, 2011, 6:30 PM   #10
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And here's one that hardly ever perches - unless sudden cool weather or a rain shower forces them to. It's a Spot-Winged Glider (1st time I've been able to photograph one), and close-up of his eyes too!
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