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Old Aug 25, 2011, 8:48 PM   #1
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Default Some scenes along the trail

Late summer is a busy time in our Tennessee State Parks, as we work to repair the wear and tear of summer vacation season, and to prepare for the many park visitors in the coming cooler months. So I've had the pleasure of spending much time working out on the trail recently, and enjoying seeing the other "trail wanderers" like this Milkweed Tussock Caterpillar...
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 8:52 PM   #2
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Common Wood Nymphs live a long time (for a butterfly) - they hatch in May and are still flying in October! By late summer, they're looking a bit tattered from the months of hard living...
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 8:56 PM   #3
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Was out on the trail with some school children (school starts early in East Tennessee!) when one of the sharp-eyed students noticed a Cicada just emerging from its nymphal case. This species (Dog Day "Locust") spends seven years underground, then climbs a tree, splits its skin, and emerges to its short above-ground life.
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 8:58 PM   #4
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Here's what they look like after they have pumped out their wings and their bodies have had time to harden...
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 9:04 PM   #5
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Was out repairing some damaged trail signs and cleaning trash from a back-country campsite, when I noticed a rather odd-looking dragonfly, perched on some limestone near the mouth of the creek. Turns out to be a new record for our county - called a Flag-Tailed Spinyleg.

PS - Can you tell which was taken with the A 70-210, and which with the Sigma 70-300? Also, the last two were several photos merged to improve sharpness across the length of the 'fly. Do they look OK?
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 9:09 PM   #6
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All the time I was creeping up on the dragonfly, a little butterfly kept smacking at me. Tawny Emperors are rather shy, but they really enjoy perspiration - and I had plenty of it to offer him! Once done with the dragonfly, I tried a few snapshots of the butterfly...

(am working to pay closer attention to the light in photos lately, and was amazed what a big difference a slight change in angle of light made in the appearance of this little critter!)
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 9:13 PM   #7
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Had some time while clearing trail to "play" a bit with extension tubes. Here are two views of a fine little late-season field bloom called Sabatia. Can you tell which was taken with Sigma 105 macro, and which with Pentax A 35-105 plus tube?
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 9:17 PM   #8
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And here are a few views of a very tiny late-season wildflower called Leafy Elephant Foot (Elephantopus carolinianus), taken with the A 70-210 plus extension tubes. That tiny fly is about the size of a small fruit fly...
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Last edited by mole; Aug 25, 2011 at 9:18 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 9:20 PM   #9
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Just one more late season field bloom... It's a tiny orchid with a very appropriate name - Spiranthes. Easy to miss in the tall grass & weeds, but worth a closer look...
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 9:22 PM   #10
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Will continue to work the woods and fields of the park in the coming weeks. Sure hope your late-season rambles are also rich in discovery. And thanks in advance for your comments & suggestions!
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