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Old May 9, 2012, 6:16 AM   #1
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Default Some "Greene" Views

No, I didn't misspell "green" in the title... Have been down a number of mountain trails in nearby Greene County Tennessee, checking on some rare plant populations, and also enjoying the green, Greene views!

This warm, wet spring is giving us a rich green landscape across East Tennesee...
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Old May 9, 2012, 6:18 AM   #2
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This lush green is perfect for the damp-loving creatures. Here's a Giant Millipede in the rich moss over at Dry Creek. These many-legged "critters" are scavengers, feasting on the decaying mosses, leaves, etc.
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Old May 9, 2012, 6:21 AM   #3
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Red Efts are another small lover of the big green wet places. These critters are the immature stage of our common Newts. Efts stay on land for about 2 years before becoming aquatic adults. Their bright color must indicate that they taste terrible, because efts are fearless and almost never run away from other animals (or from persistent photographers)...
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Old May 9, 2012, 6:24 AM   #4
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It's been just over a year since the terrible tornadoes over at Camp Creek in Greene County. The people and the landscape are healing slowly...

Here are some healing views from up near the balds above Camp Creek.
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Old May 9, 2012, 6:25 AM   #5
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And some healing blooms...

First is Mountain Laurel (wth a female Tiger Swallowtail "friend"). A very common, very bright shrub of the high country, now in full bloom on many mountains and ridges.
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Old May 9, 2012, 6:29 AM   #6
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Next are two close relatives - Catawba Rhododendron and Flame Azalea. Botanists consider both to be the same genus, just different species.

The Rhodendron is another high-country shrub. Flame Azaleas may bloom high on the mountains, in the open balds. But they also bloom in the dense woods along the "shoulders" of the mountains. A glimpse of a bush in full bloom some yards off the trail does look almost like a flame in the deep green woods!
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Old May 9, 2012, 6:32 AM   #7
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I've mentioned the Pipevine Swallowtail here several times - it's the dark butterfly with blue iridescence that tastes terrible, and is mimicked by several other better-tasting species. But have never posted a photo of their food source. It's not so easy to get a photo of Dutchman's Pipevine blooms - only the older vines bloom, and usually only very high in the trees. But this vine was on the side of a very steep slope, so it was easy to get up above it. Extra treat was seeing all the gnat pollinators - they fly in, bump their heads agains all the pollen at the upper end, and then stumble out with a new "hat" of pipevine pollen!
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Old May 9, 2012, 6:35 AM   #8
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Not sure why Dry Creek in Greene County is called "dry." It always feels quite wet to me!! Here are a few views of this fine flowing stream, and one Painted Trillium blooming nearby...
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Old May 9, 2012, 6:37 AM   #9
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Damp, mossy Greene County is also perfect for American Toads. This half-grown one was busy in the thick moss, and totally ignored the annoying photographer...
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Old May 9, 2012, 6:38 AM   #10
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"Green Stuff" means food for many Greene County "critters." Here's a Sphinx Moth caterpillar that has just shed its skin, and seems to have almost defoliated a small azalea.
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