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Old Apr 25, 2013, 10:12 PM   #1
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Default Just a few more East Tennessee Spring shots

Springtime in East Tennessee continues rich in life and discovery. Here are just a few random springtime images (hope to have some time next week to post some from recent hikes in the high country!).

Recent cool prolonged cool spell has slowed the progress of the season. This means that blooms are lasting longer, but "critters" are emerging a bit slower. Our native Pinxter Azalea usually blooms in early April, but this year was almost two weeks later. A bit of a challenge to photograph - the bushes are on steep limestone cliffs, and the branches are very delicate. So it's hard to hold the camera still, and the flower stalks shake in the slightest breeze. Best results came around dawn, when there was hardly any wind.

Any preference among these different "poses?"
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Old Apr 25, 2013, 10:13 PM   #2
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Dawn is also a good time because heavy dew gems the blooms. Here are some Blue Phacelia just coming into bloom on a recent early morning...
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Old Apr 25, 2013, 10:15 PM   #3
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Columbine is another delicate mid-spring bloom that favors the rocky cliffs. (was hanging by my toes to get these photos!). Notice the tubes leading back to the nectar source - it takes a long-tongued insect (or hummingbird) to reach the nectar and pollinate these beauties!
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Old Apr 25, 2013, 10:19 PM   #4
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We can tell it's really springtime when the insect population burgeons. Here's a fast little predatory insect. Tiger Beetle adults emerge in early to mid April here in East Tennessee, and stay active all summer long. They run fast, fly fast, and are very efficient predators of many other insects.
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Old Apr 25, 2013, 10:21 PM   #5
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Tiger Beetles are named for their predatory habits. Tiger Swallowtails are named for their color pattern. They're definitely not fierce insects! This little group was puddling - gathered at a mud puddle to lick up minerals. Typical behavior of the males of many butterfly species.
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Old Apr 25, 2013, 10:23 PM   #6
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Most of our dragonfly species emerge in late spring or early summer. But there are some "early bloomers" in the odonate world. Here's a Twin-Spotted Spiketail, recently emerged and wet with spring rain. (PS - check the exif data - you may be surprised at the focal length...)
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Old Apr 25, 2013, 10:25 PM   #7
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We're seeing much springtime behavior among the wetland birds. Down at the marsh, the male Red Winged Blackbirds are very vigorously and vociferously defending their "harems" and habitats!
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Old Apr 25, 2013, 10:26 PM   #8
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Wood Ducks are courting...
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Old Apr 25, 2013, 10:28 PM   #9
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GB Heron babies are growing like weeds...
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Old Apr 25, 2013, 10:29 PM   #10
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And the Kildeer are scoping out the best nesting sites.
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