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Old Jun 23, 2013, 11:20 PM   #1
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Default Common & Ordinary

It's an easy "trap" to fall into - searching the natural places for the rare and exotic, and missing the beauty of the common & ordinary. So here are some random shots that are definitely NOT "out of the ordinary." These were taken as quick "grab shots" while leading many park nature hikes...

What could be more ordinary than our common Oxeye Daisy? But they sure do brighten the early-summer fields!
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 11:22 PM   #2
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And two of our commonest birds in the home park - an American Robin cooling off in the shade, and a Black Vulture cooling off at the shore. Perhaps the 2nd vulture shot shows me what he thinks of me!!
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 11:24 PM   #3
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How about some fungus "among us?" Here are two very common gilled mushroom species, taking advantage of a very wet early summer season (we are currently over 10 inches ahead on rainfall for the year here in East Tennessee!)
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 11:27 PM   #4
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Early summer is also Milkweed season here in East Tennessee. First a species that is common in Middle Tennessee, but only recently appearing here in the northeastern corner of the state. It's called Red Ring Milkweed (Asclepias variegata) - look closely for the reddish ring on each individual flower.
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 11:29 PM   #5
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But we are supposed to be concentrating on common things, so here is Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). It's a great nectar source for many insects, including our (also very common in our region) state butterfly - the Zebra Swallowtail.
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 11:31 PM   #6
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Butterflyweed Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is just as common, and just as much of an insect "magnet."
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 11:32 PM   #7
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Here's a common, but very tiny insect. I never would have noticed it, but a sharp-eyed young hiker spotted it for me. Can you see why it's called a Buffalo Treehopper?
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 11:36 PM   #8
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On a recent night hike, the group enjoyed a soggy time in one of our park's wetland areas. It was a night full of frog, cricket and owl music, and all the rich smells of wetlands in the dark. But the highlight of the hike was a huge salamander. A sharp-eyed child noticed this Spotted Salamander crossing the trail. I caught him (very carefully), so all could see him, then kept him (again, very carefully) overnight for an early morning photo session.
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 11:39 PM   #9
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Spotted Salamanders are fairly common in East Tennessee, but rarely seen, since they spend most of their lives under logs or buried in the mud. We were all glad that this one chose to be "out and about" where we could see him!

A few more shots of the salamander as he posed in the dewy grass...
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 11:40 PM   #10
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Sure do hope you enjoyed this little stroll among the ordinary discoveries, and that you will share your comments and critique!
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