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Old Oct 10, 2013, 8:20 PM   #1
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Default Scouting for Spreadwings

Had a chance to take a quick hike at Rocky Fork Wilderness with our State Biologist (recently retired). He was in search of a rare species of Damselfly - the Spotted Spreadwing. I was glad for an "excuse" for another hike in my favorite wilderness area.

Did not pause for many photos, as time was short and we had a specific (3 miles away) destination. But had to pause briefly to snap this Eastern Comma - illustrates well that these butterflies are active well into the autumn, and that Sourwood trees are at their peak of color.
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 8:22 PM   #2
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Destination was a marshy area on the far end of Birchcamp Lake - a small, high elevation lake in the midst of the wilderness area. Here's one of my favorite tiny waterfalls along Birchcamp Prong - the stream that flows out of Birchcamp Lake. Stream was rather low - we've had a rather dry month after a very wet summer.
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 8:24 PM   #3
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We saw LOTS of Black Bear sign (tracks, droppings, torn logs, etc.) but no bears. But we did see plenty of tiny frogs - recently out of their tadpole stage. Here's a rather green Grey Treefrog hunkered down on a magnolia leaf.
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 8:26 PM   #4
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And a miniscule frog, soaking up the bright afternoon sun at the edge of the marshy area. I'm pretty sure this is a Pickerel Frog, although Leopard Frogs tend to have rounder spots. But when they are this tiny, they're hard to tell apart...
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 8:29 PM   #5
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We noticed a very late-blooming orchid at the lakeshore - it's one of the Spiranthes ("Lady's Tresses") orchids. Probably Spiranthes ovalis ("October Lady's Tresses), but I'm not sure...
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 8:30 PM   #6
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As we approached the marshy area, we noticed a pair of Great Spreadwings in the reeds. Not the species we were seeking, but it was nice of them to pose for us!
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 8:32 PM   #7
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And then we found the "elusive quarry." At least one male and one female (probably more than one) Spotted Spreadwings. They were very shy, but I did manage to get a few (rather bad) photos. Here's the best one - a view of the male showing the diagnostic two spots under the thorax.
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 8:35 PM   #8
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A bit muddy, but pleased with the results of the "expedition," we got back with a bit of daylight left. Hope you enjoyed the brief glimpses, and that they will tempt you to go on your own autumnal expeditions!

Thanks for any comments & critique!
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Old Oct 11, 2013, 6:59 AM   #9
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Very nice Mole, I like the waterfall and the last shot best, Love the clouds when they are lit from below.

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Old Oct 11, 2013, 2:15 PM   #10
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Last Shot is simply gorgeous! What lens are you using for the closeups? Those are very clean shots!
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