Wildflowers and Butterflies:
Venture to the Higher Reaches of the Blue Ridge & Mt. Mitchell
July 23, 2015
July in the Mountains is usually extremely pleasant, and today was no exception. After meeting at the Folk Art Center we slowly wound our way up into the higher elevations. A small mixed flock of birds took us out of our “butterflies and wildflowers” mode as we enjoyed Red-eyed and Blue-headed Vireos and several Black-and-white Warblers. Wildflowers in the fall are almost as impressive as in the spring except at this time of the year they carpet the roadsides, as the thick forest canopy keeps the woodlands too shaded for much to bloom.
Summer is the rich blue spikes of Tall Bellflower, orange cascades of Turk’s Cap Lilies and yellow swathes of Coreopsis. We amassed a pretty nice list, and I am sure there are some I missed as well. As for butterflies, the most obvious had to be Pipevine Swallowtails with several being seen on the Turk’s Cap Lilies up at Ridge Junction Overlook. An Aphrodite Fritillary was also a nice find along the Commissary Trail at Mt. Mitchell, although the Anglewing sp did not sit long enough to be identified. We finished the day (just before the rain started) listening to the beautiful song of the Hermit Thrush high on Mt. Mitchell.