Trip Report


 

Wildflowers and Butterflies

Venture to the Higher Reaches of the Blue Ridge & Mt. Mitchell

July 20, 2016

 

Mt Mitchell, NC

 

     Turks Cap Lily

The weather predictions were for a perfect day with only a very small percentage of rain for the day; a slight difference from the daily afternoon thunderstorms we had for the past week. We met at the Folk Art Center before slowly wending our way up the Parkway. Late summer is a wonderful time for wildflowers and the roadsides can be carpeted with swathes of yellow, pink and white – a perfect water color moment!  A walk along part of the Mountain-to-the-sea trail produced our first Yellow Jewelweed and Tall Bellflower of which we would see many more during the day. Both Bee-balm and Wild Bergamot were in bloom along the roadsides and this wave of color was punctuated by the rich orange of Turk’s-Cap Lilies. Yellow blooms were also starting to appear with Green Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan and Greater Coreopsis all in bloom. Butterflies were not abundant with a couple of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails nectaring along the roadside, as well as a few Pipevines. 

 

One of the highlights had to be the good number of Aphrodite Fritillaries along the Commissary Trail at Mt Mitchell. They, along with a splendid Great Spangled Fritillary, were nectaring on the newly-flowering Green Coneflower. This gave us great comparisons between the 2 confusing species. A couple of the locally rare Green Commas also gave us great views as they sunned on the gravel pathway. 

 

Green Comma by Simon ThompsonAs expected due to the summer heat, the birding was slow with very few birds singing in the forests. The songs of a couple of Red-eyed Vireos and an occasional Hooded Warbler were amongst the very few to break the sound of the summer insects. Cedar Waxwings were fairly obvious in the higher elevations, and a small party of Red Crossbills surprised us by landing in a spruce tree alongside of one of the cars. Other Crossbills were just fly-overs; by far their normal behavior. By mid-afternoon dark clouds were scudding in from the west so we wended our way back to Asheville, after a great day in the mountains. 

 

Simon Thompson

 

Great Spangled FritillaryBee Balm

 

Birds seen or heard on our Wildflowers and Butterflies

Venture to the Higher Reaches of the Blue Ridge & Mt. Mitchell

July 20, 2016

Species encountered (70)

 

 

Birds (seen or heard)

Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker (heard)
Northern Flicker (heard)
Red-eyed Vireo (heard)
Blue-headed Vireo (heard)
Common Raven
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Winter Wren (heard)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (heard)
Veery (heard)
Hermit Thrush (heard)
Cedar Waxwing
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Canada Warbler (heard)
Dark-eyed Junco
Hooded Warbler (heard)
Indigo Bunting
Eastern Towhee
Dark-eyed Junco
American Goldfinch

 

Butterflies
Summer Azure

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Pearl Crescent
Silvery Checkerspot
Pearl Crescent
Green Comma
Red Admiral
Aphrodite Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Silver-spotted Skipper

Plants

Evening Primrose (Oenothera sp)
Green Coneflower (Rudbekia laciniata)
Greater Coreopisis (Coreopsis major)
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)
Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
False Hellebore (Veratrum viride)
Great Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum)
Flowering Spurge (Euphorbia corollata)
Bear’s Foot (Smallanthus uvedalius)
Common Alumroot (Heuchera americana)
Michaux’s saxifrage (Saxifraga michauxii)
Angelica (Angelica triquinata)
Virgin’s Bower (Clematis virginiana)
Woolly Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus)
Dodder (Cuscuta rostrata)
Large Bindweed (Calystegia sepium)

 

Plants

Red Clover (Trifolium pretense)
Thyme-leaved Bluet (Houstonia serbyllifolia)
Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)
Dayflower (Commelina communis)
Rosy Twisted- stalk (Streptopus roseus) fruit
Tall Bellflower (Campanula americanum)
Heal All, Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris)
Blazing Star (Liatris sp)
Daisy fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus)
Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)
Pink Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii)
Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Spotted Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum)
Red Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)
Turks Cap Lily (Lilium superbum)
Yellow Jewelweed (Impatiens pallida)
Goldenrod – several species (Solidago sp)
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)