Spring Walk in the SC Woods

Just three weeks until I journey north, really north, up to the UP of Michigan. We will be settling into our new house in Marquette, Michigan over the next few months and I will work part-time for the Nature Conservancy. 

We are trying to visit all of our family before we go, which brings us to today in Clemson, South Carolina. 

Louisiana Waterthrush

Clemson Experimental Forest

The Clemson Experimental Forest’s 17,500 acres are dedicated to education, research and demonstration in order to better understand and manage forest resources for the benefit of society. These essential resources include clean air, clean water, pleasing aesthetic qualities, abundant wildlife, protection of species and habitat diversity, recreation opportunities, along with commodity products from the forest. The forest is managed strictly for perpetual sustained or improved yield of these products. The Clemson Experimental Forest personnel, equipment, supplies, roads, recreation facilities and maintenance are solely supported by revenue generated by the Forest.

Northern Water Snake

Sheree’s brother took us to nearby Clemson Experimental Forest hoping to find some nice spring warblers and other migrants.  The nice thing about birding, it gets a person outside, into nature, and the discoveries are often unexpected and wonderful.  So it was on this adventure. The birds were relatively quiet but compensated for by spring flowers, reptiles, and amphibians.  We found the Northern Watersnake in a small creek fed by a beautiful natural spring. He never moved the whole time we circled with our cameras. The Central Rat Snake, sitting on a bridge along the side of the road, also was very cooperative. 

We found the Crested Iris plants at the waterfall. 

We had a total of 32 species in the forest over two mornings. Most enjoyable was listening to the Louisiana Waterthrush and Northern Parula. I have added the recordings to my Bird Sounds of NC page. Maybe I need to change the name to NC/SC, and very soon add Michigan bird sounds to the mix.
eBird listshttps://ebird.org/view/checklist/S54715837   and  https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S54761003

Enjoy the flowers, we sure did!



Sounds of the forest……

The Lousiana Waterthrush is a different bird than the one in the video. In the Northern Parula recording, you can hear what might be called their “normal” song and also a song they mostly sing in the morning (it is very faint).

Central Rat Snake

Central Ratsnakes Pantherophis spiloides are large (record 256.5 cm) common harmless ratsnakes with a multitude of regional color patterns native to eastern and central North America between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River Embayment. Pantherophis ratsnakes are keeled-scaled generalists that eat a variety of prey. They do well in urban environments, and are particularly fond of rodents and birds in these habitats.

Central Ratsnakes P. spiloides are currently recognized as distinct from Eastern Ratsnakes P. alleghaniensis, as well as Western Ratsnakes P. obsoletus. Parts of all three species were once generically labeled “black ratsnakes”. Use the “! blackrat” command without the space for more on these changes.

Ratsnakes can be easily distinguished from racers Coluber by the presence of keeled scales. Racers have smooth scales.

Range Map | Relevant/Recent Phylogeography

This short account was prepared by /u/Phylogenizer.

Wildcat Creek Falls

Crested Iris

The crested iris occurs from the Ohio River valley into the central southeastern states with several disjunct populations in the central Mississippi river valley in west-central Illinois and eastern Iowa and a population in northeastern Ohio.

The flowers of Iris cristata can vary from purple to lavender blue to white. Photo by Thomas G. Barnes, University of Kentucky.

Map of the range of Iris cristata in North America.
Range map of Iris cristata. Courtesy of the USDA PLANTS Database.

Iris cristata has a violet to light blue to an occasionally white flower. The sepals have a signal composed of three parallel yellow ridges. Crested iris blooms in the spring on a one- to two-flowered inflorescence. The wide arching leaves arise from shallowly rooted, creeping rhizomes.

Iris cristata is commonly found growing in calcareous soils, in rich wooded slopes and floodplain forests in dappled shade.

Carolina Silverbell

Mountain Doghobble

False Turkey Tail

Mountain Azaela

Until next time….

The next post will most likely be from Ohio as I travel with Puff up to the UP.  We plan to bird along the way, especially at Magee!

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