Tag Archives: great smoky mountains

Strut Your Stuff

Wild Turkeys (Galliformes: Phasianidae: Meleagris gallopavo) are found throughout large areas of the United States and Mexico, especially in the east. They are particularly common in the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Males turkeys begin courtship in … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Cutleaf Toothwort

Appearing in eastern woodlands in April and May, cutleaf toothwort (Cardamine concatenata, Brassicaceae) exhibits the four-petaled flower arrangement typical of members of the mustard family.  Its large flowers and relative abundance early in the season make it a favorite of insect pollinators. … Continue reading

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Elk of the Cataloochee Valley

When most people think of elk (Artiodactyla: Cervidae: Cervus canadensis) they probably think of them as residents of the American west. From Colorado to Washington they live in large numbers, especially in protected areas like Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Teton National … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Bloodroot

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis, Papaveraceae) is one of many plants known as a spring ephemeral. Spurred into action by increasing day length in early spring, these plants complete their life cycles in just a few weeks. By the time deciduous trees have leafed out in May, these plants … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Spring Azure

Found in woodlands throughout much of eastern North America, spring azures (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae: Celastrina ladon) are rather eye-catching little butterflies. Relatively small in size, it is easy to overlook these insects when they are resting. The simple black-and-white pattern on … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Tachinid Flies

There are over 150,000 described species of flies (Diptera) in the world, making them one of the most diverse animal orders on the planet. Although they are divided into over 160 families, a full seven percent of all known fly species … Continue reading

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Squirrels Protesting My Campsite Location

Earlier this month I spent a couple of nights camping in the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Upon my arrival I started setting up my tent and almost immediately received a very vocal protest from a resident American … Continue reading

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