Tag Archives: South Georgia Natural History

Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve, Grady County

Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve is one of the true natural wonders of South Georgia (all of Georgia, really). And about ten years ago, it was almost turned into a real estate development. It’s located just off US Highway 84 near Whigham and there’s no admission charge, though donations are accepted. A new sign at the entrance indicates the bloom time as being between late January and early March, though the lilies seem to almost always bloom in the middle of February. It’s essential to follow the Preserve’s Facebook page to get updates on the bloom time, as they can be quirky and sometimes bloom en masse and at other times be quite sporadic.

Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum) are primarily an Appalachian species, favoring filtered sunlight on mountain slopes. So how did they end up here? Though there are a few anomalous populations in Southwest Georgia and North Florida, the Wolf Creek population is the largest in the world and thought to have appeared sometime during the last Ice Age.

If you came here and the Trout Lilies weren’t blooming, you’d still love this place. The gentle slope of the riparian forest makes for a good walk. I came this year about a week after the mass bloom and there were still quite a few scattered around the site.

Add to that the beautiful Spotted Trillium (Trillium maculatum) interspersed throughout and you basically have a mountain walk in deepest South Georgia.

The volunteer who greeted us at the entrance was so delightful and informative and we enjoyed talking with her. Grady County should be applauded for recognizing the importance of this resource and sharing it with the public. Instead of waiting for the state to recognize it and all the time that would take, Grady County took it upon themselves to promote and protect it. Highlighting important local resources like this isn’t just a win for the environment but a win for the local economy. We had lunch at a restaurant in Cairo, so yes, there is an economic impact, however small it may be.

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Filed under --GRADY COUNTY GA--, Whigham GA

Chattahoochee River at Fort Gaines

The Chattahoochee River cuts through high bluffs at Fort Gaines to form the border between Georgia and Alabama.

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Filed under --CLAY COUNTY GA--, Fort Gaines GA

Altamaha River Floodplain, Long County

Five days after the storm, snow remains in shady spots, like this swamp in the Altamaha floodplain.

South Georgia Snowstorm, 2018

 

 

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Filed under --LONG COUNTY GA--

Dissected Beardtongue, Ben Hill County

Also known as Cutleaf Beardtongue, Penstemon dissectus is a rare member of the beardtongue family and the only species in the region with deeply dissected leaves. It’s endemic to the outcrops and surrounding woodlands of the Altamaha Grit habitat; this population was discovered near Reuben’s Lake. There are only about 30 known populations, all in Georgia.

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Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--

Wilson’s Snipe, Ben Hill County

Folklore suggests that a snipe hunt is a fool’s errand. But snipe are real birds, if rarely encountered.  The term sniper comes from the difficulty hunters of this bird face. It’s well-camouflaged and flies in such an irregular pattern that a clean shot is nearly impossible. I was very lucky to see this Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata) on Thanksgiving morning.

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And in a flash, he was gone.

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Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--

Hardwood Swamp, Ben Hill County

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Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Ben Hill County

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Few creatures engender more fear and misunderstanding than the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamenteus).  I personally think they’re beautiful, but they should always be respected at a distance. I don’t encourage anyone to get as close as I did when making this photograph. But let them live. They’re one of our best allies in regards to reducing rodent populations and they’re an important indicator of the health of our broader ecosystem. The Georgia-based Orianne Society, which is focused primarily on the preservation of the Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi), also works to preserve this species.

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Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--