Monday, March 14, 2022

Aftermath of the Snow and hard freeze: March 14 at the Cloister at Three...

Here I follow up on some early spring flowers and on the 'Mourning Cloak' butterfly that I met and captured digitally as the first signs of spring over the past week.
 SPOILER ALERT:  The Mourning Cloak butterfly, I learned, over-winters as an adult, and is able to hide and sort-of hibernate in cracks and crevices of trees even in the coldest weather, then does a sort of 'shivering' act to warm itself up.  So, these guys/gals are ready to hit the air as soon as there's any half decent weather, and they could easily survive that brutal spring storm.  Their food is primarily tree sap, so they probably do not serve as pollinators.

Since I photographed these early pioneers of the new season, a fierce winter storm roared through the Blue Ridge Mountains with 5 to 7 inches of snow, 50 mph winds, and the temperature plunging into the single digits.

I was wondering how these denizens of the deep woods coped with such an extreme weather change, so today I revisited some of them.

There are also a few new features, sort of a potpourri of observations and experiences on this four-mile hike, which took me 1200 feet up a mountain side and back down again in a big loop.

Did these adventuresome early arrivals survive? Or was their premature emergence all a grand folly that ended in their quick demise?

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