Stephanie Mason led another nature hike yesterday, this time at an elevation considerably higher than three weeks ago. We covered about 5 miles along the Appalachian Trail and side trails, from Stony Man to Jewel Hollow.
We got some nice looks at high-elevation tree specialists for our region, like Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea), Red Spruce (Picea rubens), and the glossy-barked Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis). Perhaps owing to the higher elevations around Stony Man (4011 feet), the Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) trees in this patch look pretty healthy and untouched by the adelgids.
Closer to the ground, spring ephemerals were abundant—Wild Pink, Moss Phlox, cinquefoil, bluets, many violets, Wood Anemone, waterleaf, Star Chickweed. I picked up one butterfly for my list, Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea). Among the birds, the best was a bird from my “renewal” list of lifers that I haven’t seen in a long time: Veery (Catharus fuscescens). Good, multiple looks at Chestnut-sided Warbler (and we could point them out to a party of passing hikers) and American Redstart.
We climbed about 300 feet, then dropped down and ended about 300 feet below our starting point. We hit Stony Man early enough in the day (before noon) that the traffic was not too bad.