Monthly Archives: October 2015

Red Panda

Less than a 20-minute drive from my home is an amazing world class Miocene fossil site discovered in 2000 during road construction. A new species of red panda was discovered here, and research suggests that unlike the modern red panda bamboo wasn’t a major part of its diet. Several specimens have been found, representing the […]



Yellow Daisy

This flower is endemic to granite outcrops in Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas. These are unusual and widely distributed habitats, which are home to many rare plants. These flowers thrive on sunshine and intermittent drought, growing at times literally out of the rock. It is officially named Porter’s Sunflower, for Thomas Porter who discovered the […]

Bonsai Pine

Stone Mountain in Georgia is almost 1700 feet tall, twice as high as the surrounding area. It is made primarily of granite formed from magma that came up from deep in the earth’s molten center. It is a rock version of an iceberg, in some spots going 9 miles deep. Apparently it had a series […]



Morning Mountain Mist

Flying to Georgia I was struck by the mist forming a thick veil over all the mountains. The trees were only visible near the mountaintops, islands in a sea of clouds. Without seeing evidence of towns or homes, it seemed a very wild place. It almost looked like a remote jungle, though I was on […]

Autumn Path

Recent cold nights have started the leaves turning in earnest in the mountains near me. This inviting path led along a grove of trees with brilliant colors, side by side with summery trees with green leaves. I imagine soon we will be approaching peak colors, but there are still many trees that don’t seem to […]



Butterfly shadow

This late flowering zinnia looks a bit like a blooming sun. The butterfly was sipping nectar and I positioned my camera to capture just a tiny bit of the wing with the rest just a silhouette formed by its shadow.  Zinnia flowers are known to attract butterflies and birds. They come in an amazing range […]

Purple mountain

At sunset this range of mountains took on a decidedly purple tone. I’m not so sure there are many fruited plains nearby but I definitely thought of the lyrics to America the Beautiful watching this scene unfold.  The words were first written in 1893 by English professor Katharine Bates as a poem inspired by a […]



Autumn skipper

Though few of these butterflies overwinter they fly well into autumn. Some flowers linger in an open field by my creek and I have a few still in my garden. In warmer years some may continue blooming even into early winter.  Already the leaves are turning but in the sun the day feels like summer. […]

Burning bush

A native of Asia, Euonymus alatus was introduced as a garden plant around 1860 to the U.S. One of the main reasons for its popularity along with its name is the vivid red fall colors as seen here.  Because it is invasive and threatens native plant populations there is some effort to control it. This is […]



Mountain sunset

Things are drying out and skies are perfect for sunsets. I spend more time sky watching these days thankful for dry weather. On the east coast sunsets tend to be more colorful in fall and winter because the air is cleaner and drier. Though sunsets look dramatic to us I sometimes like to imagine how […]