Sunday, March 09, 2008

High Winds!

We were unable to post yesterday due to access problems with the server. It's unlikely that high winds were the cause of our access problems, but by the end of the day, we fully expected it to be the cause of access problems on the boardwalk. The map image shows the National Weather Service's high wind warning area shaded in yellow. Note that the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest, as well as the lower portion of Four Holes Swamp, sit within the warning area.

It's always exciting to have high winds after a day of rain has weighted down the dead limbs or fern-covered living limbs and softened up the soil. Although rare in occurrence, the boardwalk seldom wins the battle with anything falling from 60 feet overhead. The image on the left shows damage from a hurricane when there were certainly no visitors on the boardwalk.  While contemplating this entry during yesterday's wind event, a branch from a large Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) did fall within inches our maintenance cart shed, which sits 100 feet outside of our office windows. Although we have not taken a spin around the boardwalk this morning, there were no breaks in the boardwalk at 4:45 pm when the last couple returned to the nature center. However, the last couple did bring news of a different sort.

The first Atamasco Lily (Zephyranthes atamasco) of the year has bloomed along the boardwalk directly behind the Ironwood (Carpinus caroliniana) sign. The Atamasco Lily is also known as the Naked Lady, since it has no leaves on its stalk. Although, it could easily be because it too is dangerous with leaves and bulbs that are poisonous to horses, cattle and possibly humans. It bears the name Easter Lily, since it blooms near that time of the year. According to Richard Porcher's and Douglas Rayner's A Guide to the Wildflowers of South Carolina, the plant should bloom from late March through April. Like Easter this year, the flowers are early.

Images by Mark Musselman

No comments: