Road Trip, Part Deux

When last I left you, Treebeard and I were making our way from the picnic area down to the lake. And quite a lake it is - over 16,000 acres of natural lake, all rain-fed due to the fact that it sits higher than the surrounding land. I didn't bother taking a picture from the boat ramp out over the lake, but I did snap a quick shot of the nearest bit of shore.
It really is a quite remarkable body of water.  It is shallow throughout and since the water is clear you can see much of the sandy bottom.  You can also see loads of little fish, particularly near the boat ramp.
I'm not sure what any of these little guys are, but there were huge numbers of little fish all around the dock.

After we got tired of watching little fish swim here and there, we headed back to the picnic area.  Along the way we were treated to some very cooperative dragonflies.  The one below is a blue dasher.  He was obelisking.  When some species of dragonflies that live in open areas get too warm they will sit with their abdomens raised in the direction of the sun.  This reduces the amount of their surface area that is exposed to direct sunlight and allows them to cool off a bit.

Posted by Picasa

Apparently the female great blue skimmer pictured above did not feel the need to obelisk.  She was very cooperative and allowed me to get quite close.

Once we got to the picnic area we decided to keep on walking because it was still relatively early.  A little poking around along a fern bed revealed a northern rough green snake...

and a praying mantis, both hunting for an afternoon snack among the foliage.
As we strolled through the campground on our way to the trail, we couldn't help but notice the abundance of Virginia Creeper in bloom.  Virginia Creeper is one of those plants that folks tend to confuse with poison ivy.  It is actually related to grapes -- but you wouldn't want to eat the fruit it produces.

Another plant that was present in abundance was Beauty Berry, aka French Mulberry.  The pink flowers will give way to fruit of the most obnoxious shade of purple.  Most people think it is beautiful but I am definitely not one of those people.  As a matter of fact I usually refer to this shrub as "Ugly Berry."

At the edge of the campground sits a large old sycamore tree with an impressive hollow.  We have found bats roosting in this tree in the past so Treebeard stepped in to take a look.  He didn't see any bats, but he did see some nice big spider eyes staring back at him.  (I have been inside this tree with six other adults.)
We'll continue our adventure in another post. It's time now for Treebeard and me to go out and do our evening yard and garden prowl. Hope you're having a wonderful first day of summer/solstice!


biobabbler said...

"Like"! =) Obelisking?!? I get a new word, in addition to amazing photographs? Thanks!

KaHolly said...

Great shots of the dasher and skimmer. And of the praying mantis. I haven't seen one of them for years! That is one cool tree. I'd have to think twice before I climbed into it's embrace. ~karen

Anonymous said...

Swampy-An Eastern Carolina U Berry Bush is not your favorite, I am surprised. Or should we call it a LA Lakers Berry Bush. Maineiac

Anonymous said...

Swampy, I didn't realize my brother had another pair of shorts!!(haha) Always love your pictures. Like Maniac, I was taken aback by your dislike of the color purple--guess it has to be the right shade tinged with a little gold!!

SIL and Ratdog

swamp4me said...

Blue dashers are notorious obeliskers. It's really funny to see them perched with their abdomens pointed skyward ;)

If a tree is hollow, then you'll find one of us in it! Great place to find bats and spiders or the occasional ticked-off squirrel or raccoon!

Those rings of purple berries are just so doggone gaudy!

Those are his special road trip shorts ;) And you're right, if it is the correct shade of purple and accompanied by gold, then I am a happy camper ( Go Pirates! ECU!!!)

Jenn said...

Ah, I'm a little worried about the fish you saw. My first thought took me to these guys:


Now, I know that many of our natives are cichlids (sunfish, bluegill, etc) and I don't know what those fish look like as fry...

swamp4me said...

Not to worry. The fish in the photo are native. Most likely yellow perch or a relative.