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Welcome to the Blue Wall Weekly, your source for what's going on outside along the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment. Feel free to share your own photos, videos, and adventures along the Blue Wall by sending them to the email address at the bottom of the page, and we'll do our best to make you (locally) famous!
Following a long night of steady rain, the early morning air is cool, the lake glass-smooth. Gray monotone sky overcasts ridgetops and shreds raggedly into the gorges. We idle along at 1500 rpms (very slowly), close to shore, hunting kingfishers. Notoriously skittish, the birds soar off bare-branch perches at our quiet approach, leaving only echoes of their rattling calls. We weave into coves and around downed trees, pushing them further up river’s arm until half a dozen kingfishers are within easy aim, and those expert hunters on my boat are able to get some killer shots. With cameras, of course! ~K
Since the age of 12, Virginia Ward has been a devoted summer volunteer working with BRP plant ecologist Dr. Chris Ulrey to monitor critically endangered plants such as Spreading avens (Geum radiatum) and Heller’s blazing star (Liatris helleri). She will talk about the challenges of preserving these fragile Alpine relics.
Tours of MM include an introduction to fungal ecology and life cycles, laboratory tour and research overviews, and the fruiting room. Many aspects of mushrooms, including medicinal properties, cooking, and mycoremediation to soil creation will be discussed along the way!
Longer walk: Meet behind the baseball stadium to bird a variety of paved and natural surface trails in the Preserve. Shorter walk: Meet at the Spanco Drive parking area next to the old Conestee Mill and Dam to bird a section of the paved trail.
It’s been another perfect week on Lake Jocassee. The sky has been mostly overcast, mixed with a bit of blue here and there, with a low ceiling for most of each day. The air temperature is not yet hot and the water temperature is oh so perfect for swimming. There has been rain here and there, some of it briefly torrential, but nothing that kept us from our assigned duties of exploring Jocassee every day. On such weeks Jocassee is at her most mysterious, unpredictable, beautiful and even mystical. The sun was not the overwhelming overhead orb that summer power boaters are waiting for, leaving the lake to those of us who have no desire to speed around and see nothing. What a lovely June this is. ~B
Botanist. Biologist. Physicist. Research Scientist. Mentor. This is where it all begins, folks!
DID YOU KNOW?
As nestlings, Belted Kingfishers have acidic stomachs that help them digest bones, fish scales, and arthropod shells. But by the time they leave the nest, their stomach chemistry apparently changes, and they begin regurgitating pellets which accumulate on the ground around fishing and roosting perches. Scientists can dissect these pellets to learn about the kingfisher’s diet without harming or even observing any wild birds.
ABOUT THE BLUE WALL
Spanning three states (North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia) and encompassing 859,000 acres, the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment, known as the 'Blue Wall' by Native Americans, contains some of the highest natural diversity of rare plants and animals found anywhere in the world.