Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), also known as Yellow Poplar. This tree does range into southern Ontario.
Pignut hickory (Carya glabra)
One of the naturalists working in the State Park was very proud of these Atamasco Lilies, a native of South Carolina, below.
I never tire of shore birds, and these Sanderlings never seem to get tired.....as they rush into and out of the surf. A great number of them were seen on this day, which had me thinking about migrating north. And there are many people, I know who believe Myrtle Beach is named for someone's Aunt Myrtle. The myth needs to be dispelled. Pictured below, and found in most parks along the beaches in the Carolinas is the Common Wax Myrtle, Myrica cerifera. The plant whence the local city's name has alternate thick leaves which emit a lovely fragrance when crushed. The leaves are modestly dentate and the plant is evergreen.
Above, Hepatus epheliticus (Calico Box Crab). This Bird island specimen exhibits more linear patches than the spotty patches shown in the speciment in the guide book, South Carolina Beachcomber's Guide. Many species in nature vary in colour, size, shape and marking. Biologists go a little overboard, at times, attributing taxonomic status to these variations, while most are no more than individual variation. The next photo is of a very common bird, a Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis, which varies regionally across our continent. The Maritime version used to be classified as a separate species, Ipswich Sparrow. The lighter markings on this sparrow indicate Ipswich. The constantly changing classification, made possible through better ability to analyse DNA, moved Ipswich to Subspecies status. Taxonomy is important in Biology, as it provides a way to classify living organisms, enhancing ability of scientists worldwide to more easily recognize traits which give clues on origins and ecological roles of species.
Meanwhile, a Ruddy Turnstone, Arenaria interpres, (pictured below) ran along the beach with the Sanderlings. Like so many of our northern nesting shorebirds, Turnstones migrate a long way, in this case both coasts of South America, right down to Argentina and Chile. Recall in an earlier version of this Blog, a photo of a few, still in full breeding plumage (the one pictured above, like the Loon, has winter plumage) at Shediac New Brunswick in August, 2014. They stay on their high Arctic breeding grounds for just enough time to raise their brood, and then it is off again, to grace almost every beach in the Americas.
Further up the beach, this Atlantic Ray, Dasyatis sabina had come to an inglorious end. Common from Chesapeake Bay south, this member of the shark/ray family is commonly caught by fishers. It is also the reason one shuffles feet if walking in the surf sand. One never STEPS, since stepping on the tail of one of these can be extremely painful. Favoured as prey by the White, Tiger and Bull Sharks, this common fish ranges into coastal fresh water as well as salt/brackish waters (like the Bull Shark).
and the two photos below feature the more southern Wilson's Plover, Charadrius wilsonia. These were the first Wilson's Plovers I have seen.
Meanwhile at Waccamaw NWR, Spring has advanced:
The Dogwood is blooming...spectacular! Along with the Redbud, below, the Atlantic Coastal and Appalachian Spring is oh so colourful.
Tulip trees were emerging, above. And a Carolina Anole, Anolis carolinensis, feasting on an ant colony, stopped to pose, below. This native lizard is the only American Anole which immediately changes colour to blend with its surroundings. When first observed, this small lizard was a bright green, much like the Tulip Tree leaves above.
Symplocos tinctoria. Very noticeable rounded flower clusters and large, smooth, elongated, and elliptical Magnolia type leaves identify this plant. The Symplocaceae is a mainly tropical family of plants. Finding this species here announces to botanists the beginning of more tropical species as one travels south towards the Tropic of Cancer.