Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cataloochee Elk

On October the 12th, the Dendrology lab took a field study trip into Cataloochee Valley to continue looking at tree species composition within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We will begin winter tree identification in the coming weeks and learn to ID the 100 species we have already learned with leaves attached to them, now only by twig characteristics and winter buds. A secondary treat to this annual field trip is, not only the peak colors of all of the tree species we have here near campus, but, the peak bugling season for the Elk herds that have been reintroduced into the park. In the pictures provided with this blog, you can see the class with the spotting scope getting very up close and personal to these beautiful animals. They also got the chance to hear the warning calls to young bulls from a dominate male as well as males alerting the females that they are nearby. We almost got a chance to see the big male go head to head with a young bold male looking for some action of his own before he realized confronting a male twice his size would not end well. Some of the students also got great video and audio of the voicing on their new high technology cell phones. What a wonderful place to go to school. (Post by Bob Pinkston)

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