I daydream about living in Georgia when it was a wilderness unmodified by man, and I spend a lot of time thinking about the flora and fauna as it used to be. So it’s nice when I get a chance to take a real stroll in nature, even if it is just the ruined remnants. My favorite accessible natural area is Berry College Campus. I always see more wildlife there than anywhere else I’ve ever visited. Deer are abundant here but I couldn’t get any decent photos of them yesterday. The bird life is varied: bald eagles, peregrine falcons, turkeys, Canadian geese, crows, killdeer plovers, bluebirds, pileated woodpeckers, and many others. Like the deer, the birds didn’t want to cooperate with my camera either. I had time for just a short walk yesterday and found some interesting trees. Trees are much easier to photograph than animals.
A view of Lavender Mountain in the background.
I think this southern red oak, also known as Spanish oak, had a diameter of about 4 feet.
I was impressed with a southern red oak (Quercus falcata) that I had found. It appeared to have a diameter of about 4 feet at human shoulder height. But then I looked up the record. Georgia has the national champion southern red oak in Upson County with a diameter of about 11 feet at 4.5 feet above the ground. Wow! I’d like to see that one.
Montane chestnut oak. Also pretty thick.
The same tree as above from a different angle. Note how twisted it is at the base.
I think this montane chestnut oak (Q. prinus) had a diameter of at least 4 feet, but it was hard to judge because of the twisted shape. The state record montane chestnut oak tree in diameter is found in Fulton County and it is between 5 to 6 feet. This tree might come close to that tree in circumference. I’ll have to bring a tape measure with me next time I visit Berry College campus.
White oak with a diameter of about 4 feet.
The white oak (Q. alba) pictured above doesn’t even come close to the Georgia state record white oak which is found in Fayette County and is at least double in size.
This is the Georgia state record white oak. It’s double the size of the specimen I saw yesterday.
Note the squirrel’s nest up in this white oak tree.
The squirrels are happy with all the oak trees on Berry College Campus. Fox squirrels are listed as a species that occurs on the Berry College Wildlife Management Area, but I’ve only seen gray squirrels. I won’t believe they really have fox squirrels here until I see one myself.
This view from Little Texasville Road in Berry Wildlife Management Area. I love this kind of landscape…big old trees surrounded by open grassland. I envision Pleistocene landscapes in Georgia resembling this. Just add some bison, horses, and mammoths to this scene.
The Berry WMA located behind Berry College Campus is the largest wildlife management area in Georgia. This time of year, hikers aren’t supposed to walk on the trails. Hunters might accidentally shoot them.