Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shell Creek Paddle: a Sierra Club Outing

The Greater Charlotte Harbor Chapter of The Sierra Club hosted a paddle outing on Shell Creek in Punta Gorda, Florida.  Florida Master Naturalist Rick Fried was the outing leader and provided an experts view of the local flora and fauna.

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna).
Limkin link

The Sierra Club and it's local chapters sponsor many wonderful outings.  This is a great environmental organization....if you aren't a member, you should join.

The Climbing Asters (Aster carolinianum) were in full bloom and attracting lots of butterflies.

These beautiful wildflowers are considered an invasive species!

Rick captained the electric canoe and kept the kayakers on track and in good form.

Seedbox or Water Primrose (Ludwigia alterniflora).

Is this a Cooter or a Slider?


Lots of mature Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) trees on Shell Creek.

Back to the kayak and canoe launch at Hathaway Park.  Great little park with picnic area, boat and kayak launches, restrooms and several nice hiking trails.

These photos all taken with my Fujifilm Finepix Z33WP.  It's waterproof, and I don't want to get the Nikon wet in a kayak!

Be sure to check out your local Sierra Club for some great outing opportunities. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Skippers, Wildflowers and friends on the Babcock Ranch

Back out at the Babcock Ranch Preserve in Punta Gorda, Florida.  This time with wife, Olivia for a slow walk along one of the old access roads, looking for butterflies, wildflowers and interesting insects.  Here is a  Whirlabout Skipper (Polites vibex).

Dorantes Skipper (Urbanus dorantes).

Narrow Leaf Yellowtop (Flaveria latiflora).

Least Skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor).

Oak Toad (Bufo quericus).  Spotted this little guy on the road.

American Blueheart (Buchnera americana).

Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius).

Phaon Crescent Phiciodes phaon).  Not a Skipper, but a very beautiful Brushfoot.

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae).  Looking like another leaf.
We have lots of these on our Butterfly Bush (Cassia bicapsularis) at home.
Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta).

Paper Wasp (Polistes annularis).  That's a guess at species...but, as an amateur, I'm allowed to guess!

I thought this was a Diurnal Firefly, but now I have it on good authority that it's a Yellow-Collared Scape Moth (Cisseps fulvicollis).
Leaf Beetle (Disonycha caroliniana).
Thanks to entomologist Eric Eaton for the I.D. assist.  I have a nice copy of Kaufman's Field Guide to Insects of North America, but am still a rank amateur.

White Peacock Butterfly (Anartia jatrophae).

Wife, Olivia.

I really enjoy a slow "bug walk," and the old farm roads in the Babcock Ranch Preserve are perfect.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Footprints Trail: A Sierra Club outing on the Babcock Ranch Preserve

The Greater Charlotte Harbor Sierra Club hosted a hike into the Babcock Ranch Preserve, on the Footprints Trail.   The trail meanders through cypress swamp, hydric prairie and pine flatwoods. 

The Babcock Ranch Preserve, which until recently was a working family cattle ranch, totals 73,239 acres of mixed habitat in three counties of South Florida.

Besides hiking and nature study, the preserve offers horseback riding, hunting & fishing.

Coreopsis, or Tickweed.  Florida's State Wildflower

Yes folks, that's the trail! 

Apple Snail (Ampularidae sp) Eggs.

Wet Prairie or Fresh Water Marsh.

Fleabane, (Erigeron vernus) or Early Whitetop Fleabane, I think!

Spider photo-op

Black and Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia).

Florida Pine Flatwoods

Mr Bobcat has been on the trail.

Both bird and wildflower experts were part of the group.

Cypress Knees.  Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum).

This trail was a small part of a huge cattle ranch.....a part of Florida's history.

Swamp Hibiscus (Hibiscus grandiflorus).

To really get to know a swamp, you need to get right in there!

Bromeliad.  Quill-leaf  (Tillandsia fasciculata).  I think?

Southern Lubber Grasshopper (Romalea microptea).

Great outing by the Sierra Club.  Great trail.  But remember, if you go......don't chase the cows!  The cows, as I know from prior experience, are allowed to chase YOU!  Happy trails.