Monday, March 17, 2014

Never startle a sleeping gator!

 Off to one of my local "bug" hotspots, Ollie's Pond, in Port Charlotte, Florida for some insect photography.

Ollie's Pond Park link

 A few spring butterflies around.  Here is a Monarch (Danaus plexippus).

 Roseatte Skimmer (Orthemis ferruginnea), Florida's only pink dragonfly.

Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus).  Odd....there was no milkweed around.

Rambur's Forktail (Ischmura ramburii).

Saw this six-footer sleeping in the sun.  They usually keep an eye on anything approaching them...but this guy was sound asleep and facing away.  I was trying to get a shot of an in-flight Red-mantled Saddlebags (Tramea onusta) I got a lot closer to the gator than I should have!

Well....I got the shot!  But, I also learned just how fast I can run from a not so happy, startled gator!

Every day in the field is an adventure here in SW Florida!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Herons Close Up!

 Sometimes I think I need more mega-pixels, but these closeups tell me that me old D3000 still takes a good shot now an then.  Above a Great Blue Heron and below a Yellow Crowned Night Heron.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Early Spring Stroll on the Seaboard Grade at Babcock-Webb WMA

Spring comes early here in SW Florida.  It's the last week in February and I'm seeing wildflowers and butterflies!  So, off to one of my favorites places...the Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area in Punta Gorda....80,000 acres of hydric pine flatwoods with some wonderful trails for a nice afternoon stroll.

The dirt roads through "the Webb" are called grades, which means they are raised up a bit and have drainage ditches on both sides to keep them from flooding during the rainy season.  I chose the Seaboard Grade as it has some terrific landscape views and goes through wet prairie, oak hammock and pine flatwoods.
Administered by Florida's Fish and Wildlife Commission, "the Webb" is a multi-use area allowing hunting in season, off road vehicles, camping, fishing, hiking, birding and has the area's only public shooting range.

It's an easy and very quiet walk on the sandy soil covered in pine needles.  I'll alternate some photos....landscape, nature close-up so you can enjoy the walk with me.

Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia), Florida's State Butterfly.

Zebra Longwing link

White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae), a truly tropical species.

Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare), and early bloomer.  I can usually find some nice swallowtails nearby these colorful blossoms.

Bull Thistle link

Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus)....mimics the Monarch. Not toxic, but seems to fool bird predators.

Queen link

Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaisensis).

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbekia hisrta)....common on road edges most everywhere and always appreciated.

Black Eyed Susan link

Gator hole....we've had a wet winter, so still plenty of water.

Palamedes Swallowtail  (Papilio palamedes).

Palamedes Swallowtail link

Swamp buggy out for a ride.  Folks come from all over Florida to camp and ride these around the WMA.

Swamp Buggies for sale!

Gulf Fritillary (Agaulis vanillae).

Gulf Fritillary link

Hammock of oak, cabbage palm and saw palmetto.

Nice 6 footer lurking in a gator hole.

Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon).

Phaon Crescent link

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia).

Common Buckeye link

Southern Five-lined Skinks mating.....something you only see in the early spring.

Hope you have enjoyed the walk...and hope you will get out to the Webb and see it for yourself.