On the way home from a trip to Everglades National Park we visited Fakahathchee Strand Preserve State Park.
Great time of the year to visit....lots of butterflies...above is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papillio glaucus) cavorting with some young reptilian friends.
Hiking is easy along Janes Scenic Road and the Tram Trails. You are also able to use one of the many small foot/game trails....or slog through the swamp!
I like the East Tram Trail.....
Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes asterius).
Cardinal Air Plant (Tillandsia fasciculata). These giant Bromeliads are in danger from the Mexican Bromeliad Weevil (Metamasius spp.) there are three species in Florida. Here is a link to tell you how this nasty little insect destroys the giant Bromeliads...
Evil Weevil link
Evil Weevil link
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus).
Lots of gators...everywhere....big and small....always watching. And sometimes you can hear this scary sound...
Ruddy Daggerwing (Marpesia petreus).
Orange on top (dorsal view), and brown on bottom (ventral view)...when it holds still it looks like a dead leaf!
Looks like some sort of insect trap. Maybe looking for Emerald Ash Borers?
|wiki link photo|
I didn't think they came this far south?
Great Southern White (Ascia monuste). The harbinger of summer here in SW Florida. Note the blue antennae clubs......Cabbage Whites look similar but don't have the blue!
Big mama....she owns the swamp!
Tropical Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus oileus).
A wonderful stand of native Royal Palms (Roystonea regia) are found in the Strand.
The plan was to hike down the East Tram Trail....but there was a notice at park headquarters about gators blocking the trail. It basically said....it's mating season, they are aggressive and won't back off....so give them plenty of room. Well....this guy covered the 10' wide tram way and he wasn't about to leave....so we thought about a side detour......
Lots of little side paths in Fakahatchee.....all covered with leaves and debris....
This specimen was hiding in the leaves and "hissed" to make his presence known! Well.....time to turn around and head back to the car. The swamp really belongs to the critters.
Florida Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti)
Fakahatchee Strand is one of my very favorite places....wild and beautiful. I will leave the trail to the gators and snakes today....but I'll be back soon.