Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Pine Hyacinth (Clematis baldwinii)

  Myakka State Forest in Englewood, FL.  Out on a recon for a future Peace River Butterfly Society field trip in March....looking for likely spots to find thistles in bloom.  Christmas day and a lovely afternoon hike on the Palmetto and River trails for a beautiful river view at the back country campsite.
On the way back spotted a group of Pine Hyacinth plants in full bloom....unusual in late December?

Clematis baldwinii, named after William Baldwin.

8593 acres of mesic flatwoods...slash and longleaf pine overstory with saw palmetto understory.

Be a citizen scientist and report what you see on iNaturalist!

Easy to find this stand of over a dozen plants....20 meters down the Palmetto trail from the parking lot on East River Road.

Great field guide for Florida's wildflowers.

Thanks to the Florida Forest Service for allowing hiking, hunting, horseback riding, wilderness camping, picnicking.  So much of nature to see so close to suburbia.

Roger Hammer will be PRBS's guest speaker in February....and in March State Forester, Eric Stricland will speak at the meeting prior to our field outing.

Lots to see out there...bring a camera!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Life and death in a palm tree!

While birding at Ollie's Pond in Port Charlotte (FL) we saw a juvenile Roof Rat (Rattus rattus) jump out of a shorefront Cabbage Palm and swim away!  Very unusual behavior.....one hardly ever sees rats in the wild, let alone one swimming!

Depicted below, by the Univ of Florida Extension Service as a horrible beast, these rodents are harmless in the wild and part of the ecosystem fauna.

AHA!  We soon found the cause of the rat's panicked escape!  A Yellow Rat Snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) climbing the palm and looking for a meal.

Higher in the palm, we spotted a large rat....perhaps a parent to the swimmer.  Looking a bit too large for the snake, it seemed to exhibit a fearful expression and held it's ground.....maybe to protect other young in the nest.

Nature's small drama is life or death for the young rats....or starvation for the snake.   Let us just observe and not judge or intrude.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Peeps return to Caspersen Beach

Out to look for shorebirds in late November.   Found some resting in the rocks at Caspersen Beach in Venice (FL).
Above is a nice Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) in non-breeding plumage.

       What do you suppose these little birds are?  Sanderlings....Western Sandpipers?  I am rarely sure with peeps!

So get the photo on the computer and get out the books!

Oiseaux de rivage!

Well....I'm going out on a limb....Sanderling (Calidris alba).

Sanderling link

You can always flip a coin if unsure!  This one says, "sandpiper!"  But I'm sticking with Sanderling

Finally....an easy one!  Ruddy Turnstone  (Arenaria interpres).

Feel free gentle readers to correct me on any and all "peeps."  Always learning on the beach.