Monday, April 29, 2013

Mailbox Monday: For the House of the Rising Sun?

Apparently, the sun gets so hot that it melts!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Black With Gray is a Popular Theme For Water Birds

Lesser Scaup

Female Anhinga

Brown Pelican


Saturday, April 27, 2013

On the Way to the Garden...

Across from our garden plot is a horse pasture and pond. The other evening when we were driving out to do a little work, a deer across the pond caught our eyes.

As it turned and stepped into the woods, another couple in  another  white truck pulled  up and asked if we had seen it. As we talked the horses got excited and came at a thundering gallop across the field. These are big draft horses. Unfortunately, I caught the mirror in the shot.

I have since remembered that the owner of the horses also drives a white truck. Maybe they thought they were in for some attention and got excited.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Baby in the Bird's Nest

I was surprised to find  this tiny tree frog in the bird's nest fern on the porch. It was no bigger than my thumbnail.

What a cutie! And what a smartie to have found such a good place to hide.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


The tannic water in this stream flowing out of Payne's Prairie had one spot where foam had concentrated into an area. I found the patterns beautiful.

It reminds me of the wind map at this site:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Now, That's a Tree!

This huge oak stands in Payne's Prairie. 
What stories could it tell?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

How Fetching is the Vetch

It has been a good year for  vetch, the flowers shown here. The roadsides around here have been covered with it. There are well over 100 different vetches in the genus Vicia, including this Vicia grandiflora, which is a white cousin to the purple. This purple may be cow vetch, Vicia cracca. They are legumes. Certain Vicias are toxic and others have been eaten during times of famine. In the picture below, you can see the pea pod.

Cow vetch is used as forage for--surprise, surprise!--cows! Honeybees and other insects also feed on the nectar from the flowers. Like other legumes, it has the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. Unfortunately, it also has the ability to take over and suffocate other plants.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Prescribed Fire Makes Healthy Wildlife Habitats

This is the visitors' center at St. Marks. It was evening and the place was deserted, save two deer.

Apparently so.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Indigo Buntings, Passing Through

It was a windy Sunday at St. Marks when I spotted a small mixed flock near the spill dam. Among the cardinals and mockingbirds were a few indigo buntings. They are not common here and were probably taking a migration break. This male was working on getting some new, bright blue feathers and still had some of his camou look.

A female is in the middle, below, and a sparrow is on the right. They were skittish, so I stayed well back get these shots.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mailbox Monday: Well-Insulated Box

Glass insulators, such as these, were once used on telegraph, telephone and power lines.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I Caught an Eagle

I caught this bald eagle enjoying the warm morning sun from a high perch at St. Marks.

"Now, where did I put my cell phone?"

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Ladybug Aerialist

This photo shows a ladybug walking a hickory stick in our yard. Working without a net, the ladybug inched along, climbing higher and higher on the skinny tightrope.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Color Purple Blues

I have yet to understand why a perfectly purple flower in the world of botany, is known as a "blue" flower. But it is so. On our last drive down to St. Marks, purple/blue was the color of spring. Here is a sampling:

Blue Flag Irises were quite plentiful.


Native Wisteria

Blue-eyed Grass


Leather Flower

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Gimme Some Tung!

I absolutely LOVE tung flowers.

Look at that!

Just looking at it makes me weak in the knees and leaves me speechless.

You might well ask, "Has the cat got your tung?" That would actually be a bad idea since tung trees are quite toxic.

If I thought I could have a tung tree, I would go find a sapling. The trouble is, I'm not convinced one can have just one tung tree. There are always tons of tungs popping up around a parent tree. I may have to settle for tung envy.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Snakes Alive!

I was trying to take a decent picture of this lovely flower, called Rose of Plymouth,  growing by the East River where B was fishing. The light was too harsh, so I gave up and went to sit on the dry spill dam.

As I sat there, I was watching a little bird that I did not identify, run around near the flower. Then I noticed that it was not alone. There was a water snake working the shallows for a lunch.

It was very active and I watched with binoculars to determine that it was not a moccasin, even though it flattened its head into the characteristic triangle.

Later that same afternoon, we came upon this young diamond back rattler crossing the road, just a few miles away. It was about four years old.

As we got closer, it was almost to the grass. It turned and lifted its head in a threatening way. A car came up behind us and we moved on, and so did the snake.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Tail of Two Lizards

This fence lizard hides nicely on the pine while

this green anole--this very green anole--shows off on the oak.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mailbox Monday: Do-It-Yourselfer

I can see where the concrete slab and the storm drain could  prove problematic. This mailbox has stood just as it is for a few years.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Idolizing Ibis

Our native white ibis starts out brown, as can be seen in this photo. This immature ibis is hanging out with a snowy egret along the La Chua Trail in Gainesville. This coloring helps it hide when necessary.

But it won't be  long before the "ugly duckling" becomes the beautiful "swan." Well...ibis!
This one is up to his knees in water. Actually, birds don't have knees that we can see. That is their ankles at the bend.

Like the flamingos, they need crustaceans in their diet to create these beautiful reds.

Now, those are some great legs!

I would not say this one can hide very well in here.

Beautiful birds!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Flirty Feathers

I just love to watch the snowy egrets showing off their breeding plumage!

And check out the golden slippers! The immature ibis seems to be admiring them.  (One day soon it will have its own ruby slippers---with stockings to match.)

These gorgeous plumes brought egrets near extinction in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as hat makers' demands for them in Europe and America killed off too many of them during breeding season.