Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lupine Population Declines

There were more than 100 flags at the preserve early this year to mark the location of seedlings.

When I checked today, it was hard to find many. The survival rate has been low.

Even one of the older plants in the volunteer site has disappeared and none of this year's seedlings has survived.

Blooms will be pretty sparse next spring because there are few mature plants.

Maybe there will be a good crop of seedlings.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Something Happened Here, Why It Did Ain't Exactly Clear

I was checking the fence line in the south tract after making progress remarking the trails I developed a few years ago.

I discovered a trail that apparently had been mechanically cleared in a rough way across the landscape from southeast to northwest.

I was amazed to see the damage and will have to check with FWC to find out whether anyone but the tractor operator knew about this.

My main concern is that it could provide a path for exotic plants to further invade. Natal grass is already common in the open areas near the Rosemary patches and other places.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Brazilian Pepper At The Gate

I spent an hour searching for exotics I recently found. I came away with a bag containing some Lygodium and Cogon Grass, but most of the action was around the First Avenue gate.

Brazilian pepper has sprouted. I dug up all four bushes and one near the gate outside. I also clipped the shrubbery and cut the grass the make that entrance somewhat presentable.

I noticed despite the County Commission's recent vote to prohibit truck parking on this street, there are no signs and no signs of enforcement. In a richer neighborhood, things might be different.

The end of the street is still crumbling.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Lessons From Field Trip Day At Lake Blue

Today's field trip was a learning experience.
There have been some problems with people signing up for other field trips--usually paddling--for which they are not physically capable of completing. This is dangerous and doesn't lead to a good experience.

I had that today. A few people dropped out early on because the freshly mowed fire lane was too uneven a surface for them to navigate, even with a walking stick. I felt bad about this because a tour of Lake Blue Scrub  is an experience few have. However, I also wanted everyone to be safe.

I think I need to work with the tourism folks to advise participants of the conditions and to provide some simple tips like not wearing shorts or sneakers. I wasn't expecting  this. The two people who showed up last year were dressed appropriately and didn't have any mobility problems.

It was also earlier in October, so the plant life was a lot more scenic and they were interested in taking photographs.

Anyway, I was able to share some information and the people who came along were very pleasant and came from as far away as Ocala and West Palm Beach.

Some seemed interested in returning when more species are in bloom. I took one person to the other tract, which is a totally different experience. It is less open, the ground is carpeted in places with lichens and it has significant stands of Rosemary.

I had to do a  little followup work.

 I noticed the mowing guy had plowed into one of the benches when he was turning around. I fixed it and moved the bench in the South Tract and rebuilt it accommodate the moth light.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Full Field Trip Saturday At Lake Blue

This Saturday will be the second field trip at Lake Blue Scrub during Polk's fledgling Central Florida Naturefest.
Last year's tour was an intimate affair. Only two people signed up. Festival planners asked if I wanted to cancel. I said no. If someone took the trouble to sign up, they should get a tour.
This year will be different. I received  word the tour is full, which means there will be about a dozen people here.
FWC has promised to have the fire lane mowed by Saturday so there will be no wading through waist-high weeds.
The only downside of scheduling the festival this late in October is many of the wildflowers that were blooming earlier in the month around the date for last  year's festival are declining or absent. There will still be plenty to see, though. I also plan to bring the site's signature beetle.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

As Fall Arrives, More Colors Appear

Fall has arrived and the composition of the wildflowers is
gradually changing. The Balduinia, which is rife in many portions of the preserve, has peaked and is now declining.
Lopsided Indian Grass is blooming. So is Blue Curls. In late afternoon, the scrub species of Blue-eyed Grass blooms.

I spotted a new moth, Schinia fuller, and a new butterfly, Twin Spot Skipper.

I have a field trip coming up in  a few weeks. I'm not sure what will be left by then.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wireweed At Peak Here

One of the least ubiquitous rare plants at the preserve is Polygonella basiramia, aka Wireweed.

 It is blooming now in the few spots where it is found, though in one spot this year it is quite abundant. Today I counted more than 300 plants.
Scrub Blazing Star (nee Sand Torch), Liatris ohlingerae is still blooming, too, along with several more common species.

Fall is wonderful in this place if you enjoy color.