Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New butterfly lands here

While I was making a periodic check of the preserve, I took a break to do some butterflying.

In a area along the  north fire lane that is shaded by Poinciana trees, I saw a flash of brown that I  photographed. It was a Three-Spotted Skipper, a species formerly restricted to south Florida that has been appearing here more regularly.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Blooms everywhere in the preserve

Spring is gradually becoming more colorful at the preserve.

Prickly Pear, Britton's Beargrass, Gallberry and more are blooming now.
I also have found the earlier infestation of Praxelis clematidea  that has arrived perhaps via the fire lane mowing. I have not seen the species outside of the fire lane.
Cogon Grass is spreading in the northwest fire lane from off site and a portion of the site outside the fence.

New moth for site, national database

I recently was able to go mothing in between rainy evenings and unfavorable moon phases.

Activity has been pretty slow lately, but I did make a good find.
My light attracted a moth called Monoleuca erectifascia (it doesn't have a common name). It was the 638th confirmed moth species of Polk County and the first confirmed record for North America on the Butterflies and Moths of North America database. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Lupine finally in bloom

The mature Scrub Lupine plants, including one of the volunteers, are finally blooming
and a few people may come out to see them and photograph them.

There have been comments about the late blooming, but looking back on the limited time they've been here it appears the bloom times have varied quite a bit from year to year, starting as early as mid-March and one year some plants didn't bloom until late April or early May.

The Sand Skinks are becoming more active and some other plants are starting to bloom such as Sand Lace and Pine Catch-Fly.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

South tract paths are future fire lanes, FWC says

I received an answer that the clearing was, as I suspected, part of the management  plan and not something else.
I was told it is a prelude to a future prescribed fire.
The site has never been burned in modern times and has fewer open areas than the north tract.
It has different vegetation, too.
The only good patch of Rosemary, which will regenerate after the fire, is in the south tract. So is most of the Polygonella basiramia, though most of it's in the north fire lane next to Stewart Auto Repair.
According to some FNAI data I received when I first started volunteering, there's an old (1950s) record for Carter's Warea on this section. Perhaps the fire will bring it out if the seed bank is still here.
On the other hand, there is no Bonamia grandiflora and very little Nolina brittonia in this section, at least in its unburned state.
This site appears to have a much larger population of Polyphylla starkae than the north tract, but that impression is based solely on one year's  incidental observation. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

You CAN get there from here

Last year I discovered a path that was cleared through the south tract.
I asked about it and was told it was a mistake and would not recur.
That was then, this is now.
While I was leading a field trip last weekend, I discovered not only had the trail been recleared, but additional trails had been cleared to connect to various points along the four fire lanes.
I have not had a chance to learn the purpose, though it seems this is part of some kind of new management strategy.
I guess I was most amazed that someone the equipment missed an interesting pile of concrete debris that lies in the general area where some of the paths cross in the northeast section of the south tract.
I found a few pieces of litter that I had not encountered before. I'll return to collect them and probably mine the windrows that were piled up from the last fire lane work.
If nothing else, this makes monitoring the site somewhat easier.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The preserve is getting visitors

Visitors are rare here.
So,  whenever they do select this site, I like to be a good host.
On the eve of the spring equinox, some friends from the Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society are coming to visit.
I had been invited to speak to this group last year about the Scrub Lupine recovery efforts and related topics.
I hope flowering plants are a little more in evidence by then, but I expect they'll enjoy the opportunity to visit and explore a new natural area.