Friday, June 12, 2020

Some new bird nesting discoveries

I don't spend much time in the preserve in the summer and even less in the dense southern  tract.
I recently went in to check out the condition of the Rosemary plants, all of which look pretty scraggly. but along the way made some other discoveries.
I saw more resident bird density than I see in the north tract.
I found Great Crested Flycatchers nesting in an exposed trunk in a sand pine that had fallen over, probably because of storm activity.
I also saw Pine Warbler, Northern Parula Warbler and Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher that likely nest in the dense forest canopy and understory.
I also found another cache of trash from old homeless hangouts and filled two five-gallon buckets, b but probably will eventually encounter more bottles and other debris.
I also saw Britton's beargrass farther into the south tract as I had seen before and some Curtiss' milkweed.
Additionally, I am working to figure out where the gaps are on iNaturalist postings for both tracts, since I apparently have some unexpected gaps.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Pepperless Corner Finally

I had discovered a Brazilian Pepper growing along the fire lane on the southwest corner and had trimmed it some time ago, but never remembered to come back and remove it.
Yesterday while I was conducting some light trash cleanup I noticed and remembered I needed to finish the job.
I went out today and dug it out and also mostly removed another exotic tree,, which I think is some species of Poinciana.
I also dug out some metal wire mesh that was half buried, but too deeply into the ground to remove manually.
On the way back to my truck I detoured onto Holton Road from the fire land and discovered several piles of demolition debris that appear to be from a bathroom remodeling project.
This is the first serious dumping I'd seen along the road in awhile. Mostly it's just the neighbors dumping their yard waste and other debris into the woods on their side of the fence.
I reported this to the county.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Tractor work plows some endangered lupines

The long-overdue maintenance of the perimeter fire lane on the north tract got a little out of hand.
The tractor also plowed though an area where the rare and endangered scrub lupine seedlings were growing and where new seedlings are emerging at this time of year.
Fortunately, some of the lupines escaped the blade and the disk and may survive to flower and to produce seed as part of a long-term effort to determine whether a sustainable population of McFarlin's Lupine can be re-established here.
In an area where a dormant natural seed bank was awakened, five seedlings have emerged so far.
Maybe some of them will survive to maturity.
For some reason, the survival rate for this species of lupine is low.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Still Making Discoveries After 17 Years

I put together a tentative plant  list for this site about 10 years, but the list continues to grow as I stumble onto species I missed somehow during 17 years of crisscrossing this small preserve.
The latest was Zigzag Bladderwort, a small yellow-flowered plant with a filamentous stem that I find in wet areas in pine flatwoods. This plant appeared at the edge of lowland area near its collision with scrubby flatwoods. Ecotones are like that.
I also recently found a  new species (for this site) of tiger beetles. Now the site boasts two common species.
Meanwhile, I have also been counting the bog orchids popping up in the small bayhead
I am also in the process of cutting a path around the perimeter along the fence line to further surv
ey this section to advance efforts to complete a catalog of the flora on managed properties in Polk and Highlands counties.
I also found the discarded shell of a Florida Box Turtle; in the Bayhead. I do not know where it came from. I rarely see this species anywhere.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Butterfly list grows

The Garberia is in bloom all over the preserve, offering the main nectar source for pollinators in late fall in scrub.

This week I found a Monk Skipper, which is my first sighting of this species here.
It is the 56th butterfly species I have observed here during the past 17 years of monitoring the site.
That is a respectable number for a small site in the middle of an industrial /commercial/residential area.
Some other recent additions to the butterfly list included Three-spotted Skipper and Polydamas Swallowtail.

I also photographed a Polka Dot Wasp Moth on the Garberia.
This is a fairly common diurnal moth, but I can't recall whether I had seen one here.

Where do those golf balls come from?

I was walking through the south tract yesterday looking for Indian pipes when I found a golf ball.
I have found several of the these balls over the years, but their origin remains a mystery.
There is no golf course nearby. There is no driving range nearby.
The demographics of the surrounding neighborhood doesn't suggest there are any golfers.
I threw it into the fire lane and will pick it up later.
The weather is beginning to moderate and I thnk I will plan to resume work mining the windrows along the fire lane to recover more legacy trash.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Clitoria fragrans expands at last

I've been monitoring a small population of Clitoria fragrans in the southeast corner of the north tract for several years, but haven't seen much evidence of expansion.
That seems to have changed.
Today I saw what appeared to be three patches in the sandhill area.
I still haven't seen it blooming in awhile.