Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Another Tiger Beetle Species



 As I  have  noted before, the more time I spend here, the more discoveries await.

Today while I was collecting small pieces of debris emerging from the sand following the recent rains, I found a third species of Tiger Beetle.

It is Ellipsoptera hirtalabris, a common scrub species, but one I have never recorded here in the past 20 years of observations.

I also checked the Lupine planting areas. I did not find any living seedlings, but the recently planted Lupines that are being irrigated seem to be doing well.

The irrigation was an important factor in one of the driest Mays on record for the area.


Sunday, May 30, 2021

Dry May Takes Toll On Lupines


 

When it comes to lupines, May is the cruelest month.

Few of t he seedlings that emerged last winter are still alive.

It would be interesting to know more about the plants that still survive, including one healthy specimen that was not flagged and may have emerged late.

The die-offs are a regular occurrence and more likely this year. This has been one of the driest Mays on record, according to the National Weather Service.

  

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Burn pile areas still troublesome 13 years later

 


I was out at the preserve yesterday and stopped at one of the burn pile sites to see how it had recovered  since 2008.

It is now 13 years later. The soil is still mostly unvegetated. The vegetation that is present is exotic or ruderal species. Natal grass, Brazilian pepper. Dog fennel.

This is part of legacy of past management decisions.

Let us hope everyone does better next time.


Friday, March 12, 2021

Surviving Lupine Begins To Bloom

 


One of the few lupines to survive the misguided fire lane discing last year has begun to bloom.

This is, I think, the first time a plant of this species has grown to maturity and bloomed in three years.

The fact that it has bloomed calls for a modified management plan for the area around the northern lupine planting area.

When the lupine nears the end of its flowering period, it ejects seeds into the surrounding landscape. That means the disturbed soil around the plant should not be disturbed by a tractor crew because it will prevent new plants from sprouting. 

This is a big deal for an endangered species growing at only a handful of locations on the planet.

This discussion needs to occur soon. There are alternative routes around the planting area if you keep your eyes open. Besides, it might help to get rid of the Cape Honeysuckle along the outer fire lane.

   

Friday, February 19, 2021

Digging Into Another Trash Pile

 The winter rains have exposed more half-buried trash near the preserve's entrance and one of the Scrub Lupine planting sites.

I spent a few hours the other day digging and hauling  out debris. Most of it seemed to have involved a buried mattress and assorted household debris.

The non-metal debris filled a large trash bag. 

I also removed more pieces of concrete that I will move to the entrance along with the other similar debris.

Once the weather clears, I'll get back to resume work.



Thursday, January 21, 2021

Hog Arrives Again; No Major Damage Seen Yet


 I confirmed the earlier report from a neighbor that there was at least on feral hog in the area.

I found tracks in the fire lane of the south tract earlier this week and a place where the hog may have settled in to rest.

I have not seen any sign of major damage. There may not be much here that the animal finds edible since no palmetto berries are available now.

I will have to continue monitoring the area.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Another Lupine Season Begins Slowly; Old Lupines Protected This Time

 A few Scrub Lupines have begun to poke their light green pubescent leaves above the white sand here on the Winter Haven Ridge.



There were only a few visible today, which is the time of year when they begin to emerge.

The fire lane near the planting areas were recently disced. This time the more mature lupines were protected by a marked enclosure. One appears to be mature enough to bloom this year if it survives until spring. I don't know how the mechanical work will affect the seed bank in the fire lane. It will be something to watch.



There is little color in mid-winter here other than scrub holly fruit and Carolina jessamine.



One of the neighbors told me about a recent wild hog sighting. I did a walk through and didn't see any evidence so far of rooting. This would be the first hog sighting in several years.



The cool, sunny day did produce three Black Racers warming themselves. Some didn't  seem inclined to flee as long as I maintained a respectful. distance.