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.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Longleat Pines Suddenly Dying

The mature Longleaf Pine trees in the north tract are suddenly dying. I haven't visited in about a month when they appeared to be healthy.
There had been some pine deaths a couple of years ago after a prescribed burn. There was a second prescribed burn in this area last year, but it was a cool burn and no mature trees were damaged.
That leaves disease or insects. The younger longleafs appear healthy for now. Sand pines are unaffected.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Brazilian Pepper Control Under Way

I found a stand of Brazilian pepper in the northwest corner of the tract and have been attacking it over the past week.
This plant has never been a major problem in the preserve, but with some control it can be kept that way.
I'll get back to recheck the cogon grass spots later on.
If I have time I may be going out to pull and bag Ceasarweed. Spring is the best time to attack it because the burrs have not set yet.