Sunday, June 20, 2010

A captured feather

I was trekking across the scrub recently and encountered a feather snagged on a Bumelia.

I'm not totally sure what bird species shed it. It appears to be a larger species, though. A Great Horned Owl hunts here. So do hawks. I'll have to run it by someone who knows more about feather identification.

Usually I find wing or tail feathers, which are a little easier to sort out. This is more of a challenge, but worth sharing.

Tarflowers, not tarballs

One of the few showy blossoms at the moment in the scrub is the Tarflower, which is pretty widespread in scrub and scrubby flatwoods.

The plant gets its name from the sticky tarlike chemical on the flowers. The adhesive chemical traps some small insects, though I'm not exactly sure how that benefits the plant, which also attracts other pollinators.

They're relatively prominent shrubs in the aftermath of the mechanical clearing.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I'm up to six species of roaches at Lake Blue Scrub.

I found the lastest addition when I was doing some night insect surveys earlier this spring.

The species list is:

Sand cockroach (Arenivaga floridensis)

American cockroach (Periplaneta americana)

Florida woods cockroach (Eurycotis floridana)

Wood roach (Parcoblatta sp.)

Pennsylvania wood roach (Parcoblatta fulvesence)

Green banana cockroach (Panchlora nivea)

Butterflies are returning

I crisscrossed the north tract today to see what the butterfly situation was now that summer is nearly herel.

Ceraunus Blue was the most numerous. There were 24. Nevertheless, that's far less than the 103 I had around the same date last year.

Tentatively, I'm attribtuing the decline to the severe winter.

I will monitor this summer and fall and see what the changes are.

Note: Common Buckeyes were more numerous this year. It's a mixed year.

Another lupine again

I was checking out the area where the Clitoria fragrans is found and discovered two lupine plants, one of which had died. This is the same area where Lupinus diffusus popped up after a fire about five years ago. I didn't find any stipules, so I assume these plants are L. diffusus, too. The habitat is right.

Meanwhile, the Natal grass and Guineas grass is becoming rife in and along the fire lane. This calls for more than a Ridge Ranger workday, I'm afraid.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summertime, and the weeding ain't easy

Unsurprisingly, grasses, sedges etc have invaded the cleared second planting area and are competing with the lupines for whatever it is they need. Weeding has begun, but it's not a job for mad dogs and Englishmen. It's better to wait until the cooler portion of the day.

This will be an ongoing task. There's a sea of Natal grass along the nearby fire lane so it could be a long summer.

However, I've found that aggressive weeding in small tracts can control the problem pretty well for a time so the work doesn't have to be repeated too often. Obviously, on a landscape scale a different approach is necessary.