Tag Archives: Florida insects

Paddling Womack Creek on Cinco de Mayo, May 5, 2014

Banded water snake, Nerodia fasciata fasciata. Adult size 24-42 inches. Non-venomous, but can bite. When confronted may exude a musky odor. Bears live young. In western panhandle interbreeds with yellow belly watersnake (Nerodia erythrogaster flavigaster). Range: Florida northern peninsula through panhandle, South Alabama and along Atlantic coastal plain to Virginia. Eats fishes and frogs.

 

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Redbelly water snake, Nerodia erythrogaster eryghrogaster. Adult size 2-4 feet, non venomous, bears live young 11-30 about 9-11 1/2 inches long. Food: fishes & frogs. Habitat: rivers, lakes, swamps, marshes and cypress strands. In summer heat active mostly in early morning, late afternoon and night.

 

 

 

 

 

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With stunning colored head

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Young and old of banded water snake.

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Meanwhile, on any log they can find in the high water, the turtles are sunning, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blooming now on Womack Creek:

 

 

 

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Cowcreek Spider Lily, an endemic species only found in this area. Discovered by Prof Loran Anderson, emeritus, FSU, biology.

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Male Ogeche tupelo, providing the nectar for tupelo honey. Bees buzzing all over these blossoms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Female Ogeche tupelo, it’s drupes are food for wildlife in the fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Narrowleaf evening primrose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Virginia sweetspire, a few still blooming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And most of the swamp dogwoods are going to seed, food for migratory songbirds in the fall.

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The last of the American wisteria. Unliked the invasive exotic Asian wisteria, the American wisteria has a thicker clump of blossoms and does not invade an area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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False indigo in the peak of bloom and favorite flower of bees and hornets

 

 

 

 

 

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Spatterdock just beginning to bloom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Swamp rose and clematis crispa

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Swamp rose, almost white. The roses perfume the air around them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of activity on the creek:

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Lady bug beetle on muscadine leaf, swamp titi buds just below.

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See what looks like the discarded shell of the bug (or larvae) on the swamp titi leaf just above the beetle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And dragonflies all over the creek.

Leaving the creek, still in Tate’s Hell State Forest, the honey harvest from titi blossoms which bloomed throughout the forest in April.

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A sweet ending to a warm and sunny day.

 

 

Eglin AFB Operations Plan for Military Training on Blackwater River State Forest and Tate’s Hell State Forest

I have excerpted the Annual Operations Plan (and agreement between Eglin AFB and the Florida Department of Agriculture) in the sister blog http://www.letterstograsi-flofficials.com.  It is too long for me to retype it here.

You can also view the 14 page plan at http://www.pnj.com/interactive/article/99999999/NEWS12/131017014/Timeline-Eglin-s-proposed-military-training-Blackwater-River-State-Forest?nclick_check=1

Listed species – Blackwater River State Forest

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Gopher Tortoise

Blackwater River State Forest is home to many species on the federally endangered and threatened list.

  • 1 Fish
  • 5  Amphibians
  • 8 Reptiles
  • 5 Birds
  • 3 Mammals
  • 54 Invertebrates
  • 19 Plants and Lichens

The Nature Conservancy says of Blackwater River State Park:

“Considered by many as Florida’s premier state forest, Blackwater River State Forest — 209,571 acres and counting — is the bedrock of a conservation complex that hosts an amazing 300 species of birds and 2,500 species of plants.  One of the most biologically rich areas in the US, the forest is part of a vital nature corridor that gently rolls from Conecuh National Forest along the Florida-Alabama line to the Gulf of Mexico.”

“The state forest is a significant piece of the largest, continuous longleaf pine/wiregrass forest complex in the world. Once blanketing the entire southeastern United States, only 3 percent of that vast forest survives today.

For more:  see http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates.