An exterminator threatens my suburban island

The doorbell rang. I looked through the window and then stepped onto the porch, where a lanky young man in navy shirt and khakis greeted me. “Hi. My name is Kevin. I wanted to let you know about some work being done on your street tomorrow.” Road work maybe? “Your neighbor has a pest problem.”Continue reading “An exterminator threatens my suburban island”

Natural Teaching Lab Trails

When visiting the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville (FL), be sure to visit the nearby Natural Teaching Lab Trails. In spring and fall, there are many small animals and interesting plants. The pictures below were taken in May.

Spider wraps itself in a leaf

I was watering my hydrangea when I noticed that one of the leaves was tubular. I immediately suspected a caterpillar and instinctively pinched the leaf from its stem. “Shoot. Why did you do that?” I’d recently done the same while checking another plant, only to realize the tube held the larva of a Long-tailed Skipper,Continue reading “Spider wraps itself in a leaf”

The Swamp Comes Alive in Spring

The weather was pleasantly cool and breezy; a good day for day-hiking. Since many trails in northeastern Florida remain flooded, I opted to walk the elevated trails at Sweetwater Wetlands. Water levels being high, the park’s dry basins had filled. Alligators of all sizes took advantage of the expanded habitat. One young gator amused visitorsContinue reading “The Swamp Comes Alive in Spring”

Eagans Creek Greenway in Fernandina Beach

Pre-Covid, I’d visited Eagans Creek Greenway in Fernandina Beach, Florida; but the weather was hot, I found the trail signs difficult to interpret, and swarms of mosquitos turned me back at the halfway point. Today, the temperature was moderate, the sun was shining, and many trails in Central Florida were flooded, so I decided toContinue reading “Eagans Creek Greenway in Fernandina Beach”

Lost in Seaton Creek Historic Preserve

Yesterday I visited a new-to-me park, Seaton Creek Historic Preserve in northern Jacksonville (Florida). There was ample parking at the trailhead, although the parking lot looked as though it may sometimes be muddy and impassable. I had downloaded a trail map, and planned to do a figure 8: Take the 2.3 mile Houston Creek TrailContinue reading “Lost in Seaton Creek Historic Preserve”

Photographing Wildlife Safely

If you’re reading this, you probably take a lot of photos. And, odds are, you’ll be taking many more. So there will always be another great shot to replace one missed, provided the photographer puts safety first. Safety begins when one pauses for the shot and glances down. Is she standing next to a venomousContinue reading “Photographing Wildlife Safely”

Winter Birds at Sweetwater Wetlands (Gainesville, FL)

From a distance, there appeared to be a lot of dead vegetation in the marsh. It looked like scattered chunks of palm bark. Then, in the water, I noticed a duck with a bright orange bill. I lifted my binoculars for a better look, and then realized that the woody shreds were moving. This wasn’tContinue reading “Winter Birds at Sweetwater Wetlands (Gainesville, FL)”

Walkingstick Rescue

I’ve been partial toward stick insects since my husband and I hiked a Florida park, where sporadic high-pitched whines crossed the trail in waves. Sometimes the sound was nearly imperceptible, then slowly grew in volume. At its peak, the sound matched the whir of green aliens in outer space movies. Late that afternoon, we noticedContinue reading “Walkingstick Rescue”