A visitor from southeast Asia in the garden. This is Dolichoplana striata, one of many introduced flatworms now found in the United States. Most of the flatworms feed on earthworms, 30% of which are also foreign species. Flatworms are slimy and can be killed with a generous application of salt. But don’t cut them inContinue reading “Flatworm in the garden”
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”
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.
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 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”
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”
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”
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”
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)”
Sometimes I just want a quick walkabout. When I only have an hour or two to spare, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is one of my favorite places to tromp.