Alligator Tales

As I was walking the Brown Trail at Newnans Lake State Forest (Gainesville, FL), I heard a growl. This is why I have a deep respect for alligators… Tales of my experiences at Taylor Park (Largo, FL). Transcript: I see some foam on a little twig, and we are near water so I’m assuming thoseContinue reading “Alligator Tales”

Twelve Tips for Visiting Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Florida

Where is it? The zoo is at 370 Zoo Parkway, Jacksonville, Florida. 1. Make reservations. During Covid, the zoo requires a reservation and prepayment for admission. When you arrive at the zoo, you must show your prepaid tickets at the parking lot entrance, and again at the gate. There will be no one at theContinue reading “Twelve Tips for Visiting Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Florida”

Black Vultures: Clever Carrion-eaters and Hunters

Although Black vultures feed on carrion, they also hunt slow, injured, or newly-born animals. I once  saw three vultures surround a large pond turtle, which strayed too far from the water. First they ripped off its legs, and then they devoured the body. I’ve also seen them loiter around a doe and her newly-born fawn,Continue reading “Black Vultures: Clever Carrion-eaters and Hunters”

It’s May and wild birds are nesting at the Jacksonville Zoo (Florida)

In spring, Wood Storks, Great Egrets, and Black-crowned Night-Herons nest in the mature oaks and bamboo stands of Jacksonville Zoo (370 Zoo Parkway), so be sure to take binoculars while visiting. Black Vultures can also be seen year-round.

Three Bird Calls

The bird in the foreground is a Cardinal. Someone once described it to me as sounding like a ray gun. In the background, a White-eyed Vireo is also heard. The remaining background calls are made by another Cardinal and a Carolina Wren, which sometimes sound like a car alarm. Photo by theSOARnet with Pixabay

12 Facts About Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)

Predates dinosaurs. Can survive in waters having low salt content. Eats planktonic animals, small fish, small crustaceans, and mollusk eggs. Eaten by sea turtles (especially Leatherback Turtles), birds, and fish. Adults live up to a year in the wild; 18 months in captivity. Can sense light, chemical changes, and touch. Can also orient themselves spatially.Continue reading “12 Facts About Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)”

Alligator body language: a short photo essay

It was March at Sweetwater Wetlands Park (Gainesville, FL), and bull alligators were defending their territories. This bull alligator had just crossed the pond, where an even larger male sunned itself in the company of a much smaller female. He parked himself near the embankment, crossing the tip of his rival’s snout, which was pointedContinue reading “Alligator body language: a short photo essay”

The Tiniest Grasshopper

I noticed movement along the trail and discovered a group of tiny black grasshoppers, all under a half-inch long. They had bright red markings and preferred crawling to hopping. A new-to-me species! Or so I thought. I couldn’t wait to research my find on the internet, only to learn that I’ve seen this species manyContinue reading “The Tiniest Grasshopper”