Lucky daytime spotting of the Horned Fungus Beetle

Alone on a swampy trail, I noticed a half-inch beetle feeding on a mushroom. It was gray and bumpy, resembling tree bark. I was lucky to sight the Horned Fungus Beetle (Bolitotherus cornutus), since it’s active at night. This particular morning was overcast and the lighting was dim, which led this individual to indulge inContinue reading “Lucky daytime spotting of the Horned Fungus Beetle”

Campsomeris quadrimaculata – a giant wasp found in Florida

While walking, I came across this huge, beneficial wasp. It pollinates a wide variety of flowers and keeps beetle populations in check. It has no moniker. However, I’m nicknaming it the Lighthouse Wasp, since it flashes yellow beacons as it feeds. Below is a one-minute video with additional pictures and information. Video Transcript: I noticedContinue reading “Campsomeris quadrimaculata – a giant wasp found in Florida”

Nature Reclaims La Chua Trail

Early morning visit to La Chua trail (Payne’s Prairie, Gainesville, FL). A few years ago, nature reclaimed the long arm of this trail with flooding that failed to recede. This year, only the boardwalk is left. The water was high on both sides, coming approximately 4 feet from the floorboards. Although anoles enjoy hunting andContinue reading “Nature Reclaims La Chua Trail”

Hatchling Season at Sweetwater Wetlands

The Transcript: Welcome to Sweetwater Wetlands Park in Gainesville, Florida. This marshland park is dotted with overlooks. Let’s see what we find. This young Common Gallinule is nearly grown. Although gallinules may occasionally eat insects or snails, they’re primarily herbivores. This bird is managing the habitat by consuming Hydrilla verticillata, an Asian plant sold toContinue reading “Hatchling Season at Sweetwater Wetlands”

A Tree Frog Adventure

I had a small adventure at the Jacksonville Zoo. I was in the Florida reptile house, and a large frog was splayed on one of the glass doors. It was a Cuban Treefrog and was about the length of my hand. A volunteer was in the building and said she didn’t want to let itContinue reading “A Tree Frog Adventure”

Red-shouldered Hawks – Monogamous and Opportunistic Florida Residents

The Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) is one of my favorites to watch, particularly during breeding season. This is when pairs circle together, heavily‑banded feathers stretched wide. The Red-shouldered prefers mature forest adjoining small areas of open land. My own neighborhood adjoins a section of forest, and Red-shouldereds routinely fly through the closely packed trunks andContinue reading “Red-shouldered Hawks – Monogamous and Opportunistic Florida Residents”

Turkey on the trail

Recorded at Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park, Jacksonville, FL (7000 Roosevelt Boulevard) Transcript: That was an unusual experience. I’m near the junction of the [second] spur trail and, to my right, maybe 10-15 feet away, a wild turkey was sleeping in the sun. And it was just dozing. And when it realized I was here,Continue reading “Turkey on the trail”

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”