Flatworm in the garden

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”

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”

Sawmill Slough Preserve at University of North Florida (UNF)

I had been dissuaded from visiting Sawmill Slough Preserve. The University of North Florida web site warns that people should hike in pairs, and a sign at the trailhead reiterates this. However, I started on the trail at 9:15 on a Sunday morning, and there were already many cars in the lot. A short distanceContinue reading “Sawmill Slough Preserve at University of North Florida (UNF)”

Learn to Hike at Jacksonville Arboretum

Jacksonville Arboretum is a city park that is managed by a non-profit organization and maintained by volunteers. Its stated goals are to: Sustain biological diversity Maintain a natural area that can be used for research Educate the public about nature and natural resources Provide a peaceful place where people can self-reflect and enjoy nature [ResourceContinue reading “Learn to Hike at Jacksonville Arboretum”

Native Pine Trees in Florida

There are seven pine species native to Florida: Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda)Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris)Pond Pine (Pinus serotina)Sand pine (Pinus clausa)Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii)Spruce pine (Pinus glabra)Shortleaf or Yellow Pine (Pinus echinata) Below are photos of four of the seven, taken during early spring at Jacksonville Arboretum. All trees were mature and of similar girth.

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”