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”

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”

An inspiring video for lovers of fungi and macrophotography

When I was in 7th grade, my science teacher gave the class several project options, one of which was to collect specimens of fungi. I liked being outside, and was keen to do this particular assignment. Mom helped by suggesting a trip to Philippe Park in Safety Harbor (FL). Philippe Park is now manicured, butContinue reading “An inspiring video for lovers of fungi and macrophotography”

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”

The Hairy Fungus That Wasn’t

I found this interesting, hairy fungus during a trek at Tillie K. Fowler Regional Park. Except it isn’t a fungus. It’s Myxogastria stemonitis, or Hairy Brown Slime Mold, or Chocolate Tube Slime Mold, or Pipe Cleaner Slime.  Hmm. But molds are fungi! True, but slime molds were only differentiated from fungi in the late 1800s.Continue reading “The Hairy Fungus That Wasn’t”

Northern Tooth Fungus Causes Tree-snap

Climacodon septentrionalis, or the Northern Tooth Fungus, is considered inedible because of its bitter taste and rubbery texture. It is a parasite of living hardwood trees, showing a preference for maple, beech, and ash. There is no cure for an infected tree. In fact, by the time you see the elegant fungal leaves, significant damageContinue reading “Northern Tooth Fungus Causes Tree-snap”

Trees Infected by Spirits (or Cancer)

I was captivated by these trees, which have a mystical, storybook quality. This spirit tree appears to have flowing hair. It spreads its arms and blesses the world. However, this many-eyed tree is a quiet observer. What do you see? I see an old man’s face growing from this tree, although the tree itself isContinue reading “Trees Infected by Spirits (or Cancer)”

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”