How dangerous is a Pygmy Rattlesnake?

Something wriggled next to my foot, as I stooped at a decaying stump and photographed a beetle. As it unfolded and slithered past my leg, I gazed in appreciation. Then, it’s pattern suddenly registered! I stepped back, realizing it was a Pygmy Rattlesnake, a venomous snake common throughout the southeastern United States. It’s a smallContinue reading “How dangerous is a Pygmy Rattlesnake?”

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”

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”

Beating the Summer Heat With Cooling Towels

Now that summer has arrived, the challenge has become staying cool. I recently tried the YQXCC Cooling Towels offered on Amazon. The towels are actually like long scarves, measuring 47” x 12″ (119 cm x 30 cm). The fabric is thin and soft, but seems durable. To activate the towel, one soaks it in waterContinue reading “Beating the Summer Heat With Cooling Towels”

Some Hikes Aren’t a Walk In the Park

Part Four: Apocalyptic Bees Part One: A Holiday Without Motors|Part Two: Wild OrangesPart Three: Taste it kids. It’s blackberry! I continue my garbage collection. I see another can. And now a bottle. I find a horseshoe crab, so am rewarded a bit. It might be dead, though. It’s not moving. These cans and bottles mayContinue reading “Some Hikes Aren’t a Walk In the Park”

Some Hikes Aren’t a Walk In the Park

Part Three: Taste it kids. It’s blackberry! Part One: A Holiday Without Motors|Part Two: Wild OrangesPart Four: Apocalyptic Bees There are two Spotted Sandpipers foraging along the water. They bob their tails as they walk. In the river, a yacht passes by. It sends tumultuous waves ashore, and the birds give up their search. AContinue reading “Some Hikes Aren’t a Walk In the Park”

Some Hikes Aren’t a Walk In the Park

Part Two: Wild Oranges Part One: A Holiday Without MotorsPart Three: Taste it kids. It’s blackberry!Part Four: Apocalyptic Bees I see a fiddler crab sitting on an oak tree, disguising itself as bark. And above me, I see wild oranges growing. Some have fallen to the ground. I wonder if they’re safe to eat. IContinue reading “Some Hikes Aren’t a Walk In the Park”