“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”*

Header Image: Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) on Brazilian Vervain (Verbena brasiliensis)

Sweet, tart and juicy slices of tangerine were refreshing as we rested on the shore of the lake a couple of hours after sunrise. We had already seen a lot. New bird babies, morning flowers in bloom, ducks flying overhead and now that the dew was drying from the grass, insects were beginning their day.

Earlier, we entered the Tenoroc Public Use Area and I politely asked Gini which way she would like to go. “Oh, it doesn’t much matter.” I seemed to recall a similar exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat.*

The good news is, at this particular location, it really DOESN’T matter which way we go. We always seem to find good things. Excellent habitat helps.

This morning we really enjoyed flowers blooming all over the place. A little warmer weather plus rainfall certainly encourages new growth! Almost every Osprey nest (we counted nine) had one or two chicks yelling for more food. Vireos and Northern Parulas were singing non-stop. Swallow-tailed Kites flew low over the open fields with that lilting flight as they picked off flying insects. Our regular cast of characters were very active. It might seem that we would become bored seeing the same things over and over. I guess we are easily entertained.

Oh, and a new discovery! More on that later.

For now, we shall finish breakfast and enjoy the sight of a small Osprey chick alone in a huge nest calling for someone, anyone to “FEED ME!!”.

One of the first sights and sounds of our morning was an Eastern Towhee calling loudly. It’s easy to forget this colorful bird is a sparrow.

It’s a good thing this area contains plenty of fish to feed all the new little Ospreys! The chick in the first image leans on Mom as they wait for Dad to return from the fishmonger. In the second image, a lone chick is in what may be the largest Osprey nest we’ve ever seen.

Judging by the position of this Water Moccasin in relation to where I was at the time, it could only have gotten there by crawling by my feet as I was looking through the bins at a woodpecker. Adrenaline delayed.

I haven’t been able to find a very good explanation of why this gorgeous flower is called Man-of-the-Earth (Ipomoea pandurata), but that certainly doesn’t detract from its beauty. It has also been called Wild Sweet Potato.

Nothing dresses up a drab brown field of weeds like a sprinkling of colorful Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella).

Okay, throw in some bright yellow splashes of Pricklypear (Opuntia spp.) and the drabness almost completely disappears. The second image has a visitor, a Bee-like Flower Scarab (Trichiotinus spp.).

What? Not enough color? A few bushes of Lantana (Lantana strigocamara) added to the scene and drabness has been forgotten.

Heading from one lake to another, a Bald Eagle flying low is very impressive.

Good fences make good perches. (Sorry, Mr. Frost.) A Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta) likes the view from his bit of fence and it’s a great launching pad when brunch flies by.

A brand new bug! At first, due to its size, I thought it was a Hummingbird Moth. Then I got a good look at it. All gold?? A bee?? It was larger than a nearby Bumble Bee. I wasn’t aware of anything like this. After a bit of research, it appears this was a Carpenter Bee of the Xylocopa species. This particular bee has only been seen a few times east of the Rocky Mountains or outside Mexico. Not sure if it has been reported in our county before. He was very accommodating! The folks at BugGuide.net note this as: “Xylocopa (Large Carpenter Bee) (unidentified species likely adventive in Florida)”.

Very wasplike, the little Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera) would like you to think that is what it might be and therefore, please, do not eat it.

Wild Bushbean (Macroptilium lathyroides) is considered an invasive plant and Florida does not recommend planting it. It was first confirmed in the state in 1944. It has been used extensively in its native country of Mexico and in Central and South America as a cover crop and as forage for livestock. The flower is attractive.

Another invasive, Brazilian Vervain (Verbena brasiliensis), has been around a long time in the U.S. and is very attractive to pollinators.

One more “tourist” who found a home in North America, the Showy Rattlebox (Crotalaria spectabilis) was imported from southern Asia to help build healthy soils which had become depleted of certain minerals. Unfortunately, the seeds are poisonous to livestock and poultry. Members of this species are called “rattlebox” due to the sound of dry seeds within their casing.

Common butterfly in our area. Uncommonly beautiful at all times. Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae).

So we arrived at the entrance gate to this little patch and didn’t much care which way we went. It just didn’t much matter either, since we knew we would find adventure in any direction!

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

25 Comments on ““Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”*

  1. Great catch on the Carpenter Bee! I’ve not seen one before. And the osprey nest is one impressive piece of architecture. Thanks for sharing your walk!


  2. Judging by your fine images of a wide variety of Area denizens it really doesn’t matter which way you go. So much to see there.
    The wild sweet potato resembles a hibiscus enough that I was surprised to learn that they are not closely related.


  3. Just getting back into the swing of things as I come out of, thankfully, a rather mild attack of, Covid, Wally. I just have a chesty cough. Lindsay has beaten me to it, feels fine, and is now testing negative. Soon life will, I hope, return to normal.

    As always, an entertaining and informative post, but I have to say that I was most impressed by that bee! Such a gorgeous-looking creature and your images of it are superb!

    Must go and catch up with other maters now. Best wishes to you and Gini – stay safe – – – Richard


    • Gini and I are very glad to hear both you and Lindsay are recovering what appears to be quickly! Rest and recuperate thoroughly!

      The bee was quite a surprise to find and even more surprising that it allowed me to take so many images. Why can’t all of Nature’s subjects be so accommodating?

      We’re both well and spending more time afield than in the armchair. Which is the way life should be!


  4. The photo of the lone chick in that huge nest is wonderful — what a find! The Ipomoea pandurata stopped me for a minute. I knew I had a photo, but I couldn’t quite remember where it had come from. The answer: east Texas. It doesn’t appear in our coastal counties, nor much west of a line extending northward from Harris County/Houston. In the process of sorting it out, I did read that it got its common name from the resemblance of its sometimes very large tubers to the human form.

    I looked and looked at a photo I have of a snake crossing the road at Brazoria. It didn’t look quite like the water snakes I’ve seen; it was shorter, with that tapering tail and a really bulky midsection. I read that there’s a difference between the water moccasin’s elliptical pupils and the round ones on water snakes. It looks like mine has a round eye, so it’s hard to say. Like you, I utilized my telephoto lens.

    That’s a gorgeous photo of the Gulf Fritillary on the Vervain. Don’t tell anyone (shhhhh!) but I think the Gulf Fritillary is prettier than the Monarch.


    • We have Osprey chicks aplenty! They are all about to fledge. Lots of wing-flapping and jumping up and down. Good times!

      I. Pandurata is a beauty. Some of the foraging folks talk about baking it and the resulting taste is similar to roast beef, although while cooking it smells like sweet potato, which makes since as they’re related.

      Many snakes around the water can look quite similar. Shoot ’em from a distance, study them in the safety of the office.

      I won’t tell anyone that I am in agreement with you about the Fritillary.


  5. A golden bee? It would seem like your lucky day! I am still amazed that we can go out in nature and see something we’ve never seen before…time and again! And I love that little Osprey up in that big nest! How neat to see so many too. The wildflowers will bloom like crazy after the rain we’ve had today. Enjoy your weekend! (I want to go pick blackberries again…one day soon!)


    • Hi, Diane!

      Yep, each time we head out we ask ourselves what will we find today? And just as you said, we are amazed how often we find something new. Like a golden bee!

      Just returned from a great morning watching young Ospreys flapping new wings and levitating above their nests. Great stuff!

      Enjoy your weekend between the raindrops.


  6. I always enjoy seeing snakes, even venomous species, but preferably with a little more distance between us. I have seen a great many Osprey nests and I have never seen one of the size you depict. As you soon say, sooner or later collapse seems inevitable. We had some serious wind here recently and several local Osprey nests were destroyed.


    • I agree on the theory of more distance between photographer and snake! After all, I figure that’s why telephoto lenses were invented. Now, if I can just figure out how to convince the snakes.

      Each year we also see many damaged/destroyed Osprey/Owl/Eagle nests during our stormy season. Part of nature but still sad to witness.

      Have a good weekend.


  7. It doesn’t seem to matter which way you go Wally – you always find many interesting things to share. I enjoyed reading about your most recent adventure and and looking at your wonderful photos.

    That Carpenter Bee is impressive. Interesting that it’s apparently a newcomer. Florida has a lot of newcomers.


    • Just like you, Ed, the world is a beautiful place for those who seek beauty.

      I was going to call that bee a “snowbee” like our beloved FL “snowbirds”, but since it’s probably a California critter, that didn’t seem to fit!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m sorry to hear the pair of you have been a little off colour of late. It’s a common enough illness that we of more senior years must suffer occasionally but easily overcome in the manner you show – a trip to the great outdoors and to enjoy the best colours and songs that materialise. I think I have heard of that snake Water Moccasin as one best to avoid?

    As for the Osprey nest, wow. Those birds should be in for some nomination that would surely win them “Best, Biggest and Brashest of 2022” at Hollywood.

    Take care of each other. Have a great weekend.


    • We try to take all this getting old business in stride. Getting out into the forests, fields and swamps is definitely positive therapy!

      As far as a Moccasin being “one best to avoid” – someone needs to tell the snake!

      We’re concerned about that nest. It’s been there for several years and its incredible weight will surely cause the supporting tree limbs to collapse at some point.

      We plan on a great weekend. It shall involve birds, blooms, bugs and seafood. Not in that order and not all shall be consumed.



  9. Really taken by your superb images of the dragonflies (and butterfly) but nice to see the colourful varieties of flowers too.
    I take it the snake is venomous?
    Another nice morning out, thanks for sharing.


    • Thanks, Brian.
      Yes, the Water Moccasin, also known as Cottonmouth due to its white inner mouth, is venomous. All the guide books say just give them plenty of space and no worries. Over six decades of experience has found them to be unpredictable, at times even belligerent. Fortunately, this one apparently had an appointment.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. That is an absolutely HUMUNGEOUS nest. I wouldn’t be too sure that sole osprey was its only inhabitant.
    Thank you, so much, for sharing yet another wonderful day.


    • Good Morning, EC!

      Gini and I hope your winter is off to a cool start.

      We’ve watched that nest for several weeks and just the one chick plus the parents have been seen The nest has been there at least five years and is spruced up each year likely by the same pair of Ospreys, as they tend to re-use nests each year.


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