It’s that time of year when we sweep out the old in preparation for the new.
In a dusty corner of the archive closet, covered in cobwebs deposited by Halloween goblins, I found a few images which need to be shared. Hope you don’t mind.
We gave ourselves a treat on All Hallows’ Eve this year and spent the morning poking around another of the gems which makes up the Tenoroc Fish Management Area, the Long Lake tract. The lake is about one mile long and less than 600 feet across at the widest point. It is bound on the north by residential development, on the south by industrial warehouses and on the east and west by busy roadways. Within the tract, there is a nice oasis of pine woods, a small pond in addition to Long Lake, hardwood trees along the lake shore and a small wetland with a lagoon on the tract’s northeast corner.
Typical Florida weather for this time of year found us enjoying high humidity with heavy dew, little wind, mostly sunny skies and by 11:00 a.m. temperatures around 80 F (27 C). Halloween spirits prevailed and we discovered a plethora of spider webs at each stop and even a few of the construction engineers hanging about. Common Gallinules fussed as we interrupted their breakfast. Boat-tailed Grackles threw back their heads and let loose with raucous calls from high atop utility line support towers. Evidence of the ongoing fall migration manifested in myriad warblers in the weeds and trees. We saw our first of this season’s Yellow-rumped Warblers. A Red-shouldered Hawk was uncharacteristically silent as he peered down from his perch.
A morning such as this far surpasses any sugary treat we may have received from our neighbors. And we didn’t even have to wear a costume.
Belatedly – Trick or Treat!
Our sub-tropical environment allows us to enjoy many insects later in the year than some other locales. An immature male Roseate Skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea) begins life looking like the female and in a couple of weeks will assume the purplish hues of an adult male.
Spider webs sparkle with drops of dew in the early morning light. These webs may have been made by one of the Spotted Orbweavers (Neoscona species). In the second image, you can see one of the builders in the upper left.
Small and stealthy, a male Common Yellowthroat is curious what I’m doing tramping around in his weed patch.
I know we have plenty of bugs at this time of year, but I was still surprised to find a pair of Rambur’s Forktail (Ischnura ramburii) in the forest understory. These damselflies have four different color variations depending on sex and age.
Palm Warblers are among the first songbirds to show up as fall migration begins. They almost constantly pump their tales up and down which helps identify them even at a distance.
Our first Yellow-rumped Warblers of this fall were very busy at our initial stop. They were scooping up all the insects they could find in the trees and the willows along the shore of a small pond.
Small size, big thinker. The small Spinybacked Orbweaver (Gasteracantha cancriformis) often spins fairly large webs during the night. This one easily spanned over two feet in diameter.
Pine Warblers can vary widely in appearance. The first photograph shows a fairly pale individual while the second has more yellow.
There are three species of the Leucauge genus of spiders found within North America. This genus is part of the Longjawed Orbweaver Family (Tetragnathidae). The first image is L. argyrobapta and the second is L. argyra. The third species, L. venusta, has been determined to not inhabit Florida. These three species have been referred to as Orchard Orbweavers or Orchard Spiders. Within N. America, L. argyra has been found only in central and south Florida. (There will be a test!)
Scooting down a tree trunk like a nuthatch, a Black-and-White Warbler proves one does not need a lot of different colors to be beautiful.
Ever have that feeling that you are being watched? As I glanced up, a Red-shouldered hawk was intently monitoring my movements.
Our Halloween was filled with so many wonderful treats this year! Excuse me, but I must return to the archive closet. I just KNOW there are more treats to be found!
Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!