April « 2010 « verdure
myakka river state park
Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Maybe it’s just us, since we seem to have this complaint about a lot of places, but really, where’s the parking? Especially when driving the GTO, hanging off the side of the road isn’t appealing. And while you’re at it, make a bike/pedestrian lane. There should be space for people to stop, take pictures, point out creatures that they’ve misidentified, without blocking the road. We did appreciate the excellent signage for finding the entrance to the park, and the map in the brochure from the ranger station was much more readable than those offered at some other parks.

The canopy walk is an 85′ suspension bridge between two towers in the middle of the forest. The later tower continues above the bridge to a hight of 74′. I’m guessing that doesn’t count the extra foot or two for the lightning rod. This structure is by far the tallest object anywhere for miles and there are no hills in this part of Florida. Obviously the view is great, but half of the experience is the swaying, of the bridge from people walking, and of the tower from the wind.

In the heat of midday there weren’t many birds near the birdwalk. There were fishing spiders, baby fish, a snake that I didn’t get to see, the croaking of what was probably a few bull frogs, and lots of dragonflies. My best guess of this species is Carolina Saddlebags. This is an difficult perspective to see its wings properly, but there are red-brown bands on its rear wings near its body.

This quill leaf bromeliad (listed as endangered because of its destruction by the invasive Mexican weevil) was at the turning around point of our walk because the mosquitoes finally found us. There is a lot of swampy area in this park, and I’m surprised we made it as long as we did mosquito free. We saw a few blooming swamp irises (Anglepod Blue Flag?), but my hand-holding in the shade didn’t turn out so well.

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way back
Saturday, April 10th, 2010

I was thinking I had posted this picture, but Mike informed me that he was still waiting for it. This is a fishing spider, possibly Dolomedes triton, at Alligator Lake in Lake City in September 2009. We saw another fishing spider today, but I didn’t get nearly as good a picture of it this time. They can walk along the water, like water striders, and sense motion transmitted along the surface of of water to find prey instead of along the strands of webs.

For good measure, here are the other pictures that I never posted from that trip. This is a phaon crescent.

None of the froggies in our Audubon guide look like this little guy. [Update: We now suspect that this is a baby bullfrog]

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Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

On Saturday, Mike counted four ducklings. On Sunday the neighbors and Mike saw a water moccasin. We’ve repotted the tomatoes twice now, and several of the herbs have perked up since fertilizing a few weeks ago.

We put up a bird feeder on a metal pole over the weekend. It has a shroud on a spring that will lower and cover the openings to the seed if a heavy enough animal rests on the feeder. The idea is to keep the squirrels, which are still occasionally digging around our plants, away from the bird seed. So far so good. We saw what was probably a male red winged blackbird at the feeder, and Mike saw a Cardinal underneath it.

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