Alligator Lake Park is the place to see birds, and Little Manatee River State Park is the place to see insects. On our first visit, the mosquitoes drove us back at the half way point cross-over trail. This time, in early February, the mosquitoes and dragon/damsel flies hadn’t emerged yet. It started raining at about the same half way point, but it was warm and we kept going, after I put the camera away. Before then, this red admiral stopped in front of us.
These aren’t in my Audubon guide, but Mike found this is a reticulated netwinged beetle. When this one landed, a jumping spider came to investigate, and then decided it had not found lunch.
I have no idea how to identify individual snakes, but this is a yellow rat snake, roughly near the same section of trail where we saw the same species last year.
Ripe prickly pear fruit. They taste good, but are obviously wild, not super sweet and with large seeds. The skin has small prickles that must be rubbed off even if the large spikes have already been broken off.
Cladonia lichen, I think. Perhaps the British Soldiers variety.
British Soldiers, like all lichens, grows very slowly. It grows one to two millimeters each year.
British Soldiers can start making spores when they are about four years old. Pieces of lichens that get broken off can also start making a new lichen, if they are in the right environment.
Stinkhorn mushroom. From wiki, “The spore mass typically smells of carrion or dung, and attracts flies and other insects to help disperse the spores.”