Using their trusty new map, we tried a new trail at Alligator Lake Park in early June. As warned, there is an airboat crossing on the far side of the trail, or at least a deep ditch with slippery sides and a very small stream at the bottom.
The mosquitoes were bad. But far more numerous than the mosquitoes were the millipedes. Nearly everywhere there wasn’t a lot of vegitation, there were millipedes, here, there, and crawling over each other.
A frog, with more millipedes in the background
There were two gar fish, with different patterns, in the larger stream which has a nice bridge crossing it.
This is probably a pump from when they kept this area drained for farm land
Halloween pennant. Right after this we saw a gaggle of tender turklings running off.
Pale meadow beauty
Almost immediate upon stepping onto the Brooker Creek Friends Trail (the one that is not permanently submerged) in early May, a family of river otters ducked under the tree roots along the stream bank. We waited for a few moments, but they were more patient than us, so no pictures.
At the viewing platform we watched several deer in the trees, and then heard a gobble nearby. A tom turkey wandered towards us, loitered around a while, and then strutted elsewhere. I had no idea how beautiful the males’ feathers were. Later, near the end of the loop, we saw a few females run into the underbrush.
This Florida box turtle was hanging out on the path and only pulled in a little as we walked by.
Mini epiphyte forest
katydid on pipewort
This cicada blundered into Mike and then saw no need to go elsewhere. They can make a huge ruckus in the trees in summer.
In the end of April we went back to Withlacoochee River Park. The water level was fairly low, leaving the cypress knees exposed.
This froggie didn’t seem interested in moving off the path. Mike took this picture while I tried to escape from the mosquitoes.
We saw several skinks, of at least two different species. Most of them, like this one, wasted no time in running away from us, slipping underneath the fallen oak leaves.
The Eastern fence lizards we’ve noticed are much less concerned with our presence, and continue on hunting insects, with frequent success, while we watch. This is the first time we saw the brilliant blue of its underside.
A red-banded hairstreak
Two skippers, who knows what kind, mating
From afar I thought this was a bee, but Mike, with the camera, could tell it wasn’t one. [Update: we think this is a bee killer robber fly in the genus Laphria.]