5.21.2008

A short reprieve from herpetofauna...

It may at times appear that I seem to be exclusively fixated on amphibians and reptiles. While this may not be completely false, it is not altogether true. I do pay attention to, and photograph, many other types of organisms. Many of these are nice to look at, and are worth sharing with you.


Great-horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) in defensive posture just out of the nest.


Early instar katydid (family Tettigoniidae) on spiderwort (Tradescantia sp).


Southeastern Spinyleg (Dromogomphus armatus)


Just a hole in a tree?


Actually a great location for a Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) nest.


White top Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia leucophylla) flower with crab spider (family Thomisidae) waiting to ambush any unsuspecting pollinators.



This Large-mouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) and Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) represent the unexpected things I happen upon while out herping at night.


This Barred Owl (Strix varia) seemed almost curious about us. It stayed near and watched us for about 20 minutes.

5.19.2008

Spring and early Summer in Florida

I've been really getting behind on posting stuff I've been seeing around the area. Here's my attempt to catch up a bit.

I'll begin with the most exciting to me: juvenile Flatwoods Salamanders (Ambystoma bishopi), one of the very rarest North American salamanders. This was the first year in over six that the flatwoods ponds have held water long enough for successful breeding.






Here are a few of the neat snakes I've been seeing, beginning with a young Eastern Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum flagellum).

An intolerant adult coachwhip showing the "striking" dark pigment on its anterior.

Adult Southern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus)

(Gray) Eastern Ratsnake (Elaphe alleghaniensis)

Juvenile Eastern Corn Snake (Elaphe guttata)


Large adult corn snake (I was holding this while standing up, so it was over 4', maybe close to 5')


As a segue back to amphibians, here's a Banded Watersnake (Nerodia fasciata fasciata) consuming a Southern Toad (Bufo terrestris).

Oak Toads (Bufo quercicus) in amplexus, our smallest true toad (adult size range 3/4 to 1 5/8 in. long)

Eastern Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis) with snowflake markings on the dark areas

Pine Woods Treefrog (Hyla femoralis)

male Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)

male Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa)

While I'm living here, I feel a need to keep paying attention to our local endemic Florida Bog Frog (Rana okaloosae). There are almost always neat pitcher plants and sundews where the frogs live.

Southern Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber vioscai)

Southern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera)

This Eastern Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus ventralis) looked like a snake on the road when I first saw it. This was my first glass lizard in the wild.


Last but not least (well, maybe least in size), this cute Gulf Coast Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina major) hatchling was a pleasant surprise on a long walk back to my work truck one day.

March Texas trip

Over Easter weekend, Sarah and I were able to join our friends Brendan and Billi for a short trip to the lower Rio Grande valley of Texas. This was our second time in the area, and it was great to be back.

The following three photos are of 1) a female Barn Owl (Tyto alba) incubating eggs on a ledge in an old well, 2) the same owl perched on the far wall from it's nest, with a 5' Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) resting on a slanted board below, and 3) the owl's eggs where it had been sitting earlier.





This is one of the beautiful and large Blue Spiny Lizards (Sceloporus serrifer) that we saw.




This is the first of three Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes that we were to see on our trip.


5.13.2008

Six years and counting

Kelly and I celebrated our 6-year anniversary on May 4. It's hard to believe it's been that long, but you know what they say about how time flies...

To celebrate, we did something we've been waiting years to do -- We went to a Radiohead concert! We both love Radiohead, but since they're from the U.K., they don't often tour in the U.S. We have been afraid the band would break up before we'd get the chance to see them in concert. But with the release of their new album, In Rainbows, they scheduled a U.S. tour -- and the first stop was West Palm Beach, FL. We drove all the way across the state to celebrate six amazing years of marriage and hear one of our favorite bands perform an incredible live show. (See our Radiohead Concert post if you're interested in photos and video from the show.)

We also did some cool birding, which took us through Miami (where we stopped at a Cuban cafe in Little Havana) and on to Key Largo. Of course, we had to eat key lime pie while we were there!



We ate at the Paris Bakery & Cafe in downtown West Palm Beach the day of the concert (SO delicious). While we were there, a pigeon landed on the building across the street, right next to a statue of a Great Horned Owl -- which is supposed to scare birds AWAY. Kelly thought it was funny, so snapped a photo.



We had a small pond outside our hotel window, where we saw three Common Moorhen chicks following after their mama. The picture is blurry since it's so far away, but if you click on it to blow it up, the little baby chicks are super-cute.



We had a bit of spare time before the concert, so we went to the beach. While the beach itself didn't seem very novel since we live right by it already, it was nice to see the Atlantic again, since we're by the Gulf.

5.10.2008

Radiohead Concert!

Okay, we realize not everyone is as into Radiohead as we are, but for those of you who are, this one's for you.

Our tickets were for lawn/general admission seating, so we got there early and scored a spot at front-row, center. They played most of the songs from their new album, as well as some great old ones. Here's the set list:

All I Need
Bobysnatchers
There There
Reckoner
The Gloaming
Morning Bell
Nude
How to Disappear Completely
15 Step
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
Idioteque
Bullet Proof..I Wish I Was
Where I End and You Begin
Airbag
Everything In Its Right Place
The National Anthem
Videotape

Encore 1
Optimistic
Just
Faust Arp
Exit Music (For a Film)
Bangers & Mash

Encore 2
House of Cards
Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Here are a few photos from the show:







Though video recorders weren't allowed into the venue, we were able to get a couple quick videos with our digital camera. They aren't great, but it's at least a taste of what we got to see:

video

Sorry, this one is annoying to watch since our camera has trouble focusing on video mode, but enjoy the music anyway. :)

video

This one's pretty dark, so it's hard to see much, but Thom hits a sweet, long note:

video


A little shaky at first (it's just so hard to stand still during this song!), but here's a brief clip of "15 Steps":

video

Crazy light show:

video

A piece of "Videotape":

video

If you search for "Radiohead West Palm Beach" on YouTube, you can find longer clips, but they aren't much better quality, since everyone was taking them with their cameras like we were. (Okay, this one is better...but it still doesn't do it justice.)

All I can say is, it was a sweet night; the concert was amazing. If you're a Radiohead fan, definitely try to find a way to get to one of their shows. You can find their tour dates here.