Seepage bog leps and flowers

I went scoping for skippers and flowers in a nice seepage bog with my friend Mary Ann.

Dusky Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes alternata)

Arogos Skipper (Atrytone arogos)

Little Metalmarks (Calephelis virginiensis)

Pine Lily (Lilium catesbaei)

And lastly, a species that my friend Ben recently found in Indiana

Yellow Fringed Orchid (Platanthera ciliaris)


Search for sirens, baby sea turtles, and other highlights

I recently went with my friends John and Brandon on a long and intense day-long search for 5-6 siren species in the Florida panhandle; most of which I hadn't seen. The weather was hot, and our efforts involved hauling what felt like tons of water and swampy muck and vegetation up onto the bank, followed by meticulous searching through all of it to look for anything long, slimy, and wriggly. To make a long story short, we traveled hundreds of miles to about half a dozen sites, drank gallons of fluids to replace all that we sweat, and physically wore ourselves out with no sirens to show for all our efforts...

until we were at our last site and about ready to give up. John said "one more scoop," and in the thick fluffy mud that was oozing out of his dipnet was a tiny movement that caught John's attention first. He yelled out and tried to grab it, only to have the mud shift and obscure the object of our intense interest. Brandon and I joined the frenzied search and after a couple more brief glimpses, I cupped a double handful of mud in my hands and dumped it into a net and sifted through it. To all of our delight there was our target in all it's tiny glory.

undescribed "Least" Siren (Siren cf intermedia (dwarf))

Sarah and I like to see baby sea turtles. We've gone to see them a few times since living here, and had a chance this weekend to see a species we hadn't seen yet.

Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

My friend Dave caught this snake

Florida Pine Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus)

and this frog, which I had only seen in tadpole stage!

Carolina Gopher Frog (Lithobates capito)

While out scoping a seepage bog for skippers and flowers with my friend Mary Ann, I found something I had never found before in the middle of the day.

Pine Barrens Treefrog (Hyla andersonii)

I just liked this photo.

Ground Skink (Scincella lateralis)


Catching up with some half year highlights

Here are some memorable (for me) little gems from my past few months.

My friend Kirk spotted one of these Okefenokee Zale Moth larvae (Zale perculta) while we were out looking for other things. It turned out to represent a ~100 mile extension to their previously known range. They feed exclusively on Climbing Fetterbush (Pieris phyllyreifolia), which is a pretty neat plant that you can learn more about HERE.

This Portuguese Man-O-War (Physalia physalis) is doomed to be churned in the surf and washed up on the beach. They float at the surface, have no ability to propel themselves, and are completely at the mercy of where the wind and surface currents direct them.

I was fortunate to be involved in the capture of this Black-banded Sunfish (Enneacanthus chaetodon) while seining for Greater Sirens (Siren lacertina). This beautiful little species hadn't been documented in Florida for many years, and my friend John recognized it for the special find it was.

While following a group of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers (Picoides borealis), I flushed up this young Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) which had just caught a Southern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus). I took this low quality photo through a scope mounted on a gun stock, so the quality isn't very good, but I still like it.

This Oldfield Mouse (Peromyscus polionotus) was caught in a funnel trap set out to sample herps. I rarely see more than a glimpse of small mammals unless they're being trapped for, so this was a treat to see.

I happened upon this domesticated Muscovy Duck hen tending her recently hatched young back in a swampy area while looking for sirens. I'm including this photo for my mother, who has a special place in her heart for domesticated waterfowl. Also, the cute factor is admittedly pretty high.