The full Moon setting on February 3, 2017:
The Pine Bank, before Hurricane Irma, which struck on September 10, 2017
After Hurricane Irma, on November 8, 2017, the Pine Bank has a lower profile, as many of the tall Australian Pines have been blown down:
On November 5, 2017, in the pre-dawn I thought this heron had captured a large snake, but it was an amphiuma. I watched as it dispatched it and then swallowed it whole.
Two-toed amphiumas (Amphiuma means) can grow to lengths of 3 feet or more—one of the largest salamander species in the world. Two-toed amphiumas have tiny, nearly useless front and hind legs with two toes on each leg. Reference: Giant Salamanders of Florida
One never knows when there may be an opportunity to learn something new. I noticed that Palm Warblers were catching insects attracted to the sparse blossoms which towered above a patch of Alligator Flag.
This plant will flourish only when there is a constant supply of water. If its roots dry out for too long they will perish. In the Everglades, they signal the location of the water holes which are kept open through the dry season by alligators which created and maintained them over the years:
Their tiny but attractive flowers resemble those of the Bird of Paradise, a related plant (along with other members of the arrowroot family, which includes bananas and cannas).
Alligator Flag flowers invite bees and other pollinators to trigger an explosive "rat-trap" pollination mechanism which momentarily snaps down on the insect. In a split second the flower collects pollen brought in and deposits new pollen to be distributed. Having completed its task, the flower releases the visitor and prevents entry to new insects. For a more complete and scientific description, visit this link: The Alligator Flag is a Snappy Wildflower.
Although I am primarily looking for birds, I like to be surprised when mammals show up. I was trying to get a photo of a warbler when this Raccoon suddenly walked out on the path in front of me. I stood very still as he tried to get a better look at me. He walked almost up to my feet before I shood him:
Three young White-tailed deer, one a single-pronged spike-buck, stared at me from the end of the road:
Over the fence she goes!
On November 10 I found a Grasshopper Sparrow, only my third sighting here over the 10 years I have walked in this patch. This is not a rare species, but it is very small and secretive. It favors short grass such as we have along the gravel road. It persisted for three days in a spot on the right side just ahead:
I was busy taking a photo of the Grasshopper Sparrow and ignored the cries of two egrets just to my left. When I looked up, this big healthy-looking male Bobcat was sitting there staring at me, about 20 paces away. The noisy egrets circled and flew low over the cat.
He stood up as I took this photo, then walked calmly away. I wondered whether he had tried to catch one of the egrets along the lake shore and they distracted him so much that he failed to notice me. Click on photo for larger view and more images:
He licked his chops, perhaps thinking about how tasty that pesky egret might have been:
He paid me little heed, making me feel like an invisible spectator to one of nature's wonders!
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to FENCES AROUND THE WORLD by Gosia
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue
Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display