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BLACK SKIMMER

In the summer of 2007, a pair of black skimmers decided to fledge a chick on "The World's Most Famous Beach".

A construction worker who discovered the skimmer family on a vacant lot adjacent to the beach named them Homer, Marge and Bart. I named this image Homer and Bart.
Black skimmers are the only North American bird with a lower mandible longer than the upper.
"Homer and Bart won an honorable mention in the Florida's Avian Wonders category of Orange Audubon Society's 2008 Kit & Sidney Chertok Nature Photography Contest.
Purchase Homer and Bart by Paul Rebmann



ELEGANT DUTCHMAN'S-PIPE

Native to tropical America, this perennial vine has escaped cultivation and can be found in disturbed hammocks and landscapes throughout much of central Florida, from Alachua County to Highlands, including the coastal counties of Pasco and Volusia, plus Broward and Miami-Dade in south Florida.

Elegant dutchman's-pipe also occurs in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Calico flowers (another common name) are large and showy with the typical dutchman's-pipe shape. The leaves are cordate with pseudostipules present.
Aristolochia littoralis is a host plant for the pipevine and gold-rim(tailless) swallowtails.



EASTERN LUBBER GRASSHOPPER

These large and colorful grasshoppers can be found throughout nearly all of Florida and Georgia.

The range extends through the southeastern coastal plain from eastern Texas into central North Carolina. Favored habitats include open pine woods, weedy fields and roadsides as well as coastal areas and salt marshes.
The eggs typically hatch in late February in south Florida and mid-March in other parts of the state. After hatching, masses of young lubbers will climb to the highest point on nearby foliage. Immatures are black with yellow stripes and red legs. Adults are mostly yellow with black and red markings. These grasshoppers have small wings that are only marginally useful for mobility. Adults are most numerous in July and August when the females lay eggs in the soil to hatch the next year. Romalea microptera are toxic and can emit a foul-smelling secretion as a defensive mechanism.



TURK'S CAP LILY

In Florida a rare plant of hammocks in the panhandle counties of Jefferson, Leon and Liberty.

While the primary range is the Appalachian mountains, Lilium superbum is also found in scattered locations west to the Mississippi River, plus Arkansas and Missouri. It requires shaded ground and is usually in moist areas such as wet meadows or damp places on wooded slopes.
This plant has a stiff, straight stem that can reach a height of 3 meters. The elliptic to lanceolate leaves are whorled and widest at the middle. The flowers appear in summer and are drooping with six recurved orange and yellow tepals with darker spots. Each tepal has a green wedge at the base, forming a star pattern. This green in the flower helps to distinguish Turk's cap lily from Carolina lily (L. michauxii), which also has leaves that are widest above the middle.



BLACK AND YELLOW GARDEN SPIDER

A common spider ranging from Canada through most of the United States into Mexico and Central America as far south as Costa Rica.

Females are from 19-28 mm (3/4 to 1-1/8 in), while males are typically only 5-9 mm (1/4 to 3/8 in.) long. Argiope aurantia legs are banded, the forward part of the body, the cephalothorax, is covered with short silvery hairs and the abdomen has black and yellow or orange markings. The immature spiders are mostly black and white.
The zig-zag web pattern is called a stabilimentum and is a distinctive trait of the Argiope genus. Immature spiders often create disk shaped stabilimentum. While the name might indicate that it stabilizes the web, this is not currently considered the purpose. A number of possible functions include: camouflage for the spider, attracting prey, attracting a mate, molting platform, sun protection, and silk production practice.



WOODLAND PINKROOT

This erect perennial grows to less than a meter tall in calcareous upland woodland forests and bluffs of the central panhandle plus a few western panhandle counties.

The range extends throughout the southeastern United States as far west as Texas and Oklahoma, north through the area along the Ohio River and northeast into Maryland.
The distinctive flowers appear in spring with a tubular corolla that is yellow on the inside and red outside, opening at the top into a five-lobed star. There are usually four to seven pairs of leaves on the four-angled stem. The leaves are opposite, entire, sessile and glabrous.
A tea made from this plant, also called Indian pink, was used by Native Americans and early settlers to treat intestinal parasites. An alkaloid contained in the plant can cause dizziness, convulsions, increased heart rate and death.