Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
A frequent plant of the coastal strands of the lower half of the Florida peninsula.
Found along the coasts of Louisiana & Texas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The native range includes South America, Africa, and in Asia, India and Sri Lanka.
Inkberry has a unique fan-shaped flower with 5-6 white to pinkish-white lobes all on one side, giving it yet another common name - half-flower. The fruit is a shiny, black, juicy drupe 1-2.5 cm (up to 1 in.) long. The thick, fleshy, simple, shiny-green leaves are alternate, clustered near the end of the branches, and 2.5 - 7 cm (1 to 2-3/4 in.) long.
Listed as a threatened species in Florida due to the loss of coastal stand habitat to development. It should not be confused with the similar S. taccada, which is becoming a troublesome exotic. The non-native species has white to yellowish white fruit and leaves generally longer than 7.5 cm (~3 in.).
This resident of Florida can often be seen - although not always easily - crouching on a log, low branch or rock and leaning over the water waiting for small fish to come by.
They have been known to drop insects, earthworms, twigs, feathers or other objects into the water as bait to attract fish.
The range includes the eastern United States, north into Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, plus through the southwest and up the Pacific coast states into British Columbia. The range extends south through Mexico, Central America and northwest South America.
Green herons are small and stocky with least bitterns being the only smaller member of the Ardeidae family in North America. Typically 41-46 cm (16-18 in.) long with a wingspan of 64-68 cm (just over 2 feet). Adult back and wings are dark slatey green, the head has a black cap and the neck is chestnut. They have a straight, relatively long bill and yellow legs that are bright orange in breeding males. Immatures are brownish with a pale neck streaked with dark brown and yellow-green legs.
The cypress trees in the shallows of Blue Cypress Lake are silhouetted by the yellow cast of early morning light.
Blue Cypress Lake is located in the remote western portion of St. Lucie County.
This lake and the surrounding wetlands form the headwaters of the St. Johns RIver.
Bald cypress trees grow near the shore and into the lake providing a wonderful place to canoe or kayak. These trees provide excellent nesting sites for osprey, which are present in great numbers.
Blue Cypress Lake is also a very popular fishing spot.
The most abundant frog in the state, Florida leopard frogs inhabit freshwater habitats throughout the peninsula.
Southern leopard frogs occupy the remainder of the southeastern states, west to Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, north into Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, much of Kentucky and up the eastern seaboard to Long Island and Connecticut.
The existence of these as two distinct subspecies is in dispute, and there are even inconsistencies in which subspecies name is applied to each - R. sphenocephala utricularia or R. sphenocephala sphenocephala. In addition, Florida/southern leopard frogs have been renamed Lithobates sphenocephalus, although the previous names are still widely used.
The white spot in the center of the tympanic membrane (the frog's eardrum) is distinctive for this species. They also have an unbroken dorsolateral ridge, as do the northern leopard (R. pipiens) and pickeral (R. palustris) frogs. Growing to a length of 5 to 9 cm (2 - 3-1/2 in.), the color varies from tan to various shades of brown or green. They get their common name from the numerous irregular spots that on the legs can have the appearance of bands. Males are smaller than females, with the males having enlarged forearms and thumbs and paired vocal sacs that look like balloons when inflated.
Frog populations have been declining worldwide at unprecedented rates, and nearly one-third of the world’s 6,418 amphibian species are threatened with extinction. In an effort to raise awareness of the plight of amphibians, the scientific community has declared April 28th, 2009 the 1st Annual 'Save The Frogs Day'. For more information on Save the Frogs day, visit savethefrogs.com
A frequent shrub or small tree of hammocks, flatwoods and scrub in most of Florida except for the southern peninsula.
Sparkleberry ranges throughout the southeast, west to Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, and north into Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Virginia.
The flaking and scaling outer bark and reddish-brown trunk help distinguish this from the other Vaccinium species. Growing up to 9 meters (30 ft.) tall and often crooked and leaning, blooming profusely in April and May with small white cup-shaped flowers on long pedicels. The fruit is a many seeded berry, initially green, maturing black with the five-pointed star shaped remains of the sepals at the apex. The leaves are alternate, oval or broadly elliptic, widest at or above the middle. Usually entire, but sometimes with tiny serrations, 1.5-7 cm (2/3 - 2-3/4 in.) long and 0.8-4 cm (1/3 - 1-5/8 in.) wide.
Vaccinium arboreum is also called farkleberry and tree-huckleberry, but it is not really a huckleberry. The Vacciniums, or blueberries, can be distinguished from the huckleberries by the later having berries containing 10 larger seeds and the blueberries bearing berries with many tiny seeds.
Sparkleberry makes a very attractive landscape plant, working especially well along the edges of wooded areas. The berries, while edible, are not very tasteful to humans but are an excellent food for birds and other wildlife.
Black-crowned night herons are found in nearly any wetland habitat in Florida, more common inland than along the coast.
This is the most widespread heron in the world, appearing on five continents.
It is absent from Australia and Antarctica and arid regions.
A medium-sized, stocky heron 58-66 cm (23-26 in.) long with a short neck and thick black bill. The top of the head (cap) and back are black, with gray wings and a white underside. They have red eyes, relatively short yellowish-green or pink legs and long narrow white plumes extending from the cap. The sexes are similar, with the female being slightly smaller. Immature Nycticorax nycticorax are brown with white spots and streaks overall, and a mostly yellow bill, helping differentiate it from young yellow-crowned night herons, which have an all black bill.
A Thank You goes out to Ruth at Cab Drollery for featuring this photo in a recent Thursday Birdblogging.