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SANDERLING

Of the small shorebirds - collectively called 'peeps' - these are most often the ones running in and out just in front of the waves, probing the exposed sand for food.

Sanderlings winter on the beaches of Florida, with peak populations during the spring and fall migrations. Their non-breeding range extends along most of the coasts of the Americas from southern British Columbia and Massachusetts to the tip of South America. The breeding area is in high arctic regions of Canada and Greenland.
With black legs and a short black bill, non-breeding adults are the palest of the sandpipers with a pure white underside and very pale gray on top. The leading edge of the wing is black with a broad white wingstripe and a thin black trailing edge. Breeding adults are darker on the back and neck, with some rufus coloring, especially on the males. Juveniles, like the one running on the beach above, are spangled with black on their backs.
Purchase Sanderling On The Run by Paul Rebmann



WILD ALLAMANDA

This vine of south Florida pinelands, mangroves and coastal hammocks is also found in the West Indies.

The 5 cm (2 in.) wide trumpet shaped flowers usually bloom one at a time from April through September and can be axillary or terminal. Pentalinon luteum flowers have narrowly lanceolate calyx lobes and appendages on the tips of the anters that help differentiate this species from the similar Angadenia berteri. The glossy, revolute leaves are opposite, 2.5 - 7.6 cm (1 - 3 in.) long and 1.2 - 2.5 cm (1/2 - 1 in) wide. The vine grows up to about 3 meters (10 ft.) in length.
Like many members of the dogbane family, the leaves and flowers of this plant are poisonous and the sap can be an irritant to the eyes and skin.



SUNSET CLOUD BANK

Impressive clouds over the ocean at sunset.

This cloud bank appeared just before sunset on Friday, July 24, 2009 several hours after a severe storm passed along the Volusia County coast. That storm included an impressive waterspout that I missed seeing or photographing. Included in this post-storm sky were some mammatus clouds, which were featured here last fall.



EASTERN CICADA KILLER

Eastern cicada killers are large wasps that resemble hornets, sometimes locally common in Florida.

The range includes the United States east of the Rockies, plus Ontario to the north and south into Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.
They are 25 - 50 mm (1 - 2 in.) long with distinctive black and yellow abdominal markings.
These members of the digger-wasp family spend most of their life cycle underground in burrows. The adults begin digging soon after the cicadas start singing. They only live above ground for two to six weeks, after which that year's adults die off. The females are typically larger than the males. They dig the burrows and bring dead cicadas to seal in a nest chamber with each egg. This provides food for the larvae after the egg hatches.
The Caribbean cicada killer - S. hogardii can also be found in Florida and the Caribbean islands. They have red bodies with black-tipped abdomens. There are also two species found west of the 94th meridian (about the middle of the continental US) - S. grandis, western cicada killer and S. convallis, Pacific cicada killer. S. spectabilis is the only member of the genus known in South America.



SPATTERDOCK

A common aquatic plant of ponds, marshes and sluggish streams in nearly all of Florida.

The range extends throughout the eastern United States, west to Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Minnesota, plus Ontario in Canada.
The cordate-ovate leaves are 15-30 cm (6-12 in.) long either held above the water or laying on the surface. The lobes are widely divergent with a deep cleft or sinus. The yellow globular flowers are held above the water on stout pedicels that, like the leaf petioles, are glabrous and terete. There are three outer sepals that are initially green, three yellow inner sepals, many small somewhat hidden yellow petals, several rings of stamens and a compound pistil with a flattened apex made up of 8-24 spreading stigmatic rays. Blooming occurs for months from late spring to early fall, but individual flowers are short lived. The ovoid fruit is slightly constricted towards the apex.
There are two other subspecies of Nuphar advena, both occurring in the panhandle. N. advena orbiculata has rounder leaves, and is also found in Georgia and Alabama. N. advena ulvacea has leaves that are more than twice as long as wide and with a sinus less than a quarter of the length of the blade. Endemic to Florida, it is only found in Jackson, Santa Rosa and Escambia Counties. All three share the same common names: spatterdock, yellow pond-lily and cow lily.
Purchase Spatterdock Heart by Paul Rebmann



EASTERN CHIPMUNK

Eastern chipmunks are uncommon in Florida and are only found near the major streams north of Interstate 10 in five western panhandle counties.

The range extends throughout the eastern United States, west into Louisiana, Oklahoma and up to the Dakotas, and north into Canada from Manitoba to Nova Scotia.
Averaging 25.5 cm (10 in.) in length, eastern chipmunks are reddish brown with five black stripes down the back separated by white, brown or grey. There are also white and black markings around the eyes. The belly is lighter, yellowish-brown or white. The tail is reddish brown and furry, but not as bushy as a squirrel. The front feet have 4 toes and the rear feet have 5 toes.
The genus name - Tamias - is greek for 'storer', referring to the chipmunk's characteristic stuffing of food in its cheek pouches. While T. striatus is the only chipmunk found in eastern North America, there are many members of this genus in the western portion of the continent.