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EASTERN PURPLE CONEFLOWER

This wildflower only occurs naturally in one Florida county but is popular in native plant landscapes in north Florida south to almost the I-4 corridor.

Echinacea purpurea - EASTERN PURPLE CONEFLOWER

Eastern purple coneflower can be found in Florida in the calcareous hammocks of Gadsden County. The range includes the southeastern United States extending west into Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado, north to Iowa, Wisconsin & Michigan, northeast into New York and Connecticut, plus Ontario.
Echinacea purpurea is a perennial with hairy stems growing from two to three feet tall that blooms from June to October. The conspicuous inflorescence is made up of reflexed purple ray flowers and a large orange disk with spiny bracts. The lanceolate leaves are two to six inches long, alternate, petioled, large toothed, and taper to a sharp point.
This is the only species of Echinacea - the purple coneflowers - in Florida.



SPOTTED SANDPIPER

I spotted and photographed this sandpiper while kayaking the Ocklawaha River in July 2012. The previous year I saw a spotted sandpiper on the Silver River, also in July. That bird can be seen near the end of this NaturePaul video on youTube.

Actitis macularius - SPOTTED SANDPIPER

The July-August 2012 issue of Audubon Magazine featured an article by Ted Williams about the Ocklawaha River titled "Has One Florida Dam's Day Finally Come?". Recommended reading for anyone who would like to know more about this beautiful river and the latest in the struggle to remove a remnant dam from the abandoned cross-Florida canal project. A scenic view of the Ocklawaha River named Ocklawaha Oxbow was a previous Wild Florida Photo feature and that post includes more information on the river, dam and canal.
Spotted sandpipers can be seen near most kinds of freshwater - including rivers and streams - and in coastal areas of the state for much of the year. The most widespread sandpiper in North America, they arrive in Florida in mid-July and may stay in the sunshine state as late as May before migrating to their breeding areas to the north.
This medium-sized shorebird often bob their tails up and down, both while walking and standing. This behavior and the small dark spots on the white breast from April through August help identify this sandpiper. The back is a lighter brown in winter and the breast is a spotless solid white.
Spotted sandpipers eat mostly small invertebrates - both the adults and aquatic larvae - and also small fish.
Purchase Spotted Sandpiper by Paul Rebmann



SPURRED BUTTERFLY PEA

Spurred butterfly peas were seen flowering in several state parks along the upper Suwannee River the first week of July (2012). This image showing an extreme close-up side view of the keel and wings of the flower, was made two summers ago in Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park at a spot that this year was underwater due the flooding caused by tropical storm Debby.

Centrosema virginianum - SPURRED BUTTERFLY PEA

These trailing and climbing herbaceous vine are found in moist to dry hammocks, sandhills and coastal swales throughout most of Florida. The range includes the southeastern United States and some of the surrounding states.
The alternate leaves with three stalked narrow to elliptic entire leaflets have raised veins on the lower surface. Flowers are bilaterally symmetric, made up of standard, wing and keel petals, with the keel uppermost and may be bluish or pinkish with a blotch of white in the center of the standard petals. Go to the Wild Florida Photo spurred butterfly pea page to see photos of the entire flower.
Spurred butterfly pea is differentiated from the Clitoria genus and other species of Centrosema by the long calyx lobes and the tri-foliolate leaves. There are two other Centrosema species in Florida. C. arenicola is an endangered endemic found in sandhills of the northern and central peninsula. It has shorter calyx lobes than spurred butterfly pea. A non-native species from tropical America - C. sagittatum - has been seen in Alachua County and has single arrowhead shaped leaves.



COOTER on ALLIGATOR LOG

The featured photo below "Cooter on Alligator Log" was one of my entries in Orange Audubon Society's 2012 Kit and Sidney Chertok. Florida Nature Photography Contest. My previously featured image "Pine Lily & Pines" (at Tiger Bay) won Honorable Mention in this year's contest.

COOTER on ALLIGATOR LOG - Pseudemys floridana var. peninsularis

This photo of a peninsula cooter balanced on an alligator-shaped log was taken from a kayak on Snake Creek while paddling around Hontoon Island.
One of the most common freshwater turtles in the peninsula of Florida, the peninsula cooter can often be seen basking on logs in lakes and slow moving streams. While Pseudemys floridana - Florida cooters - range throughout the southeastern coastal plain, the subspecies peninsularis - peninsula cooter - only occurs in Florida. Both the shell and body are dark with yellow lines, growing to nearly 15 inches long. The underside edge of the shell has solid dark spots and the plastron is yellow with no markings. In contrast, Florida cooters have light areas in the center of the dark spots under the edge of the shell. Peninsula cooters have an irregular broken pattern of light and dark on their rump, while the chicken turtle and yellowbelly sliders have 'striped pants'.
Other photos by Paul Rebmann entered in the 2012 Chertok Nature Photgraphy contest were:
"Limpkin with Florida Apple Snail" as photographed from a canoe on the Alexander River (the spring run) in Ocala National Forest,
"Marsh Hawk over Marsh", a northern harrier flying low over marsh grasses near Overstreet Landing along Lake Kissimmee,
and "Mangrove Nursery", red mangroves with great egret in background at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Click on the feature photo or any of the image titles, when the larger photo appears, you can then scroll through all five images that were entered. Visit the Awards and Venues page to see a list of images that won in previous Chertok Nature Photography contests.
Photography Prints by Paul Rebmann



FLORIDA LADY'S NIGHTCAP

This rare member of the morning-glory family is only found in scrub habitats of Florida.

FLORIDA LADY'S NIGHTCAP - Bonamia grandiflora

Florida lady's nightcap is a perennial prostrate vine with showy flowers that are solitary in the leaf axils. The funnel shaped corollas are blue to blue-purple, with a white throat. Flowers are 2-3 inches wide, with 2 styles and 5 stamens tipped with pale yellow anthers. The calyx has pubescent, pointed lobes much shorter than the corolla tube. The fruit is a capsule less than a half inch long containing a few seeds.
Also called Florida bonamia, this endemic is listed as a U.S. threatened and Florida endangered species. Bonamia grandiflora is the only species of this genus in Florida. Two other Bonamias occur in Texas, and a fourth species can be found in Hawaii.
This photo was taken during a field trip that was part of the 2012 Florida Native Plant Society annual state conference.
View online purchase options for Florida Bonamia by Paul Rebmann



OPOSSUM

Opossums are nocturnal and can be found throughout Florida, most of the United States plus Ontario and Quebec.

OPOSSUM - Didelphis virginiana

They are exotic in the Pacific states, Idaho and British Columbia.
These house cat sized animals are overall mostly grey with a body 15-20 inches long and a rat-like, naked tail 9-20 in. long. The prehensile tail and opposable thumbs allow them to climb and grasp small branches and other objects. The head is pointed with a long nose, white face, long whiskers, and small round black ears with white tips.
The only North American marsupial, opossums give birth to tiny, relatively undeveloped young which then climb into the mother's pouch, where they attach to a nipple and remain for about 60 days. Once they emerge from the pouch, they often ride on the mother opossum's back while she is outside the den, as can be seen in this video.