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NODDING LADIESTRESSES

During an October 2012 vacation to the North Carolina highlands, I photographed this terrestrial orchid that only appears in one Florida county.

Spiranthes cernua - NODDING LADIESTRESSES

Widespread throughout eastern North America, they are rare in Florida, occurring only in Liberty County in open, wet sites. The range extends west into Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska and north into Minnesota, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Spiranthes cernua blooms typically appear from August through October in most of the range, and into the winter in Florida. Cernu is latin for nodding, referring to the downward slope of the flowers. The narrow leaves may or may not be present when flowering.



Ocklawaha Hibiscus Reflection

Since this posting was made during fall foliage time north of Florida, I thought that I would feature an image from earlier in the summer that made me think of fall colors.

Scarlet Hibiscus reflected in the Ocklawaha River

These are reflections of scarlet hibiscus plants in the water as seen from a kayak. The reds are the flowers, the yellowish-browns are some dried leaves on the plants.
This scene was on the Ocklawaha River downstream of Rodman Dam. You can learn more about this scenic and historic Florida river on the Wild Florida Photo Ocklawaha River page, including the history of the dam and recent developments in the effort to restore the river.



SCRUBLAND GOLDENASTER

A close-up showing the side of a scrubland goldenaster flower from below the petals. Of the 14 Chrysopsis species and subspecies that are found in Florida, C. subulata is one of eight that occur nowhere else, they are endemic to the sunshine state.

Chrysopsis subulata - SCRUBLAND GOLDENASTER

Scrubland goldenaster is a frequent perennial wildflower of flatwoods and disturbed sites on the Florida peninsula. The range extends from Alachua and St. Johns Counties south to Lake Ockeechobee, plus Collier County.
Like most goldenasters, both the ray and disk flowers are yellow. C. subulata can most easily be distinguished from the other Chrysopsis species by its awl-shaped (subulate) and flexuous bracts around the base of the flower. These bracts are called phyllaries in the aster family. The stem leaves are alternate, numerous and vary from linear to spatulate. The basal leaves are spatulate or obovate and can be smooth or covered with long white hairs. View online purchase options for Scrubland Goldenaster by Paul Rebmann



GREEN HERON PAIR

A pair of green herons perched in a leafless tree as photographed from a kayak in a canal off the Tomoka River.

Butorides virescens - GREEN HERON

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 16-18 in. long with a wingspan of 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.
Purchase Green Heron Pair by Paul Rebmann



EASTERN SCREECH OWL

Eastern screech owl close-up, little bird with a big eye.

Otus asio - EASTERN SCREECH OWL

These small owls are resident in Florida's wooded habitats. The range extends throughout much of the United States east of the Rockies and into some border areas of Canada.
Small owls, only 8.5 to 9 inches tall, they can be gray or various shades of reddish-brown. Eastern screech owls have a large head and almost no neck. Distinctive ear tufts are often raised. The tail is short and square and the wings are rounded.



FLOWER FLY

This flower fly on swamp dogwood flowers was photographed from a kayak on the Ocklawaha River.

Ocyptamus fuscipennis - FLOWER FLY

The narrowing of the abdomen towards the thorax helps give this fly the appearance of a small wasp and is characteristic of this genus. This is a member of a large family of insects called the syrphid flies that are found in various habitats, often on flowers. They are good fliers and do a great deal of hovering, hence the common names 'flower flies' and 'hover flies'.
Adults are present in June and July in the north part of the range (Quebec) and from at least May through November in the southern ranges. Ocyptamus fuscipennis occurs east of the Rocky Mountains and are also found in Mexico and Cuba.
The wings of this species are dark along the leading edge with a clear area along the trailing edge near the wingtip. The body is less than a half long. The larvae develop on a diet of aphids and other scale insects.