Turkey Vultures

Often mistaken as buzzards, Turkey Vultures are scavengers. You will most likely see Black Vultures not too far behind, especially if there is carrion.

Turkey Vulture | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden
Turkey Vulture | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden

 

These are one of my favorite birds that I truly have the utmost respect for.

Don’t forget International Vulture Day is September 7th. (First Saturday in September)


Links:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Turkey_Vulture/id

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/turkey-vulture

Metallic Sweat Bees ( Halictidae)

These are my favorite bees… like EVER! The coloring is so amazing, these metallic green or blue colors just pop!

Metallic Blue2
Metallic Blue Sweat Bee | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden

There are thousands of species of sweat bees and 60 species alone documented in Florida.

Metallic Blue Sweat Bee | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden
Metallic Blue Sweat Bee | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden

With thistle blooming, it is time to hang around these plants if you are interested in getting some great photos and video, however, you will most likely get more bee butts because they will be digging their way to gather pollen. But hey, who doesn’t like a cute bee butt!

Metallic Blue Sweat Bee | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden
Metallic Blue Sweat Bee | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden

Would like to find out how they obtain that metallic color.. if you know, please comment below! Just to note they are attracted to the salt from human sweat! 


Links
http://www.floridasnativebees.com/sweat-bees.html

https://flawildflowers.org/know-your-native-pollinators-sweat-bees/

Click to access IN89700.pdf

Fourleaf Vetch

First time I have seen this flowering vine, the Fourleaf Vetch. This is a native plant and grows in and around moist areas.

Fourleaf Vetch 2
Fourleaf Vetch | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden

Not a heat-loving type of plant, however, provides nectar for a variety of bees and butterflies during the cooler months in Florida.

Fourleaf Vetch | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden
Fourleaf Vetch | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden

Links:

http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/plant.aspx?id=2647

https://whatfloridanativeplantisbloomingtoday.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/fourleaf-vetch-vicia-spp-likely-acutifolia/

http://www.wildsouthflorida.com/fourleaf.vetch.html#.XH5a0vZFx9A

White Thistle

I haven’t seen a whole lot of white thistles in the places I visited around Hernando County and up in the northern areas, but I have seen them at Honeymoon Island in Dunedin.

White Thistle | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden
Bristle (White) Thistle | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden

Pink/purple bristle thistles are more commonly seen and when they are in bloom, they are frequently visited by butterflies and bees with the occasional Green Lynx spider not far below. The plants are host plants for metalmark and painted lady butterflies

White Thistle | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden
Bristle (White) Thistle | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden

They also are a great photographic subject. Every angle can be an interesting and creative masterpiece.


Links:

https://fnps.org/plants/plant/cirsium-horridulum

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=CIHO2

 

 

Swollen Bladderwort

Along Cow Creek Rd. in Goethe State Forest are areas of flowing water that is filled with beautiful spectacles of yellow. The swollen bladderwort, a Florida native plant, is another species in the bladderwort family as well as an aquatic carnivorous plant.

Swollen Bladderwort | March 28 | Alice Mary Herden
Swollen Bladderwort | March 28 | Alice Mary Herden
Swollen Bladderwort | March 28 | Alice Mary Herden
Swollen Bladderwort | March 28 | Alice Mary Herden 

Great video about the Swollen Bladderwort, it’s such a neat plant!


What really would be neat if people would contain their trash!Swollen Bladderwort 2.jpg There’s nothing like coming across the beauty of nature and seeing how humans diminish that beauty.


Links:

Click to access swollen-bladderwort.pdf

http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/plant-directory/utricularia-species/

https://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Florida-Forest-Service/Our-Forests/State-Forests/Goethe-State-Forest

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=UTIN

 

Camouflaged Looper

When you learn more about plant species you are able to tell when something is different. While driving (slowly) I noticed something “odd” about this Spanish needle flower and sure enough there was something “odd”.

The Wavy-lined Looper, Camouflaged Looper, Wavy-lined Emerald (Synchlora aerata)

 

Wavy-lined Looper, Camouflaged Looper, Wavy-lined Emerald (Synchlora aerata) 2
Camouflaged Looper | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden

A very unique caterpillar indeed. These caterpillars collect pieces of flowers and/or plant material and use that to cover their backs (hence the name), which would be very cool to video. This is caterpillar for the Wavy-Lined Emerald Moth.

 


Links

https://www.insectidentification.org/insect-description.asp?identification=Wavy-Lined-Emerald-Moth