Saturday, September 22, 2007

Corridors and Field trips--September 22, 2007

Great news! Thanks to the butterfly friendly people in Coconut Creek, three more atala corridors have been established. In the meantime, two more atala home sites have been set up in the North Lauderdale area, and I’ll be working on expanding the Davie corridors in the near future. There are many homes in the downtown Fort Lauderdale area, too, which expands the corridor from Riverwalk. How exciting! This perfect cluster of eggs is the next generation of the winged atala jewels.

Our colony at Nova Southeastern University is still hanging in there, although it had a minor crash last week---from over 300 three weeks ago to five adults and a few caterpillars seen today; but, we planted more nectar for them and some palms are still flowering. It is about crash-time for all the colonies, so don't be discouraged if yours is looking thinner these days. An article will be published in the Farquhar Forum, highlighting the new colony, too. I’ll be joining the NSU Nature Club in maintaining our investments, and keeping the coontie plants viable for future generations. Much thanks goes to Dr. Chuck Messing, NSU Marine Biology, and Rosemary Lucas, President of the Nature Club.

Today Master Gardener Art Constantino and I also spent a few hours clearing out more non-native invasives from the Sheridan Oak Forest natural area in John Williams Park, with volunteers from Hollywood Hills High School Key Club. Jessica Cook, number one volunteer, organized the workshop with her cohorts, and we have four more exciting workshops planned in the next five months. Jessica recieved a grant from the Captain Planet Foundation to help supply necessary gardening equipment for new volunteers. Congratulations to her for getting the grant (and for all her hard work)! Shown in the photo: Kaydeen, Sophia, Lisa and Jessica with our Air Potato, Balsam Pear and Rosary Pea seven-bag bounty for the day. Missing from the picture are Michelle 1 and Michelle 2, and Joey, who had to leave a little early.

On my day off last week, I made another trip to Big Cypress with my buddies Lea and Norman. We had such a great day in the swamp! We saw a Red-Shouldered Hawk snag a black racer snake from the grass right before our eyes...that happened too fast to get a photograph. We had a chance to see some rare old photographs from the Al Capone days in Collier County, and a terrific photo of TWO panthers sauntering down a back road that other friends took just weeks ago. It's great to know that the big cats are still roaming through Big Cypress; Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission scientists track the cats every three days (how wonderful!), but seeing these pictures just seemed more real than reading about them. I have seen only one in all my years of swamp walking--a big male way down in in the southern most point of Flamingo. The only picture I have is in my memory because I was too awe-struck to take a picture!

We did get a shot of a yellow rat snake with his dinner, though: a rat. What else would a rat snake like for dinner? And look at this gorgeous spider resting on a lily pad.

And while I am mentioning the
wildlife, friend Pete Corradino took a photo of a Black Bear in Fakahatchee Strand a few weeks ago, too. We'll be doing a butterfly survey in Fakahatchee next month, October 20, 2007, with park ranger Mike Owens and the local NABA clubs. Feel free to join us for this exciting butterfly and wildlife day! It's an early morning, but what better way to start your day? Follow the link to get the details:


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