Back on the Trail

I haven’t spent much time on the trail lately because George Rogers and I have been working on an on-line plant course.   But more about that later.  First, a few images that caught my eye.  Down at the dock the white mangroves are in flower.

Dock 2

 

Also there was the Saltmarsh Morning-Glory, a vine whose leaves remind me of a bird’s foot.

Saltmarsh Morning-Glory

 

Orchids and Arums were coexisting in some muddy water.

Orchid and Arums

 

 

And one of the tallest Carolina Redroots that I have seen is in flower.

Carolina Redroot 1

 

 

Here’s a closer view of the head because I love the texture of the flowers.  They look like they are coated with cotton.

Carolina Redroot 3

 

 

Now, about the course:

Native Plants of South Florida

An Introductory On-Line Course by George Rogers and John Bradford

Open Enrollment! Any tree hugger can join in!

Free! (except for book purchase)

Register now.  Begins Sept 1 2014

  • 16 habitat-based lessons. View the course at  http://nativeplantclass.weebly.com
  • You’ll need our self-published book: Guide to the Native Plants of Florida’s Treasure Coast.  To see the book, preview the class, open Lesson 1, and click a link to the book vendor. We make no money from the book—any revenue supports our web site.
  • Grab a field trip For each habitat type (most types span multiple lessons) you take a field trip on your own with camera in hand. We list suggested sites in our general area.
  • The class evolved in Palm Beach and Martin Students from anywhere are welcome.
  • There’s a quiz each lesson, and three Non-credit students use these as review exercises.
  • The mission is learning to recognize wild plants. There is no attention to gardening or landscaping (but see the book offered below).

To register or for more information:  John Bradford (cyclura@bellsouth.net) or George Rogers (rogersg515@gmail.com). After Aug. 18: George Rogers 561-207-5052

This on-line class is an open-enrollment public-access derivative of George Rogers’s “Plants of Florida Ecosystems” (ORH2511) taught on-line and in the field at Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach Gardens.  It is possible to take our on-line class for college credit, and it is possible to register for a credit-only field trip version of the class Fall Term 2015, perhaps after taking the free on-line class non-credit now.

Saw Palmettos in Glorious Flower

This blog contains images of nature found in a wonderful part of the Savannas State Preserve known as the Halpatiokee Nature Trails.  I hope that my images show some of the wonders of nature and will entice people to visit the Trail.

Saw Palmettos abound along the Trail.  I love the twists and turns of the stems as they begin their flowering stage.

Saw Palmetto 1

And soon the flowers begin to appear.

Saw Palmetto 2

 

And then the fun begins as they are visited with all manner of insects.  Wasps come to feast.

Wasp on Saw Palmetto Flower

 

A beetle appears and joins in.

Beetle on Saw Palmetto Flower

 

Bees are there in force.

Bee on Saw Palmetto Flower

 

And are then joined by a pair of love bugs.

Bee and Love Bugs on Saw Palmetto Flower

 

It is like having a 3-ring circus right before your eyes.

 

 

 

Pleasant Surprises

I hit the Trail yesterday looking for some Green Arrow Arum spadix – the flowering part of the plant. Now, why I would be looking for this? Because the Treasure Coast Natives blog has wonderful post about how the fragrance of the spadix and it’s cover, the spathe, change over time in order to trigger certain responses from the fly which is the key to the plant species survival. Click on “Come Eat My Pollen . . . “ and the article will open in a separate tab.

The spadix is the white stalk which is surrounded by by the spathe.

Green Arrow Arum 1

 

Here is a shot showing a little fly which looks like the Elachiptera formosa referenced in the Treasure Coast Native post.  (Rick, I hope my fly ID is correct)

Green Arrow Arum 2

 

While photographing the Arum, I spotted an orchid growing in the same wet soil.  Toothpetal False Reinorchid is common throughout Florida but still makes a nice addition to the Trail.

Toothpetal False Reinorchid

 

As I was walking back to the car I came on a Bobcat who was kind enough to wait until I could get the camera and take a shot.  After the Bobcat headed into the undergrowth I spotted a second Bobcat, but that one didn’t linger to get his/her portrait taken.

Bobcat

Palms and Ferns

Somebody made the Trail a little more passable.  Saw Palmetto branches were cut back and laid on some of the muddy places.

Trail 13

 

One of the walkways has a new sign.

Trail 12

 

I missed getting a shot of a Ground Skink as it was just too fast.  But I did get a shot of this anole although he was doing his best to hide on the bark of a Slash Pine tree.

Anole

 

String Ferns were hanging from their home on this Saw Palmetto.

String Fern 1

 

And down by the Creek I found a couple of fiddleheads of the Giant Leather Fern.

Giant Leather Fern Fiddlehead 1

 

Here is a closer view of the fiddlehead – the patterns in Nature never fail to amaze me.

Giant Leather Fern Fiddlehead 2

The Shoe Tree

While walking the Trail it is hard to miss the rather large fern arising from the boots of the Cabbage Palm trees.  Lift up the leaf and you will see the spores of the Golden Polypoidy arraigned in 2 rows next to the vein.

Golden Polypody 1

 

But you don’t have to lift the leaf as you can probably fine on on the ground

Golden Polypody 2

 

But be careful that you avoid the Poison Ivy climbing on the tree limbs

Poison Ivy 1

 

Or that you don’t get grabbed by the tendrils of the Smilax vine

Smilax 7

 

But be most careful on this part of the Trail

Trail 11

 

For here lurks the shoe tree just waiting to reach out and grab your footwear.

Oak Shoe

A New Look for Some Old images

As a photographer I always strive to make my images appear as realistic as possible.  I process my pictures to reflect how the scene, plant, or fungi looked to my eye.  But there are different ways to “look” at things and there is nothing wrong with looking at images using a little more artistic license.

In one of the blogs I follow the author talked about images incorporating the Orton effect. This style of image has a dreamy look where the lights in the image were even brighter and the focus was a little softer.  The effect is  named after Michael Orton the photographer who popularized it.

Here is the original view of the Climbing Aster

Climbing Aster 2

 

 

And here is the view with the Orton effect

Climbing Aster 1

The intent is to give some subtle and pleasing changes not create a radically different image.

 

Here is the original of the Green Arrow Arum

Green Arrow Arum 1

 

And here is the view with the Orton effect

Green Arrow Arum Orton 2

 

Do you like the Orton look?

I like the effect.  That is not to say I’m going to use this on all my images but I did want to try it on a few more.  So I did and then put them into a slide show.  As side shows always seemed to be helped with music, I used a tune by one of my favorite Florida folk singers who embraces environmental causes.  Dale Crider wrote and sings this song about Marjorie Stoneman Douglas and her battle to save the Everglades.

Here is the link to slideshow.  I hope you will enjoy the images and the song.

Images Seen on a Trail to the River

Back on the Trail Again

Since I haven’t done a blog posting in awhile I decided it was time to stroll down the Trail and take some pictures.  I recently acquired a new smaller camera and a new small lens and I needed to test them out.  See what you think.

Sunlight was illuminating the air plants that covered the Live Oak tree.

Live Oak 2

 

As I love the texture of the bark, I thought the oak was worth another look.

Live Oak 1 (HDR)

 

The Spanish Moss appeared to have a golden glow in the sunlight.

Spanish Moss 3

 

As did the Turkey Tails on the tree.

Turkey Tails 3

 

A half dozen species of wildflowers were blooming.  Some of the Twinberrys, a member of the Coffee Family, were in flower.

Twinberry 7

 

Here is a Twinberry bud and, if you look along the right edge, you will see the twin red fruits looking like small match heads.

Twinberry 8

 

I was really pleased with the performance of the new camera and lens and was happy to get back on the Trail.