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.
And soon the flowers begin to appear.
And then the fun begins as they are visited with all manner of insects. Wasps come to feast.
A beetle appears and joins in.
Bees are there in force.
And are then joined by a pair of love bugs.
It is like having a 3-ring circus right before your eyes.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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
And here is the view with the Orton effect
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
And here is the view with the Orton effect
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.
In my visits to The Trail I rarely encounter another person and, for the most part, that is fine as I often spread out my photo gear out while trying to capture an image. But as I strolled the Trail today I noticed how the vines and Palmetto fronds were starting to encroach and narrow the trail. I guess there aren’t many people willing to brave a little mud and heat to see the wonders found along the Trail.
In South Florida few trees have leaves that change color. But one tree that does is the Red Maple and it’s leaves grabbed my attention.
I found some paper wasps building a home under a Palmetto frond.
Some little carnivorous plants, Zigzag Bladderworts, are coming to life.
Down at the river, the lovely Saltmarsh Morning Glory was blooming.
I missed the flowering of the Florida Butterfly Orchid but here is a shot of the seed pods. When these open in a few months, the wind will blow the seeds far and wide and their life cycle will continue.
That’s all for now – but standby for future postings.
While strolling down the Trail I started noticing that some of the oak leaves were rolled up.
I took a closer look.
I looked at the end
And I cut it in half and looked
Then I started searching the Internet in hopes of finding what sort of creature rolled the leaves. And what I found amazed me. In this blog I normally try to keep words to a minimum but this rolled leaf provides such a fascinating example of a complex genetically-determined behavior that I just have to share.
The leaves are rolled by a weevil to provide a nest for its eggs. The following is a quote from a University of Florida article which fully details the process:
“The leaf is measured by stepping it off “so many paces up – so many paces over.” Beginning from the margin, the leaf is bitten across to the midrib. The midrib is nearly (but not quite) severed to cut off the water supply to the lower half of the leaf. The attack then continues on the other side of the midrib. If the leaf is later to be cut completely off and dropped, the cutting continues to the opposite margin of the leaf. If it is to be left hanging on the tree, the cutting is discontinued a short distance past the midrib.”
This is only the first step in the process. Here is a link to the article and I hope that you will read about the rest of this amazing behavior under the Life Cycle and Behavior section.