CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Naked Snake (likely Black Racer)
I found this snakeskin next to the water system. About 4-5 ft, give or take. Most likely from a Southern Black Racer Snake (Coluber constrictor priapus). As they grow, snakes moult which is known as Ecdysis.
My take: http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/the-water-system-as-habitat.html
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Small Carpenter Bee (Ceratina sp.)
Shown on Florida Native Plant: SIMMONDS ASTER (Symphyotrichum simmondsii)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)
Secretive, colorful bird. This male spent quite a bit of time noshing on the Spanish needle seeds. They are primarily seed eaters, except during breeding season. Migratory in Central Florida.
Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens Alba
My take: http://osceolaflgardenblahblahblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/lousy-photo-fleeting-encounter.html
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Syrphid Flies (Toxomerus marginatus)
This bee mimic is BENEFICIAL in both adult and larval stages
a.k.a. Hover fly, flower fly, hoverfly
Adults pollinate, feed on honeydew, nectar and pollen
larva feed on aphids, thrips, caterpillars, mealybugs, scale, leafhoppers, and corn earworms
How to differentiate the most common species in this genus: http://www.canacoll.org/Diptera/Staff/Skevington/Syrphidae/Toxomerus/Toxomerus3.jpg
Shown on Florida Native Plant: QUEEN-DEVIL (Hieracium gronovii) aka Hawkweed
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Spotless Lady Beetle (Cycloneda sanguinea)
a.k.a. Blood-Red Ladybird Beetle
Keep in mind that Not all ladybugs without spots are native. Harmonia is an introduced species which can outcompete our natives, especially the species in the photo. (source: https://esa.confex.com/esa/2001/techprogram/paper_1422.htm)
If you buy ladybugs, check what species you are introducing. Many sold commercially are non-native species.
Shown on Florida Native Plant: BLACKROOT (Pterocaulon pycnostachyum)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
Favors insects in summer, but as can be seen here, come winter this secretive bird returns to florida and enjoys fruit. Non-breeding in Florida
note: Possibly my best photo EVER!
Shown on Florida Native Plant: WINGED SUMAC (Rhus copallinum)
My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/when-a-yard-cat-is-ok/
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Cuckoo Wasp (Chrysis sp.)
Eyecatching metallic coloring.
cuckoo wasps are parasitoids and cleptoparasites of other insects (mainly other wasps) e.g., place eggs in the unfinished or untended nest of another wasp or bee. This is similar behavior in nature to the cuckoo bird, thus the common name.
Family Chrysididae. This photo likely Subfamily Chrysidinae, Tribe Chrysidini, Chrysis sp.
Shown on Florida Native Plant: SALTBUSH (Baccharis sp.)