Archive

Monthly Archives: December 2016

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) Juvenile

littleblueheronpinedec2016

Despite the name, these birds are white during their first year.

Hanging out in Florida native long leaf pine tree (Pinus palustris) at my neighbors place, overlooking their pond.

Diet: “Little Blue Herons eat mostly small fish, supplemented by a variety of small amphibians as well as crustaceans, grasshoppers, dragonflies and other invertebrates. Types of fish prey vary by region, and may include anchovies, killifish, gobies, perch, darters, bass, minnows, carp, and others. Invertebrate prey may include crayfish, prawns, isopods, crabs, and a wide variety of insects.”

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Little_Blue_Heron/id

My take: A Heron By Any Other Name Would Be Easier To Identify

http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/a-heron-by-any-other-name-would-be-easier-to-identify/

 

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)

catbirdpalmettoblackberrygrapedec2016

Favors insects but does eat fruits and seeds. Secretive. Non-breeding in Florida.

Learn: www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Gray_Catbird/lifehistory

Shown on Florida Native Plant:  In SAW PALMETTO (Serenoa repens) scrub with MUSCADINE {GRAPE} (Vitis rotundifolia), SAWTOOTH BLACKBERRY; PENNSYLVANIA BLACKBERRY (Rubus pensilvanicus)

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/when-a-yard-cat-is-ok/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carlinensis)

squirreloakdec2016

Considered a foe by many. They are cute and their antics are captivating.

“Preferred foods include bark, berries, seeds and acorns.”

Learn: http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/mammals/land/squirrels/

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LAUREL OAK; DIAMOND OAK (Quercus laurifolia)

My take: Squirrelly Squirrels in the Garden
http://web.archive.org/web/20140709132013/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/squirrelly-squirrels-in-the-garden.html

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Viceroy Butterfly (Limenitis archippus)

viceroyoakdec2016

Adult is a mimic of the milkweed butterflies (Monarch and Queen).

Learn: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completebutterflydata.asp?id=39

subspecies info: http://bugguide.net/node/view/548

Larval host: Larvae feed mainly on leaves of willow (Salix) and poplar and cottonwood (Populus); other hosts include apple (Malus) and cherry (Prunus) (source: bugguide.net)

Adults feed on: Early in the season when few flowers are available Viceroys feed on aphid honeydew, carrion, dung, and decaying fungi. Later generations feed more often at flowers, favoring composites including aster, goldenrod, joe-pye weed, shepherds needle, and Canada thistle (SOURCE: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Limenitis-archippus)

Range: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Limenitis-archippus?quicktabs_8=0#quicktabs-8

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LAUREL OAK; DIAMOND OAK (Quercus laurifolia)

My take: http://web.archive.org/web/20121018012351/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/viceroy-butterfly-puts-up-a-smokescreen.html

viceroyoakdec2016a

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

blackvulturepinedec2016

Scavenger. Smaller size, pale head, white legs and wings with only the underside tips showing white distinguish this one from its Turkey Vulture cousin. This guy and a few cohorts were here to clean up a deceased marsh rabbit that one of the setters got hold of. Sad day for me, but as a part of the circle of life I left it in the non-dog area so the vultures get to feed.  If only bunny had stuck to that area to begin with 😦

Diet: mainly carrion

Shown in Florida native plant: LONGLEAF PINE TREE (Pinus palustris)

Learn: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black_Vulture/id

My take:  Nature’s Cleanup Crew
http://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/natures-cleanup-crew/

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

turkeyvulturepinesnagdec2016spreadwing

Large scavenger. This guy is here to clean up a deceased marsh rabbit that one of the setters got hold of this morning. Sad day for me, but as a part of the circle of life I left it in the non-dog area so the vultures get to feed.  If only bunny had stuck to that area to begin with 😦

Diet: mainly carrion

Shown in Florida native plant: LONGLEAF PINE TREE (Pinus palustris) SNAG

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

Learn to avoid conflict with vultures: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/wildlife_damage/content/printable_version/fs_vulture_damage_man.pdf

turkeyvulturepinesnagdec2016

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Spring Fishfly (Chauliodes rastricornis)

fishflydec2016

Serrate Antennae is an identifying characteristic of females of the species. Males have pectinate (comb-like) antenna. So this is a guy.

Larvae aquatic, omnivorous(1); adults may not feed, though have been reported coming to moth “sugar” which this guy proves since I noticed him at night alongside all the moths dirtying up my window trying to get to my kitchen light.

(1) Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/3610

Learn more:
http://www.fnanaturesearch.org/index.php?option=com_naturesearch&task=view&id=1847

pupate on shore.

larvae reported as a predator of mosquitos (Aedes sp.) source:
http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098163/00001/25?search=chauliodes (pg. 20)

Same family as Dobsonflies (Corydalidae)
http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CritterFiles/casefile/insects/dobsonflies/dobsonflies.htm

Female (March 2015)

female fishfly

female fishfly

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Small Carpenter Bee (Ceratina sp. possibly dupla or C. floridana)

smallcarpenterbeehawkweednov2016

Tiny pollinator.  Nests in the pith of broken or burned plant twigs and stems.  Another reason to leave some plant debris and not be overly tidy in the garden.

Learn: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/bees/ceratina.htm

The above literature only lists 2 species for Florida. The following adds more so this may well be considered: C. floridana

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/HallG/Melitto/floridabees/ceratinini.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: QUEEN-DEVIL (Hieracium gronovii) aka Hawkweed

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CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Dwarf Spider (Ceraticelus sp.)

dwarfspidersaltbushnov2016

tiny, tiny, tiny!  This spider could use a straight pin as as umbrella.  Barely a red speck on a leaf.

Family Linyphiidae (Sheetweb and Dwarf Spiders). Subfamily Erigoninae (Dwarf Spiders).

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/89025

Shown on Florida Native Plant: GROUNDSEL TREE; SEA MYRTLE (Baccharis halimifolia) a.k.a Saltbush

My take: http://web.archive.org/web/20150210212002/http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/itzy-and-bitzynew-spiders-for-me.html

dwarfspidersaltbushnov2016a

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