CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) juveniles under cloudy skies

This juvenile pair was somewhere around my pond but flew up into the Pine when I opened the gate to enter the pond area. I’m guessing they are near adulthood since the beaks were pink.  Their mottled feathers will soon turn all white.

Diet:  mostly insects but also aquatic fauna.

Learn: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/White_Ibis/lifehistory

Shown on Florida Native Plant: LONGLEAF PINE TREE (Pinus palustris)

My take: Treetops to Marsh: The White Ibis


White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) pretty close to be a full fledged adult as the feathers are close to being all white.



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)

Distinct yellow eye.

They nest in low dense shrubbery or sometimes on the ground. Secretive, they like my place because I leave dense patches of grasses around so they can safely hide.

I have been lucky to have had this species nest at my place in a tangle of Virginia Creeper and Wax Myrtle.

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

Diet: insects (including many pest species such as grubs and tent caterpillars), lizards and berries…I see them quite often close to the elderberry and the virginia creeper.

Shown on Florida Native Plant: WINGED SUMAC (Rhus copallinum)


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)


Beautiful bird with distinctive call. The males are bright red, the females a more subdued reddish brown.

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

Male Shown on Florida Native Plant: AMERICAN ELDER; ELDERBERRY (Sambucus nigra L. subsp. canadensis)

My take: Gardening Payoff


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Mole Cricket Hunter Wasp (Larra bicolor)

This one is likely female since it seemed to be on the hunt through the meadow looking for mole crickets which are the larval hosts for its larvae.

Photos of it using various nectar sources are at the link below under “my take”.

Introduced to the U.S. to control exotic mole cricket pests. Does not target native species, only the exotics.

Learn: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/beneficial/Larra_wasps.htm

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/when-an-introduced-species-does-the-job/


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)

It’s that time of year in Central Florida when the swallows show up.

Fascinating behavior.  Hundreds will gather together and perform an aerial show right out of the Alfred Hitchcock book of bird swarming.

A cavity nesting bird. Non-breeding in Florida

Diet: Tree Swallows may supplement their insect diet with berries, such as fruit from bayberry and wax myrtle shrubs.

Learn:  https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Tree_Swallow/lifehistory

My take: https://floridawildlifegardentails.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/hard-to-swallow-hardly/

video from 2013, landing in a Wax Myrtle:



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Hairy Maggot Blow Fly (Chrysomya sp.)

Calliphoridae Family (blowflies).  Introduced.  Potential to cause disease in livestock.  Larval Stage provides significant benefits in Forensic Medicine

larvae feed on carrion
Adults pollinate


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

Often heard but not seen.  This one was hopping in a tangle of Florida native plants listed below.

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:  a mix of SWAMP BAY (Persea palustris)SOUTHERN BAYBERRY; WAX MYRTLE (Morella cerifera)VIRGINIA CREEPER; WOODBINE (Parthenocissus quinquefolia); MIDSORUS FERN; SWAMP FERN (Telmatoblechnum serrulatum); MUSCADINE {GRAPE} (Vitis rotundifolia)

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