Exploring

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Recently, we’ve been exploring the Upper Pithlachascotee River Preserve. It’s a small park with walking trails and a boardwalk through a cypress swamp. I’m fascinated with the cypress knees – you can see them poking up in the right of the picture – they look like skinny, short¬†stumps.

treehugger

This is the first time I’ve really gotten close to cypress trees. And, the park has the 8th largest bald cypress tree in Florida. Neat!

Here’s a closer view of some other cypress knees.

cypress knees

Scientists aren’t sure¬†why the cypress trees have these… perhaps for stability.

Tree Frog on My Window

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This little guy showed up this afternoon and stayed for quite a while. He’s just over an inch long (I was able to measure without scaring him away) and according to my Florida field guide, he’s a Squirrel Treefrog. He can turn brown! I wonder why he’s out right now… they’re supposed to be nocturnal. Click the picture for a larger version.

Squirrel Treefrog

I wonder what that is, above his eye? It looks like a little bit of dirt but I’m not sure.

Yellow-necked Caterpillar

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This critter was on one of our pineapple plants and it’s in a typical defensive stance… protecting itself from flies, wasps and my camera! It will grow into a moth, according to University of Florida.

Yellow-necked caterpillar

Baby Lizard

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Today when we got home from our walk, we spied this little guy on our aloe vera plant. The leaf he’s on is maybe 2″ wide at the most. I saw him again on my way to the store and he was light brown. I think he’s a brown anole – an invasive species from Cuba. Apparently they eat green anoles, which is one of our native critters. Gah!

Baby Brown Anole

Neat Spider

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I was out in the yard the other day and happened to look in the pool, and this is one of the creatures I found! I just love how his legs dent the water. Here’s more about how fishing spiders walk on water.

Update! I sent this picture in to What’s That Bug? and here’s the reply I got:

Hi Emmy,
Of all the species of Fishing Spider, the Six Spotted Fishing Spider, Dolomedes triton, is probably the one most associated with water and fishing. Your photo is truly wonderful and a study in symmetry.

Spider on water