Friday, April 22, 2011


When I first moved to Florida in 1988, this was one of the first aquatic flowers that I photographed. When I saw this one in John Chestnut Park in Palm Harbor, it reminded me of the time many years ago when I first saw these pretty flowers.

I was standing by the edge of a pond photographing it, when movement at my feet caught my eye. Just as I took the camera away from my face, I saw an Alligator come up slowly right between my legs. It scared the daylights out of me. It was the first Alligator I'd ever seen in the wild. I didn't know it then, but it was a pretty young one, because it was so small. I doubt it was more than a year old.

When I look back on it that incident now, it gives me a chuckle. When I saw him, I wasn't sure what to do so I slowly walked backward and got out of that park as soon as I could. I think I'd still do the same thing today.

Since the subject of this blog is Pickerelweed, I should probably get back to that instead of reminiscing about the past. Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) is an aquatic plant that grows in shallow, still water. It gets its name from the Pickerel fish that shares the same habitat. Pickerelweed blooms from June through November in freshwater marshes, lakes, streams and at the edge of ponds.

I like to finish my blog with a little nature lesson for those who would like to learn as much as I've learned about nature ever since I started taking photos of nature. It has taught me so much.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Doing What a Bee Does Best

While on a meetup at a new place one of the members of my group has discovered, the first thing I saw was this huge Prickly-Pear Cactus at the edge of the parking lot.

These blooms are a Honey Bee magnet. I've never seen these blossoms with no bees busily pollinating these beautiful flowers.

Prickly-Pear Cactus blossoms (Opuntia humifusa) bloom from April through August, and they can be found in sandy pinelands, open dry woods,dunes and pastures. The fruit is edible.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The "Gremlin" of Eagle Lake

About a week ago, someone told my friend and fellow nature photographer that he had seen a "Gremlin" at Eagle Lake Park in Largo, FL.

That was all Jim had to hear to entice him to investigate. The very next morning he saw the "Gremlin" and photographed it with his camera phone.

He asked me to set up a Meetup for our photo club members to go out and find the "Gremlin". Meanwhile, Jim spent some time on Google investigating exactly what he found.

The "Gremlin" turned out to be an Eastern Fox Squirrel. On Monday evening, 4 of us photographers set out to capture this guy on our "real" cameras. This is one of many photos I took of him. He's playing possum in this tree. As you can see, it was nearly impossible to see him until he moved to change position.

The Eastern Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger), is the largest squirrel in the U.S. They are about 17 1/2 inches long with a 13 inch tail. They weigh a little over 2 pounds. Their color varies greatly, and this particular one is one of the prettiest color varieties I've seen. The color ranges from rust to black with white noses and sometimes masked. They spend more time on the ground than any other squirrel.