Dicromantispa interrupta

Dicromantispa interrupta

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Okeechobee and the Dan River - Two Parts of the Whole

A friend of mine named Brian lives in Virginia, and has a great job taking people, especially kids, out on a scenic river (Dan River) among other duties. Brian sent me (on a listserv) a series of photos and narrative re a weekend fly-fishing (as an excuse to get out in the woods) adventure with a buddy. Hopefully, he will post it to his blog:

It prompted me to reply to him with the following:


What a coincidence! I hit the field this morning at dawn to catch a cacaphony of bird calls. I don't know if this was the first day of spring down here (calendar says Thursday), but I can tell you this was the first day this year that I heard serious, species-rich avian courtship and territorial calls. Odd that it was a little nippy today, too, though.

When wandering in the wild, I need to find an “easter egg” of some sort on my adventures. The treats might be caves and rare birds for me, snakes and virgins for Sleazeweasel, or trout and delighted kids for you. We all get what we need.

Saturday was a good day for early wildflowers here in Okeechobee, albeit it only a sudden initial flush of a few species. Interesting that you in Virginia and me in south Florida would see the first harbingers of spring on the same day! True, down here flowers bloom all year long, but there just seemed to be more of an “announcement” from the flowers on Saturday.

I got a break from only working in pastures looking for crested caracaras. Fri-Sat I labored on the Lake Wales Ridge setting boards out as attractors to assess for the presence of the sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi) and bluetail mole skink (Eumeces egregious lividus). Both are imperiled species. Sunday thru Tuesday I return to the caracara survey.

This coming Wed-Fri I am going to take an intensive course re gopher tortoise capture, transport and relocation, and then get tested in order to obtain an “authorized agent” permit from the state game and fish agency to conduct those activities for my clients. In prep for the course, I have been studying the state's official, newly-minted gopher tortoise management plan and permitting system and the Ashtons' book, The Natural History and Management of the Gopher Tortoise Gopherus polyphemus (Daudin). Good reads.

Then it's back to setting out more skink boards under the hot Florida sun, but then a real treat! Dr. Sam Telford, a scholar of the skinks, will spend some time with us to share some of his experiences with these slick, sand-swimming, scrub habitat serpents. Hopefully, a good story will come out of it.