Feature Creature: Strombus alatus

Strombus alatus

This overturned conch is looking in two different directs. In early August, I was walking in the shallows at Big Carlos Pass, enjoying the calm morning water with an exceptionally low tide. It was one of those still mornings that can fool you into believing that there’s nothing new or …

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Plant Profile: Caesalpinia bonduc, what’s it good for?

Empty Knicker Bean Pods

  I was recently walking along a local beach, when I spotted a happy couple harvesting the smooth, grey beans from a Caesalpinia bonduc.  These sea beans, sometimes known as “sea pearls” or “eaglestones,” can be quite attractive and are occasionally used in crafts.  There was nothing creative in my …

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Florida Survival: Lightning

Growing Cloud

Summer is Florida’s true rainy season and the skies can be remarkably beautiful.  White clouds can almost always be seen floating against a backdrop of clean blue.  One can often watch the tops of the clouds boil and roll as they swell with gathering moisture, building through the heat of …

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Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis )

Sandhill Cranes Feeding

These handsome birds are certainly not exclusive to Florida, yet I could not imagine Florida without them.  One can find two subspecies in Florida.  Grus canadensis pratensis (Florida Sandhill) resides throughout the year in much of the state and Grus canadensis rowani (Canadian Sandhill) visits during the winter months. Their …

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Florida Fungus: Clathrus crispus

Wiffle Ball Stinkhorn

It’s mid-July and the Florida rainy season is in full force.  The ground is moist and warm.  Seeds and spore that have laid dormant during the drier months are springing forth with life.  Many of the sudden growths are easily recognizable, but some seem down right alien! This strangle fungus …

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Tide In, Tide Out: Life Among Flotsom

Leaf Fish

Water streams past you, pulled by the tide. Flowing along side the shore, it carries with it whatever floats or is lightweight and unanchored. Natural flotsam casually passes by, a collection of mangrove seeds, fallen sea grape and mangrove leaves, a sea bean or two, random loose sea grasses and …

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Two Raptors: Red-tailed Hawk & Swallow-tailed Kite

Red-tailed Hawk

I had the opportunity to see two wonderful and very different raptors recently, right in my own neighborhood.  One day apart, I was able to see a Red-tailed Hawk and a Swallow-tailed Kite. Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) Though the Red-tailed Hawk may be the most common hawk in the United States, …

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Plant Profile: Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia)

Royal Poinciana Tree

Nothing says warm weather like a Royal Poinciana tree in bloom.  These trees can be found all over southern Florida, most often used in landscaping.  I have long known that the Poinciana isn’t native to Florida, despite it having been present seemingly forever.  Somewhere in my youth, I was told …

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