Monday, October 29, 2012

Check In

It surprises me how much I've come to love the nature of Florida. I was not born here. This is not my ancestral home. And yet I've come to know it and love it like no other place. I try to get out to walk, observe and explore as often as I can, but when I get busy and can't, I feel anxious, like I'm missing something important. Even when I'm traveling and visiting other places with great things to see, I think about what's happening at home in Florida. I can't wait to get back and see what changed when I was gone. I love the way the flowers and other plants come and go with the seasons. I look forward to the migrating birds--the kites, the hummingbirds, the robins and especially the sandhill cranes. I mark the coming of fall with the rolling calls of the cranes as they fly in from the Great Lakes, and the end of Winter as they head back again in hundreds of V-formations. I relish the changing seasons as the temperatures climb and the humidity sets in, and after enduring summer, how we are rewarded with delightful cool, dry fall; when freezing winter sets in and the ice flowers explode from the stems of dead flowers, and when la Florida earns its name as the flowering shrubs and trees color us into spring. I cherish each day here in this beautiful place.

This has been one of those periods where I have been too busy to get out. I am preparing to leave on a long trip to South America. It will be wonderful, but I've had a lot on my plate trying to get ready and have started feeling the familiar, anxious pull. My favorite places that I haven't seen for what seems like weeks run like a newsfeed through my mind. Are the Kingfishers chattering on La Chua Trail? Can I see one more Harvester Butterfly at NATL before winter hits? Have all the Hummingbirds at Kanapaha Botanical gardens gone south on their migration? I'm headed for great and wonderful adventures in Argentina but I'm anticipating all the things will happen while I'm away. I won't hear the sound of the cranes as they come back to their winter home. I'll miss the migrating warblers. The Garberia is just starting to bloom in our yard. In an effort to check in one more time before December, I grabbed a morning and headed out to Morningside Nature Center to catch one last glimpse of the Fall wildflower colors.  Although it's late in the season, I managed to find a few patches of flowers, but it appears that winter is soon upon us. Much of the brilliant color is done and mostly seed puffs and grasses remain.
Pityopsis Puff
Fingergrass, Eustachys sp.

Foxtail and Crab Spider

I did find some late bloomers--Euthamia and Salvia azuria. The butterflies found them, too.
Blue Sage, Salvia azuria

Euthamia caroliniana and Butterflies

I spied a couple of the last assorted Carphephorus. The crab spiders are taking advantage of tall perches.
Carphephorus paniculatus

Carphephorus corymbosus and Crab Spider

The Buckeye caterpillars have eaten almost all of the Agalinis.
Buckeye Caterpillar eating Agalinis purpurea

Dogs or coyotes running wild in the park left a treat for the dung beetles and I spied this one as he trundled along, working so hard.
Dung Beetle
Now that I've checked in, I think it will be ok to head out and explore new places. And the cranes will still be here when I get back. I wonder if they will have missed me?


  1. Beautiful images and very engaging blog, Katherine.


    Rob (from Australia)

    1. Thank you for the kind comments! I've had a little trouble getting computer time, but I'll have a lot more entries as I travel around Argentina. Thanks so much for reading.