Friday, March 23, 2018

Walking On The Wild Side

When Nicole's brother, Alex, comes to visit there is one thing that is guaranteed.  We are going to walk.  The next guarantee is that we will walk some more.  Oh, he was here for three days.  Can you guess what we did on the third day?  No, it isn't a trick question.  We walked!

We are not complaining.  Somebody needed to get us off of our beloved motor-bikes and onto our feet.  Bipedalism as opposed to Bikepedalism.  Did you see what we did there?  Hee Hee

Scouring the google a few places stood out as good possibilities of new locations to explore.  So, before he could completely unpack the car on Day One,  we set off for location one...

The Kiplinger Nature Preserve

Despite the very urban location of this trail, we somehow managed to lose ourselves in the environment and even saw several new-to-us things.

Nicole learned a long time ago (thanks to Darlene's constant reminders ;o) to take a picture of even those things she thinks she's seen before.  When it comes to butterflies perhaps none are more confusing on their topside than The Blues. 

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Looks like many we've seen before.

Thank goodness Nicole waited long enough to catch an underside shot because when she did it then became clear that

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this is Leptotes cassius - The Cassius Blue Butterfly.  We had not seen this butterfly before!

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We had seen Romalea microptera (the Eastern Lubber Grasshopper) before but never so many in one spot.

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Alex kept commenting on how beautiful this dragonfly was.  Although we were pretty sure we had seen a golden dragonfly before, a photo was taken anyway.

Guess, what?  We hadn't seen this particular dragonfly before!  Libellula needhami which is more commonly known as Needham's Skimmer was quite a find.  While they are common in our region, they are not common all over and are only found in coastal areas.

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Another new-to-us (or at least not yet identified in our extensive file of photos) is the Green Darner dragonfly - Anax junius.

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This really was a beautiful specimen and that look of blue "eye shadow" and what could be called black "eye lashes" just takes the cake.

This next dragonfly is not necessarily new to us but it is the first time we got a shot of the beautiful orange at the back end of the thorax.

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The Blue Dasher Dragonfly  -  Pachydiplax longipennis.  Did that scientific name make you chuckle like it did us at first?
If so, you might want to note the extra 'n' in the chuckle worthy part.  The name actually means "long winged".  Sure.  That's what all the guys say!

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We saw a lot of evidence of leafroller caterpillars although we did not see any actual caterpillars.

Leafrollers are known to become skipper butterflies.  We did see skipper butterflies.

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It is just amazing how the leafroller caterpillar will literally roll itself up in the leaf and stitch it closed to form a cocoon.

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It would seem that this display was the beginnings of a leafroller cocoon but it is not.  Instead, it is the workings of a Mesh-Weaver Spider.

Speaking of spiders... this next microscopic arachnid reminds Nicole of Gene Simmons from KISS when the band was still wearing make-up.

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The jury is still out on the complete identification but at the moment it is believed this is a trashline orbweaver spider.

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The trail takes you down to the St. Lucie River at around the halfway mark.  We hung out, watched the birds and ate and apple.

Although we were seeing new and different things, they were all small. 

Alex kept commenting that he wanted to see "bigger" things.

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We are sure he was referring to a bobcat or a panther but a Nine-banded Armadillo will have to do.

We'll leave you with that because it is bedtime in these parts.  Stay tuned or shots from our Day 2 and Day 3 hikes.