Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Our Blog has Moved!

We have decided to use wordpress to host the On the Trail blog.

Please follow the link below to view On the Trail with FWC.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Thousand Words by Christi

Sleeping Baby Squirrel

As spring approaches, I would like to encourage people to get involved with the squirrel fostering programs that are available in your area. Always too many orphaned squirrels, never enough willing hands. If you want to be a part of conservation, start in your own back yard. I believe very much in the fostering of orphaned and injured wildlife and know first hand what absolute joy and hope it can bring into your life. Its always great to start small, so how about a squirrel?! It is just as simple to feed two squirrels at a time, and they love the company, so pick up 2 at a time why don't you? Leave a note in the comment section if you need help finding a local facility.

Beach Driving
While most communities have put a ban on driving on the beach, it is still permitted in New Smyrna Beach, Daytona and St. Augustine. To me, it seems very unnatural to come across tracks like these...a compelling abstract, but unnatural nonetheless.

Beautiful Bark
Early American settlers used longleaf pine to build homes and farms, wild pigs eat innumerable seedlings, and the turpentine business and lumber business of the twentieth century did much to decrease the number and occurrence of this tree in the wild. Many tree farmers and plantation owners have traded in the longleaf for its faster growing cousin the loblolly.
The story of the decline of the once most prolific tree in the south is brought to life in a wonderful book by Lawrence S. Earley titled, Looking For Longleaf - The Fall and Rise of an American Forest.

The Poor Thistle Weed
Although there are many suggestions on how to eliminate thistle, from burning to herbicides, to frequent mowing, there is something very charming about this plant. Historically used to cure canker sore, jaundice, vertigo, headaches, plague and even baldness, the thistle attracts all types of pollinators. It is my opinion that due to the serrations on its leaves, it gets rather harsh criticism and save this anomaly, it would be heralded like its cousins the iris or amaryllis for its striking color and hardiness. If not on a foot path, I leave them be as they are a charming sight in the early spring...at a safe distance.
Grauman's Chinese Theater- (Steinhatchee style)
Adorable "hand" prints of a juvenile raccoon.

The Flip
Due to the polar smoke rising, I flipped this image upside down as the reflection of the trees in the water were a more accurate depiction of the surrounding forest. Unwittingly, there is now a small alligator present in the "sky" between the trees.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wings Over Florida Workshop

Wings Over Florida is a FREE award program open to resident and non-resident Florida birdwatchers. Its purpose is to encourage YOU to identify as many native birds as you can within Florida.
As your skills improve and your bird list grows, you can apply for increasing levels of achievement. Full color certificates are awarded at five levels starting at a life list of 50 Florida species (Beginner) and ending at 350 species (Elite Florida Birder).

Wings Over Florida Tricia Woolfenden proudly holds her Cardinal certificate
On April 20 at Chinsegut Conservation Center, Wings Over Florida (WOF) coordinator Andy Wraithmell will be holding a WOF workshop. This exciting program will include the following;

8am - meet at Chinsegut Conservation Center - click here for a map

815am to 1030am - Field trip to Withlacoochee State Forest to search for Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Bachman's Sparrow, Swallow-tailed Kite, Southeastern American Kestrel, Pine Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo, Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Screech-owl and more.

11am to 12noon - Classroom presentation - Wings Over Florida and the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail.

12noon to 1230pm - Lunch provided by the Lake Lindsey Country Mall

1230pm to 130pm - Classroom presentation - Birding 101, identification tips, birding resources

145pm to 330pm - Field trip to Bystre Lake and Powerline Road to search for Burrowing Owl, Eastern Meadowlark, Swallow-tailed Kite, Blue Grosbeak and more.

4pm to 430pm - Certificate presentation at Chinsegut Conservation Center

Cardinal certificate awarded at 50+ plus Florida life birds
There are 12 places available for this exciting day of birding and costs $30 per person. If you have never kept a Florida life list before you will earn your Cardinal level certificate and will be well on your way to earning your Scrub-Jay level certificate. If you do keep a Florida life list please bring a copy of your life list with you. You can get a copy of the Checklist of Florida birds from HERE.

To register for the Wings Over Florida workshop on April 20th CLICK HERE.

If you have any questions contact Andy Wraithmell at 850-488-9453

Kite level certificate is awarded at 350 Florida life birds

Friday, March 15, 2013

So Long Snowbirds

During the winter in Florida, we typically don’t get to experience the white wonderland that our northern counterparts do, but we do have the pleasure of seeing some extra white around our favorite local patches. Every winter I eagerly await the arrival of one of my favorite snowbirds, the American White Pelican. These enormous white birds make their annual trip to Florida to enjoy the milder southern winters and can reliably found at some of my favorite Central Florida birding locations, including the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. With spring just around the corner, however, it’s that time when the White Pelicans are headed back to their breeding grounds up north. As they begin their migration, White Pelicans often make stop at areas where they are less commonly seen to fuel up for the big trip.

Over the past two weeks, there have been large groups of White Pelicans coming and going from a pair of ponds located adjacent to the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands (Viera Wetlands).

Watching the White Pelicans in action has been fascinating. This species works together in a cooperative manner, perfectly synchronized, to corral the fish in the swallow water for an easier catch. Sometimes they form a circle around the fish and other times they swim in a line and drive the fish to shore. 

This was a successful day for the pelicans!

All the success seemed to turn some of the pelican’s cooperation into competition!

Safe travels!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Little Big River

The Seminole tribe named this beautiful river the Withlacoochee, which translates as the Little Big River. How can a river be little and big? Can you see why in the following pictures. I took them onboard Captain Mike's Lazy River Boat recently. You can have this experience too by registering for 1 of 3 river boat cruises during the Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival To register CLICK HERE.

There are still a few places left on Captain Mike's Withlacoochee River Cruises during the Nature Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival. CLICK HERE to register.