Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
I called this extreme close-up of an Ohio Spiderwort flower "Dressed in Blue Jackets #2". Bluejacket is another common name for this spiderwort.
A frequent plant of disturbed sites throughout many Florida counties north of Lake Okeechobee.
The range extends from Texas to Minnesota and eastward to the Atlantic through all states except Vermont, and also into Ontario.
Bluejacket flowers are made up of three symetrical blue-violet (rarely white) petals having six stamens with hairy filaments. The filament hairs are made up of a chain of single cells that can be seen with low magnification. The flowers are ephemeral, opening in the morning and fading in the afternoon. The apices of the three sepals have hairy tufts and there are one to three leaflike bracts below the cluster of drooping flowers. Tradescantia ohiensis blooms appear all year in Florida.
The leaves are linear to lanceolate, folded lengthwise and arched, giving the plant the appearance of a spider, leading to one of its common names - spiderwort. The stem stores water, allowing spiderwort to thrive in dry habitats.
This pair of bald eagles perched on a dead tree trunk exposed during a periodic draw-down of the Rodman Reservoir on the Ocklawaha River.
Bald eagles are year-round residents of coastal areas and near rivers and lakes in Florida, the state population increases in winter as many more bald eagles return annually to breed and nest.
The range extends throughout much of North America, from Mexico to Alaska, where the largest population is found.
These large raptors are distinctive as adults, with dark brown body and wings contrasted with a white head and tail and yellow beak, legs and feet. The body is stouter and the head is larger than other similar looking birds. Immature birds have dark heads and tails. Second and third year birds are mottled with white on various parts of their body.
Mating and nesting seasons vary by area. In Florida eggs are typically laid from November through January. In the Pacific northwest, eggs are laid in March and April, with egg laying in May in northern Canada and Alaska. Usually two eggs are laid, sometimes three. During the 35 days of incubation one of the parents will remain on the nest nearly all the time to keep the eggs warm and possibly more importantly to protect them from predators. The nests are large, and will be reused year after year.
Once listed as an endangered species, increased protection, a reduction in shootings and possibly most importantly, the discontinuation of the pesticide DDT have allowed the population to rebound to where the IUCN now lists Haliaeetus leucocephalus as a species of Least Concern.
I photographed this hairy leafcup flower near the boardwalk through a moist hammock at Central Park in Ormond Beach.
In Florida Smallanthus uvedalia is found in the central and northern peninsula and the panhandle, but absent from the Big Bend and some of the northeastern counties.
The range of this perennial includes much of the eastern United States except New England.
Typically growing from 3 to 10 feet tall, one of the common names is Bear's Foot, referring to the large leaves that are often palmately five lobed. The opposite leaves have winged petioles and are palmately viened, from 4 to 12 inches long, and sometimes three, or only slightly lobed. The showy flowers can be terminal or axillary, and have from 8-15 yellow ray flowers with toothed apices. The ray florets are fertile with bifurcate styles, while the yellow disk flowers are sterile and have undivided styles. Fruits are blackish swollen and grooved achenes up to 6mm (1/4 in.) long.
The species is named for English teacher and botanist Robert Uvedale (1642-1722). Uvedale exchanged plants with others, growing species from many collectors of the time in his garden and one of the early hothouses in England. Upon his death most of his plants were sold to Sir Robert Walpole for his collection at Houghton Hall and incorporated into Walpole's fourteen volume herbarium. Hairy leafcup was originally named Osteospermum uvedalia by Linnaeus in 1753 using a plant that came from Uvedale's garden. The species uvedalia was later moved into its own genus Smallanthus.
This immature female snowy owl that visited Little Talbot Island State Park in the winter of 2014 is only the third reported sighting of this species in Florida.
Snowy owls can be found year-round along the northern edge of North America with summer breeding in the arctic tundra.
Normal winter range includes much of Canada and just into the northern United States, with occasional visits farther into the lower 48.
Some years, such as the year this owl visited Florida, there is an irruption where there are many snowy owls seen farther south than usual.
Even larger than great horned owls, adults can weigh 4 pounds and stand 23 inches tall with a wingspan of 52 inches. Males are almost pure white with some faint barring. Fledglings are gray and immature owls are white with dense dark bars. Adult females are between immature and male in coloring. All snowys have white faces and eyes that are smaller, relative to their body, than most other owls.
The sky and trees reflected on the surface of the water in Green Sink at Lafayette Blue Springs State Park.
This is just one of the sinks in the woods not far from the spring.
At the time this image was made, water levels were extremely low, with relatively little water flow out of the spring into the Suwannee River.
These yellow wildflowers were photographed along the Wekiva River, between the St. Johns River and Blackwater Creek.
Burrmarigold is a frequent perennial found throughout much of Florida in marshes, shallow ponds, along rivers, roadside ditches and other disturbed sites.
The range extends through most of the states east of the Mississippi River except Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Vermont.
West of the Mississippi they are found in the southernmost states, plus Missouri, Arkansas and Nevada.
Also known as smooth beggarticks, the flowers are held erect with yellow ray petals and yellow-orange disks, appearing mostly in the fall. Stems are glabrous, up to three feet tall, and can be ascending or declining and rooting at the nodes. Leaves are opposite and sessile, with undivided elliptic to lanceolate blades up to five inches long.