Views from South Carolina

IMG_0857.JPG

So, I’ve been somewhat off the grid since October. Much ado in the Real World has kept me somewhat from my camera and from Dust Tracks. Truly, I’ve been more of a consumer than a producer as of late — the exception being my life at work. I’m certainly hoping for a more personally productive 2015, though that may manifest online through social media avenues. Regardless, this past year has truly been a sluggish bear on many levels.

IMG_0858.JPG

Featured here are a number of shots taken from Spartanburg county, South Carolina. We traveled north from Florida to visit with Mumpower’s family this last Turkey Break. Given the minimal Autumn color-play we experience in central Florida, it was nice to get out and play with the colors and my Nikon for a few hours. There is much to love about Autumn and its colors in the American South!

IMG_0856.JPG

Megalopyge opercularis, the Southern Flannel Moth, in Ormond Beach, Florida; 15 October 2014

2014-10-15 at 06-47-54

Megalopyge opercularis, the Southern flannel moth, photographed in Volusia county, Florida (15 October 2014).

We’re starting to bag some lovely cold fronts here in central Florida. Of course, in Florida “cold front” doesn’t quite mean the same thing as it means to our brethren to the north. Still, with near-Arctic temperatures reaching all the way down to the upper-50s, it’s time to pull out the socks, blue jeans, and flannel shirts. It’s also time for the flannel moths to show up in our yards (if they haven’t already).

Featured here is a Southern flannel moth, Megalopyge opercularis. A member of Family Megalopygidae, the Flannel moths, this species can be found year-round in Florida, but is most active during the deep summer months through October. Males are more bodily patterned than females; the individual featured here is, I believe, a male.

Continue reading Megalopyge opercularis, the Southern Flannel Moth, in Ormond Beach, Florida; 15 October 2014

Tibicen resonans, the Southern Resonant Cicada, in Ormond Beach, Florida; 10 October 2014

2014-10-10 at 21-11-10

Tibicen resonans, the Southern resonant cicada, photographed in Volusia county, Florida (10 October 2014).

2014 has certainly proven to be a thin year on the cicada front; we simply haven’t had much activity in our yard this year. That being said, we had a fantastic visitor on 10 October 2014. This is a Southern resonant cicada, Tibicen resonans, photographed on our back patio screen door a bit after 9:00pm.

Continue reading Tibicen resonans, the Southern Resonant Cicada, in Ormond Beach, Florida; 10 October 2014

An Antlion at Bulow Creek State Park in Ormond Beach, Florida

2014-08-01 at 12-30-20

Glenurus gratus, the Antlion, photographed in Volusia county, Florida (01 August 2014).

Image courtesy panoramio.com/photo/73545341.
Image from panoramio.com/photo/73545341.

When I was a kid growing up in Florida, I loved messing with antlion sandtraps. You might know what I’m talking about… I’m talking about those tiny little conical traps you find outdoors in loose sand. About an inch or so wide, a tiny little antlion lies in wait like the Sarlaac, hidden just beneath the bottom of the cone, for an ant to stumble into its trap. Once the soon-to-be-victimized ant stumbles into the trap, it tries to climb back out, dragging sand back down into the trap. Then the antlion starts kicking sand up, further dragging the ant to the base of the trap. And then? Then, this captures and consumes the ant:

Continue reading An Antlion at Bulow Creek State Park in Ormond Beach, Florida

At Last, an Eastern Spadefoot Toad!

2014-09-27 at 09-16-24

Scaphiopus holbrookii, the Eastern spadefoot toad, photographed in Volusia county, Florida (27 September 2014).

This past weekend, I came across a tiny amphibian that’s been on my WANT-list for quite some time. Hidden under a small towel I’d left on my little outdoor “cove,” I was delighted to find this Eastern spadefoot toad, Scaphiopus holbrookii. Though not uncommon, I haven’t seen one of these little fellas in years.

Continue reading At Last, an Eastern Spadefoot Toad!

Green is the Colour… of Fall!

2014-09-24 at 21-12-04

Hyla cinerea, the American green treefrog (young), photographed in Volusia county, Florida (24 September 2014).

September seems to be winding down, and October looms just around the corner. Pretty soon, Central Florida is going to be thrust into the frigid domain of lower-70s and upper-60s. Time for us all to collectively pull out our Floridian jackets and freedom-hating socks, I suppose. But not yet. No, no, no, not yet. “Fall” in Florida is quite awesome… because we don’t really have one. For us, Fall is simply a subtle slipping from Summer to Winter — the latter being, itself, rather mild by most North American standards. Florida may be a somewhat insane state, but, hey, membership has its advantages. For now, at least.

In some ways, Fall can almost feel like Spring. The intense summer heat eases off a bit, and wildlife can be a bit more active and present, especially as October thickens. As for September, well… It’s often a crazy month. September is the red-flag month for tropical storm activity and erratically powerful thunderstorms. Though we haven’t had tropical storm activity yet this season, we have had some crazed thunderstorms. Last night and this morning, for example, Volusia county was inundated by a massive and powerful thunderstorm system. We’ve collectively had plenty of flash flooding, standing water, damaged property, and blown limbs today. Yay, September!

Continue reading Green is the Colour… of Fall!

A Few of My Favorite Snakes: The Mangrove Salt Marsh Snake, Nerodia clarkii compressicauda

2011-07-09 at 13-36-52

Nerodia clarkii compressicauda, the Mangrove salt marsh snake, photographed in Monroe county, Florida (09 July 2011).

Continuing our glorious snake run, let’s turn back to the Floridian peninsula and check out this old favorite: a Nerodia clarkii compressicauda, the Mangrove salt marsh snake. A bit smaller than the inland watersnakes, the non-venomous Mangrove salt marsh snake scratches out its living just where the name implies — within and throughout coastal mangrove salt marshes.

I photographed this individual at No Name Key in the Florida Keys. As you can see from the blue-tinted eye, the snake was near ecdysis — the molting of its scales. If you look really closely, you can see me in the reflection of the eye, one arm outstretched with the snake, the other holding my camera. In the last decade, there have probably been more photographs of me reflected through snake eyes than straight-on shots. Heh.

~ janson

words and images by Janson Jones