Dust Tracks is Retiring (for now)

Visit phosTracks.com!

2014-04-16 at 07-30-17Alas, the time has come for Dust Tracks to take the long, quiet rest. The blog was born on 24 March 2011 — a few months shy of our move from Alaska back to the American southeast (notably covered in the AK-to-FL liveblog roadtrip). Since its launch, I’ve published 1,380 posts on Dust Tracks. We covered ground from Alaska southward through the Canadian Rockies of Alberta and British Columbia, through the deep wilds of southern Utah, into the deserts of Arizona, and across the prairies of Oklahoma, eventually settling in the humidity of south Georgia and the Floridian peninsula. In these past four years, we’ve covered hundreds of organisms native and introduced to the United States and Canada. Plants, fungi, arthropods, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and other various organisms all found representation here. If I could find it, learn about it, photograph it, and write about it, then it probably made its way onto Dust Tracks. Hell, we even covered the sum total of the American brand of the human experience. It has indeed been a busy four years.

But now? Now Dust Tracks is going down for a nice, long nap, and it’s a nap Dust Tracks may not awaken from. For now, the blog will remain online; I have no intention of deleting Dust Tracks at this time. It’s possible I may return to it in one form or another in the (distant) future. For now, however, all my attention will be focused on a new blog, phosTracks.

If you enjoy or have enjoyed Dust Tracks, I certainly invite you to come over and visit phosTracks. In many ways, phosTracks is a reboot of Dust Tracks, carrying forward from the present, as well as reflecting more on the past. The design is simpler and more intuitive. It’s also more photo-centric. phosTracks is designed to feature photography first and foremost, including more space on the screen for larger images. And as of this writing, phosTracks is already well underway!

So, if you stumbled onto this page via google while trying to look up some snake, anole, cicada, or katydid, I encourage you to take the leap over to phosTracks. There’s plenty more to see on the other side of the jump. And to those who’ve been reading Dust Tracks off and on these past four years, I certainly thank you for your time and consideration! It’s been a joy working on this blog — even though this past year was a difficult one on the home-health front. I’m certainly looking forward to what’s to come on phosTracks!

Sincerely,
Janson

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phosTracks.com

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Masticophis flagellum in Volusia county, Florida; 29 December 2014

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Masticophis flagellum flagellum, the Eastern coachwhip, photographed in Volusia county, Florida (29 December 2014).

This post is essentially a re-do. Heh. Earlier today, I posted the very same photographs of the very same snake, but I misidentified the young adult serpent as a Southern black racer (Coluber constrictor priapus). With major kudos to Peter May of Volusia Naturalist and then Chris Law of Roaming Reptiles of Central Florida, I can now identify this snake correctly as an Eastern coachwhip, Masticophis flagellum flagellum.

Continue reading Masticophis flagellum in Volusia county, Florida; 29 December 2014

Bulow Creek State Park in Volusia county, Florida; 04 January 2015

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During a lovely respite from the Floridian winter chill, on 04 January 2015 I headed east a few miles to the Colonel Thomas H. Dummett Sugar and Rum Processing Factory Ruins on the southern end of Bulow Creek State Park (and just north of Tomoka State Park in Volusia county). The ruins are located on the edge of the Old Dixie Highway — a part of the “Ormond Loop” (as locals refer to it). This is one my favorite local spots to hike and explore from. I often use the Dummett Ruins as a sort of homebase and work my way out and about from there.

Continue reading Bulow Creek State Park in Volusia county, Florida; 04 January 2015

Winding down 2014; Gearing up for 2015

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Diadophis punctatus punctatus, the Southern ringneck snake, photographed in Volusia county, Florida (28 December 2014).

And so –at long last– 2014 is finally starting to wind down. Honestly, thank heavens… Thank heavens this year is coming to a close. In all honesty, it simply was not a terrific year. It started off well enough, I suppose, but by the time October rolled around, I was exhausted. I won’t bore you with the details, but it should be pretty clear that I wasn’t all too active on Dust Tracks during the latter quarter of the year. I just didn’t get out and hike much, and I didn’t have much desire to write, photograph, or do much of anything creative or productive… No energy, no motivation. Just exhaustion.

Taking stock of the whimper that was 2014, I find myself more motivated to make 2015 more of a bang — despite any medical difficulties or otherwise. With the passing of Christmas (which was mercifully lovely in our home) and the approach of New Year’s, I’m finally getting jazzed again. Accompanying my growing ambition and motivation for the New Year, a few neighborhood yard snakes popped up this week, too — perhaps a pair of omens for the productive year to come…?

Continue reading Winding down 2014; Gearing up for 2015

Views from South Carolina

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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.

Continue reading Views from South Carolina

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

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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

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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

words and images by Janson Jones