As I sit here typing during the early evening of Wednesday 18 February 2015, a lovely little Arctic Blast is kicking its way down the throat of the American southeast. Indeed, spring never felt so far away… heh. Still, it won’t be too long before the chill retreats and spring launches forward toward summer. I can honestly tell you that I’m looking forward to the warmer temperatures. I’m ready to get going this year… I’m ready for some serious outdoors action with the best Florida has to offer. Being outdoors is the closest thing I’ve known to therapy, and I could use some ourdoor therapy right about now!
Recently, I’ve been easing my way back into the more-productive side of life, photography, and composition. I’ve taken it terribly easy on the writing side of life this past half year or so (for a number of reasons), but I feel the itch starting to come back on, thank heavens. In preparation for spring and what’s to come, I’m shifting the focus and methodology of Dust Tracks a bit. I’ve also created a second blog: phosTracks. Let me explain.
Dust Tracks will remain Dust Tracks; the only difference is that I will continue to post less frequently than I did from 2011-2013. In my way of thinking, Dust Tracks will be a good place to write narratives covering specific hiking events — or other topics/subjects I want to dig more deeply into (such as a species or park profile). Dust Tracks will be the more text-heavy of the two blogs, and I suspect once the season gets going, I may average around a post a week.
On the flipside, phosTracks will be more photo-centric. I’ve been working through new and old photographs alike and want to feature images in a less-cluttered, more-minimalist fashion. That’s what phosTracks is for. Each post will feature only one photograph accompanied by a short descriptive caption. And that’s about it. Some photographs will be new versions of photographs previously seen on Dust Tracks in a different form, but many others will be entirely new to the web. My goal is to focus more on the photography itself in phosTracks. If Dust Tracks is a celebration of nature and ecology, phosTracks is my celebration of light and photography.
Both blogs have now been integrated and linked to one another. If you’ve enjoyed following Dust Tracks, I hope you’ll consider checking out phosTracks. They are somewhat similar, but they’re certainly not the same!
Now, let’s get this Arctic Blast behind us and get outdoors!
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
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
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
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, 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, 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