Yesterday, I realized my stash of new photos had dwindled. I blame this on my recent return to work and the resulting clash of work time vs. photography time. It had gotten to the point where I was photographing broken coffee makers...imagine.
So, I stepped out in the morning steam yesterday with my camera, intending to wander down to the pond or some other crittery place. It had rained hard the night before (and again this morning ... yes!) so I thought something might be moving.
Sure enough, the young velvet buck and his entourage were in the front yard eating my cosmos, a scant 20 feet from a porch full of sleeping dogs. The buck has changed dramatically, his twin spikes are now proudly branching into a beautiful rack.
The deer saw me and slowly walked off towards the treeline. I had swung up for a photo, but the change in humidity from freezing airconditioned house (Mrs. FC) to steamy real Florida fogged my lens and the moment was one to remember on wetware, not hardware.
I stepped off the porch and had taken about 3 steps when the scene below caught my eye. On a giant peppermint amaryllis plant (that needs division) were two unusual hoppers.
"This will do ", I thought.
I knelt down for a closer look. The hoppers were angling their long antennae towards me as if taking a reading on this big interloper.
They were sporting kind of a Cindy Lauper clash of colors ... or is it more Boy George?
When I gently pushed an amaryllis leaf aside for more light on the hoppers, I found this huge land snail munching in a private dining room. This is a really big land snail for north Florida. We don't have the big beautiful tree snails of south Florida.
So, after the hoppers and the snail discovery, I was curious as to who else might be hanging out on Amaryllis Island. I walked slowly around it, looking under and over the leaves and sure enough, I found one more inhabitant. This young Carolina Anole was sunning in the upper regions. He has an amazingly long tail, most have tails in various states of stubby regeneration after close calls with predators.
I had gone all of five steps from my porch and had something to share with you thanks to Amaryllis Island.
Amaryllis Island ...you Floridians out there may be thinking what I'm thinking. Somewhere in Florida, there's a gated community of cookie cutter identical stuccoed hip-roofed houses crammed shoulder to shoulder on 1/4 acre lots called Amaryllis Island.
If not, it's on some developer's drawing board.