Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Look Up, Look Down, Look Up

This wild black cherry tree grows near my garden from a seed I planted. Every year the tentworm caterpillars do their webby nesty thing on every available cherry tree. I've decided, they may cause some temporary cosmetic problems, but no serious damage is done to the tree. Even after the caterpillars denude a section, the tree seems to rebound with new leaf output.

I've also noticed, nothing seems to eat them. I've tossed tentworm caterpillars in the pond and the fish generally ignore them. I never see birds eating them, although that could be timing.

When I saw this little LGB picking at the silken tentworm nest, I thought, "You go bird! Eat 'em up!" I was watering my beans, melons, tomatoes, and squash at the time and was only able to get this shot, before the bird flew off.

Then it came back.

This time I was able to see what it was doing more clearly. It wasn't eating caterpillars, it was stealing silk for it's nest construction somewhere in the oaks. Slick little silk stealer.

In the lichens growing near the garden was this drop of water captured neatly in the symbiotic grip of a fungal - algal partnership. Precious stuff, this water. It has not rained here for weeks.
You may remember my anguish over sentencing this young chestnut to life on our place last spring. It seemed like such a nice little tree and being planted here has proven to be hazardous for young fruit and nut trees. Didn't seem quite fair really. Poor thing ...

I'm happy to report, he's doing fine and is sporting all kinds of new chestnutty foliage. Keep your fingers crossed.


I mentioned the book, "Dark Light" by Randy White when I returned from my recent hiatus. The story turned out to be most excellent for a Floridaphillic fellow like FC. The only bad thing was his character was WAY too similar to one I've been kicking around in my head, so my novel idea will need a good dose of tweaking. Doncha hate that?

I found a neat Florida nature blog last night while searching through endless "my politics, my thoughts on life,my kids, my dating, my get rich quick, ... my drivel blogs". Check out the Paddle Tales link over to the right. Wonderful "sea level" shots of wildlife from a kayak.

I know it's only Tuesday, but Friday's Florida Food post is the real (as in extremely Floridian) thing, and I bet you've never eaten it. No, it's nothing obvious like gator or rattlesnake. Better ... better tasting that is.
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roger said...

i read that some florida sports team just won some sorta contest. would that be the team favored in your house?

even chickens don't eat tentworms.

Laura @ SomewhereinNJ said...

Don't you have cuckoos and orioles in Florida? Maybe your other bugs are just better tasting than here in NJ, cause lots of birds eat them here.

kevin said...

I don't mean to hijack the thread but I bet Mrs. FC is happy today.

Also, is there any chance I might know about Friday's post?

robin andrea said...

Nice shot of that precious water, fc. You send me some of your ultraviolet, and I'll gladly send you some of our water.

It is nice to stumble on to a blog that just has good photos and no other commentary about kids- dating- get-rich-quick- politics, but I like those too.

Floridacracker said...

the missus is beside herself with glee.

Two birds that aren't common. Wish they were!

If anyone does ...

Whew, the UV is intense today. I was thinking about getting in the boat, but I'm letting the peak UV pass first.
Oops, I wasn't criticizing all those categories, there were just so damn many of THEM, her kayak site was like an oasis in the desert.
Must'a been the word "drivel" ... there's a heck of a lot of that out there. Blogs don't have editors ... not impartial ones anyway :)

Rurality said...

Laura beat me to it, I was going to say, cuckoos eat them!

I also was going to say Blue gray gnatcatcher for your lgb, but I don't see any white in his tail so maybe not. Their nests are really cool though!

SophieMae said...

I'm pretty sure your LGB is a Blue-grey Gnatcatcher. Nice shot of a hard to catch subject.

And the water! Almost forgot what that looked like!

Thanks for reminding me about Paddle Tales. It's been a while. She does get some great photo ops out there in the kayak.

pablo said...

I don't know. How can we trust that what you're telling us is true and not another joke?


OldHorsetailSnake said...

FC: Thanks for directing me to Paddle Tales -- excellent work and I'll be going there frequently.

Floridacracker said...

Rurality and Sophie,
Thanks for the ID. I knew I could count on the serious birders. If he eats sandgnats, I LOVE HIM. I wondered if Sophie knew of paddle tales, it's her area.

I think I got you, but you covered your tracks.
I only prank on official prank days, I promise.

You're welcome! I hope you are feeling better.

ImagineMel said...

cool pics! Good places to eat in St. Augustine? We're going to go up there a day or two this week.

Deb said...

It's amazing how that lichen captures the water; almost as if it was designed for doing just so.

Just had to walk Calvin thru a science project. It is snowing enough that I don't even know if there's school tomorrow. I got stuck in the driveway tonight. April in Minnesota is so fum...

pissed off patricia said...

Well, I think the little bird, whatever it is, is so cool going to fetch nesting material from the tent. When I brush my cat I put the fur balls from the brush out in the yard and the fly catchers come down and get them and take them to their nest for nesting material. Yep, we recycle fur. :)

Are you going to cook swamp cabbage?

Floridacracker said...

Have breakfast at Theos at the intersection of US1 and King Street.

Have seafood at either Barnacle Bill's, Osteen's, or Schooner's.

The lichen pic grabbed me too. Snow? It might rain here today finally.

Cool cat comb story. Swamp cabbage ... No, but that would be a good side.

pissed off patricia said...

Hmmm, could it be that you will cook wild boar? The first time I ate it was also my last time. Did not care for it a bit.

I'm pretty sure you are not making something from turtle meat and I'm very sure you aren't making something from sea turtle meat. :)

Cathy said...

I'm 'thirding' the BG Gnatcatcher. Pretty astute observation - seeing him pull away the silk.

Floridacracker said...

I have eaten seaturtle and seaturtle eggs ... legally.
That's proof I've been around awhile.

Thanks, with 3 dittos, I agree.

Hurricane Teen said...

So many books to read!! And I will have to check out that blog some time. I love being a Floridaphile!

Rurality said...

Hey FC go here http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i7510id.html to listen to their "song". I hear them a lot more than I see them. It will probably sound familiar to you already.

Floridacracker said...

Read on, Dude, read on.
Don't forget Islands In The Stream.

Will do!