Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mangel Muckabout

Meanwhile, out in the Gulf ...

Let's go into a mangel. (That's your new word for the day ... well, not you Thingfish). To get there, we'll need to wade up this sweet little tidal creek from the beach and into the mangrove forest (mangel!).

Watch your step. The creek is loaded with small molluscs and crustaceans and the stingrays will sometimes lie in the current slurping food off the bottom. Shuffle your feet a little as you walk. If you bump one from the side, he'll just scoot between your legs ... if you bring your foot down on one, he'll drive that poison slime coated tail barb into your foot.

Yes, right through your sneakers.

I know.

This creek is full of breeding killifish (mudminnows), mostly Gulf and Longnose killis. Wonderful little fish. So tough.

I admire that.

Excellent flounder bait also.

I really admire that.

Okay, we're here. These are black mangroves. See the pneumatophores sticking up out of the muck? Think of those as root snorkels.

These blacks are tolerant of cold so they are dominant here in Pure Florida. The wimpier reds and whites live farther south in ... South Florida. They're the ones with the fancy twisty prop roots.

We don't go in for that flashy "look at my convoluted root system" stuff up here in North Florida.

Let's go in.

What was that?
Not me, that thing that went zipping along the overhead branches.
No, there aren't any squirrels out here on this island.
Let's push on.
Can you walk a little quieter?
TO BE CONTINUED ...
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13 comments:

Doug Taron said...

The suspense is killing me.

That looks like a really cool ecosystem. Do you know if the mangrove skipper butterfly gets as far north as you? They're really beautiful, I've seen them a bunch of times down in the Keys.

robin andrea said...

What a cool place to explore. I can't wait to see what went zipping by you. So, who took that pic of you?

threecollie said...

Oh, the suspense.I am not sure I could wade where something might stick a poison spear through my foot. Just call me chicken.

Ava said...

Great post!!!

Deb said...

And here I thought a mangel was either a)a large beet or b)a laundry wringing device. Thanks for the biology lesson!

vicki said...

This post is, for me, a good learning note to leave on. Florida has been an education this winter and you and your blog have been good teachers. I appreciate that, even down here in South Florida where we have wimpier roots, both literally and figuratively. Can't wait to get back up and runing in Chicago to see the rest of this post and to start sharing some new things, some zoo things, and some windy city things with you.

Regarding Katie. First off, I'm glad she's okay. It's so frightening when your child, no matter what age, is having health issues. That post put me in mind of two things and the first is to say that the health service at USF-Tampa is great-user friendly, well-staffed. Abby was in just yesterday to get her free pre-Africa check-up and meds and she was pleased with the care and ease of drop-in, no wait appointments crammed between finals. So Katie will have a good resource there.

It also brought me back to access concerns for first responders. I am always worried about that with Bud, up there at Lost Loon Lodge. It's so remote. Between children and parents, there's always something. ;-)

Now- off to the airport!

vicki said...

btw- way back when we were anthropomorphizing, I left a lengthy comment about the controversy of that, even/esp. at zoos and also upside of people doing that. Darn word verification.

Zanne said...

Thanks for the tour it brings back good memories of traveling through the black mangrove swamps in Belize! Can you take a shot of the water? Is it black? The water in the Belizean mangrove forest was inky black and there were manatees gliding under our boat. We had to take the guides word for it because there was no way to see anything in that water.

I'm thinking some kind of lizard skinking across the top of that canopy.

Hurricane Teen said...

Could it be La Chupacabra?

Floridacracker said...

Doug,
I don't know about that butterfly. I confess to being weak in the insect arena.

Robin,
The long arm solo shot.
We continue our muckabout manana.

ThreeChickie,
Just remember to shuffle your feet ... or let someone else go in front of you ;)

Ava,
Welcome back! Glad you liked this walk.

Deb,
Certainly not a daily word for most of us. Glad you got something new from this post!

Vicki,
"drop in - no wait appointments" ??? Are you sure they're real docs? Did they skip "How to make your patients wait for at least 45 minutes" class?
Thanks for the info. It's actually Emma who is going to USF, Kate's Gator bound. Still useful info tho.
I hope your trip to the northlands is a pleasant one.

Zanne,
This mangel is on a small island and is inundated by clear Gulf waters so mostly it's not tannin stained, but it did have some decent muck. Not a reptile that scurried across ...

HTeen,
No goat suckers out here ... remoras, but that's all.

Sandy said...

I'm walking as quietly as I can. What a wonderful grove to explore.

SophieMae said...

So glad your baby girl is OK!!! I'd almost forgotten you had one at USF. I spent two wonderful summers studying there and loved every minute.

I LOVE magroves! They don't fare well up here. 8-\ My first thought, re the overhead zip-per, was a mangrove tree crab. But I seem to recall they're only found in red mangroves. Yes, no, maybe?

Floridacracker said...

Sandy,
You're doing great. It's the guy with the boots.

Sophie,
Thanks. She's not there yet, starts at USF in August. Pretty exciting!!
Today's post shows the overhead critter.
Good guess tho.