March 22, 2011
Another new place Sunday: the South Venice Lemon Bay Preserve. We were hoping for water (Janet and I are always hoping for water), but the most we found was a pond sort of thing (a slough?). Still, the plant life was a little different from that growing in other places we’ve visited, and I saw my first walking stick in Florida. Can you see him in the first photo? I was intending only to photograph the interesting dried ferns; then the “stick” moved. It may be a good thing that the animal in the second photograph didn’t move, or didn’t move much, especially over to our side of the pond. His buddy was in the water closer to us swimming in the directions we walked, keeping his eye on us. Together they might have been braver. The third photograph is the hawk (red-shouldered, I think) who got away the week before. The fifth—a pine tree surrounded by a ring of saw palmettos—is a composite of several photographs that I had Photoshop stitch together. The last two photos are looking into a stack of window glass leaning against a wall in back of a store in Venice, where we stopped for lunch.
March 13, 2011
The Red Bug Slough Preserve is located in what the website calls “suburban Sarasota.” That sounds funny to me, though not as funny as “suburban Oberlin” would sound. Anyway, it’s right outside the city limits. And it’s a real surprise: lots of water features, many woodsy spots, and not too many people, though more than Janet and I are used to seeing on a Sunday morning. It’s hard to find a clear definition of “slough,” though the sources I consulted agree on the pronunciation, “slew.” A slough can be, apparently, a creek that runs through a marsh, a swamp or shallow lake system with trees, a stream distributary (which sent me chasing the meaning of “distributary”—it’s the opposite of “tributary”: a stream that branches off and flows away from a main stream channel), or a regular stream. The water in the preserve seemed to be all of these. I messed up on four shots of birds (a hawk, an egret, a great blue heron, and a little blue heron). Other things stay a little stiller and give me a better chance to capture them. That’s the ubiquitous cabbage (sabal) palm in the first photo. The second photo shows, amid the sprinkling of duck weed, the dead version of some leaves that look like the cattails of the midwest. I never see the seed parts, though, so I think they are not cattails. The reflections of willows and some live versions of the noncattails are in the third photo, along with a plant floating on the water’s surface called water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes). Some experts think water lettuce is a native plant, but others think it arrived in the ballast of explorers’ sailing ships and that its origin is Africa. Either way, it’s a problem plant. See http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/node/328 if you want to know more about it.
March 9, 2011
The thing about Cortez, the nearby fishing village, is that there are so many complex surfaces there to photograph. We can always find things that are falling apart, being put together, and/or weathered. A park area just east of the village is being developed. Janet and I walked through green plants and on tan and brown earth and past water in bayous and suddenly came across a huge outcrop of pinky salmon-colored mother-of-millions (Kalanchoe daigremontiana). They were spectacular. Later, husband David, the biologist, told me they are invasive. Just now I looked up mother-of-millions on the web and found out that Australia has declared the plant a noxious weed because it can kill cattle if the cattle eat it. Pity. They were really lovely. What I captured in this photograph represents only about 1/20th of what we saw. Mother-of-millions (also called mother-of-thousands and other names, probably not all polite) is a succulent native to Madagascar.