Patch Work

There is an old line familiar to anyone who has served in the military about how you are taught to be a “Jack-of-all-trades” but master of none. My local birding locations are like that. Most who take up birding seriously have a “patch”, a place with which they are (or become) familiar and visit on a regular basis. Thus, they learn the species which are likely to be found in that area in any given season, become accustomed to the terrain and environment and are quick to notice any changes in the local avian population.

We are blessed with an overabundance of patches. I pretend to know a lot about each nearby place that I visit frequently, but in reality I seem to encounter something new on every visit. So, in keeping with my military training, I have become an average birder who claims several patches but am an expert in none of them.

Last week, I made a short visit to one of those patches in the hope of finding some nesting activity. Mister birding expert located exactly zero nesting birds. Adding insult to injury, I came away with no photographs of a bird I would display in public.

It was, however, a very pleasant morning! Okay, it was extremely humid, but that goes with the territory at this time of year. I have a new lens I wanted to try so somewhere below is an “artsy” swamp image. Flowers are blooming, bugs are buzzing.

I came home birdless, but happy.

 

Patch: Colt Creek State Park

The morning sun was largely obscured within a dense hammock. The large cypress and bay trees allowed a reflection in a small pool. These swampy spots are peaceful, still places which I really enjoy exploring.

Colt Creek State Park

 

Last month, some fields were almost solid violet, white and green as the Purple Passionvine (Passiflora incarnata) responded to just the right amount of rain at just the right time. On this trip, there were still a few blooms around, to the delight of a large amount of pollinators.

Colt Creek State Park

 

A female Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) uses a thistle bloom as an ambush platform.

Colt Creek State Park

 

Large eye-spots and its flight low to the ground help identify this butterfly as one of Florida’s most abundant, a Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia).

Colt Creek State Park

 

Similar in overall coloration to the Buckeye but a bit more orange, a Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) is a more energetic flier and it’s hard to get one to hold still for a portrait.

Colt Creek State Park

 

In our area of central Florida, there are only three commonly seen white butterflies (family Pieridae). This Checkered White  (Pontia protodice) stopped its nervous flight for a moment and I managed one image.

Colt Creek State Park

 

A trip to any outdoor area can be pleasant. If you know the area well and find some of the local inhabitants that’s even better. When you know your patch so well you can complete your birding checklist from your favorite armchair – well, that’s a whole other level of expertise!

We hope you enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

 

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Colt Creek State Park

Categories: Florida, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Patch Work

  1. I can live with ‘no birds’ when you delight us with images like these, Wally. We don’t have any species of your Blue Dasher’s family in UK, but I have read that one was once found on a North Sea oil rig! Your butterflies are gorgeous – especially that Common Buckeye.

    I hope you are enjoying your weekend. My very best wishes to you and Gini for the week ahead – – – Richard

    • Our exploits are currently limited to short jaunts in the mornings, Richard. Thunderstorms are rolling through each day right on schedule as we enter the “wet season”. We’re happy for the water, but it certainly is an inconvenience for birders/buggers/photographers. (And I probably resemble one of those more than the others…)

  2. Loved wandering with you. Perhaps you heard my ooohs and ahhhs. And am very grateful to do so without the humidity. The sweaty season makes me a sad, soggy and grumpy mess.

  3. Florice

    looks cool and so inviting. wish I was there to enjoy it with you.

    • Ahh, but looks can be deceiving, Dear Sister! “Cool” is a relative term and that’s what the air-conditioned house is when we return from the hot and very humid swamp!
      We certainly wish you were here, too!
      Love you!

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