Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tosohatchee WMA, March 26, 2011

My son Pete suggested we visit Tosohatchee WMA to search for wildflowers. It's just over the Brevard Co. border, west of the St. Johns River. A sign at the entrance warned us of deep sand on the roads in the area and advised that only 4-wheel vehicles should enter. Although my vehicle is not 4-wheel drive, we drove on anyway and had no problems.

I didn't photograph any birds, but we saw lots of red-shouldered hawks and black vultures, a few kingfishers, little blue herons, and a palm warbler; heard a pileated woodpecker, Carolina wren, and white-eyed vireo.
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Power Line Road

This is the main road through the WMA. If runs from near the entrance (on Taylor Creek Rd) east to the St. Johns River.
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Dixie iris, prairie iris (Iris hexagona, Iridaceae)
Native

An online article about Tososhatchee WMA says "spring-blooming irises add swaths of color to the landscape." I wasn't expecting to see so many, though--mostly in ditches alongside Power Line Rd. This is the only iris the USF/ISB online plant atlas shows for Brevard and Orange Counties. It is the most common iris in Florida and is widespread. This is the first appearance of iris in this blog.
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Fish Hole Road

We ventured a short distance off Power Line Rd a couple of times. This gave us a chance to look through a few different habitats. The following seven items were found near our stop on Fish Hole Rd.
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Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata, Lamiaceae)
Native
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American snowbell (Styrax americanus, Styracaceae)
Native

This was a new plant for me. The shrub was growing in woods along the edge of a trail off Fish Hole Road.
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Leavenworth's tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii, Asteraceae)
Native
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Grasshoppers

Pete found this gathering of lubber grasshopper nymphs feasting on fresh dogfennel.
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Fourpetal St.John's-wort (Hypericum tetrapeltalum, Clusiaceae)
Native
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Water oak (Quercus nigra, Fagaceae)
Native
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Tracks

The top tracks look like racoon. The bottom one is probably a lizard.
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Turtles

This small body of water with sunning turtles was at the edge of the St. Johns River plains. The trees in the distance are cypress, newly leafed out.
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Canadian toadflax (Linaria canadensis, Plantaginaceae)
Native
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Cutleaf eveningprimrose (Oenothera laciniata, Onagraceae)
Native
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Hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium, Convolvulaceae)
Native

This is the first appearance of this wildflower in this blog.
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Sand blackberry (Rubus cuneifolius, Rosaceae)
Native

We found a blackberry bush that had an orange, powdery substance on the underside of its leaves. I later found that it was caused by a fungus called orange blackberry rust.
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Long Bluff Road/River Trail

We drove a short distance down Long Bluff Road to the entrance of River Trail. This was a very weedy trail with many familiar wildflowers.
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Southern beeblossom (Gaura angustifolia, Onagraceae)
Native
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Bay lobelia (Lobelia feayana, Campanulaceae)
Native, Florida endemic
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Virginia plantain, southern plantain (Plantago virginica, Plantaginaceae)
Native
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Yellow blue-eyed grass, annual blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium rosulatum, Iridaceae)
Not native

This was a surprise find. I had seen it only once before (in a mowed grass area in Wickham Park). It's a tiny flower, a cousin of narrowleaf blue-eyed grass. About half the photos at the USF/ISB online plant atlas show this flower as yellow and half as rose-colored.
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Pennsylvania everlasting, Pennsylvania cudweed (Gamocaeta pensylvanica, Asteraceae)
Not native
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Unidentified

This is a small white flower, resembling a lily (6 petals). 
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Views of St. Johns River

Power Line Rd. ends at the river, a popular fishing spot.
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Florida banded water snake

We stopped to photograph some yellow flowers and found this harmless snake in the water.
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Fourleaf vetch (Vicia acutifolia, Fabaceae)
Native
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Butterweed (Packera glabella, Asteraceae)
Native

After the iris, butterweed was the showiest flower we saw. It's a fast-growing, succulent plant. On the way back home, I stopped and took the bottom photo in a field near the intersection of I-95 and SR 520. This is the first appearance of buttereweed in this blog.
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