Frogs by the garden hose

Introduced species play conspicuous roles in any ecosystem, particularly here in south Florida, the gateway to the Caribbean and most of Latin America. Every few years we hear of the potential for ecological harm posed by the latest introduction, either those that have escaped from captivity, like the walking catfish, Burmese python, or Purple Swamphen; the Everglades ecosystem is still threatened by the intentional introductions of invasive plant species like melaleuca and Brazilian Pepper.

Another widespread exotic species in Florida is Osteopilus septentrionalis, the Cuban Treefrog. It’s the largest treefrog in North America by far, and it’s considered an invasive […]

Spring 2010 migration count

Every spring and fall for the past five, maybe six, years, I’ve participated in the North American Migration Count for Palm Beach County. Last weekend I was responsible for two areas: Lake Ida Park and Dog Park in Delray Beach and South County Regional Park in western Boca Raton.

I began well before dawn in my driveway:

and made it to the lake well before sunup; here’s the sun rising over the lake about 20 minutes after I’d already started counting:

A few birds there were:

And many birds there weren’t. The […]

Frog Concertos

Lang Elliott, author and coauthor of many fabulous compilations of nature sounds (the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs, Frogs and Toads of North America, Songs of Insects, and many more) has just (finally!) released his much-anticipated CD of Frog Concertos. No narration, nothing to get in the way of the sounds of these wonderful little critters. Just 20 tracks, 1.2 hours (118.6MB in my iTunes), of frog recordings.

Downloadable through Amazon, or you can buy the CD from the author’s website. He has also posted descriptions of the songs (where and when recorded, what species are on the track) […]

Boca Beaches

One of the things that I admire about Boca is that, despite its many faults, it does have some semblance of a commitment to environmental practices. For instance, it isn’t supposed to groom the beach above high tide during turtle nesting season. So the beach gets a little ugly, but it keeps those gigantic machines off the turtle nests. Well, apparently no one told the operator of the giant beach groomer that we saw a few weeks back, chugging south along the beach well above the tide line. You can see how neat the beach above high tide looks in […]

A trip to Gumbo Limbo

The most exciting thing about Sunday’s trip to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center (other than giving Eric his first excursion in his new backpack) was the tree snail in the parking spot next to ours:

Related Images: […]

It’s raining cats and…frogs?

Unfortunately, given the precipitous worldwide population crash among frog populations over the last few years*, even though the rainy season has kicked into high gear here in Florida, I’m not hearing a lot of calling frogs.

Anecdotal evidence is mounting as well. When we first moved into our house in Florida,

[…]

Turtles race, now?

Well, I’ve been posting regularly here for nearly a week now, and rather than break the streak, I thought I’d at least cross-post an article from last month in Science Daily about Leatherback turtles. I’m still stuck on that book review. Maybe tomorrow… For more on the turtle race, visit National Geo’s website about the race. Of course, the race is no longer live; it finished earlier this month.

[…]

Cubans in Florida

With Fidel Castro’s health in serious decline the last few years, the media here in south Florida are waiting with bated breath to hear of the long-reigning leader of the island nation, and its communist government, to expire. Waves of human and animal exodus from the island have marked Florida, though. I discovered one in my garden this morning.

[…]

Why Herptiles? Some recent books…

If you’re like me, you might never have really wondered why the word herptile was invented. After all, “Reptiles and Amphibians” is easy enough to say. And besides, “reptiles” aren’t such a simple class, anyway: lots of reptiles have no business being included in the class Reptilia. Until recently, though, no one like me has really had to care about this, because until recently there hasn’t been anything like the slew of high-quality books about the herpetofauna of North America, and particularly of the Southeast, where I live, that has recently hit the market.

[…]

Limbless lizards

It was a dry winter here in subtropical Florida, with quite a bit less rain than normal since November. The temperatures haven’t been too unbearable, but the weekend before Easter brought a taste of summer: mid-80s, humid, and plenty of sun. That weekend also happened to be one of the few that I had time to get my hands a little bit dirty in the garden. So, there I was, weeding the cocoplum/palm/oak islands in the front yard. And then, when I couldn’t take it any longer and moved over to a shady corner of the house, I discovered […]