Looking for Bugs & Birds

It’s my third day on Conch Key. Thankfully nothing much has changed since our last visit in November. It’s warmer but just as breezy! I decided it was time I checked out Long Key State Park (my local wildlife reserve on the next island across 3-mile bridge).

Large South Florida Grasshopper

Long Key State Park is a little gem. Only a couple of quid to get in for the whole day, hardly any people but a beautifully kept nature trail through the tropical hammock (Florida woodland) and along the mangrove shoreline. Most of the time I have it to myself and yesterday was no exception.

In November the reserve was teaming with mozzies and consequently dragonflies. Yesterday I definitely had to work harder for my wildlife but it was just as enjoyable – and no mozzies!

Large South Florida Grasshopper

One thing I DIDN’T see in November were these Large South Florida Grasshoppers. They were bouncing around everywhere this time. At about three inches long they definitely live up to their name, and have a bounce to disarm anyone. Every time I got close to one it jumped about 20ft (no exageration) and was gone.

They remind me of Russian gymnasts with their long, strong legs and streamers trailing behind.

Insect

Talking of bugs, this is a proper bug for you(above). I’ve no idea what it is (I’ve tried to find it but failed miserably). Long legs, horned back and long antenna. Any ideas anyone? I’ve named it Fred until I can give it a proper name…

To the birds. A good day for birds saw two that I hadn’t seen before.

Gray Catbird

First a Grey Catbird. It took a while to ID this but Andrew came up trumps with the Bird ID book. A very secretive bird. Bigger than a blackbird and smaller than a jay. Apparently it mews like a cat at times. It wasn’t mewing yesterday but if I hear it you will be the first to know.

Wood Thrush

Now something that would look at home in an English country garden. It’s called a Wood Thrush. A very poised bird – looks like it’s posing for the camera all the time – doing the things that thrushes do in the leaves and undergrowth.

Osprey in Flight

Lastly an Osprey. I could hear it way before I saw it. Mewing high in the sky (no it wasn’t the Catbird!). I turned a corner and there it was perched on a dead tree. Unfortunately it took one look at me and decided to scarper. Hopefully I will be able to get some better pics of these lovely birds while I’m here.

That’s it for today. The wind is still howling but the sun is out and I’m just planning where to go today. Curry Hammock or Crane Point???

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~ by Jane on April 18, 2009.

2 Responses to “Looking for Bugs & Birds”

  1. Those grasshoppers are beautiful, but I think I’ll let you keep Fred – not too keen on the way he (she?) looks! Love the bird pictures.

    • Thanks Dragonstar. Funny, I’d much rather keep Fred and let you have the grasshoppers! They were so big they gave me the creeps. I was talking to someone the other day who said that in Texas they had so many grasshoppers at certain times of the year, they used to have to sweep them up in the yard and use their windscreen wipers to see out of their cars! Eghhh! Jane

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