Panther Island Adventures!

Panther Island is 2,800 acres of restored wetland and upland habitats situated in the northwest corner of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary's 13,000 acres. It is home to numerous plants and animals including the Florida panther and the iconic wood stork.
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Monday, February 28, 2011

Fire videos coming soon!

sorry for the delay...I am having some problems getting some fire video uploaded!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Landscape shots!

 So sorry I haven't gotten around to posting earlier in the week! Here are some pretty landscape shots to tie you over until my Monday post!

Left: Field of sunflowers 

Right: A short hydroperiod pond 

Left: One of the mesic pine flatwoods 

Right: Recreated area dominated by muhly grass in  bloom

Monday, February 14, 2011

Critter of the Week Feb. 14: Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius barbouri) VENOMOUS!

    The dusky pigmy rattlesnake is a short but thick snake, gaining lengths of just 12-24 inches. But don't let the size of this guy make you feel safe...they are a venomous snake as are all rattlesnakes. Many people feel this is a pretty aggressive snake, and one should respect it and give it a wide berth! All photos here were taken at a safe distance with a zoom lens. As you can see by the photo to the left, their camouflage works great! I almost stepped on this guy! Their rattles are small, and you don't typically hear them.
    The dusky pigmy rattlesnake is actually one of three subspecies of pigmy rattlesnake and is the only one found in Florida. The other two subspecies are the Carolina and the Western. All three subspecies have ranges overlapping in Mississippi.
    The rattles of rattlesnakes are pretty neat. They are actually formed from a series of nested hollow beads. These beads are actually formed from modified scales. Every time the snake sheds, a new rattle is added so the bigger fatter ones by the body are the newest. The very tip of the tail are the oldest rattles, and they do become more brittle as the snake ages and can wear down and break off at the tip. Newborn rattlesnakes don't have the ability to rattle until they shed their skin for the first time thus gaining an additional button for making the noise. Juvenile pigmy rattlesnakes actually have a yellowish-green tail tip (seen in the picture below).

      Dusky pigmy rattlesnakes can be found in a variety of habitats including pine flatwoods, prairies, ponds and lake edges, along canals, and freshwater marshes and swamps. They eat primarily small rodents and frogs but will eat insects as well.
       The female gives birth to 5-7 live young (ovoviviparous) and these newborns are approximately 6 inches long. Again, please respect these snakes and the important role they play in our ecosystems! And give them a wide berth for yours and their safety!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Prescribed Fire!

A picture of a prescribed fire in a pine flatwood
 This was, in this picture, a low intensity slow moving backing fire. 
 An example of a more intense fire from the same burn but later in the day. The fuel is different (saw palmetto as opposed to the earlier grasses). Winds were also picking up, thus adding more oxygen to fuel the flames. 
 The last leg of the fire. Classic example of how a pine flatwood burn with grasses understory would look. We wanted shorter flames that would not scorch the tops of the pine trees.

DISCLAIMER: We are doing these prescribed fires under certain climatic conditions and only after meeting criteria required by local fire departments as well as division of forestry. Staff have been trained on how to conduct these burns! Do NOT attempt these on your own property!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Update soon!

So we managed to get a prescribed fire done today. I will post some photos soon and give you some information about burning instead of a critter/plant of the week!