A Walk on the Wild Side at Lakes Park
Early morning walks in the park are the best, especially late this September. The air has become comfortable, the sun is not yet blazing overhead, and the uncultivated sections of the park have an almost mystical quality. At Lakes Park, wildlife encounters of all kinds are possible! Here are some of the plant and animal encounters we’ve had lately.
Why did the alligator snapping turtle cross the trail? Usually in search of food or a mate. Photo from Parks & Rec
Wildlife lover Janet Kirk walks the park frequently in search of photographic specimens. She was so excited to share a glimpse of this lately-elusive least bittern!
Another photographic capture by Janet Kirk – a pretty little prairie warbler.
Fall wildflowers are blooming along the trails in the uncultivated sections of the park. Here is some goldenrod showing its fall colors.
Coreopsis, also called tickseed – this is Florida’s state wildflower. It’s a common sight through the end of summer and into the fall.
Sagittaria, also called duck potato, was widely used as a food source by the indigenous people of the Americas.
American beautyberry – seed distribution happens when birds and animals eat the berries.
A green heron nearly hidden by vegetation at the lake’s edge. Their method of hunting is to stand still until something swims by within striking distance.
A threatened species in Florida due to habitat loss, the gopher tortoise is considered a “keystone” species because it’s burrow provides shelter for more than 300 other wildlife species.
Here’s a habitual dining area for a species of bird that dines on apple snails. If you look carefully in one of these areas, you’ll also find the shell’s operculum – the “trap door” that covers the aperture/opening of the shell when the animal retreats inside.
And here’s who dines on those apple snails – the limpkin, also called the crying bird due to its distinctive call.
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