Sunday, July 24, 2016

Owls, frogs, crayfish - oh my!

What a beautiful morning this was - early enough so that it felt comfortable, light enough to see where I was going.
On my way to the Bailey Tract I encountered a few rain puddles and in one of them was a Screech Owl taking a bath - I wish it had been light enough to catch this treasure in a photo because it truly was a sweet sight. Shortly after I arrived at the trail and I was instantly greeted by a chorus of frogs - quite impressive....I love this time of the year - sure it's summer and it's hot but it sure holds plenty of surprises....come along and see.....
now, how do you like that? A Crayfish at the Bailey Tract (my first sighting at this location)! I watched it for a while and wondered why it kept its tail curved under and thought that perhaps it had been injured once upon a time - ha! - was I in for a surprise when I put the photo on my computer and realized that she was loaded with eggs! I read up on it and found that reproduction usually happens in the spring, sexual maturity is reached when crayfish are between 5 and 8 years old. During mating, the male deposits the sperm and guides it into the sperm receptacle of the female. After fertilization, the eggs remain attached to the mother's swimming appendages for anywhere from 2 to 20 weeks. Newly hatched young remain attached to the mother for several days more through a stalk. They shed their outer layer and lose their stalked connection with their mother. Still, they remain attached by clinging to her for up to 2 weeks. They eventually leave the mother temporarily and eventually leave permanently. Maturity is reached after they have shed their outer layer 6 to 10 times. Upon leaving the mother, they begin their adult life. Pretty interesting stuff!

After my frogs & crayfish fascination - I walked into the Bailey Tract and was greeted by the usual local resident - the Great Egret in the Ani Pond.

I walked through and headed to the Sanibel Garden Preserve to check on the Swallow-tailed Kites and I was not disappointed.....look how many were still roosting!

A very young gator was nearby - about a foot long at the most.

I walked another mile and found more views of the Swallow-tailed Kites....

just in time to see some of them take flight

while others watched.

I then ventured into a new trail and decided to

name it: The Cassia Lane.

After a bit I started my way back, I had to stop and admire this White Peacock butterfly - this particular one seemed to sport more blue hues than usual.

Several Mottled Ducks were spotted - obviously the young ones have now grown to full size.

A young Little Blue Heron - calico fashion.

A Green Heron right out in the open - perhaps he thought I might lead it to some crayfish.

One of the early shorebird arrival: A Spotted Sandpiper - no longer in breeding plumage - so no spots left.

On my way out  I searched for those singing frogs and I finally was able to see a couple...

some were more active....

than others. A great morning from top to bottom!


  1. In Indiana we think of crayfish as bait! I love the photos of the little singing frogs. No wonder they are hard to find.

    1. Carol, I had a hard time locating those frogs too even though I could hear them loud and clear - so many now that we've had plenty of rain - they are happy!