Monday, August 24, 2009

Gone Fishin'

Well, I wasn't fishing, but I wasn't at the park much today at all. The park is set up to be available and functional, even when I am not there. Today was also the first day of school for many local students, so the park was very quiet anyway. I opened up in the morning and did my end of the week paperwork. I took a quick walk around the park and then headed out. I had to do my normal Monday running which includes going to a larger park, Ichetucknee Springs, which manages Troy to drop off paperwork. I also picked up some new uniforms and some park supplies that had arrived. It was VERY obvious that school was back in session when I saw the Ichetucknee parking lot. The past several Mondays, I have seen the parking lot nearly full (it has a couple thousand parking spaces). Today, there were no more than 20 vehicles.
After I left Ichetucknee, I traveled to the nearby city of Live Oak to pick up some fresh chlorine for the water system at Adams Tract. I got to Adams Tract in the afternoon, and spent the rest of my day there. I replaced the chlorine with a fresh batch because what we had was beginning to loose its potency. Because the new chlorine was so potent, I had to adjust the amount that the pump added to the water and I had to run the water for a long time to make sure that I had appropriate and safe levels at all of the faucets. It takes a long time for newly treated water at the pump to reach the farthest faucets, so I had time to kill. That is when I finally had a chance to take some photos. It was fun to be looking for things in a new place. Even though Adams Tract and Troy are only a few miles away from each other as the crow flies, there are enough differences in plants and insects to be noticeable. I had a great time.
I spotted a lovely little moth that was frantically trying to get a tiny ant off of its antenna. I felt its pain, I hate those biting ants! I took some pictures and was relieved when it finally defeated the ant. When I got home and looked up the moth, I made a great discovery. Not only did I find the name of the moth, I found the name of the caterpillar that I spotted a couple weeks ago! They are both Pink-striped Oakworm Moths. The moth is a male. The adults don't feed, they just reproduce. The caterpillars feed on Oak trees... we have a lot of Oaks.
Last week when I was at Adams Tract, I took a photo of two Robber Flies that are called Hanging Thieves. Today, I caught several photos of these Thieves at work, demonstrating where their name came from. They hang by one leg while they feast on the meal that they have caught. They were really cool to watch. One had caught a wasp and one had caught a bee. These Hanging Thieves may look scary and have worrisome names, but they are apparently, good bugs to have around.
I saw a stunning little butterfly that kind of vibrated its wings in an unusual way and it always landed facing the ground. I know that it is some type of Hairstreak, but I wasn't able to determine which kind. It was beautiful though, and another first for me.
The last photo is a flower that was a beetle playground. There were tiny beetles on almost every one of these flowers that I saw. It must be tasty if you are a beetle.

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