Earth Day at PINWR

An artful strangler fig (Ficus aurea) snakes around the trunk of a sabal palmetto (Sabal palmetto) at the entrance to the Centennial trail at the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge (PINWR), the very first national wildlife refuge, on Earth Day 2020.  We also saw a snake in the grass, a souther black racer (Coluber constrictor priapus), sunning itself on the way to the Joe Michael Trail …

Even though it was early morning, birds were not especially abundant, but marsh rabbits (Sylvilagus plasters) abounded …

Repeated mowing along the concrete trail sidewalk, unfortunately, has reduced the spring wildflower  populations to just a few blanket flowers (Gaillardia pulchella) …

… and a bit of butterfly pea vine (Centrosema virginianum) …

No lyre leaf sage (Salvia lyrata) or oakleaf fleabane (Erigeron quercifolius), were present, and the rose-of-plymouth (Sabatia stellaris) was minimal along the Centennial trail but was flourishing below the Pelican Island Overlook adjacent to the Indian River Lagoon …

Other common names for this annual native plant include sea pink, marsh pink, saltmarsh pink, saltmarsh sabatia, and annual rose gentian.  Its color can vary from bright pink to pale pink to white.

Common beggarticks (Bidens alba), a weedy native wildflower, was abundant and attracted the attention of this gulf fritillary butterfly (Agraulis vanillae) …

The flowers of night-blooming, moth-pollinated moon vine (Ipomoea alba) last only one evening and were on the wane, as we departed …

 

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