On the trail and on the road

Citrus Blvd small

Here are some photos taken on sequential days from my Audubon chapter’s Citrus Boulevard Preserve in Martin County, and The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve in Kissimmee.

(Before I forget: Would the person who tried to send me an email through the Contact form please try again? Webmaster error sent your message into the void. Looking forward to hearing from you!)

The Audubon of Martin County preserve covers 270 acres on the outskirts of Palm City. Formerly a ranch, about half the land now contains a restored wetland. The rest of the preserve is about evenly divided between dry prairie and pine-oak flatwoods.

Citrus Blvd

Citrus Blvd

Two special ferns grow here. One is the endangered (in Florida) Hand Fern (Ophioglossum palmatum), growing on a Cabbage Palm.

Hand Fern at Citrus Blvd

The other is even more unusual. Apparently a variant of the common Blechnum serrulatum, it has an extraordinarily long center leaf.

Woodbury Fern at Citrus Blvd

We’ve named it for the late botanist Roy Woodbury, who first studied it. Woodbury was sure it was a new species; other botanists think it’s only a mutation of B. serrulatum. We’re hoping to test its DNA to find out for sure. Compare it with this photo of B. serrulatum, growing nearby.

Blechnum Serrulatum Fern at Citrus Blvd

Although we’re enduring a long-term drought, post-restoration hydrology at the preserve is good. This makes for lush vegetation,

Saw Palmetto at Citrus Blvd

but trails are quickly overgrown if not maintained.

Saw Palmetto at Citrus Blvd

The big offender is Saw Palmetto, which is aptly named.

Saw Palmetto at Citrus Blvd

Disney Wilderness Preserve

The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve began with 8500 acres given by Disney as mitigation for the theme park. Government agencies and other corporations donated adjoining parcels to complete the tract. The Nature Conservancy has been working since 1992 to restore this former lumber operation and ranch to its original condition. Last year they announced, “Mission Accomplished.”

Most of the preserve, which includes every habitat once found in central Florida, is inaccessible to visitors. I was fortunate to accompany my birding pal on a guided tour, and to take a course in Habitat Management there two years ago. These photos were taken yesterday.

Sandhill Cranes nest alongside the 2.5-mile driveway leading to the Visitor’s Center.

Disney Wilderness Preserve

In this photo you see dry prairie, with a cypress-dome wetland in the background.

The remaining photos were taken along the ~2-mile trail.

Disney Wilderness Preserve

Disney Wilderness Preserve

Disney Wilderness Preserve

Disney Wilderness Preserve

Disney Wilderness Preserve

Disney Wilderness Preserve

My birding pal Adrienne, searching for Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers.

Disney Wilderness Preserve

This mockingbird didn’t sing, but it’s the first bird that ever flew in closer when I tried to take its picture. I appreciate cooperative birds, so here it is again:

Disney Wilderness Preserve

This picture opens to 800×600 if you’re into mockingbirds.

Disney Wilderness Preserve

Lake Russell.

Disney Wilderness Preserve

Reflections on the lake.

Disney Wilderness Preserve

Disney Wilderness Preserve

Cypress domes.

Disney Wilderness Preserve

As always, thanks for looking.

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