Rob Diaz de Villegas WFSU-TV
I saw this photo over the weekend when the family and I visited the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. We had known that we were going to be going for several weeks (my son Maximus loves watching marine life in tanks), yet it was only on the drive there that I remembered that I had given two photos to the Aquarium to use for an oyster reef/ toadfish exhibit (the one in the photo to the right was taken by WFSU web producer Trisha Moynihan). Polly Perkins, an exhibit developer for the Aquarium, saw some of the photos on this blog and figured that we might have some images of the habitat. I directed her to our flickr page, where we have hundreds of photographs documenting the research of Dr. David Kimbro and Dr. Randall Hughes of the FSU Coastal & Marine Lab, as well of the coastal ecosystems they work in. In recent months, our In the Grass, On the Reef flickr collection has reflected our expanded interest in ecosystems further inland and in ecotourism. The slideshow below offers a taste of the images we’re collecting on our flickr page (if you look hard enough on our page, you can see the image we had in the FSU promotional spot that aired during sporting events in this academic year).
Browse the In the Grass, On the Reef photo collection.
The day after we visited the Aquarium, we took an Easter visit to River Hills Park along the Hillsborough River. When we got there, I was delighted to see a Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail sign in the parking lot. It was a great day for bird watching, as blue heron, ibis, and a good variety of ducks and ducklings were frolicking on the riverbank right in front of the boardwalk:
I also noticed a plentitude of apple snails. Last December we paddled the Wacissa River looking for limpkins, and while we saw a lot of cool things, it was a little late in the year and we didn’t see limpkins. So when I saw the apple snails, I was hopeful. And then I saw this bird, and I thought, this looks a lot like a limpkin. I checked it in my father-in-law’s bird guide, and I’m 99% sure that this is was. If anyone knows that I’m wrong, let me know in the comments section:
You can watch our EcoAdventure along the Apalachicola, where we hit some Birding Trail sites, here. We saw birds, but it was winter and many species had migrated south. With that in mind, we’ll be heading to the Saint Marks Wildlife Refuge to catch all the birds heading back into our area. Look for that in May.