Friday, November 23, 2012

Shingle Creek, Part 2

As mentioned in the previous post, besides just wanting to get out to this area for a hike, my visit was an attempt to find out if any Red-breasted Nuthatches might be around out in the pine trees at Shingle Creek. Once you leave the swamp that lines the creek, there is an open hike that leads to a couple of areas known as pine islands. They are areas that contain mainly pine scrub in the middle of the wetlands that make up most of the Shingle Creek property.

Pine Island

I figured if there were going to be any Nuthatches out here it would have to be in this excellent environment. Nothing but pines and palmetto out in these spots.

Pine Island

There was a tiny sound near the entrance of the trail and I saw a small bird. I wanted to verify the species and get a picture but it disappeared. I walked about 50 yards down the trail when I realized that my hopes of finding Nuthatches were about fading to zero. There was a not a sound out here. Just wind. My next thought was that this is going to turn into a flower finding hike from here on out. OK. First up on the edge of the trail was one of the many species of Golden Aster.

Golden Aster

I noticed these flowers up ahead. At first I thought they were a species of rare milkweed that I had seen on a Jay Watch day. The more I studied the plants I noticed they didn't have the proper parts for milkweed.

Narrow-leaved Sabatia

Nearby, another clump of white flowers was beckoning. These turned out to be Narrow-leaved Sabatia. When I got the photos side by side at home I determined that the first white flowers had to be a withering example of the same flower. They just look different at different stages of their blooming period.

Narrow-leaved Sabatia

One of my favorite little flowers out in flatwoods is the Yellow Star-grass. Sometimes it is hard to get the exposure right if the day is super bright since their petals are so bright yellow.

Yellow Star-grass

I still am not sure about this yellow flower. It is even smaller. If you happen to know, feel free to pass it along.

Yellow flower

As the trail reached to farthest point to the North it curved and the path was basically taken over by tall grasses. I had to press on to get back to the scrubbier parts on the far side of the curve back.

Grassy Trail

Once the soil got more moist, the flowers began to appear again. In one little patch some small flowers could be found among the thinning grasses. Turns out to be a Butterwort.


I then turned my attention to another tiny flower, this one more purple. I later made the discovery that these flowers, like the Sabatia earlier, are the same species but at different stages.


Another favorite flower of mine is the Batchelor Button. They are hard to miss with their large, bright yellow heads bobbing in the breeze. The orientation is correct. This flower was hanging sideways.

Batchelor Button

Less seen on my travels is the Bog Batchelor Button. They are similar to the yellow Batchelor Button but tend to be shorter, almost attatched to the ground, and orange. I found a lot of them here today.

Bog Batchelor Button

Armed with a new gallery of flower images I headed to the exit of the East Pine Island Loop. I was almost out of the loop when I heard a little chipping sound in the pines near the tables. The bird was still here so I might have a chance at a photo. But that short tale will be in the next post...

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