Monday, March 2, 2015

A Walk on No Name Key

No Name Key is a small island adjacent to Big Pine Key. It has only 43 houses, and most of the land is National Wildlife Refuge property. Old roads and paths criss-cross the refuge property, and are used as walking trails.

Teri and I continue to scout new "Wild Wednesday Walk" locations, and took a walk this morning on No Name Key.

Overhead we enjoyed good looks at this juvenile Magnificent Frigatebird. Adult birds have black heads, with the males losing the white "vest" as well.
Juvenile Magnificent Frigatebird
The wetlands can be great for waders, or there may be nothing at all. We've not figured out the secret of where and when to find the birds. Today we saw only a couple of White Ibis.
White Ibis
There is a wooden pier at the end of the island that always hosts a bunch of Royal Terns, and usually a few cormorants and gulls as well.
Royal Terns
A fairly common small tree in the hardwood hammocks is Blackbead. Blackbead is an important larval food plant for several butterflies, including the endangered Miami Blue. The tree gets its name from the black seeds, which are sometimes gathered and strung for bracelets and necklaces. We found these newly opened seed pods, revealing the sweet red aril which surrounds the seeds and are relished by birds.
Blackbead Seed Pod
We visited the flooded quarry and once again saw Needlefish. The sun was shining brightly and we noted that the fish had a blue iridescent color.
Needlefish pair
Temperatures here are reaching the mid 80's and it remains quite humid, so unlike the rest of the country we wouldn't mind seeing a little cooler weather!!