Purple swamphens in Florida, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

5 December 2016

The rare and exotic Purple Swamphen is an introduced bird species to Florida from southeast Asia. It is like a native Purple Gallinule on steroids – the size of a large chicken and stunning in its purple and green beauty.

A video of the native Purple Gallinule which is much smaller and has different beak coloration can be seen here.

The Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) was added to the ABA Checklist based on a naturalized population found in Florida. Following a 7–0 vote in August 2012 by members of the Florida Ornithological Society Records Committee to add the species to the Official Florida State Bird List, the CLC voted 7–1 to accept the Purple Swamphen as an established exotic. The dissenting CLC voter was concerned that the swamphen population was not large enough to be truly established; CLC rules allow a species to be accepted with one dissenting vote. The addition of Purple Swamphen raises to 977 the number of species on the ABA Checklist.

Turtles in Florida, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

1 December 2016

Florida Cooter (Pseudemys floridana) also called the Florida red-bellied cooter or Florida redbelly turtle is an attractive reptile that doesn’t get too excited about much of anything. It spends a great deal of time sunning on logs in swamps and canals. One of my favorite turtles.

Osprey mating season in Florida, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

24 November 2016

High Definition Audio. Amazing male Osprey Sky Dance and courtship calling right over the Backyard and low. While the male shows off his voice and stamina for over 10 minutes the female can be heard calling loudly from high in a long leaf pine tree below probably encouraging him on! Hopefully they will build a nest nearby in the coming weeks. Luckily I had just attached my new external microphone with wind screen – this was the perfect test! …

The osprey is found year-round in Florida both as a nesting species and as a spring and fall migrant passing between more northern areas and Central and South America. Ospreys in Florida did not suffer the serious pesticide-related population declines that occurred in other states in the 1950s and 1960s. Pesticides, shoreline development and declining water quality continue to threaten the abundance and availability of food and nest sites for ospreys. …

In Florida, ospreys commonly capture saltwater catfish, mullet, spotted trout, shad, crappie and sunfish from coastal habitats and freshwater lakes and rivers for their diet. …

Ospreys have adapted so well to artificial nest sites that the species now nests in areas (e.g. inner cities) once considered unsuitable. Nests are commonly reused for many years. Nesting begins from December (south Florida) to late February (north Florida). The incubation and nestling period extends into the summer months.

The osprey is listed as a Species of Special Concern only in Monroe County. Permits are required throughout the state to remove a nest for these wonderful raptors, however, and a replacement structure must be erected to mitigate the removal of the nest.

Tropical bedbugs back in Florida, USA

This video from Florida in the USA says about itself:

Tropical bed bugs emerge after 60 years

11 November 2016

In 2015, a Brevard County family reported finding tropical bed bugs in their home.

From Science News in the USA:

Now there are two bedbug species in the United States

by Sarah Zielinski

9:00am, November 23, 2016

Bedbugs give me nightmares. Really. I have dreamt of them crawling up my legs while I lie in bed. These are common bedbugs, Cimex lectularius, and after largely disappearing from our beds in the 1950s, they have reemerged in the last few decades to cause havoc in our homes, offices, hotels and even public transportation.

Now there’s a new nightmare. Or rather, another old one. It’s the tropical bedbug, C. hemipterus. Its presence has been confirmed in Florida, and the critters could spread to other southern states, says Brittany Campbell, a graduate student at the University of Florida in Gainesville, who led a new study that tracked down the pests.

Tropical bedbugs can be found in a geographic band of land running between 30° N latitude and 30° S. In the last 20 years or so, they’ve been collected from Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Australia, Rwanda and more. Back in 1938, some were collected in Florida. There were more reports of the species in the following years, but none since the 1940s.

Then, in 2015, researchers at the Insect Identification Laboratory at the University of Florida identified bedbugs sent to the lab from a home in Brevard County, Florida, as tropical bedbugs. To confirm the analysis, researchers went to the home and collected more samples. They were indeed tropical bedbugs, the team reports in the September Florida Entomologist.

The family thought that the bedbugs must have been transported unknowingly into the house by one of the people who lived there. But no one living in the home had traveled outside the state recently, let alone outside the country. This suggests that tropical bedbugs can be found elsewhere in Florida, the team concludes.

Additional evidence comes from the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, which holds two female tropical bedbugs that, according to their label, were collected in Orange County, Florida, on June 11, 1989, from bedding. “Whether this species has been present in Florida and never disappeared, or has been reintroduced and remains in small populations, is not currently known,” the researchers write.

Why hasn’t anyone noticed? Well, people don’t usually send bedbugs to entomologists when they have an infestation, and your average victim isn’t going to notice the difference between the two species. “Both species are very similar,” Campbell says. Not only do they look alike, but they also both “feed on blood, hide in cracks and crevices and have similar lifestyles.” Plus, there’s been little research directly comparing the two species, she notes, so scientists don’t know how infestations might differ.

Just to give us all a few more nightmares, Campbell points out something else: While there’s probably no reason to worry that the creepy critters will spread as climate change warms the globe, she says that there is a potential for the species to move north “because humans provide nice conditions for bedbugs to develop.”

Black-bellied whistling ducklings

This video from Florida in the USA says about itself:

22 November 2016

Three cute Black Bellied Whistling Ducklings with their proud mother and father guarding over them make for a beautiful family. The ducklings have just finished a swim with mom and are drying off in a nest bowl made in grass. To have flightless ducklings in late November is unusual for ducks in general, but not the Black Bellied Whistling Ducks who are year-round residents of central Florida.

To here a flock of these ducks giving their signature “whistle call” check out below here.

This video from Florida in the USA is called Black Bellied Whistling Duck Flock Calls.

Cottonmouth snake in Florida, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

18 November 2016

The Water Moccasin or Cottonmouth snake is the venomous snake a bird watcher in Florida is most likely to encounter. This video shows that the typical behavior of this beautiful snake is to freeze and then move away slowly and only display a threat of the wide open “cottonmouth” if you continue to invade its space. It goes without saying you should not mess with them!

After a few minutes of admiring and slightly annoying this majestic snake I let it move on into the roadside canal. The real danger with these snakes is that since they are heavy and not fast, they freeze in deep cover where they are near impossible to spot and if you’re walking in heavy grass and brush you might accidentally step on them leading to a leg bite and a life-threatening situation. I recommend staying on trails if at all possible and being very careful around the edges of wetlands.

(Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti)

Comments: VENOMOUS: Cottonmouth bites can be quite dangerous. The victim should seek immediate medical care from a physician or hospital experienced in treating snakebite.

Eastern meadowlark sings in Florida, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

17 November 2016

Eastern Meadowlarks sing their sing-song calls all year in Florida and I was lucky to find this small group in open grassland. They are fairly approachable birds and always a joy to see often sharing the same habitat with large flocks of Red-Winged Blackbirds; they are a nice counterpoint.