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JRFxtreme

Big Pine Key Pinguicula

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I went to the keys yesterday for some fishing and to search for Pinguicula pumila in its natural habitat. I was suprised to learn awhile back that any carnivorous plant grew on Big Pine so of course I had to go check it out. :D

Oh, just incase, heres the disclaimer.

WARNING: If seeing furry little pine land creatures half eaten disturbs you, you might want to skip down half way.

My adventure started in a northern area of Big Pine Key to check out an out dated GPS location that I had got via google.

I found the trail and was on my way. The first thing I noticed was that there were loads of buzzards hanging around. There had to be something dead in the area.

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Continuing along the trail I kept finding bones. Mainly deer but also saw some racoon skeletons.

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Then I discovered why the buzzards were sticking around. As I walked up about 10 buzzards flew up into the trees.

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Buzzard food.

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Along the way I saw some racoons. They're scary little guys.

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Some oolite, right? The reason P. pumila can exist on Big Pine Key.

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I finally reached what looked to me like some good CP habitat. Un fortunately theres was no Pinguicula in sight.

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What I found when I turned over a rock.

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Strange insect life.

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Continuing along the way, I came across an enormous amount of bones. They were everywhere. The Pinguicula must have been hungry.. :D (it was later suggested that this might be where they dump key deer that have been killed by cars)

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I was starting to get frustrated. 2 hours of walking around and still no Pings.

Along the trail was a wallowing hole with a frog in it..

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I decided I must be too early in the season to spot them (I was told P. pumila flowers in late winter).

I left the trail and was thinking about heading back to Old Wooden Bridge, but saw another trail on the opposite side of the road and decided to just ride through it to see the wildlife.

Along the way I spotted a box turtle crossing the path. I stopped to take a picture when I noticed a little familiar looking purple flower sticking up out of the pine needles. I flipped! By a complete coincidence I found P. pumila!

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It looked like they were just starting to bloom. There were mainly purple forms but I also spotted some of the white form. (I didn't really get any good shots of the white form.. :D )

They were growing almost entirely covered by pine needles.

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This one was growing in the middle of the trail and receiving full sun.

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I beleive they refer to forms with white in the throat as "var. areola".

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The most beautiful form I found.

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Purple and white forms growing together.

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Finger nail for scale.

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One of the many box turtles I saw. A lot of the Pinguicula flower stalks had been eaten. This is probably one of the creatures responsible.

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Box turtle hanging out with P. pumila.

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I eventually came to this little shallow canal. It had some fish in it and no Pinguicula were present in this area, although I did find some more past this.

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I had to of seen at least 8 box turtles.

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I started heading back to Old Wooden Bridge for the other reason for coming to the keys. :D

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Shark fishin' time!

Hope you enjoyed P. pumila in habitat! 8)

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Guest Sheila

Superb habitat pictures. Looks like you stumbled across quite a graveyard. Are you sure those birds are Buzzards? they look more Vulture shaped to me and the whip scorpion is a nice find. :D

It's great to have that eureka moment when you finally stumble across what you were looking for in the first place. :)

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Great spot, especially for wildlife. The Pinguicula pumila seem to be in fantastic condition.

Raccoons scary??

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They could be vultures, Shiela. I didn't even know there was a difference between the two.. :D

And racoons are definately scary. I've heard too many stories of rabid racoons on Big Pine. 8-[

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Guest Sheila

There's quite a bot of difference in the way the two birds look. the Vulture is less feathered around the head.

http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=h...hl%3Den%26lr%3D

Whereas the Buzzard is more Eagle like

http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=h...6lr%3D%26sa%3DN

both lovely birds.

I think Racoons are quite cute looking little animals. I know they can be quite vicious, but they are still cute.

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Granted, I'll accept that a rabid raccoon would be scary :D

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Nice pics! I like the pings and I also like the whip scorpion, the box turtles and the leapord frog. That would be an awsome place to go, all my favorites, CPs and reptiles and amphibians!

Shawn

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What a fruitful field trip, Jeremy !!! Reptiles, mammals, Amphibia, Birds and of course the nice CP !!! Hanging around in the wild should be a wonderful adventure !!!

BTW, did you carry your shotgun with you ??

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What a fruitful field trip, Jeremy !!! Reptiles, mammals, Amphibia, Birds and of course the nice CP !!! Hanging around in the wild should be a wonderful adventure !!!

BTW, did you carry your shotgun with you ??

No shotgun, just my racoon deflecting stick. :D

I should of brought some bug repellant though. The sand gnats became unbearable at one point. They're 1/5th the size of a mosquito but pack the bite of 10.

I'm still itching all over. :x

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Fantastic habitat!!!

Only the sand gnats..... :D

Keep posting!!! :D

Iggy

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Great photos, its looks a fab place to explore!

:-)

Jules

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