top of page

October 2023 Notes

When I wasn't teaching students or attempting to run R code for my PhD, October was mostly spent exploring the Gulf Coast flatwoods and the barrier islands. However, I did manage to attract some hummingbirds to my apartment. I put up some feeders at the beginning of the month and the first hummers appeared on the 5th.

Archilochus colubris - Pensacola - October 7, 2023

Sadly, my attempt at growing cucumbers ended in failure when it was invaded by cucumber moth caterpillars. The plants died after being consumed extensively by the worms. My tomatoes appear to be completely unaffected by the infestation.

Diaphania indica - Pensacola - October 7, 2023

I had better luck keeping fish at my college. After a technical failure of filtration equipment, I was assigned to the aquarium and committed myself to improving its educational value. I've decided to stick with organisms that are natives of the Gulf of Mexico. I purchased a couple small urchins for algae control first but figured captured wild organisms might be more practical. Dr. Grant DeJong, the college's foremost entomologist, has a collecting permit for the Gulf.

Grant DeJong - Pensacola - October 31, 2023

I was able to take advantage of Dr. DeJong's collecting permit while accompanying his zoology and ecology classes to Santa Rosa Sound and Perdido Bay. We found a some very cool puffer fish, but decided they were poor choices for a small aquarium.

Sphoeroides nephelus - Gulf Breeze - October 26, 2023

We brought back a few hermit crabs and a pin fish.

Clibanarius vittatus - Pensacola Christian College - October 6, 2023

Pagurus longicarpus - Pensacola Christian College - October 31, 2023

On weekends, I spent most of my time hiking around the state parks that represented the Gulf barrier islands and coastal marshes. I tend to partition my time between birds and wildflowers. The coolest bird I found this October was a loggerhead shrike - a carnivorous songbird that shreds its prey by impaling them on plant thorns.

Lanius ludovicianus - Big Lagoon State Park - October 7, 2023

My favorite plants may be the sand- and salt-adapted species like the sandhill milkweed. However, for a stark photograph, it's hard to beat the parasitic tendrils of the dodder. I saw two species, including the coastal Cuscuta pentagona, growing all over milkweed, in the sand dunes.

Cuscuta pentagona - Gulf Islands National Seashore - October 12, 2023

Cuscuta gronovii - Big Lagoon State Park - October 7, 2023

8 views0 comments


bottom of page