Cleanup of Aripeka Sandhills Preserve

Aripeka Sandhills Preserve cleanup

What we did with our Sunday morning… We took Justina Mills to Aripeka Sandhills Preserve for a night walk a week or so ago, and the place looked like a dump.. So when Theresa Burge said how much she would enjoy doing a cleanup like we did with the Great American Cleanup, we knew just … Read more

Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Tonight’s outing included spotting a tussock moth caterpillar. The four black clusters of hair at the front and back are called pencils. Although it looks fuzzy and soft, it should not be touched, because the hairs can cause an allergic reaction, resulting in an itchy rash.

Tropical Orb Weaver

Here’s the underside of a tropical orb weaver. Orb weavers typically build a new web each night. During the day, they may be found on the underside of leaves which are partially rolled and tied with silk, or occasionally in sparse silken retreats in sheltered corners of man-made structures.

Aripeka Sandhills Preserve

Tonight we went to check out Aripeka Sandhills Preserve. When we arrived, there were a lot of lightning bugs blinking in the air, and we heard a chuck-will’s-widow bird calling. We saw plenty of spiders and a few scorpions, plus a southern toad, a Florida ivory millipede, and a mating pair of banded tiger moths. … Read more


Chuck-will’s-widow is a nocturnal bird that we hear on a fairly regular basis. The attached video shows how beautiful and interesting these birds are. You can find a recording of its call (and many others) here:


We learned about iNaturalist when we went on a nature walk at Starkey Park, and it’s been super helpful for identifying and documenting a lot of the things we observe. The mobile app (you can find links to your device type on the link above) is great because you can take a picture and get … Read more

Rice Beetle

For the past few nights, we’ve been seeing an abundance of these around the porch light. I also suspect it’s what the wolf spiders have been gorging on. They are rice beetles, a member of the scarab family. They have two generations per year in Florida… one in spring (March) and one in fall (November). … Read more

Hello world!

Florida Adventurers

Here’s where we’ll chronicle our adventures in Florida. We are Travis and Emily Birt, and we have lived here since 2001. We love exploring our state, and hope you will, too!