Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Bird Count: Part 1

Matt and I participated in a couple of Christmas Bird Counts (CBC) in our area this past month. The first was a new CBC that Matt participated in a trial run of last year, near Vernon, FL. We left the house EARLY and started owling our section around 5:45. We did actually hear a pair of barred owls so at least the early start was worth it! We spent the rest of the day driving around our section, wandering around the few public areas we could. Unfortunately, our section consists mainly of inaccessible private lands, which made it difficult to spend the entire day surveying. We did find a few good hot spots though, and we ended our day with 41 species and over 700 individuals (not great, I know). There were several common species missing, and we didn’t see large flocks of robins and other species as would be expected. Our species list can be viewed below.

18 turtle shells found around a cypress swamp complex
near Vernon, FL.
The most interesting findings during the Vernon bird count were actually turtle shells. Lots of them. Our section had a large cypress swamp system, but only one pond was public. We walked around the pond in the morning, hoping to scare up some cool birds. Instead, I found one very large river cooter shell and one slider shell. We chalked it up to good luck and continued birding the remainder of our section. In the early afternoon, however, we were driving on the north side of the swamp when Matt thought he spotted another turtle shell just off the road. I went in to investigate and found yet another shell before I reached the first one! Within 10 minutes, we found over 20 shells (river cooters and sliders) around the margins of the swamp. Of course, my first thought was harvesting by people, but most of the shells were intact, and there were no bullet holes either. My second theory was that we had such a cold winter last year, maybe these turtles froze under water when the water levels were higher. However, a fellow conservationist suggested that it was actually raccoon depredation as the water levels dropped. He said he has found hundreds of shells just as we described and with little to no scratch marks. This was a very disturbing thing to find, and any other theories are most welcome. I thought it was so cool when I found the first cooter shell, but by the end of the day, it was just depressing.

Great Blue Heron

Black Vulture

Wood Duck

Red-Shouldered Hawk

American Kestrel


Eurasian Collared-Dove

Barred Owl

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Eastern Phoebe

White-Eyed Vireo

Blue-Headed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

Brown Creeper

Carolina Wren

Winter Wren

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

Eastern Bluebird

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Northern Mockingbird

Orange-Crowned Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Pine Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Eastern Towhee

Chipping Sparrow

Song Sparrow

White-Throated Sparrow

Northern Cardinal

Red-Winged Blackbird

Eastern Meadowlark

Brewer’s Blackbird

Common Grackle

Brown-Headed Cowbird

American Goldfinch

Look for the second CBC in Part 2, coming soon!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Critters in Action!

Great news! Fingerprince Prints now has a YouTube account. We currently have 15 videos available and there are many more to come! I never realized we had so many until I decided to open the account. A couple of my personal favorites are posted below.

Photos that have accompanying video can be found in our new Photos with Video collection; although, photos are not available for all videos.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Botany and Birding

We have been busy almost every weekend since we've returned to Florida, exploring the parks and forests in the area. This past weekend was no exception. On Saturday we joined the Sweet Bay Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society in a field trip to Torreya State Park, led by well known botanist, Gil Nelson. Torreya State Park is named after the Torreya tree, an endangered species, threatened by a fungal disease. This unique tree can only be found on the slopes along the Apalachicola River. There are efforts to recover this species, however, it has not been determined where the fungus came from or how we can stop it from spreading. The Atlanta Botanical Gardens have been successfully growing torreya trees in hopes of eventually reestablishing populations in areas where they have disappeared. If you visit Torreya State Park you can see "captive" Torreya trees growing at the Gregory House. The park is a beautiful place any time of year, but the fall is especially captivating as the leaves are changing on the slopes along the Apalachicola.

Gil Nelson teaching the group about Florida's
native plants at Torreya State Park.
Below is a partial list of the speices we found:

Site lists for areas of interest in the Panhandle can be found on Gil Nelson's website. Overall it was a very productive trip with 20-30 participants taking part.

Green anoles were in abundance on the forest floor, and I found a Florida redbelly snake (Storeria occipitomaculata obscura) in the leaf litter. One of the other nature enthusiasts, Robin, spotted a grizzled mantis climbing up a tree. Fungi were also abundant and I’ve done my best to identify those we saw. If you notice a mislabeled species or one without a label, please feel free to contact us if you know what it is! Although I am learning, I am by no means a botanist, and your input is appreciated. We strive to provide
accurate, educational information.

After the field trip to Torreya we headed down towards Lake Powell where a group of friends were having an appetizer cook off and bonfire; a great way to wind down at the end of a long day in the woods!

The next morning we left Lake Powell early to make it back to Florida Caverns State Park in time for a bird walk at 9 am. The bird activity was pretty minimal so we didn’t see much to note, but it was a great way to spend a Sunday morning. What a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Notecards and Coupons

You can now purchase our handmade notecards (set of 12) directly through our website. Select up to 12 images to add to your cart and select the "Hand-made Notecards" when purchasing. And from now until the end of the year you can save 10% on all notecard and digital download purchases! Just enter "10%FPPcards" as the coupon code.

Hand-made notecards by Fingerprince Prints. Card and envelope
colors may vary.

We are doing some gallery reorganizing and are still in the process of syncing all of our galleries with Flickr. We will also have new photos coming soon, including a flatwoods salamander that Matt encountered crossing a road this fall. Now is the time for amphibians! Happy herping :)


Monday, November 15, 2010

FPP Update

Hey folks!

Fingerprince Prints is back in North Florida! Matt is currently working for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) as a private lands biologist out of Marianna, and I am still unemployed, looking for work in the area. Fortunately, this has given me ample time to update the website and make a few changes. We now have a flickr account in addition to our original galleries on Zenfolio. We have added this new account in hopes of reaching the audience of the flickr community. All new images will be added to both sites; however, purchasing can only be done through the original galleries. We have lowered our prices on all of our prints and some of the gifts (calendars, keychains, etc.) as well. We have also set up package deals (including 4 prints for $14.95) in time for the holidays! All of our merchandise comes from high quality photo shop partners, and I have been extremely satisfied with everything I’ve seen to date.

The Gift Package includes one set of coasters (4), black mug,
canvas bag, calendar, and one 8x10 print with the photos
of your choice.

We have also been hard at work, creating new galleries (Washington, Colorado, and Yellowstone) and adding new photos to existing galleries. If you are curious what’s new, we have now set up a “New Photos” collection that can be found in the “Recently Added” section. Here you will find all of the new additions (not including photos in new galleries), so you don’t have to hunt around in older galleries you have already viewed. New images will be left in the collection for about a month so check in frequently!

Happy Holidays,

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gallery Updates

New photos have been added to our Invertebrates and Beaches (was Florida Coast) galleries.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Moving On

Greetings folks,
I apologize for the lack of updates. Life has changed quite a bit since our last update...and then changed again. We finished up our jobs in New Mexico in September 2009, and have since returned to the beloved southeast. However, before we returned, before we even knew where we were going next, we traveled the West Coast for six weeks, driving through the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California (Northern and Southern), Nevada, and Utah; visiting places such as Yellowstone, Seattle, Hurricane Ridge and the Hoh Rain Forest, Klamath Basin, Oregon Caves, the mighty Redwoods, John Muir Woods, Kings Canyon/Sequoia, and Joshua Tree. It was truly the trip of a lifetime. Some of the wildlife highlights of the trip were Western toads, Pacific treefrogs, Ensatina, rough newt, northern red-legged frogs, foothill yellow-legged frogswandering salamaders, marbled murrelets, black oyster catchers, banana slugs, and black bears.

The Redwoods were so outstanding we didn't want to leave. The redwood forests give you a sense of tranquility and you truly feel as though you are walking through an enchanted forest. No other forest has ever made me feel so incredibly small. Although the sequoias may be wider, it is the height of the giant redwoods that dropped my jaw. Neither species covers the earth as they once did; however, the giant redwoods have retained more of the their wild, natural forest, state, whereas much of the sequoias have been harvested and/or stressed from the years of tourism, so our visit to the park felt more like visiting a museum, observing the great things of the past behind fences. Because of poor early park planning, Sequoia NP did more harm than good for some of its largest trees. In hopes of protecting them, they are now fenced in to restrict visitors to paths and away from the delicate root systems.

We traveled and explored many places in those six weeks, but eventually our time was up, and we drove to Iowa before returning to the great state of Florida. By this time it was November, and we were without jobs but we had hope in NW FL with Nokuse Plantation and the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center, owned and founded by Mr. M.C. Davis. Eventually, after I interviewed and returned to Iowa for the holidays, they were able to hire us, assuming further funding would come through later in the year. Matt was hired as a land steward for Nokuse Plantation (a 50,000 acre landbase), and I was hired as an environmental educator at the Biophilia Center, teaching 4th and 7th grade students about the longleaf pine ecosystem they live in. In June I started working with Matt on Nokuse while school was out for summer. Despite the never-ending heat, we were really enjoying our new positions; however, we knew that the funding situation wasn't what it should be and no new funding had come in like expected. So by the end of June they had to eliminate our positions due to the lack of funding and the poor economy.

Now we are job hunting once again. We are still in N Florida but will be moving on by the end of the month, hopefully to new jobs, but if nothing presents itself we will likely move to Iowa and search for opportunities in the Midwest.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gallery Update

Our new gallery, Florida, features choice photos of our findings while living and working in Florida. Check in frequently for new additions to this gallery. New photos were added 2 August 2010.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gallery Update

Check out the new photos in our Sky Islands gallery!