nature walk was held Jan. 15 at the newly purchased 78 acre Wildflower Preserve owned by the Lemon Bay Conservancy. Approximately 159 people attended the walk which was advertised in local outlets such as the Sun-Herald and Waterline. This astonishing number of participants illustrates the enormous degree of interest in this new environmental preserve which is being managed differently from both state and county parks. Due to the large number of visitors, guests were split into three groups which were lead by Bill Dunson, Phil Dakin and Lucia Schatteleyn. The next scheduled walk is Feb. 5, but LBC is planning to offer additional walks to accomodate the obvious public interest in this new park. During my 16 years of experience in both attending and leading nature walks in both Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, this is by far the largest number I am aware of that has come for a single walk.
The featured “critter of the day” was a southeastern five-lined skink, a common lizard in local woodlands, and shown in the photos. This lizard has a bright blue tail when young which warns predators of its toxicity, and also directs the attack of predators to the tail rather than the head. If attacked, the tail breaks off and continues to wiggle to attract the attention of predators. This is an adult female which “incubates”/guards its eggs like a bird, but without the warmth of a bird’s body.