Heritage Park at Crane Creek's Journal

June 28, 2022

Native Bees at Heritage Park

Today @ecogeekmama stopped by Heritage Park to tour the garden areas with a focus on identifying native bee species present on-site. Leading up today, I had documented the following five species on-site: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?iconic_taxa=Insecta&place_id=any&project_id=heritage-park-at-crane-creek&q=native_bee&verifiable=any&view=species.

Within an hour or so, Laura had spotted several varieties of Cuckoo Bees (Tripeolus, Nomada), Sweat Bees (Lasioglossum), Pebble Bees (Dianthidium floridiense), Long-horned bees (Melissodes), and Small Carpenter Bees (Ceratina). These are all new to me, and documented for the first time at Heritage Park. I'm looking forward to learning more about each of these species, their nesting and foraging habitat and behavior, and continuing native bee exploration!

Posted on June 28, 2022 02:16 AM by kpdonald kpdonald | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 01, 2022

Baby Birds at Heritage Park!

Today I observed baby wood ducks in the pond, and baby song birds in a tree along the Burr St Border fence line. New life is beginning at Heritage Park at Crane Creek!

Posted on May 01, 2022 12:54 AM by kpdonald kpdonald | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 29, 2022

Giant Swallowtail seen making flybys through the park

The largest butterfly in North America, the Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes), can now be seen making flybys through Heritage Park on a daily basis. Rarely stopping for a picture, I was able to snap a grainy shot of one from a distance along the Leonard Weaver Blvd canal a few weeks ago, and observed them flying through the Heritage Park Garden Circle today. We have Herculus Club in the Rue (citrus) family that makes a suitable host plant, and there are numerous citrus trees across the Booker Heights neighborhood. Learn more: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/50072-Papilio-cresphontes.

In other news, residents also report seeing the Barred Owl out and about in the evening, and pointed out tracks from the Racoons that come out late at night. Two residents believe they have also heard Coyotes howling, and one reported seeing a "wolf-like dog" out in the field in the pre-dawn hours. Will have to see if a Coyote observation can be confirmed in the area.

Posted on April 29, 2022 09:11 PM by kpdonald kpdonald | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 13, 2022

New Sightings: Swallowtail Kite and More

A swallowtail kite has been spotted for the first time flying over the park; last week, on at least two separate days. Hoping to see them again and get a picture before they move on.

Also, at least two pairs of wild wood ducks have found refuge in the wet pond area, make use of the cat tail thicket there for cover.

Finally, two residents have reported seeing "rather large black snakes" in recent days. Possibly a large banded water snake, or something else? Hoping to confirm soon!

Posted on April 13, 2022 09:13 PM by kpdonald kpdonald | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 02, 2022

Most significant rain event since opening

Today the park received around five inches of rain, following what has been a fairly typical Florida dry season. The "field" dry pond filled up, and water crossed the spillway to the wet pond for the first time. Water depth in the field was around 6-8 inches, and around two feet in the wet pond (following "bone dry" and less than a few inches, respectively, prior to today). It will be interesting to see how this flood plain affects habitat throughout the park...

Today, wildlife was abundant. Eastern Cottontails were observed for the first time. A flock of wood ducks were wading in the dry pond, and Wild Turkeys were spotted on the perimeter slopes. The heavy rains saw numerous Spadefoot Toads emerge from underground. Songbirds, especially common grackles, were everywhere.

Posted on April 02, 2022 02:43 AM by kpdonald kpdonald | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 13, 2022

Julia sighting on Friday, March 11th

Friday was a day filled with new sightings in the park... Swallowtails, Pennants, and a Julia. The Julia was seen flying down the Jackson St access drive area towards the building. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a picture, as the butterfly flew by and up and out of range quickly. It was quite distinct: lighter, golden orange, with less markings than a Gulf Fritillary (very common on-site), and flying higher, too. Going to be keeping an eye out and hope to catch it on its favorite host (Corky stem) and nectar plants (Lantana, etc.) soon...

Posted on March 13, 2022 01:48 AM by kpdonald kpdonald | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 10, 2022

Swallowtails are in the Park

A swallowtail was observed today at Heritage Park, for what I believe is the second time this early spring. The first observation, several weeks ago, appeared to be an Eastern Tiger. Today, it looked like a Black Swallowtail. In both cases I was not prepared for a picture, as they continued their passing through, without stopping for nectar. The first was observed in the Food Forest area and the second was observed along the Jackson St Border.

We plan to plant Wild Lime in the near future to provide food sources on Swallowtails to develop on-site. Exciting!

Posted on March 10, 2022 02:16 AM by kpdonald kpdonald | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 13, 2021

Sections of the Land at Heritage Park

To help in getting around the park, the following sections have been established:

  1. Heritage Park Garden: the intentional gardening areas located near the main entrance. It consists of several sub-sections:
    1.1 Circle: the roundabout garden area.
    1.2 Food Forest: the garden area located on the north side of the Grant St. access drive, which is focused on being an edible landscape.
    1.3 Rain Garden: the stormwater management garden area located on the south side of the Grant St. access drive, from the power generator to the oak canopy upland.
    1.4 Shade Garden: the oak canopy garden area located on the south side of the Grant St. access drive.

  2. Burr St Border: the border abutting the single-family homes located on Burr Street. This border is a City of Melbourne-designated enhanced landscape area. It is divided into two sub-sections, Lower (the front, easterly half), and Upper (the back, westerly half).
  3. Chapel Border: the border abutting Scott Chapel United Methodist Church on the east side of the property. It runs north-south from Jackson Street to the Heritage Park Garden area.
  4. Jackson St Border: the border running east-west along Jackson St. It includes the Jackson St entrance and public right of way.
  5. Building: the landscaped areas located around the residential building. It is divided into two sub-sections, Front and Back.
  6. Wetland Preserve: the existing wetland forest located on-site. The boundary is delineated by a two foot wooden wildlife fence.
  7. Field: the back field, which is similar to a meadow or wet-dry prairie. The western perimeter of the property, which is at a higher elevation and well-drained, is organized as a sub-section called "Ridge". The Field also includes the Pond as a sub-section.
Posted on December 13, 2021 02:46 AM by kpdonald kpdonald | 0 comments | Leave a comment