Thursday, September 29, 2011

Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja)

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes the Roseate Spoonbill as
"A bizzare wading bird of the southern coasts,...

...The Roseate Spoonbill uses it's odd bill to strain small food items out of the water....

It's bright pink coloring leads many Florida tourists to think they have seen a flamingo."

This bird is probably a juvenile or yearling, as the dark pink spot on the shoulder has yet to appear.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Borrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)

Found here in Punta Gorda and Cape Coral, Florida.  This small owl lives in a borrow and is diurnal. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gulf Fritillary: Life Cycle of a Butterfly

The Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) is a common butterfly here in Southwest Florida.  
Early this spring I planted a Passion Flower vine to attract them to our backyard.  This has been extremely successful and I have watched the entire life cycle of this beautiful member of the Nymphalidae family.

Here is a courting couple.

Soon they were a mating pair.

The Fritillary's preferred larval food plant is the Passion Flower vine (Passiflora incarnata).

The female ovipositing eggs on the Passion Flower leaves.

The eggs are quite easy to spot.

The first instars are quite small but they grow larger quickly.

The chrysalis or cocoon.

Finally the emerging butterfly who will start the cycle again.

Butterfly garden really is fun and easy.  You too can have your very own butterfly farm!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dolphins of Tampa Bay

Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are common marine mammals on the Gulf Coast of Florida.  The residents of Tampa Bay can usually be seen around the north fishing pier at Ft Desoto Park.

The dolphin population population suffered greatly due to BP's oil disaster.....and continue to suffer high rates of morbidity and mortality. is working hard to save both the dolphins and the Gulf of Mexico.  Please check out their website and sign the petition to Save our Dolphins.

Another great organization working to save Dolphins is
Mote Marine Laboratory.

Our friends the Dolphins will leap for joy when you assist these wonderful organizations.  We must speak out on their behalf as they cannot speak for themselves.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Zebra Longwing: Florida's State Butterfly

Watched a pair of Zebra Longwing Butterflies (Heliconius charitonia) feeding in the butterfly garden at the Corkscrew Swamp Audubon Sanctuary.

This impressive butterfly is Florida's State Butterfly.

Another fine day in the field!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Landscapes in Color and Black and White

Are you a fan or color or black & white?  Here are some landscapes in both styles.  These were taken on a summer evening at Webb Lake in the Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Webb Lake is a large man-made impoundment created when I-75 was built.  The interstate roadway required a huge amount of fill and the WMA was very smart to have a lake created in conjunction with the roadway.