Thursday, April 28, 2016

Looking into tree holes along the 3 Lakes Trail!

Just an afternoon stroll along Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center's Alligator Creek 3 Lakes Trail. 
Above is an Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) in gray phase.
Wild bees in an old stump!  VERY active.....didn't want to get close enough to disturb them.  They look like Apis mellifera but I wondered if they were Africanized?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Julia goes free on Earth Day!

 What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to renew and rededicate the butterfly garden at the Alligator Creek campus of the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center. 
 There is an interesting link between each photo....drag your cursor down to find them! 

 Volunteers from the Punta Gorda Garden Club and CHEC renewed and replanted the butterfly garden....specially designed for three species:  Zebra Longwing, Gulf Fritillary and Julia.

 Thomas Hecker, CHEC CEO, gave an interesting and informative talk about the garden and the butterflies about to be released. 

All three species and their instars were released to the garden.  There they found favored host plants:  Corky Stem Passion Vine (Passiflora suberosa) and the showier Passionflower (Pasiflora incarnata).  There is also an abundance of nectaring flowers...and pollen for the Zebras!


Tom explained that the three species to be released were all members of the subfamily Heliconiinae, a large group of tropical butterflies with similar habits,  caterpillar food preferences and habitat.


 Though farm raised, these longwings should do well at the CHEC garden.
If you want to see more tropicals, be sure to plan a visit to the University of Florida and the Tropical Rainforest there

 Everyone ready for the release?  Cameras at the ready!
Want to raise some butterflies at home?  Here's a good source of information and tips.

 Julia Longwing (Dryas iulia).

 Photographing butterflies is fun....they come out in the sunshine, and "sometimes" spread their wings and hold still!

 SW Florida is at the extreme northern end of the Julia's range.  We have experienced some warmer winters, without frost, recently.  Will we see more of this beautiful butterfly?
Makes one think more about climate change and how creatures adapt.  I guess that is something to consider every day, not just on Earth Day.

Instars were also released.

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

Zebra Longwing (heliconius charithonia). Florida's state butterfly

A couple of other visitors to the garden on Earth Day.
Great Southern White (Ascia monuste).

White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae)

The ladies who made it all possible!

Lots more to see at CHEC Alligator Creek.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Favorite mangrove photos

 Working on a local photo project and going through photos taken in our SW Florida mangroves.  Thought I would repost some of my favorites.


Charlotte Harbor is part of a huge estuary, where the Myakka and Peace Rivers empty into the Gulf of Mexico.  Much of our shoreline is protected....and the mangroves protect us from storm damage and provide great habitat for many of our wild flora and fauna.