Raptors of Fort De Soto

Fort De Soto  Park  is becoming one of my  favorite  spots to see wildlife. Ospreys seem to be flying everywhere you look with fish grasped in their talons and  spoonbills are foraging through shallow waters, sweeping their bills from side to side. But my favorite birds to see are the great horned owls.

Great Horned Owls
Great Horned Owls

The great horned owl is one of the most stunning and powerful of the owls.  Their range includes most parts of North and South America. Great horned owls raise their young in the abandoned nests of crows, hawks, and eagles.

DSC_0398Ospreys are one of the most common raptors can are  found on every continent except Antarctica..Ospreys eat a diet that consists almost entirely of fish. This earned them the nickname “sea hawk.”

Osprey

Osprey

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Beautiful Wildlife of Robinson’s Preserve

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 Yellow Capped Night Heron Mid Shake

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Adorable Juvenile Night Heron 

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Juvenile White Ibis

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Circle B Bar Preserve

Located in Lakeland Florida, Circle B Bar Reserve is among the best birding and wildlife viewing spots I have been to in  Central Florida. The preserve is a  former cattle ranch that today features impressive numbers of ducks (Black-bellied Whistling-, Mottled, Blue-winged Teal and sometimes Ruddy Ducks) and shorebirds (Long-billed Dowitchers, Wilson’s Snipe and both yellowlegs) in winter and wading birds are present all year long. 

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Circle B Bar Preserve

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

 

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Beautiful Great Blue Herons

The Venice Rookery is one of the country’s  best  destinations for Bird Photographers. This bird sanctuary sits quietly amidst the busy strip malls.  During nesting months (usually beginning in December and lasting through May), you can see a vareity of birds cincluding Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, and Anhingas  building nests, courting, and raising chicks.

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Enticing Everglades

Everglades National Park is one of the largest and most well-known of America’s national parks. It covers  1,506,539 acres, it is the third largest national park in the lower 48 states,  only Death Valley and Yellowstone National Parks are bigger. The park contains sawgrass marshes, hardwood hammocks, mangrove swamps, and lakes.

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 Everglades National Park is the only ecosystem in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist side by side.  Alligators do not eat human beings.  But, they will protect themselves, attacking humans if they get too close or endanger their young.

Alligator

Alligator

The Everglades name is synonymous with birds.   In the 1800s, the well-known naturalist and artist, John James Audubon, wrote during a visit to South Florida, “We observed great flocks of wading birds flying overhead toward their evening roosts… They appeared in such numbers to actually block out the light from the sun for some time.”   Over 400 species of birds have been known to occur in southern Florida.  Birds are usually placed in one of three groups:  wading birds, land birds, and birds of prey.   One of the prettiest wading birds is the purple gallinue seen below. 

Purple Gallinue

Purple Gallinule

A common land bird found in the Everglades is the Red-bellied Woodpecker.  The red-bellied woodpecker often creates “caches” of food by drumming rows upon rows of small holes and wedging a single nut or seed into each one.

Red-bellied woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

The little blue heron  is unique among  herons as it is the only species with two distinct colour morphs for mature and immature birds, with the adult bird being mostly blue and the immature almost entirely white.

Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron

And best of all we saw Bigfoot and his son pulling into the Everglades!

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Beautiful Beer Can Island

Beer Can Island at LongBoat Key is one of my favorite places to visit when I am in Florida. Please enjoy a few photos of this beautiful area.

 

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

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Stump Pass Beach Park

I recently discovered this secluded beautiful beach and preserve area in Englewood Florida.  Hiking trails pass through five distinct natural communities and provide homes for many species of wildlife including osprey flying overhead, gopher tortoises, snowy egrets, and great blue herons.

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Female Osprey

RedHeaded Woodpecker

RedHeaded Woodpecker

Sea grapes, mangroves, and bay cedars create an authentic Florida experience. carbon-grasped-mangrove-roots-vastly-underestimated_54 The sea grasses shelter numerous marine creatures including lovely spiny sea urchins. Shelling is extremely popular along this stretch of the beach and I was happy to find numerous fossilized sharks’ teeth estimated to be 4-5 million years old.  A single Tiger shark can produce as many as 24,000 teeth in ten years, which means literally billions of teeth have been deposited in the Gulf. shark              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are in need of solitude or enjoy viewing wildlife at a pristine beach and surrounding marshland community, I would highly recommend you visit Stump Pass Beach State Park.

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Magnificent Maine in Fall

borestoneTucked away among the ledges and surrounded by serene  mountains and old forest growth is a hidden gem, the Maine Audubon Sanctuary’s Borestone Mountain. Originally operated as a fox farm in the early 1900s, the property was bequeathed to the National Audubon Society by its owner, ornithologist Robert T. Moore.   

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Despite its modest elevation of 1,947 feet, the precipitous glacier-scoured summit ridge of the mountain offers a 360-degree vista.

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There was plenty of wildlife to view as well.  I was wondering if this young fox was a descendant from a fox of the original fox farm.  

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As if Borestone isn’t enough of a reason to head off the beaten path in Monson, just a short distance from the trail head lies beautiful Little Wilson Stream.  Little Wilson Stream’s upper falls is a scenic landmark in Maine’s ‘100-Mile Wilderness’  which is the most remote section of the Appalachian Trail.  

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Fall Foliage Chocorua

The  3,500-foot Mount Chocorua is  one of the most frequently photographed mountains in the world  according to the “AMC White Mountain Guide”.

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It is certainly beautiful.  On a  clear day and binoculars, you can catch a glimpse of Mount Wachusett, about 100 miles south in Westminster, Ma.   To the west you can see Vermont and 20-plus miles off, Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range dominate the view.

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The wind-whipped peaks that tower above the tree-filled valleys of the White Mountain National Forest have been a symbol of wild America since well before the first New England colonies were established.  If you turn over a quarter in your pocket , you may now see Mt. Chocorua.  New Hampshire’s Mount Chocorua is the latest addition to the U.S. Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters Program.

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And if you are really craving the wild west there is even an authentic Kokopelli store nearby on Route 16.

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Amazing Acadia National Park

About a month ago, I was lucky enough to visit beautiful Acadia National Park.  Here are a few facts about the park:

Acadia is the oldest American National Park east of the Mississippi River and the very first where the land was donated to the federal government.

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There are over 1100 vascular plant species. These include deciduous hardwood forests and conifer forests, made up of spruce, hemlock, fir, and pine. Blueberry thickets are common as well, as are a wide variety of grasses and wildflowers.

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The different species of wildlife found in the park include: 273 birds species, 40 species of mammals, 11 amphibian species, 24 fish species, seven species of reptiles, and over 6,500 species of insects.

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Acadia is thought to be one of the best birdwatching spots in the country, with 338 recorded species having been seen in the area.

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Jordan Pond is the deepest lake at 150 feet deep.

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