Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: Melanie's Super Adventure at Orlando Wetlands Park!

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Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Jan 16, 2016 6:16 PM CST

Moderator

I advertised it, and I'm here to deliver the goods! Now, there were some expert birders along with us, but I couldn't hear everything they said so you may have to help me out.

This field trip was sponsored by the Florida Wildflower Foundation. I have the specialty tag and I'm a member! http://flawildflowers.org/

Orlando Wetlands Park used to be a cattle ranch that the city bought and turned into a wastewater treatment area. The guide was telling us how the priority is the water quality so sometimes they have to add chemicals and stuff. The wildlife is somewhat of a side effect, but they seem like they try to do right by both. The family that sold the land maintained their hunting rights from Nov - Feb until this year when they sold those to the city. As a result, the park will now be open year-round!

Here's what we rode in. You can see there are benches on either side of the trailer thingie.

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To minimize my chance of screwing this up and losing my pictures, I'm going to break this into a few posts. Let's start with my favorite - the butterflies!

First up was a Ceraunus Blue.

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Here's a blurry Long-Tailed Skipper along with another one that lost its tails.

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There were tons of White Peacocks. Remember, one of their host plants is the aquatic plant, Smooth Water Hyssop (Bacopa monnieri)

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I saw a Red-Banded Hairstreak! Been a while since I've seen one.

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Barred Sulphur.

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I believe this is a very worn Carolina Satyr. I'm going to send all of these to BAMONA for confirmation and for scientific purposes.

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Everyone got excited to see a Queen.

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But everyone ignored me when I ran across the path to chase this Monarch.

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This is the part where I yell, "El Nino!" Yup, that's a female Black Swallowtail. I saw a male later in the day but didn't get his picture.

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And right near it was a Great Southern White!

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This Monk Skipper landed on this guy's back. We were all taking pictures and he didn't even realize because he was talking to one of the guides. Of course, as soon as I said he had a butterfly on him, it flew off. I swear they understand me!

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Up at the Visitor's Center, they had passion vine so you know they Gulf Fritillary caterpillars!

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Mom and I ate some snacks and then walked around a bit. I found a Gray Hairstreak this time.

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One of those Skippers that gives me headaches.

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I feel like this is a Pearl Crescent and not a Phaon Crescent, but I'll have BAMONA decide.

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Okay, that's it for butterflies. Birds are next!
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Jan 16, 2016 8:05 PM CST

Moderator

Okay, you guys are going to have to help me some with the birds because you know I'm still new at this. I put numbers before each comment so you can refer to the number when you reply. Most of the time, I was quite far away. Also, a moving truck has a way of scaring birds. Hilarious! I'm going to post them in the order I saw them, so there will be some repeats. And some multi-bird photos. I want to mention a couple of birds we talked about, but I didn't get pictures of. There were tons of Savannah Sparrows. Also, we didn't see him, but there is a known area where a Vermilion Flycatcher hangs out. Some of the people had been there before and had seen him. But all the serious birders agreed that Merritt Island was "the place" to go birding. Dad agreed, but that's because he's hunted them there before. Seriously, as we were going through my photos, I had to tell Dad to stop telling me the bag limit for each bird. Rolling my eyes.

1. I think this first shot was purely accidental. Is that an Anhinga?

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2. I'm pretty sure this is one up in a tree, though.

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3. Great Egret (By the way, tell me if I'm wrong on anything.)

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4. Something large and black in a tree. Don't remember anyone saying anything. Could easily be a vulture.

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5. Dad thinks this is a Kingfisher but I have no idea. I have better Kingfisher pics later.

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6. I learned that the white-nose ducks are Coots. Also, I apparently enjoy the noise they make. There was one point where all these Night Herons were moving from one tree group to another and I was like, "Listen to the noises they make." And some guy was like, "That's the Coots." So apparently, I like Coots. And I'm proud of it!

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7. I think these are Black Bellied Whistling Ducks. Neat!

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8. I "think" this might be a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron. I mean, I'm pretty sure it's a Heron.

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9. We'll see more of these, but I think this is a Purple Gallinule. A lady had a helpful tip and told me to look for their white butts. People seemed pretty excited to see these. There were lots of them, too.

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10. Black bill means Snowy Egret (see, I'm learning).

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11. I'm pretty sure this is a Limpkin. I'm pretty certain that's what the other people were saying at this time.

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By the way, I did offer to trade butterfly tips for bird tips. But bird people are a lot like orchid people - insane! Stay out of their way and just go along with them and nod your head a lot. Rolling on the floor laughing

12. I really like when the Anhingas pose like this.

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13. Great Egret trying to hide.

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14. Snowy Egret on left.

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15. Great Egret and if you look to its left there is some kind of bluish-gray bird. Maybe the Great Blue Heron in the next picture?

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16. Great Blue Heron and Great Egret.

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17. People on the tram said this was a Red-Shouldered Hawk. Dad noticed I got photobombed by a plane in the background.

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18. Lots going on in this one frame! Aren't you jealous? I don't know what the white thing in the back is, but you got a Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, and Purple Gallinules in the front.

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19. The bird people said this was a Royal Tern.

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20. I must have turned around and taken another group shot. But now you can see a Coot in the front left.

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21. Anhinga and Snowy Egret

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22. This White Ibis was playing peek-a-boo with me.

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23. We saw some Wood Storks but the only one I could get a picture of was while we were driving. Oddly enough, on the way back, Mom and I stopped in Lakeland to eat. While we were getting back to the interstate, I saw a Wood Stork just standing by a fence!

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24. Vultures. Not a "flashy" bird, but they serve an important purpose.

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25. I think this was a group of Purple Gallinules I was trying to find among the vegetation.

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26. Not sure who this is. Guesses welcome!

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27. Great Egret

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28. This one you just have to trust me on. I don't know what the blue thing is, but the pink spot right in the middle is a Roseate Spoonbill. A lady with binoculars spotted two of them, but I grabbed Mom's binoculars and only saw this one.

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29. Hey, it looks like one of those Purple Gallinules got close.

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30. If I did that with my neck, I would be dead. Or in "The Exorcist". But I guess this is normal for an Anhinga.

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31. I think Coots are cute! Lovey dubby I just told Dad that and he told me that as many as he saw, he never shot one. His friend, Tom, took two, just to try them. I asked what he thought and Dad said, "He said he'd never waste another shell on them."

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32. This is from far away, but everyone was looking at the blue thing (in front of the middle cypress tree), and I was like, "Isn't the brown thing to the left a Limpkin?" And then they were all like, "Look at the Limpkin!" Rolling my eyes.

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33. There were tons of Glossy Ibises which was cool because I don't see them around here. But we kept scaring them with the truck. Don't worry, we'll see some later. But I think I managed to get one flying here.

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34. We were driving and I just snapped this shot. Not sure what it is.

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Okay, we got off the tram, ate some snacks, and walked around a bit.

35. Another hawk.

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36. Some of my regular White Ibis friends.

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37. And the Glossy Ibis showed up! At first I was like, "How do you tell the Juvenile White Ibis from the Glossy Ibis". But the Glossy is really dark and well, glossy!

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38. Anhinga again.

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39. I think this is a Tri-Colored Heron. It didn't look the same as the Great Blue.

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40. Glossy Ibis dunking for a snack.

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41. Anhinga. Those tail feathers look weird.

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42. Finally, a Little Blue Heron! He flew over to the tree.

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43. A Kingfisher! I think these guys are so punk rock. Like, if I had a band made of birds, I'd want a Kingfisher and a Hooded Merganzer.

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44. I could hear a bird yelling from a nearby tree, and it took me a minute to find it, but I did! Is this another Red-Shouldered Hawk? They're the only type of hawk I see so I'm afraid I won't realize it if I see a different one.

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45. There's a nice Glossy Ibis!

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46. And now he has a Snowy Egret friend!

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47. Now there's two Glossy Ibises and a Snowy Egret!

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Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Ibis
Florida, Orlando-ish (Zone 9b)
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IbisFla
Jan 16, 2016 8:47 PM CST
What a great park - so many neat birds and butterflies! I didn't even know it was out there, but I've already put their opening day on my calendar. Thank you for sharing your visit with us Thumbs up
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Jan 16, 2016 9:04 PM CST

Moderator

Ok, now for the fun stuff! This is just random things I took pictures of. Plants, animals, and some scenic stuff.

To start off, Mom and I saw an exceedingly rare species on I-75. A freaking Delorean! Look at the license plate! I glanced over but the guy didn't look like Marty McFly. Rolling on the floor laughing

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Our first stop.

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I had seen this plant before and didn't know what it was so I asked the guide. Lyreleaf Sage!



Alligator, because Florida.

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And then we found a freaking alligator nursery! Even our guide said that was a lot of little gators in one area.

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A lot of the trees died due to flooding this year. But birds like dead trees so they still serve a purpose.

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More scenery.

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Tillandsias! Those are bromeliads, also known as air plants. Spanish Moss is a type of Tillandsia. They are not parasitic, they just use trees as anchors.

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We were looking nearby because there was a known Jingle Bell Orchid in the area. We didn't find it, but if there's water and Tillandsias nearby, you're likely to find Encyclia tampensis, the Florida Butterfly Orchid! They bloom around Mar - Apr.



I found more Tillandsias!

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This is my enemy. The lubber grasshopper. I spotted it and the guide was like, "In January? They're usually dead by October." And you know what I said? "El Nino."

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I think this was one of the outtake areas. The water is forced by gravity through the cells and moves downward fifteen feet as it's filtered.

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The guide ladies seemed really excited to see this Shoestring Fern growing on the side of a palm tree. It's the stuff that looks like tufts of grass on the right side of the tree.



This is a Cypress dome. The older trees are in the middle which gives it a dome-like shape. You can see these throughout Florida. This is where the Roseate Spoonbills were spotted, FYI.

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More scenic shots.

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So we got off the tram, and went to the car to get more drinks (and money to buy a t-shirt). A couple in the parking lot were looking at something but I couldn't see it through a truck. It was another gator.

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They have a pavilion filled with animal skulls, shells, and a few mounted birds. I had to shoot through plastic, but I think you can see it pretty well.

Peninsular Cooter

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White-Tailed Deer

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Juvenile White Ibis

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Gadwall Duck

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Male Wood Duck

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Three-Lined Mud Turtle

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Turtle Shells

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Here's a nice Purple Gallinule that held still for me!

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Dad and I agreed that Coots look bigger when they're out of the water.

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Sedge Wren

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Blue-Winged Teal (Drake)

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Green Heron

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Now, because you've read this far, you get to see me and Mom. Here's Mom first.

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And this is me! I don't post many photos of me on the internet, so this is a rare occurrence. I don't even have pictures of me on Facebook!

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And as we left, there was an emoticon in the sky that looked as happy as we were!

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Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Jan 16, 2016 9:07 PM CST

Moderator

Ibis, is that the same day as their Wetlands Festival? It's February 20th. Here's the website: http://www.cityoforlando.net/wetlands/

They said they would be doing tours on the Festival Day but it would only be one hour and on city buses so you'd have to look through the glass. But you don't have to walk very far to see birds. Or butterflies! And they allow bicycles, too!
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Jan 16, 2016 9:18 PM CST

Moderator

FYI, all Anhingas may actually be Cormorants. Rolling on the floor laughing I know the guy sitting next to Mom pointed out at least one Cormorant at some point on the tour.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: ursula
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Mutisia
Jan 16, 2016 9:27 PM CST
Thank you for sharing your gorgeous pictures with us, Melanie (widening the world for me Sticking tongue out )

I am amazed by the great amount of butterflies and birds you found - it makes me think I will have to be more alert to see all the critters that surround us.

I will be coming back to re-view your pictures! Lovey dubby

Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
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DavidLMO
Jan 16, 2016 9:44 PM CST
Good grief Melanie!!

I am thinking ,,,

Awesome
More awesome
Awesomer
More awesomer
Awesomest
More awesomest
Most awesomeest

I know only one of those is correct

nodding nodding nodding

And thanks for your pic.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
Jan 16, 2016 9:58 PM CST
#1. looks like an Anhinga to me but too far away to be absolutely positive
#2. Yes, Anhinga
#4. I'm betting Vulture but again a bit far but I would bet money it's a vulture -- so big to be a black bird is my reasoning
#5. A duck. Your dad ought to recognize. Not a kingfisher.
#7. Very good Melanie!!!!!! Hurray! You are right. Black Bellied Whistling Ducks. Good job!
#24. BLACK Vultures as opposed to Turkey Vultures. turkey Vultures have red heads & black vultures have black heads -- both are found in FL but I have seen far more Turkey Vultures than Blacks in my lifetime.
#26. Certainly a heron of some kind
#34.Anhinga OR Cormorant
#35. Looks like a Red Shouldered Hawk
#44. Correct -- Red Shouldered Hawk. There are Red Tailed Hawks- they are larger that RS Hawks & you can also tell the difference by the tail coloration -- look both up & see the differences. this time of year we also have Coopers Hawks & Kestrels & others.

Wooooooooooooo Hoooooooooooooooo what a day Melanie! Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! Thank you for taking us on tour with you. And it's lovely seeing your mom and you too!
Neat day you had. Thumbs up
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Jan 16, 2016 10:06 PM CST
Melanie, what a wonderful photo tour! Thank you so much for sharing all of your wonderful butterfly, bird and scenic photos ... it looks like it was a perfect day! Lovey dubby

By the way .... all of your Anhinga's are indeed Anhinga's. It took me a long time to learn how to tell them apart.
The Anhinga has a long, pointed bill while the cormorant has a shorter, thicker bill with a hook on the end. I don't want to take up your thread with photos so I'll send them in a tree-mail so you can see the differences. Smiling
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crittergarden
Jan 17, 2016 7:44 AM CST
mellielong said: Lots going on in this one frame! Aren't you jealous? I don't know what the white thing in the back is, but you got a Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, and Purple Gallinules in the front.

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Yes I AM jealous Melanie.
Yes I am.

I've long had a thing for ibis.
(Yes I know these aren't them - this is the pic that goes with her quote.)
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/
[Last edited by crittergarden - Jan 17, 2016 7:47 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1034311 (11)
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crittergarden
Jan 17, 2016 7:46 AM CST
mellielong said:

Alligator, because Florida.

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A little less jealous here....
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
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crittergarden
Jan 17, 2016 7:51 AM CST
I'm also jealous about the wonderful time you seem to have had!
Last time I had a good time like that was a garden club tour of Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve (Audubon Society land here).
It's been quite awhile!
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Jan 17, 2016 4:20 PM CST

Moderator

Critter, that's cool that you like Ibises. I'm so used to seeing the White ones it was strange to see the Glossy. I wonder if they belong to the different sides of The Force? Rolling on the floor laughing The White ones certainly seem nicer about getting their picture taken.

Mom had a great time, too. I had so much fun, I had to miss volunteering at MOSI and have been asleep most of the day.

We're getting cold down here so it must be even colder for the rest of you, but spring is coming, I swear! And then you can go out and find cool stuff to do and go tour some gardens or just take a walk through your favorite park, preserve, or even a local nursery! I think one of the nice things about being into birds and butterflies (as well as all of our pollinator friends) is that you can entertain yourself almost anywhere. Thumbs up
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Jan 17, 2016 4:24 PM CST

Moderator

Ann and Lin, thanks for the ID help! Lin, your tree-mail was very informative. I just want to see a Cormorant in real life because I always seem to do better once I see something with my own eyes. It's like my brain "clicks" once I see it for myself.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
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crittergarden
Jan 17, 2016 4:47 PM CST
In 1983, I saw a small bronze statue much like this one in San Francisco's DeYoung Museum.

Thumb of 2016-01-17/crittergarden/c2f0df

The caption said the ibis was the symbol "of the moon and of learning".
Hippie that I was and am, I was in.
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jan 17, 2016 4:50 PM CST
LOL, I like Ibises too ... the name of my street is White Ibis Court. Green Grin!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Jan 17, 2016 5:11 PM CST
mellielong said:
We're getting cold down here so it must be even colder for the rest of you,


Minus 5 this morning. 11 now at my house right now.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Jan 17, 2016 6:19 PM CST
DavidLMO said:

Minus 5 this morning. 11 now at my house right now.


Thumbs down Thumbs down Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
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mcash70
Jan 17, 2016 11:59 PM CST
Melanie that was a great tour, thank you, loved all the photos, neat stuff! Thumbs up Thumbs up

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