Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: Melanie Goes to Silver Springs!

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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
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mellielong
Sep 22, 2016 7:46 PM CST

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Hi, everyone! As some of you know, I'm in Silver Springs, FL for the Florida Wildflower Symposium. Mom and I came up a few days early to hike some trails and do the tourist thing at Silver Springs. As I do when I travel, I figured I'd make one thread and share all my BBB photos with the forum.

I'm going to post the highlights since the internet here isn't that fast. I actually bought an ethernet cable to connect to my travel router so I don't have to share the wi-fi with everyone in the hotel. It seems to be helping.

As usual, the first stop on our trip was Starbucks. I've got Mom addicted to the pumpkin spice. Rolling on the floor laughing And we saw these Juvenile White Ibises up on the power line.

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Our next stop was at a rest stop where Mom noticed a dead cicada. There have been a lot of these things this year!

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We then traveled to Salt Springs Recreation Area to hike the Bear Swamp Trail. But the action around the parking lot was really good!

I've got BAMONA identifying some Skippers for me because Skippers are like luggage at the airport - many of them look alike!

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A different Skipper.

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Heading to the bathroom before our hike, Mom spotted some Turkeys just wandering around. This is #RealFlorida.

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Tufted Titmice don't just live at my house! Hilarious!

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Red-Bellied Woodpecker on a palm tree.

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This Blue Jay appeared to be warning all the other birds about us, so naturally Mom starts singing, "pretty bird" at it. D'Oh!

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Pretty dragonfly, right?

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I think this is a Checkered Skipper, not a Tropical Checkered Skipper, but I'll let BAMONA decide. I know it's hard to believe, but I've been wrong before. Rolling on the floor laughing

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I cannot stress how many Long-Tailed Skippers there were. But judging by the Desmodium seeds sticking to me, I should have known it would be a lot!

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Mom saw this one flying behind me. It's a Buckeye. But when I told her that, she tried telling me she thought it was a Painted Lady or an Admiral. Rolling my eyes. At that point, we had a talk about being quiet so we didn't scare the birds. Rolling on the floor laughing

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There are always Gulf Fritillaries.

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Another Red-Bellied Woodpecker really getting at whatever was in that tree.

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This Long-Tailed Skipper was really showing off the turquoise on its back!

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I rarely see Carolina Satyrs at my house because they're more of a woodland butterfly. This one had a bite taken out of it.

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A male Pipevine Swallowtail was flying around and I'm pretty sure it's Mom's new favorite butterfly. FYI, blue is her favorite color. Speaking of which, it's on Blue Curls, a native FL wildflower!

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There were many, many Golden Orbweavers along the trail. I managed to only walk into one, but that was enough. There was a bit of screaming involved and then scraping the silk on to an oak tree to get it off me. Mom assisted.

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Another dragonfly.

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Mom liked this spider and made me get the side view, too.

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Another Skipper. This one is on a plant we call Elephant's Foot. It's a great bloomer this time of year and attracts lots of butterflies. I get some in my backyard. Okay, technically it's the neighbor's yard.

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Gulf Frits like it, too!

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Long-Tailed Skipper caterpillar on Desmodium spp. You can see the silk where it's probably starting to build a shelter.

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Wooly Bear caterpillar. Turns into a Giant Leopard Moth. Warning to everyone - my family in WV report someone finding a white Wooly Bear which is supposed to mean a bad winter. Also, my aunt was forecasting a bad winter by the seeds in the persimmons. I prefer Google News, myself. Rolling on the floor laughing

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I had to stalk this Cloudless Sulphur, but it paid off.

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So then we went to Alexander Springs Recreation Area which was beautiful. You can swim there and the water is always 72 degrees. Naturally, I opted to walk the trails instead. This is where I slipped on the boardwalk and banged my knee. Grumbling

But I always go to the bathroom first because I do not pee in the woods. Rolling on the floor laughing More spiders hanging out by the facilities.

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One good thing about the swamp is you see lots of Palamedes Swallowtails. There was a male that was trying his best to hook up, but she wasn't having it.

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Finally, she ditched the dude!

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Another thing about swamps is that Pickerel Weed grows there. And Palamedes love it.

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So then something funny happened. Mom was also trying to take pics of the Palamedes when a squirrel came up behind her. It looked like it was begging for a treat (I'm sure people feed them). I thought it was cute, so I took a pic. I tried to tell her, but she couldn't hear me.

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Then, she felt little claws as the squirrel tried to CLIMB HER LEG!!! Other people saw it! We even met a couple on the trail and he said the squirrel followed her even after she freaked out.

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To the trail...Mom said vultures were birds so I took their photo.

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This is a skink. Not a BBB, but I think they're cool. We seem to have a colony of them in our garage. I think they like Dad's wood shavings.

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Stopping at one of the observation decks, and I spied an Anhinga across the river.

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I don't know what's going on here but I saw this on the side of a tree. There are ants in there, but they didn't look alive. Confused

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Pretty sure this is a Southern Pearly Eye. I've seen the Northern Pearly Eye in WV. Dad saw the Southern one when he went hunting one year. But this is my first time seeing it.

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And that completes yesterday!
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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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crawgarden
Sep 22, 2016 7:55 PM CST
Silver Springs is a great place!
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
Sep 22, 2016 8:10 PM CST

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So today Mom and I went to Silver Springs and rode the glass bottom boats. But there's a lot more, too! Although, the glass bottom boat ride was awesome!

Still more Gulf Fritillaries.

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Obligatory alligator photo.

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Coolest damselfly ever. I saw the bluish tip of the body, but didn't realize it had a purple head until I saw the pic on my computer. How cool is that?

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Believe this is the Pearl Crescent. I don't get them at my house.

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Skipper

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Nasty bug, but I took a photo anyway.

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Cloudless Sulphur. They like red, tubular flowers.

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Silver Springs has monkeys because some guy thought it would add to the "Jungle Cruise" way back in the day. He put them on an island, but didn't realize they can swim. Rolling my eyes.

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Another male Pipevine Swallowtail for Mom to ogle.

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This Giant Swallowtail had been flying around all morning.

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I found an invasive Cuban Tree Frog, but I figured I probably shouldn't kill something in a state park, even if it is invasive. #NotMyJob #Vacation

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Male Spicebush

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Phaon Crescent. These are the ones I get in my yard. See how they have the lighter, yellow band of spots that the Pearl doesn't have?

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Firebush - not just for butterflies! I said to this bee, "Get up in there!" I like to encourage them. Hilarious!

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This Giant Swallowtail was missing some parts, but still okay.

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Cloudless Sulphurs like roses. Who knew?

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Okay, off to bed. Mom and I are going on a leisurely boat ride on the Silver River tomorrow. Key word there is "leisurely". We're both really, really sore. But we went to a restaurant tonight where you make s'mores right at your table and I think that helped. Hilarious! Seriously, it's got all the ingredients on a lazy susan with a burner in the middle. We had so much fun. The waitress brought us wet wipes and we needed them! Hilarious!
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Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Sep 22, 2016 10:57 PM CST
Thanks for all the great photos Melanie. Thumbs up I think I would have a heart attack if any of those spiders got on me. Crying
Name: Jean
Hot Springs Vlg, AR, DeLand, F
Region: Florida Daylilies Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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rocklady
Sep 23, 2016 8:18 AM CST
Melanie, I loved the pictures. It has been a long time since I was in Silver Springs but we go through the Ocala National Forest on our way to DeLand and one of these days we are going to make it a point to go there when we are in FL.
Any day you wake up on the sunny side of the grass is a good day.

"The moving hand writes and having writ moves on. Neither all thy piety nor all thy wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." The Rubiyat by Omar Khayyam
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 23, 2016 10:37 AM CST
The orb weavers aren't aggressive spiders, and very quick to get out of the way if they see you coming towards their webs. I'm pretty sure I've never been bitten or even had one on me in 15 years of gardening in my jungle here. It's the ants that are the nasty biters. Everybody knows about fire ants, but this is an ant that I get bitten by occasionally and it's really nasty, too:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/home/florida-gardeni...

Wonderful pictures and story, Melanie. You're having too much fun though, please return immediately to your regular life . . . Big Grin
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Sep 23, 2016 1:10 PM CST
Elaine, I am not afraid they will bite me, it's just a thing with the feeling of spider web on me and they are creepy crawlys, I like looking at them and photographing them.

The twig ants sound nasty. We have red and black ants here that bite and it is very painful, since we moved here I cannot work outside without socks and shoes on. Once one latched on to my shin so hard when I pulled it off a piece of my skin came off with it, the ant did not survive to enjoy his meat. Angry


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Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Sep 23, 2016 2:43 PM CST
Awesome pictures, Melanie! Hurray! I'm especially intrigued by that tree with bugs/ants photo... Kinda looks like it might be bugs wearing camouflage.

I'm with you, Margaret! Don't like feeling crawly bugs or spider webs on me.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Jim D
East Central Indiana (Zone 5b)
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jimard8
Sep 23, 2016 4:02 PM CST
What a Photo art gallery this is !!! Lovey dubby Smiling Drooling Drooling Drooling
In the Butterfly garden if a plant is not chewed up I feel like a failure
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 23, 2016 6:13 PM CST
I agree with you Jim. Some really great pictures here.

Living in Florida has really gone a long way to altering my mind set about bugs - guess I'm pretty much used to them on me. Hardly a day goes by there isn't something crawling on me somewhere. But that being said, I do live in a jungle at this time of year and I'm outside a lot. All the bugs love it here for the same reason the critters and humans do - the wonderful warm (well, too warm right now) humid weather.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
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
Sep 23, 2016 7:11 PM CST

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Today's post is mostly for the bird people. We took a leisurely boat ride down the Silver River which was really lovely.

But first, I spotted my enemy on a sign in the parking lot. The evil, lubber grasshopper. I left it alone since it wasn't in my yard. He got lucky.

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Great Egret

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Double Breasted Cormorant because it has the hooked beak, right?

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Female Anhinga

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Little Blue Heron

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Great Blue Heron

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Pretty sure this is a Juvenile Little Blue Heron.

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Anhinga showing off those neck skills.

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There was a lot of this going on.

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Another Little Blue Heron

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The boat captain called them Moorhens but I call them Gallinules.

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Wood Duck, male. My dad wanted to shoot one of these so bad when I was a kid. He finally got one and now it's stuffed and mounted in the family room.

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White Ibis and maybe another Juvenile Little Blue Heron?

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Obligatory gator photo.

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Great Blue Heron and White Ibis

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Anhinga with turtle posse.

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I believe this is the female Wood Duck. Notice the gator lurking in the upper left.

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Lots of Anhingas doing this.

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Back at Silver Springs, a fearsome bug on someone's car.

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There was a vendor selling bee, bird, and bat boxes. I bought a bee box!

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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
Sep 23, 2016 7:13 PM CST

Moderator

Oh, and in things I didn't get pictures of...I chased a Question Mark butterfly around Silver Springs but could not get a pic. On the boat ride, we saw some Pied-Billed Grebes, but they were small and hard to focus on. I also saw two Belted Kingfishers. I almost got a picture of the second one, but he flew away. Thumbs down
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Name: Cheryl
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nativeplantlover
Sep 23, 2016 7:32 PM CST
mellielong said:Oh, and in things I didn't get pictures of...I chased a Question Mark butterfly around Silver Springs but could not get a pic. On the boat ride, we saw some Pied-Billed Grebes, but they were small and hard to focus on. I also saw two Belted Kingfishers. I almost got a picture of the second one, but he flew away. Thumbs down


Fantastic photos Mellie! It's hard to find a favorite one but the purple damselfly is the absolute coolest I agree Just thinking of those spiders literally gives me goosebumps ::ugh:: The new camera does really nice bird photos for you... and Oh, that Checkered Skipper, I had one here the other day-- first time ever laid eyes on one- but it got away Sad Boo.
"My work is loving the world. Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness. Here the clam deep in the speckled sand. Are my boots old? Is my coat torn? Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me Keep my mind on what matters, which is my work which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished." — Mary Oliver, from Messenger
Name: Kurt
Woodbridge , Va (Zone 7a)
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krobra
Sep 23, 2016 7:44 PM CST
I believe this is the female Wood Duck. Notice the gator lurking in the upper left.

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isn't she standing on a gator too ????


Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 23, 2016 7:56 PM CST
Wonderful, thanks for taking us on the boat ride with you, Melanie. I think you're right about the Gallinules - Moorhens have more red on their faces and beaks, don't they? They're not lumped together as one kind of bird any more, since 2011 in fact.
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Common_Gallinule/lifehis...
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
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
Morning Glories Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants Butterflies Garden Photography
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mcash70
Sep 23, 2016 11:20 PM CST
krobra said:I believe this is the female Wood Duck. Notice the gator lurking in the upper left.

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isn't she standing on a gator too ????


That's what I though. Blinking

Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Sep 24, 2016 7:58 AM CST
I think both of you are right about that duck being on a gator! Blinking

More great photos, Melanie!! Hurray! Hurray! Love your new bee house! Lovey dubby
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Jean
Hot Springs Vlg, AR, DeLand, F
Region: Florida Daylilies Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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rocklady
Sep 24, 2016 9:00 AM CST
Melanie, what a wonderful group of photos you took! Your trip must have been really great. Thumbs up
Any day you wake up on the sunny side of the grass is a good day.

"The moving hand writes and having writ moves on. Neither all thy piety nor all thy wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." The Rubiyat by Omar Khayyam
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
Sep 25, 2016 6:22 AM CST

Moderator

Thanks, everyone! I'm pretty sure the Wood Duck is sitting on a branch that's just sticking out of the water. There was a turtle doing the same thing and from my angle it looked like he could walk on water - Jesus Turtle! Blinking There are plenty of downed trees and limbs that could make you think they are alligators down here. But then there are also a lot of alligators, too. Let's just say, it made me super glad I didn't choose the kayaking trip. Like I can kayak, anyway. Rolling my eyes.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
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wildflowers
Sep 25, 2016 7:48 AM CST
krobra said:Notice the gator lurking in the upper left.




Yes I sure do see it!
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

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