Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: Melanie visits Naples, Florida

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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
Oct 11, 2016 4:30 AM CST

Moderator

No, I'm not in Italy. Hilarious! It's funny how we Americans name so many cities after other cities. Anyway, I'm down here (about three hours south of Tampa) on a mental health vacation. I'm staying at The Inn on Fifth which is pretty fancy, but I got a good Florida resident rate. I'm even in a suite! Oh, and a magical fairy keeps leaving me bottled water and turned down my sheets for me. Because I don't know how to get into bed? Rolling on the floor laughing I had a great dinner of Yellowtail Snapper and added a Tom Collins. I rarely drink, but when I do, I'm on vacation. Hilarious!

So on the way down I stopped in Sarasota because I was running early and I saw a sign for the Sarasota National Cemetery. I stopped and got gas and checked the FindAGrave app. There was an open photo request, so I went by and took a picture of a WWII Veteran's grave marker. Awarded the Bronze Medal. I tip my hat to you.

While driving out, I noticed some birds in what I'm guessing was a retention pond, and not a natural lake. I took a few photos from my car. Like this Great Egret.

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Also, this female Anhinga was preening.

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I'm going to post some plant photos just because it's my thread. Rolling on the floor laughing And I'll invite the Florida folks over to look, too. So Naples is kind of like Pinellas County (St. Pete) in that they can grow a lot of tropicals because they're so close to the water. Also, they're further south. The plants I see remind me of when I cross the bridge to St. Pete, except everything here is perfectly manicured. And I walked by way too many of those little pesticide application signs. Rolling my eyes. FYI, I'm only about eight blocks from the beach so imagine the runoff.

One thing that is nice to see is so many bromeliads. Like this Aechmea just in a pot on the street.

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And there are Neoregelias all over the place.

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And it's always nice to see Aechmea blanchetiana used in landscaping. The leaves turn more orange when they get more sun. USF Botanical Gardens has a bunch of them.

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And the palm had more Neoregelias on it. They wouldn't notice if one of the purple ones went missing, would they? #FreeSouvenir Rolling on the floor laughing

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And I think that's a Banyan tree behind this gazebo. Selby Gardens has notable Banyan trees.

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I walked by a lot of Hibiscus, but this was my favorite.

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I also passed several sculptures, including two of birds. Naples is kind of an "arty" place, but like, expensive art. Not quirky, St. Pete art where you could actually afford to buy something. So this is a sculpture of some Herons.

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And here's a sculpture of two Anhingas from each side.

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They also have orchids on the sidewalk and all I can think about is if the city workers have to bring them in when the temperatures dip. And where do they put them?

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I saw this cute succulent planting on the side of a business.

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Now, the butterfly thread folks know I have a condition where I can't walk past a host plant without thoroughly inspecting it. So when I saw a Cassia alata planted in front of my hotel, I had to look. And I found a Cloudless Sulphur caterpillar in the process of molting! I was losing the light at this point, but I'll look for him later this morning. I thought about keeping him in the ice bucket, but I'm afraid housekeeping would throw him away. Rolling on the floor laughing

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Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
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
Oct 11, 2016 7:23 AM CST
Melanie, hope you'll get to the botanical garden down there on your vacation? Our own Hetty aka Dutchlady volunteers there so you could give her a shout out or tree-mail if you'd like to see her there. (I didn't do that for you, though in case you wanted to go on your own) But she's very knowledgeable and would probably give you a personal tour.

Those white orchids are so gorgeous - probably those Dendrobiums never have to come indoors for cold protection. Lots of those Dens like some cold weather in the winter and they bloom better the rest of the year if they get cold. The flowers last a really long time on those, too so what a nice landscape plant for Naples.

You should collect that caterpillar when you're leaving, though and take him home. With all that pesticide around he's better off at your house. Are you stopping at Selby on your way home?
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
Oct 11, 2016 11:57 AM CST

Moderator

Elaine, I will be going to the Naples Botanical Gardens on Thursday. On the way home, I'm going to stop at the Edison and Ford Estates. I haven't been since I was 12 and it was just the Edison estate. Plus, I get in free because of my reciprocal admissions program from the American Horticultural Society! Also, they're having a quilt show and classic cars on display.

Today I went to the zoo. I think I had more fun watching the regular old Florida birds than the exotic animals. But you have to remember, I've been to Busch Gardens many, many times. I took a lot of plant photos, too so maybe I can add to the database.

For now, it's nap time. Tomorrow I'm getting a facial, having my feet rubbed, and then going to high tea!
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
Oct 11, 2016 7:22 PM CST

Moderator

I didn't see my Sulphur cat this morning, but I figured he should have molted by now and moved to a new leaf. After a wonderful dinner (macadamia encrusted Mahi Mahi, among other things), I walked back to the hotel and checked again. And my baby has a friend! There's two of them!

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I almost forgot! Here's a picture I took of him in the morning when I had decent lighting.

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Here's the Cassia they're on. I recommend going native, though. And while I'm at it, let me just point out that I'm staying in downtown Naples. Shops, hotels and restaurants all up and down the street. So for those who think they can't attract butterflies because they don't have enough space, don't live in the right area, don't have the right habitat - you can create a butterfly oasis! That's why Monarch Watch encourages people to create "Waystations" in their yard. If we put enough puzzle pieces together, we can build an ecosystem!

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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
Oct 11, 2016 8:32 PM CST

Moderator

Wi-fi is slow because everyone is on it around this time, but here's a few pictures from the zoo today.

Complimentary bug spray! Rolling on the floor laughing

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Blue and Gold Macaw

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The other sign said African Gray Parrot, but I don't think that's what this is. Another Macaw, but I'm not sure what kind.

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There were a lot of native Florida birds. As they do, the Herons and Egrets were hanging out in the alligator exhibit. Here's a Great Egret.

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For my bug peeps, here's some ants on Red Buttons Ginger.



Female Anhinga

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There's a sign in the picnic pavilion that tells you not to feed the birds and squirrels. But, over by the lake they have those machines that dispense pellet food you can give to the birds. I just sat down to drink some water and soon I had my own flock of White Ibises, along with a couple of Muscovy Ducks.

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Red Bellied Woodpecker. Native, not technically part of the zoo. Hilarious!

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The bees really liked this plant called Rose Mound (Dombeya acutangula 'Seminole').

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I think this is an Orange-Barred Sulphur but I only got the one picture. It's on a bromeliad.

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The zoo does a good job explaining their conservation efforts and educating people about how they can help the environment. This sign explains why shade grown coffee is good for the birds! So it's not just a marketing gimmick when you go to Starbucks.

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I realize I'm at a zoo with exotic animals, but I got really excited when I saw a Pileated Woodpecker!

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But I got super excited when I saw two Pileated Woodpeckers on the same tree!

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Good thing Mom wasn't around because I saw these two little snakes.

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Okay, the wi-fi has aggravated me enough for tonight. More pics soon!
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Kurt
Woodbridge , Va (Zone 7a)
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krobra
Oct 12, 2016 1:40 AM CST
Great green macaw - I had to look it up as well as the zoo and zoo map.

sadly they did not have an animal list but thankfully typing "green macaw" on google coughed it right up. lol

all hail Melanie leader of the flock Thumbs up

edited - it could also be a somewhat smaller Military macaw , nearly identical except it's smaller in size then the Great green macaw
27 inches in length compared to 35 inches of the Great green macaw
[Last edited by krobra - Oct 12, 2016 3:44 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1296329 (6)
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
Oct 12, 2016 1:46 PM CST

Moderator

Well, I checked on my Sulphur cats today after I had high tea (yummy). And I can't believe no one called me out on this. And that I missed it myself, although I'm blaming it on the poor lighting combined with the Old Fashioned I had with dinner. Whistling The caterpillar I saw in the morning that was molting was definitely a Cloudless Sulphur. Green, yellow stripe. The pair I saw later in the day are Orange-Barred Sulphurs. I took a better shot of them a few minutes ago.

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I didn't see the Cloudless Sulphur today, but they can blend well, so I'm not too worried. I tried to check as much of the plant as I could. I keep expecting for the valets to ask me what I'm looking at, but maybe they're used to eccentric rich people in Naples. Rolling on the floor laughing The plant did get egg-bombed, though. See all those little football-shaped things on the edges of the leaves? Sulphur eggs! Hurray!

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Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Cheryl
Brownstown, Pennsylvania (Zone 6a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: Pennsylvania Bee Lover Butterflies Dragonflies
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nativeplantlover
Oct 12, 2016 8:13 PM CST
Hey Mellie,
I tip my hat to you. What fantastic photos that really make us feel like we're there! LOVE LOVE the Egrets and WPs
especially!
Your quote-
' "So for those who think they can't attract butterflies because they don't have enough space, don't live in the right area, don't have the right habitat - you can create a butterfly oasis! That's why Monarch Watch encourages people to create "Waystations" in their yard. If we put enough puzzle pieces together, we can build an ecosystem" '

Hurray! You're so right about this!! There's so many organizations involved in conservation that are ready to help anybody that really wants to make a difference for the environment and it's creatures nodding
Thumb of 2016-10-13/nativeplantlover/e5ec39<---Click on to see a "Waystation" sign and a sign from the National Wildlife Federation. Anybody reading remember, "Ranger Rick"? Same organization.
This small area,(8' x 22' was all Japanese Pachysandra and alien weeds that weren't feeding anything. It produced over 100 Monarch cats this year. The neighbor let me make it, and Dog walkers stop and read the signs and many of them ask me questions if I'm around.

Here's another set of signs in front of my house:

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"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: 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
Oct 13, 2016 5:53 AM CST

Moderator

Excellent, Cheryl!

The Direct TV went out last night because it rained, I guess. Rolling my eyes. And Wi-Fi was even more terrible. I'm off to eat some breakfast and visit the Botanical Gardens!
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Sherri
Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b)
Region: Florida Butterflies Birds Bee Lover Garden Photography Tropicals
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sunkissed
Oct 13, 2016 7:33 AM CST
Mellie, fabulous photos, loved the walk through Naples, now you got me wanting to go. I've never been in the fall, only the late spring. I think I might have to plant a visit real soon. Thanks for sharing, love all the bromes and orchids. Best shot the two woodpeckers on the dead tree. 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
Oct 13, 2016 12:15 PM CST

Moderator

Thanks, Sherri! I had to laugh at myself for being like, "Oh, a giraffe. That's cool. OMG, TWO Pileated Woodpeckers in the SAME TREE!" Rolling on the floor laughing I think my priorities are a little different than most people. But I like them. And I like me! Hilarious!
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Kurt
Woodbridge , Va (Zone 7a)
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krobra
Oct 13, 2016 1:42 PM CST
considering the woodpeckers are there of their own freewill in their natural habitat , and the giraffes are not.

makes pretty good sense to me.
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
Oct 13, 2016 1:44 PM CST
I think your priorities are perfect, Melanie Hurray! You're right, it is neat to see exotic animals from other places but it's definitely MORE neat to see the native animals.

Btw you're obviously having way too much fun, please resume normal operation. D'Oh! Rolling on the floor laughing Can't wait to see what wonders you saw at the botanical garden.
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
Oct 13, 2016 7:34 PM CST

Moderator

Okay, I have to go to bed soon because I have my eco-cruise in the morning. Have to eat a good breakfast and be there at 8:30. The ship sails at 9:00. It's a three hour tour that departs from Tin City, originally a fisherman village, but now it's got quirky shops and restaurants. So I'll have lunch when I get back and then maybe some shopping. The lady who took my reservation said to wear "beach wear" because we do stop to do some shelling. So I'm wearing shorts in public tomorrow! *Blush* Everyone is going to see how white I really am. But hey, I was mostly naked in the spa the other day and the woman rubbing my feet and legs didn't recoil in horror, so I must be all right. Rolling on the floor laughing

So let me share my biggest news of the day! I went to the Naples Botanical Gardens this morning. Unfortunately, part of it was closed off for maintenance, and that part happened to be the Florida Garden and the Wildflower Meadow. But I still had fun in the other parts. They have a butterfly house which isn't nearly as good as MOSI's. Sticking tongue out There was a young lady there who I believe is in college and we got to talking about how to tell the difference between a Palamedes Swallowtail and a Spicebush Swallowtail. So I explained the difference and showed her on the Palamedes Swallowtail caterpillars they had.

Oh wait, but that's not the fun part. The first butterfly I saw was actually on the outside and it was a Mangrove Skipper! Hurray! We do have these in Tampa, apparently, but I'm never near the mangroves. They grow in the water, FYI. You may remember last year at Selby I saw two Mangrove Skippers and got super excited. Here's the one I saw today.

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But wait, there's more! I walked by the mangroves and said, "Well, that explains the Mangrove Skippers." And I said it out loud because I've stopped caring. Hilarious! I looked at the various leaves when I spotted something familiar. A leaf shelter!



I opened it to see if there was a caterpillar surprise inside, and there was! Hurray! This is a Mangrove Skipper caterpillar. Isn't it cute? When they get bigger, they turn white. Bizarre, right? I like their strawberry jelly form. FYI, mangrove leaves don't bend so well and I accidentally broke his home. I made sure he got back on a leaf, though. He'll have to build a new shelter, but I figure he needs the exercise. He's looking a little chubby. Rolling on the floor laughing

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Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Kurt
Woodbridge , Va (Zone 7a)
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krobra
Oct 13, 2016 7:54 PM CST
Home wrecker Hilarious! it is a pretty cat and skipper Hurray!
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
Oct 13, 2016 7:57 PM CST

Moderator

Skippers are master architects. I'm sure he had a new home built in no time.

Okay, here's a bonus Atala Hairstreak that was in the butterfly house. Now, off to bed!

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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
Oct 14, 2016 8:19 PM CST

Moderator

This guy was in the lobby on one of the pedestals where they have the giant decorative vases. I took him and put him outside under the Cassia.

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Speaking of the Cassia, there are now three Orange-Barred Sulphurs on it! Big ones! Like, where were they hiding all week? Well, at least the one. This is why I tell you guys to keep checking your host plants!

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Bird people, I need your help. On the eco-cruise this morning, the captain saw these eagles. At first, he thought they were Golden Eagles, but then he said they were juvenile Bald Eagles. What do you think? Oh, there were two of them, but I only got one at a time in the frame.

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Osprey

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Belted Kingfisher! Woo hoo! Hurray!

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Two Ospreys!

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Brown Pelicans on a channel marker.

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Pelicans pretty much just hang out here.

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And when you have waterfront property, I guess Great Blue Herons just show up in your backyard. Hilarious! The captain specified that it was not a statue!

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I see Terns and a Laughing Gull in the bunch.

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Royal Terns and Sandwich Terns

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Little Blue Heron in the mangroves.

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Double Breasted Cormorant

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Believe that's a very far off Snowy Egret.

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Anhinga

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Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Kurt
Woodbridge , Va (Zone 7a)
Hummingbirder Butterflies Birds Dragonflies Garden Photography Container Gardener
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krobra
Oct 14, 2016 9:23 PM CST
I think the bottom two eagle photos definitely looks like a bald eagle

really can't tell on the top two eagle photos though

I guess it could be after comparing it to other immature bald eagle photos , looks a lot like others on google
[Last edited by krobra - Oct 14, 2016 9:25 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1298184 (18)
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Oct 15, 2016 7:54 AM CST
My guess is that they are immature Bald Eagles unless they are juvenile Golden Eagles. I'm pretty sure if they were adult Golden Eagles, it would be obvious due to their larger size.

A few years ago we had a couple of Golden Eagles hanging around the front of our property (they liked our chickens). It was obvious because they were so huge! Actually I was in awe every time I saw them! Once I actually witnessed one of them coming down after one of my hens! The span of the eagle was so massive, it made my hen look like a mouse in comparison! When I saw it happen, I ran outside doing my best mamma bear roar which scared the eagle off but sadly it was too late for the hen.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

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
Oct 15, 2016 8:14 AM CST
mellielong said:This guy was in the lobby on one of the pedestals where they have the giant decorative vases. I took him and put him outside under the Cassia.

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Speaking of the Cassia, there are now three Orange-Barred Sulphurs on it! Big ones! Like, where were they hiding all week? Well, at least the one. This is why I tell you guys to keep checking your host plants!

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Bird people, I need your help. On the eco-cruise this morning, the captain saw these eagles. At first, he thought they were Golden Eagles, but then he said they were juvenile Bald Eagles. What do you think? Oh, there were two of them, but I only got one at a time in the frame.

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Osprey

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Belted Kingfisher! Woo hoo! Hurray!

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Two Ospreys!

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Brown Pelicans on a channel marker.

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Pelicans pretty much just hang out here.

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And when you have waterfront property, I guess Great Blue Herons just show up in your backyard. Hilarious! The captain specified that it was not a statue!

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I see Terns and a Laughing Gull in the bunch.

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Royal Terns and Sandwich Terns

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Little Blue Heron in the mangroves.

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Double Breasted Cormorant

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Believe that's a very far off Snowy Egret.

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Anhinga

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I'm going to say juvie Bald Eagles. Here's where I referenced:
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/bald_eagle/id
http://www.onthewingphotography.com/wings/2011/02/16/bald-ea...
http://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/bwdsite/birdwire-features/...
http://www.baldeagleinfo.com/eagle/eagle4.html
https://www.aba.org/birding/v36n3p278.pdf

There is conflicting info. even within a site but overall, it seems the info. is weighted in favor of Bald.
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 ~~



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