Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: Melanie Goes to Anclote Gulf Park

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Name: Melanie
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Bookworm
Region: Florida Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Salvias
Jan 22, 2017 4:40 PM CST
Today is Mom's birthday so my brother planned an outing for her. She has enough stuff at her age so he thought an experience would be nicer. We hadn't been fishing in forever, so we went fishing yesterday. Except I went birding and butterflying. FYI, I'm numbering the pictures in case you want to refer to them when you reply.

There's an Anclote River Park and an Anclote Gulf Park. They're about 1.5 miles away from each other. We mistakenly stopped at Anclote River Park first, but that was okay because I was already birding!

This Brown Pelican had a Laughing Gull friend next to him. I miss Pelicans. Used to see them all the time when we would go fishing. We sold the boat years ago because Dad has osteoperosis and it was too painful to run the boat over the waves.

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Here's the Laughing Gull by itself. Everyone is in their winter plumage now so they look all different from when I went to Bradenton Beach this summer with Mom.

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I was wondering why these two pelicans looked different. My book indicates that the Brown Pelican doesn't get its white head until it grows up so the one with the brown head and white breast is a juvenile. Inverse coloring...weird.

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Pelican in flight.

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Little Blue Heron

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So then we realized we were at the wrong park, got in the truck, and drove up the road. We passed a man on the side of the road who had a camera that was about two feet long set up on a tripod. That's always promising!

This was the only picture I could get of this silly Woodpecker. Believe it's a Red-Bellied.

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I heard what I thought was a "who, who" but Dad said it was a Dove and I was actually hearing more of a "coo, coo". And I heard it all day long so now I know who I've been hearing in the morning around my house. This is a Eurasian Collared Dove.

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Believe this is a Palm Warbler. We're going to be seeing more of these. Hilarious! I also now call them Yellow Tail Flickers. Rolling on the floor laughing

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I thought this was some kind of Sandpiper, but like my trip to Bradenton Beach, I think this is a Willet. Apparently, they also change color in the winter and become very gray and bland. Probably better for blending in. Feel free to correct me at any time if you think I'm wrong on an ID. You guys know I'm still pretty new!

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There were both Anhingas and Double Crested Cormorants but I believe this one is the latter because of the hook on the end of its beak. This bird was really far away so sorry it's blurry.

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This Great Egret was hanging around, and literally on, the pier all freaking day. We'll see it again.

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These Laughing Gulls were being so loud I had to take a picture. Dad said he understood why they got that name. He said they were noisy. We also talked about how lots of people like gulls, but they're basically the pigeons of the coastline.

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There were several of what I believe to be Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers in the trees. The one pictured in my book is way more blue, but it says the female is more gray, lacks the black on its head, and also that they have a long black tail with white undertail. That's why I try to show pictures from several angles, even if it doesn't seem like a "good" picture in the traditional sense.

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There was a man standing in the water fishing and this Anhinga was right behind him in the mangroves. I think he was hoping for a handout. Also, notice how Anhingas have a velvety look to their feathers. I've heard that helps them dry faster.

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This Palm Warbler was near the trashcan and I was like, "Don't eat whatever's in the McDonald's box!" It's not good for humans so it can't be good for birds. Not that it stops me from eating there. Rolling on the floor laughing But not as often anymore. Thumbs up

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Here's Great Egret again. You know, I was thinking when I was looking through these pictures how it's good we have synthetic materials. I know lots of people like to go all natural, but imagine if we didn't learn to make synthetic feathers and fur. These birds almost went extinct because they were hunted for that beautiful plumage to decorate ladies' hats. I prefer feathers on birds, personally. I'm not much of a hat person, though I did have my Columbia hat with UPF 50 on. And I had that chin strap tight because it was really windy!

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This is my PSA about picking up your trash, especially monofilament line. Dad pulled a bunch up and used his pocket knife to cut it. I picked even more up as I was just walking around. Dad also got a free sinker that was still attached to this line. We don't want wildlife getting tangled in this stuff!

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I hesitate to tip my hand here, but I think my one photo of a Palm Warbler might be photo contest worthy. Crossing Fingers!

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Here it is from some other angles.

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Here's one where you're going to have to help me. I consulted my field guide, I looked at All About Birds, and that yellow under the wing is just confusing me. I think these are the same bird, but I wouldn't swear to it. Debate away!

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Is this a Boat-Tailed Grackle? All I know is that it was yelling at me so I figured it wanted it's picture taken.

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I had seen Ospreys flying around so I tried taking in flight pics. This one clearly has something in its talons.

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And then I found the Osprey nest!

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One was in the nest, which is built on a light pole as you can see.

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There was another bird on top of a utility pole. I thought it was a vulture because I couldn't see the color due to the sun being in my eyes. Then, I realized it was the other Osprey!

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The human got too close so it flew back to the nest. Here's lots of gratuitous Osprey nest shots!

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Look at the talons in that last shot! So other Osprey flew off into a nearby tree.

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Meanwhile, on the power line, this is definitely a Boat-Tailed Grackle. A male one, at that!

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By this time, it had finally warmed up enough that the butterflies started showing up. FYI, I submitted them all to BAMONA, but it usually takes them a bit to get back. I'm pretty sure I saw a new (to me) butterfly.

First, I saw this cool spiderweb on an Acacia. You can see a moth caught in it. And I don't know if that ladybug on the underside was caught or just hanging out there.

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There were many ladybugs and larva on this Acacia.

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There were many Ceraunus Blues in the area.

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Gulf Fritillary. There was passion vine growing in the area. I believe it was Corkystem Passion Vine (P. suberosa).

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Lots of White Peacocks around, too. Not a bird peacock, a butterfly peacock. Hilarious!

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This is one of those Skippers I need BAMONA to confirm. Can't ever recall seeing that green sheen on top of one.

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I called Dad to find out if the drinks were on the pier or in the truck. It went to voicemail, and I turned around to find him next to me. With a drink. He got me one, then we walked back to the pier. I stopped to take pictures of this Great Blue Heron and realized Dad talks to birds like I do! Basically, I pretend I'm shooting a supermodel and say funny things like, "Turn to the right! Beautiful! Now a little to the left!" Dad was doing the same thing. Rolling on the floor laughing

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No one on the pier was catching any fish, but neither were the Cormorants.

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Okay, time for a dinner break. More pictures after fajitas! Lovey dubby
Name: Melanie
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Bookworm
Region: Florida Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Salvias
Jan 22, 2017 5:57 PM CST
Mmm...fajitas. Okay, where were we? Let's see, there were lots of white butterflies flying around but it took me a while to get one on camera. They were Great Southern Whites. They are identifiable by their turquoise antenna clubs.

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Okay, so I'm walking around and I see the smallest butterfly I've ever seen. I think it must be the Least Skipper, but I saw one of those in WV and it was all orange, while this thing clearly had white on it. I tried to remember what the other tiny butterfly in my area was called, but I had to wait until I got home. I'm pretty sure this is North America's smallest butterfly - the Southern Skipperling!

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Meanwhile, Osprey was back on the utility pole. Look at that beak!

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Now, I get a lot of questions on the butterfly thread, so let me share a little wisdom. A good way to find butterflies is to find a patch of wildflowers, and just walk around in them and see who you scare up. In my neck of the woods, this means walking through Spanish Needles. Change that to whatever grows in your neck of the woods. At Grandma's, I was always very successful when she wouldn't have the guy mow and the clover would come up. Here's the patch I walked through yesterday.

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Now, let's look at all the butterflies I found! First up is the Common Buckeye. Since I was near mangroves, I was hoping to see Mangrove Buckeyes, but I can't cross that one off the list just yet.

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I also found this Duskywing trying to chase everyone else off. Hilarious! I generally see either Horace's or Juvenal's Duskywings. Even BAMONA has trouble telling them apart.

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Believe this is a Fiery Skipper.

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Leaving this Skipper to BAMONA.

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Here's another Common Buckeye but you can see it's a different one because it's missing part of the wing. See how when the wings are closed it blends in and looks almost like a leaf? Then, it opens those wings and scares predators with those scary eyespots!

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Black Vulture

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I submitted this to BAMONA as a Dainty Sulphur, but I've never seen this much black on one. Either it's something I've never seen before or it's some kind of mutant.

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I took a final walk back to the pier to ask if I was going to be fed lunch (I was, we got BBQ for Mom's birthday). While on the pier I noticed two new birds.

The first one is a new (to me) bird, and one I had been hoping to see. It's a Reddish Egret! It's not in my book, but I went to All About Birds and it has all the right markings. Pink bill with black tip, shaggy look, medium to large heron. Yup!

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Next to him was what I believe is a Little Blue Heron in between juvenile and adult stage. They start out white and turn blue so in between, they range from acid-wash to stone-wash denim color. Rolling on the floor laughing

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We were almost to the end of the pier when I saw a bird sitting in the mangroves. I had seen them flying earlier and couldn't get a picture so I was really excited! Mom, Dad, and I all stopped while I took pictures of the Belted Kingfisher!

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Hope you all enjoyed the show!
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
Jan 22, 2017 8:10 PM CST
Melanie - Looks like you and your family had an amazing day! Happy Birthday to your Mom! So many wonderful photos!!! Loved the nest shots. What a great day! Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: Utah Bee Lover Garden Photography Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Photo Contest Winner: 2016 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Photo Contest Winner 2018
Jan 22, 2017 11:24 PM CST
just wondering...did you do any... um, well, you Rolling on the floor laughing

looks like a fabulous outing Smiling hope you all had a great mom's B-day!!! Happy Birthday Melanie's Mom!
Name: Melanie
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Bookworm
Region: Florida Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Salvias
Jan 23, 2017 7:16 AM CST
No, I don't have a fishing license.
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
Jan 23, 2017 5:31 PM CST
Thanks for the trip Melanie, wonderful photos! Thumbs up

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