Monthly Archives: January 2015

Birds of Florida – Laughing Gulls

click on images for larger pictures

Laughing Gulls are saltwater shorebirds that are seen near coastal areas, salt marshes and sometimes near urban environments and agricultural areas. I saw these birds flying near the Sanibel Causeway searching for fish to eat. They dive into the water when they spot their prey and grab them with their sharp bills. They are very graceful birds when they fly and seem to use the wind drafts to hang in the air and glide slowly looking for fish. They have an impressive wing span. They are called laughing Gulls because of the sounds they make, ha, ha, ha. You can learn more about these birds and hear an audio clip of their calls by visiting the All About Birds website. Click on pictures for larger images of the birds.

 

 

 

 

 

State to Buy Land in Naples and Charlotte County for Preservation

Florida Master Naturalists

Florida Master Naturalists

The governor and state of Florida agreed to buy environmentally sensitive lands in the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem on the boundary of Lee and Collier counties. Florida will pay $9.67 million dollars to acquire 620 acres near the Bird Rookery Swamp and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. CREW already contains 67,000 acres within its’ boundaries and this acquisition will help to preserve wetlands for water recharge of aquifers and nesting sites for wildlife. The state also agreed to buy 669 acres for $32 million dollars in the Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods project. The picture in this post is of a group of members in the Florida Master Naturalist Program taking a nature walk through CREW.

 

 

 

Comprehensive Everglades Research Plan (CERP)

research facility in Davie, Fla

research facility in Davie, Fla

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is a joint effort between the US Army Corp of Engineers, South Florida Water Management District, Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies whose task is to restore the Everglades and wetlands of Florida to as much as it’s original structure as possible. The state and federal government has been working to restore the wetlands of central and south Florida for many years because of the awareness that the natural flow of water in our state is essential to the future supply of fresh drinking water and the survival of environmentally sensitive lands. CERP is the largest environmental restoration project being conducted in the U.S. and is expected to cost in excess of $10 Billion dollars. One of the projects to restore the Everglades is to remove invasive and harmful trees like the Melaleuca tree from the state. The Army Corp of Engineers built a research and scientific facility in Davie, Fla. Which has been turned over to the South Florida Water Management District run by the state of Florida. Its’ purpose is to study how the introduction of insects may prevent the further growth and spread of these harmful trees which soak up the water of wetlands, dry out the land and grow very fast. THE USACE and SFWMD have a very informative website called evergladesplan.org which contains a lot of interesting and useful information regarding the restoration efforts and projects being conducted.

Picture of research facility courtesy of U.S.A.  Corp and Engineers        

Wildlife in Florida – Colorful Dragonflies

 

Blue Dragon Fly

Blue Dragon Fly

Pink Dragonfly

Pink Dragonfly

Dragonflies came in many different colors and shapes because there are many different species of them, 60 in California alone. They look dangerous when they fly near you but they are not and do not bite people. They are actually very helpful by keeping the mosquito population in check because they are one of their main food sources. Dragonflies fly very fast and can fly backwards as well which make them unique in this capability. They are usually found near ponds and streams where their prey are found. Dragonflies are preyed on by birds and spiders. You can learn more about dragonflies by visiting http://www.eduwebs.org/bugs/dragonfly.htm

 click on pictures for larger images of dragonflies

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning Birders Workshops

Blue Heron

Blue Heron

 

 

 

 

 

 The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve which is located in Naples will be holding workshops on the basics of birding. If you ever wanted to learn more about how to identify birds, the uses of field guides, binoculars or just wanted to have fun looking at the 350 species of birds in Florida, these workshops could be for you. The workshops will be held from 8 AM to 12 Noon, Jan 10, Feb 14, March 21 and April 11th.

They will be held at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, 300 Tower Rd, Naples, FL 34113. You can register online at www.rookerybay.org or call 239-530-5972. The cost is $30 for non-members and $25 for members. The Environmental Research Center also has classes in Nature Photography, lectures from naturalists, biologists and special guests, art classes and craft classes for children.