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Taken at Circle B in Lakeland, Florida. Happy weekend all :)

Took this four days ago, well actually four sunsets ago. My first evening in Florida during this trip east.

Florida Gulf Beaches

Florida East Coast No. 226 heads north through the fog at St. Augustine, Florida, on January 13, 2015.

Florida Polytechnic University is surrounded on three sides with water. The first image I posted is where I had hoped to get reflections, but the wind prohibited that. On this side, the water was virtually still and gave me the mirror look I wanted.

Tickseed (Coreopsis levenworthii) is Florida's State Wildflower.

 

I have planted two varieties of Coreopsis in my garden, one of which is very similar to this Coreopsis species. It will reseed itself for next year's "crop", but the seed heads attract Goldfinches that put on a show each evening as they voraciously devour the fresh seeds.

 

We were fortunate that our cruise was scheduled for 2/22 - 2/29. We had a great time! This was taken the morning of embarkation day. We had flown in the night before, and that morning I walked to the beach and was greeted with this sunrise. Not a bad way to start our vacation!

Do not try this yourself as it will not end well - this egret was casually standing on the back of a 6+ foot (1.8 meters) alligator and gracefully drifting across the water.

The state of Florida is home to a relict population of northern caracaras that dates to the last glacial period, which ended around 12,500 BP. At that point in time, Florida and the rest of the Gulf Coast was covered in an oak savanna. As temperatures increased, the savanna between Florida and Texas disappeared. Caracaras were able to survive in the prairies of central Florida as well as in the marshes along the St. Johns River. Cabbage palmettos are a preferred nesting site, although they will also nest in southern live oaks. Their historical range on the modern-day Florida peninsula included Okeechobee, Osceola, Highlands, Glades, Polk, Indian River, St. Lucie, Hardee, DeSoto, Brevard, Collier, and Martin counties. They are currently most common in DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Okeechobee and Osceola counties.

 

I found this one at Joe Overstreet Landing on Lake Kissimmee, in Osceola County, Florida.

The Florida Scrub Jay is the only bird species endemic to Florida and is found only in the unique ecosystem in the central part of the state. It's been officially listed as a threatened species and there is a large fine for anyone caught feeding it.

 

One of its most interesting characteristics is its tameness. In spite of its expression in this shot, they really do seem to like people. This one followed us as we walked down the path, going from bush to bush, and at one point even jumped down and stood at our feet. Sharing time with this bird was the best part of our day at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Taken a few years ago, not often seen.

 

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Ft Jefferson is about 80 miles west of Key West ..the geometry of this building amazes ...It's deserted, except for some National Park Service staff, so you wander these old passageways alone - eerie, yet cool !

Mallory Square, Key West

Shot taken in South Florida, in the Palm Beach Shores area.

Sunrise over Seven Seas Lagoon at Walt Disney World Orlando Florida

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Sunset seen from Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Part of our last crop of marigolds. They were the most brilliant orange and were so big and tall. They stood way taller then the flower box they were planted in.

For Floral Friday!

 

Florida fence posts are like most other fence post in a lot of ways, but Florida fence posts by far, has a much higher percentage of adornment on them.

This one for example is adorned with a Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk.

 

Red-shouldered Hawk is a medium-sized buteo, smaller than Red-tailed Hawk but slightly larger than Broad-winged Hawk. In the East, they are found in riparian or swampy woodlands. In the West, they are found in oak woodlands, riparian areas, and suburban areas with large trees. Red-shouldered Hawks are shy and secretive in the East, but they are quite tame in the West and in Florida. The Red-shouldered Hawk is uncommon to fairly common as a breeder throughout the eastern part of its range, but declining in certain areas. In the West, they are expanding north into Washington, when once only found in California and southern Oregon. There are four subspecies: Eastern (B. l. lineatus), California (B. l. elegans), Florida (B. l. alleni), and Texas (B. l. extimus), but plumage overlap exists between Eastern, Florida, Texas, so not all individuals are identifiable to subspecies.

 

I found this Juvenile along Joe Overstreet Road in Osceola County, Florida.

Azaleas light up the woodland. Bok Tower gardens, Florida USA

Punta Gorda, Florida

I love shooting sunrise/sunsets in Florida as there are so many beautiful foregrounds and lakes to explore. This one I shot before a morning meeting ( I did arrive with some mud on the shoes....)

During a brief vacation in South Florida, I took an early morning walk outside my hotel and was fortunate enough to have a wonderful sunrise as a backdrop to the crashing surf. Such a great way to start the day!

Historically, snail kites were found from the Everglades to just southeast of Tallahassee, but wetland drainage and development eliminated or altered its shallow freshwater foraging habitat

 

Generally, the species is somewhat nomadic, moving from wetland to wetland in search of snails, but they are regularly seen in the marshes associated with lakes Kissimmee, Okeechobee and Tohopekaliga, at the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, water conservation areas (Everglades), and even along stretches of the Tamiami Trail.

 

The Florida snail kite is aptly named - it feeds almost exclusively on apple snails and, in the United States, is found only in Florida.

 

The species was listed as endangered in 1967. Today, the population is considered to be stable, but extremely vulnerable to the stresses of habitat loss, prolonged droughts and anything that affects the availability of apple snails, its primary food.

 

Snail kites breed from December to August and lay an average of three eggs in bulky nests built in a variety of wetland trees, shrubs and emergent vegetation. During the nesting season, the birds are usually found singly or in pairs; in winter, they often roost together in communal groups.

 

Lucky observers will witness the snail kite in action, as it searches for its prey by flying low over shallow freshwater marshes scattered with shrubs and trees. When it spots a snail, it swoops down, extends its legs into the water and briefly hovers while it grasps the snail with its talons. While still in flight or after landing on a nearby perch, the kite uses its thin, hooked bill to pull the snail from its shell.

 

I found this Male perched in a Sable Palm along the shore of Lake Kissimmee, at Joe Overstreet Landing.

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