Shore Birds and Ospreys

Last Sunday we went to Lovers Key State Park for a little pre-vacation sunning. There were several large flocks of shore birds there, including Royal Terns, Black Skimmers, and Ring-billed Gulls.  There’s also a pair of nesting Ospreys near the southern end of Lovers Key. Here are two photo sets showing these Shore Birds and Ospreys. (The two pictures of the 2 Royal Terns are worth commenting on: I presume this was a courtship ritual, as the terns have the distinctive black breeding plumage on the crown of their heads, but for at least ten minutes, one was trying to get the attention of the other; (s)he was either not interested or playing hard to get!)

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Here’s the slideshow of the two Osprey and their nest just off the beach. They appear to be on the smaller side for the species (at least to my untrained eye).

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Wisdom and (Butterfly) Passion

Yesterday I decided to explore further Lovers Key State Park. I felt the need for a little “nature time” and found myself alone — for the most part — hiking the park’s Black Island Trail.  I say “for the most part” because for a brief period a young family was also on the trail.  At one point I heard Dad impart some environmental wisdom, saying to his three school-age children, “Now guys, remember that everything you ever have or use on this earth came from the earth.  Your clothes are made of cotton, …” Before he could continue, he was asked, “What about an iPod?” “Well,” he said, “that’s made from metals or compounds that ultimately come from the earth, too….”

Before I started the trail, I visited the park’s Butterfly Garden. At one point I spied movement on the ground and saw what seemed to be an unusually large butterfly.  Upon closer inspection, I found myself interrupting a rather intimate moment between two Gulf Fritillaries.  They’re also known as Passion Butterflies — apparently with good reason!

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