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08/21/12
Berries, birds and butterflies
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, Florida & SE US, Birding "Patches", Wild Bird Wednesday
Posted by: Ken @ 3:37 pm

The heart of our “Fake Hammock” has been torn out. Note that the cluster of small trees in the background no longer is shaped into a gentle mound. Instead, there is a deep gash in its very center.

Fake Hammock Pano 20120808

Only a year ago, I could sit in this spot in deep shade, an open area under the dense canopy. Then, kids and even their fathers ravaged this quiet spot, pulling down mature trees with chains and driving their four-wheelers into its center.   Now all five of the largest trees in the center of the “hammock” have been destroyed by the partying off-road vehicle drivers. The felled trees were all native Tremas, an important winter food source for wildlife in south Florida.

Formerly a sparsely vegetated open area underneath the canopy, my secluded sitting spot is now in full sunlight and invaded by grasses and vines.  They hide the fire pit that was fed by the trunks of the felled trees.

Destruction in Fake Hammock 20120808

Florida Trema fruit is ripening on another tree along the path about a hundred yards away. Note that the berries are in various stages of ripening. This goes on all winter, and a birds are attracted whichever of the trees has the richest bounty.

Trema Berries ripening 20120808

Several bird species, including this Northern Mockingbird feast on the Trema berries.

Northern Mockingbird in Trema 20120808

A young Northern Cardinal swallows one of the fruits. Its dark bill is turning red and it is molting into adult male plumage.

Northern Cardinal 3-20120808

Common Ground-Doves forage along the unpaved roadway. They often visit the Tremas.

Common Ground-Doves 20120808

A Common Ground-Dove in flight shows off its bright reddish flight feathers.

Common Ground-Dove in flight 20120731

Loggerhead Shrikes have not been as numerous this summer.

Loggerhead Shrike 20120731

This gathering of five immature Green Herons is unusual. I have never seen that many together in one tree, in this case an exotic Australian Pine.

Green Herons five 20120731

The first Belted Kingfisher of the season.

Belted Kingfisher first of season 20120731

The highlight of our few excursions was our first migrating fall warbler, a Northern Parula male in beautiful condition.

Northern Parula 20120808

Not to be overlooked on a slow birding day is this female Julia Heliconian butterfly, its camouflaged underwings closed to cover the bright upper sides.

Julia Heliconian female 20120808

Here is a top view of a Julia female.

Julia female 20110104

The male Julia is much brighter.

Male Julia Heliconian 20090321

Another colorful butterfly is this Gulf Fritillary, on a Morning Glory flower.

Gulf Fritillary on Morning Glory 20120731

Halloween Pennants are very common all summer. The grackles catch and eat them by the thousands.

Halloween Pennant Celithemis eponina 20120731
 

An Orchard Spider exhibits an interesting color pattern.

Orchard Spider probable 20120731

Shared on Wild Bird Wednesday

8 Responses to “Berries, birds and butterflies”

  1. Eileen Says:
    Another great post, Ken! The birds are all gorgeous. The heron tree is my favorite and I love the Northern Parula. Fantastic photos.
  2. Mama Zen Says:
    Really beautiful shots!
  3. Mick Says:
    The little warbler (Northern Parula) is especially beautiful. Unfortunately we have similar problems with off-road vehicles out here. btw the tree you are calling an “Australian Pine” is certainly not dignified with that name out here. It is only a “She-Oak”! (Allocasuarina) Exotic species usually become a nuisance so I don’t know why gardeners still want to plant them.
  4. Boom & Gary Says:
    Beautiful series!! I’m saddened by any ATV destruction. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.
  5. Mary Howell Cromer Says:
    Such a lovely series of gorgeous birds, dragons, butterflies, and oh yes, even the spider;’)~
  6. Larry Jordan Says:
    Ken, I am devastated at the loss of your “fake hammock.” Was there no way to stop these hooligans? All of your images are excellent, as usual. I am especially fond of the Northern Parula and the Orchard Spider. I’m wondering if a Green Heron pair had a very successful nesting of five young? Very cool!
  7. meggy Says:
    love the pictures especially the 8th picture and the last one.this post is very rich with pictures that are indeed delightful to look at :)
  8. Ken Says:
    Thanks, all! @ Meggy– I can’t get past your Captcha Code to post comments on your beautiful blog. Must be my aging eyes!

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