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Butterflies & Flowers

In 2018 I visited Lukas Nursery at 6 times to take pictures of the Butterflies & Flowers.  This post is a collection of some of the photos I took.   To learn more about Lukas Nursery visit https://lukasnursery.com/ or my other blog post at https://lilsusieq.com/lukas-nursery-butterfly-encounter/.

Butterflies are a lot of fun to photograph, the move fast but are so beautiful.  As I have gotten in to photography, I have been learning more about butterflies, flowers and insets.   I have grouped the butterflies by species but I still having trouble identifying them so I might gotten some wrong.

While researching the different types of butterflies I have learned quite about them.  They help pollinate some species of plants like bees.  They receive nourishment from not only flower nectar but also pollen, tree sap, rotten fruit among other sources.   Butterflies can be find all over the world except for Antarctica, I guess it is too cold for them.  There  with approximately 18,000 species of butterflies found world wide.    A butterflies life can be divided into four stages.  First, the adult butterfly lays eggs  which second hatches into caterpillars in the spring or summer.  Third, once the caterpillar is grown it develops into a chrysalis where a metamorphosis takes place changing it into a butterfly, the fourth and final stage.

The first set of photos are of monarch butterflies.  The monarch is a butterfly I seem to photograph the most.  I got some shots of two monarchs mating or maybe there are wrestling?

 

Second set of photos are of gulf fritillary.

 

Third set of photos are of queen, peacock and zebra butterflies.  The zebra longwing is the Florida State butterfly.

 

Fourth set of photos are of skipper butterflies.

 

Fifth set of photos are of swallowtail butterflies.

 

Sixth and last set of photos has some of the carpenter bees and flowers.  

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Lukas Nursery Butterfly Encounter

I always have a great time at the Lukas Nursery Butterfly & Bird Encounter, in Oviedo, Florida.   It is a really large garden supplies center and they sell tons of plants, flowers, trees, garden sculptures and just about anything else needed for gardening.  When I go, I don’t actually go gardening supplies, I go to see butterflies and insects. The Butterfly & Bird Encounter is a very hot house with plants and lot of butterflies.   For more information about Lukas Nursery visit https://lukasnursery.com/ the Butterfly & Bird Encounter is https://lukasnursery.com/butterfly-encounter/.

First set of photos is of the Lukas Nursery and the outside of the Butterfly & Bird Encounter.    The place is really huge, my pictures don’t show how big it is.   The entrance to the Butterfly & Bird Encounter is through the Gift Shop.  They also have chickens and horses on the property.  I can spend a whole afternoon walking around taking photos.

 

Second set of photos is from the inside of the Butterfly & Bird Encounter.   From what I was told, butterflies don’t seem to like cold weather and you are more likely to see them in the spring or summer.   Inside the encounter it is very humid, after spending an hour I usually end up sweating buckets.   The encounter also has little birds and you can see them fluttering all over the place.   There is Gatorade provided and you can feed some of the butterflies if you like. 

 

Third set of photos are of some of the butterflies, moth and caterpillars to be seen inside the encounter.   The have signs warning you not to steal the caterpillars, maybe people have been tempted.   The butterflies are really beautiful and fun to photograph.    They don’t really stay still long so you have to be patient and quick to shoot them.  There were so many beautiful shots that it was had to choose which to post so I have another blog post of more of the butterflies at https://lilsusieq.com/butterflies-and-flowers-at-lukas-nursery/.

 

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Lighthouse Point Park

Lighthouse Point Park is one of my favorite parks in Volusia County.   It is a beach paradise located on the southern tip of Ponce Inlet, Florida.  Lighthouse Point Park is located on the same tip as the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum and the Marine Science Center.   For more information on the park visit https://www.volusia.org/services/public-works/coastal-division/coastal-parks/lighthouse-point-park.stml and to learn about the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum visit http://ponceinlet.org/ and the Marine Science Center is http://www.marinesciencecenter.com/.

There is a fee to enter the park, I paid $20 for the annual park pass.   Once you enter there is several places to park with 4 different boardwalks that go to the beach.  The park has an isolated feel to it, I think because of its remote location  and all the trees.  You can walk on one the boardwalks and see just trees, glimpses of the ocean and no other people.

First set of photos are of the entrance to the park and the boardwalk.   So far I have only walked the southern most boardwalk but I am sure I will eventually walk all 4.  I plan on making more trips to the park. 

 

Second set of the photos show views of the beach.  There is a pier on the rocks with lots of people fishing.    Dogs are allowed in the park and you will see signs reminding the dog owner’s to pick up the poop.  

 

Third set of photos are of some other things that can be seen at the park.   Across the Ponce Inlet you can see the New Smyrna Dune’s Park which is another wonderful park. I have a blog post about Smyrna Dunes Part at https://lilsusieq.com/smyrna-dunes-park/.   From the Lighthouse Point Park you can see the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse.   I also included some photos of people surfing and parasailing.

 

Fourth set of photos are some of the various birds that can be seen at the park.  I saw an eagle but I didn’t get a photo, he was moving way to fast!

 

Remember: Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints

 

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Bio Lab Road

bio lab roadThe Bio Lab Road at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge is one way 6-mile dirt road is located of off SR 3 (Kennedy Parkway) just north of the Scrub Ridge Trail.  There is a boat ramp at Bio Lab Road that provides assess to Mosquito Lagoon.  For more information visit the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Merritt_Island/visit/plan_your_visit.html.  The southern end dumps you out at Canaveral National Seashore near Playalinda Beach.

 

 

Bio lab is great for boating, fishing or suggest to view wildlife.  There is a fee to visit the Bio Lab and you can pay at the Merritt Islando Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center or pay at the kiosk.   I have visited Bio Lab road several times now, not for boating or fishing but to see wildlife.  I have seen lots of birds and alligators. Here are some of the pictures I have taken.

 

For my other post about Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge see https://lilsusieq.com/scrub-ridge-trail/ or https://lilsusieq.com/black-point-wildlife-drive/.

Remember: Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints

 

 

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Scrub Ridge Trail

The Scrub Ridge Trail is a beautiful short hike and provides the opportunity to see a variety of  wildlife.  The trail is located at the Merritt Island Wildlife Refufe off of SR 3.  The Scrub Ridge Trail is a long looping trail that is the habit to Florida Scrub Jay – a bird found only in Florida.  The scrub jay is an endangered bird and should not be fed or bothered in anyway.  For more information visit the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge website at http://www.merrittislandwildlife.org/scrub-ridge-trail.asp.  

 

 

I spent an hours or so hiking the trail and hoping to to see a scrub jay and take some wonderful photos. The trail has water along one side and you can see all kinds of other birds as well.   I also saw pelicans, vultures, turtles, butterflies in addition to the scrub jay.  Here are a few pictures I took during my walk.

 

The Scrub Ridge Trail is located at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge,  I usually hike it whenever I visit the The Black Point Wildlife Drive – blog post at https://lilsusieq.com/black-point-wildlife-drive/.

Remember: Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints

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Black Point Wildlife Drive

Black Point Wildlife Drive provides lots of opportunity to see wildlife.  It is part of the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge in Merritt Island, Florida.  Getting to the Refuge is easy, I always take US Hwy 1 to A. Max Brewer Parkway, once you go over the bridge you are on your way to the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, Black Point Wildlife Drive, Cape Canaveral Seashore and Kennedy Space Center.   For more information on the refuge visit the website at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Merritt_Island/.   

This post will mostly have photos from the Black Point Wildlife Drive.  However as it is part of the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, I do include some information about the Refuge.   There is a $10 fee to visit the drive or you can buy an annual pass.

If this is your first time visiting the Black Point Wildlife Drive, I highly recommend you stop by the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.   It is located off the right fork of A. Max Brewer Parkway and the address is .   Hours vary, so I suggest checking the website before your visit. There you can pay the $10 fee to visit Black Point Wildlife Drive and the Bio Lab Road or buy an annual pass.  You can also get maps, brochures and other information about the Refuge and what it has to offer plus they have restrooms.  There is small gift shop where you can get souvenirs or pick up any supplies you forgot, such as bug spray.    Behind the Visitor Center there is a boardwalk where you never know what you will see. 

Once you drive over the A. Max Brewer Parkway you will see signs letting you know you entering the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.   After a short distance the road forks, if you go left you will go straight to Black Point Wildlife Drive and the right fork takes you to the Visitor Center.  

First set of pictures have a map and pictures from Visitor Center.   While walking the boardwalk I saw a some turtles and a gray catbird.   Past the Visitor Center is the entrance to the John F. Kennedy Space Center.  

 

Second set of pictures are of the Black Point Wildlife Drive.     According to the website the Refuge is home to over 358 species of birds and over 500 species of wildlife.   So far I have only seen a very small portion of the wildlife including birds, alligators, butterflies, insects and flowers.   You are not supposed to fish or crap on the drive, however I have seen people doing both activities. 

 

Third set of the photos are of the Alan Cruickshank Trail.  I believe the trail is about midway through drive.  There is parking and restrooms at this stop.   The trail approximately 5 miles and has a small overlook that has some beautiful views.

 

For more pictures from the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge visit my blog post for The Scrub Ridge Trail – https://lilsusieq.com/scrub-ridge-trail/ and Bio Lab Road – https://lilsusieq.com/bio-lab-road/.

Remember: Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints

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OWP birds

I have taken a lot photos of birds at Orlando Wetland Park .  OWP (Orlando Wetlands Park) is a great place to go birding, there are supposed to be over 150 different types of birds.  I haven’t seen nearly that many but I have seen quite a few.  

 

 

This is a anhinga (I believe)  and he is eating a fish.  It looks like a small catfish but plenty big for the anhinga. 

 

In these pictures , a roseate spoonbill is goofing off with this other bird.  If you know the name of it, leave me a comment and I’ll add it.   It looked like there were showing off  for us or maybe having a I grooming contest, I am not sure but they were fun to watch.   I thought the pictures were great and I wanted to share. 

 

The Orlando Wetlands Park is located in Christmas, Florida off of Wheeler Road.  For more information on the park you can see my other blog post at https://lilsusieq.com/orlando-wetlands-park/  or the Orlando Wetlands website at http://www.cityoforlando.net/wetlands/.    

Remember: Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints

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Orlando Wetlands Park

The Orlando Wetlands Park is approximately 1,220 acres  man made water treatment system.   It removes nitrogen and phosphorus from reclaimed water and which then flows in the St. Johns River.   For more information about the Wetlands, its purpose and how the water management works check out the website at http://www.cityoforlando.net/wetlands/.   The park is located off of Wheeler Road in Christmas, Florida.  The address is 25155 Wheeler Road, Christmas, FL 32709.    The Orlando Wetlands Park is a great place to go birds watching or just enjoy see all the wildlife and enjoy beautiful scenery.     At the entrance you will find plenty of parking, an education center, clean bathrooms and a picnic table.    And it is FREE which is something else I love about the park!!

This first set of photographs are some of the pictures I took at the entrance.   We signed in to the Guestbook and made a donation.

 

I have been out there 4 or 5 times now and each time I see something new.  I have gone both walking and hiking but I still haven’t gone down all the paths, it is a pretty big park.  The trails are wide and made of packed sand which are great for biking.    They have free guided tour tram rides but I think the hours / days vary.  You need to see the website for current information.    The guides are very knowledgeable and friendly and this is a great way to see the park. 

The next set of photographs includes a map of the park and the first cell you’ll see on the Birding Loop.   I also have some photos of the tram.

 

The parks has alligators, lots and lots of alligators!  I know some photographers don’t like taking pictures of alligators, they complain the gators don’t do anything.  I enjoy seeing them whether they are sunning,swimming or whatever!  These next pictures are just are my best photos of these amazing reptiles.

 

In addition to the alligators I have seen variety of birds, butterflies and flowers.   The Orlando Wetlands Park Bird checklist says you can see over 150 different types of birds, I have only seen a small portion of them. 

This next set of photos shows some of the different birds I have shot.  Unfortunately I haven’t learned all the names of the birds yet but I am working on it.

 

Lastly, photos of some lovely flowers I have seen at the park.

 

And remember: Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints!