Screech Owls New Diggs, up in the Bombax Tree.

Screech Owls New Diggs

The Backyard Universe is truly a hub of activity lately…   every evening the mockingbirds are giving the little Screech Owls a difficult time when they make their appearance known.  You can’t miss the disturbed calls of the mockingbirds and the hisses of the Screech owls.  It was at this latest activity that I decided to read online about Screech Owl Boxes.  They had a nest last year in an old palm snag however that snag fell over this year.  After doing some research I ran across a website for the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center located in Palm City Florida.  They actually had a .PDF file with information about Screech owls AND how to build nesting boxes for them.  It just happens that the boxes for the Screech Owls can also be used by the American Kestrel.  Click here for the Download .PDF link to make your own Screech Owl Nesting Box.

We placed our box up onto a Bombax  (African Floss) Tree, part of a stand of them that is along the back of our half acre.  Now we watch and wait to see if the box is noticed and who takes interest!  The box took only a couple hours to make and cost us $13.00 in pine.  It will weather over time.  Please be sure to follow the directions of the .PDF, don’t paint the box.  Now when I go outside I have yet another possible source of activity to keep an eye on.   We have raised other clusters of Screech Owls here, watched them grown up…  I hope you will consider placing a box in your neighborhood backyard.   A big thank you to the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center for making the easy to follow directions available.  Check out their website!     AND be sure to visit my new Photo Blog called Metta Nature Photography  Click on the images there for full page views of everything else *outside* of my  BackyardUniverse coverage.    

Eastern Screech Owl

Image of an Eastern Screech Owl sitting on a stump in the BackyardUniverse.   

Winter Color in South West Florida.

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Sunlight streaming in through a Banana leaf..

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

     a fledgling Owl sits in a pine bough, under a Waxing moon.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Free Spirit

 

 

This is my image submission for  the Word Press Photo Challenge of:  Free Spirit.

I love being out in nature, and I mean IN nature.. especially in the wetlands of our SW Florida swamps.  The peacefulness and variety of wildlife and plant life is amazing.   Numerous things abound to pique the senses at every sloggy turn.  Of course you’re soaking wet, maybe even up to your waist – careful, watch out for that fallen log you have to find a way to go over or under or that hole! – but that’s what your stick is for, probing ahead of your strides…  but…. the water is clear, cool and clean… I call it “refreshing” on a hot Spring day in South West Florida.  No, the water in the Swamp is not stagnant, it’s flowing along and you’re following it around the next turn and in my case, hoping I don’t fall down        (I tend to have problems with gravity.)  I feel best when I am out of doors, hiking a trail or wading in water with my camera and walking stick.

 

 

 

 

a favorite route to travel

 

             yeah, this is an   iPhone4GS   image from a truck

My favorite route to travel into Lehigh Acres from Fort Myers Florida, is along the Daniels Parkway corridor beginning from the Gateway turnoff, and heading East, into Lehigh.  Few other routes can take one through as many lush areas consisting of beautiful towering cypress domes, upland and marsh habitats.  Driving this nature corridor through out the year you may get to see:  wildflowers, turkeys, deer, hogs, alligators, otter as well as various wading birds, eagles and osprey.  Parts of this roadway have designated Panther Crossing signs at either end of it with separate day and night speeds so be aware.  During our fall and winter tourist season I often see other photographers up and down the corridor.

According to Greater Fort Myers Real-estate:  “Stretching from Gateway and Southwest Florida International Airport on the East to US-41 and the Shops at Bell Tower on the West, Daniels Parkway has emerged as Fort Myers’s  new “Main Street.”    I think of it more as the gateway to places like  CREW Land and Water Trust  and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary   Both part of the Corkscrew Watershed of which CREW alone comprises 60 thousand acres of protected watershed through Lee and Collier counties.

Should you visit Fort Myers Florida this Fall and Winter, consider spending some time along this scenic Daniels Parkway corridor.  Don’t forget to bring your camera and pack a lite lunch.  There’s allot to see and photograph for the patient imager.  And when you want more, go explore the offerings at CREW Land and Water Trust, and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (links above.)    You won’t be disappointed!!!

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong

 

 

Paving Nature like this is wrong on so many levels.

Where Butterflies go at dusk..

Day and night may find me out on our half acre, among the flowers, vines and trees looking for and exploring “the secrets of nature.” 

I had never wondered prior, where the butterflies go at dusk.  I just never thought about it.  It hadn’t registered as a question with me.  Until one day I was out in the yard watching the big yellow Sulphur butterflies flit around the bushes and the trees and I saw one, resting up in a tree.  

If you go out at dusk and are careful, looking around your trees and bushes, you too might find a butterfly resting for the evening as this one is  (Notice the little green fly in the second image)   Click on the images to make them larger.

Orange-barred Sulphur – Phoebis philea.
Look for the yellow among the green of the tree.

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Orange-barred_sulphur_-_phoebis_philea

 If you want to keep butterflies around your yard, plant bushes they can feed on.  These include native firebush, blue butterfly bushes and native milkweed.