Panther Island Adventures!

Panther Island is 2,800 acres of restored wetland and upland habitats situated in the northwest corner of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary's 13,000 acres. It is home to numerous plants and animals including the Florida panther and the iconic wood stork.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Critter of the Week Aug 23: Giant Swallowtail

The Giant Swallowtail butterfly is one of my favorites! These beautiful and large butterflies lay their eggs on trees and shrubs in the Rutaceae family (this includes cultivated citrus!). Their caterpillars called "orange dogs" resemble bird poop (talk abotu awesome camo!).
With a wingspan of 4-6 inches, the adults flit around in search of nectar plants like swamp milkweed, lantana, goldenrod, honeysuckle and more. They prefer habitats like rocky and sandy hillsides along waterways (streams, etc) up in the northern portion of its range. In the south, they prefer pine flatwoods, citrus groves, and even towns (with lots of lovely gardens!).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NEW! Plant of the Week Aug. 16: Sunflower

Understanding the plants that are native and nonnative is important for managing the land for wildlife. So I will be doing plants on occasion now!
And the first plant is the Southeastern Sunflower (Helianthus agrestis). This is an annual that is pollinated by insects such as butterflies and bees. I love watching the smaller birds forage in these flowers during the fall.
There are approximately 21 species of sunflower in Florida belonging to the family Asteraceae. It is the only species of sunflower to grow to such heights and in such large patches in this region of Florida.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Critter of the Week Aug. 9: Common Buckeye

The common buckeye is a migratory species of butterfly. We see them in the fall and winter months because they can't survive freezing temperatures. In the spring though they migrate north. They are in the brush-footed family (Nymphalidea). These butterflies prefer sunny areas that are open with low vegetation and some bare ground. They use a wide variety of nectar sources. For more information...