Saturday, July 27, 2019

Memories from Sanibel Island

Today my family and I returned from our yearly summer vacation to Sanibel Island in Florida.  We have visited this gem of an island every summer for over 30 years.  My daughters grew up visiting this magical place and now our grandson is enjoying our family tradition.  

One of my favorite pastimes in Sanibel is taking pictures of seabirds.  I spend a lot of time at the JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge photographing birds and wildlife.  This year the birds were back, so far there is no sign of the red tide on the water.  The red tide blooms last year killed the fish and crustaceans that seabirds depended on for food.

Large numbers of Brown Pelicans was a good sign that the sea water was back to normal.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The end of mango season

This week I picked the last mangos from my two trees and started the yearly task of trimming the trees.  I am no expert at trimming trees, is hard to know if you are cutting too little or too much.  This year I watched a YouTube video from the Fruit and Spice park here in Miami, on the best way to trim a mango a tree.  I will know next year by the number of mangos I get if I did a good job.

This week at the DragonFly Garden 
This orchid has multiple blooms every year.

This year my collection of hibiscus are doing well, several of my plants have been attacked by bugs 

These ground orchids in the front garden have been around for about ten years.  I almost took them out last year for lack of flowers, this year the early rains in May brought them back. 

This baby Mockingbird is finally on his own.  For the last two weeks, the mother bird has been divebombing anyone that walked near to nest.

Friday, July 12, 2019

WANTED, Iguanas on the run

This past week the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission issued a statement encouraging homeowners in South Florida to kill any green Iguana they find in their property.  I find this statement from a state agency responsible for wildlife conservation and law enforcement a bit disturbing.  We all agree that iguanas do not belong in Florida, the reason we have a problem with these exotics reptiles is because of the negligence of pet owners releasing them into the wild when they get too big to handle.  Iguanas are thriving in our sub-tropical climate; they have no natural enemies and plenty of food to eat, to the detriment of our gardens.
I never have seen an Iguana in my garden, but I know someone who has been dealing with this problem for years, my friend tells me that they are worse than even deer and he has experienced with both.  I have no problem with the proper removal of these animals from our state by licensed trappers, as they do with Python in the Everglades, but giving homeowners carte blanche to kill iguanas in their yards opens the question, how do we humanly kill these animals.  Florida has laws against cruelty to animals, the same laws that are supposed to be enforced by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.   

This large iguana was camouflage in the mangroves of the Florida Keys, it almost dropped on my head while I was taking nature pictures.  

We have a serious problem with invasive species in South Florida, whether they are Iguanas, Python in the Everglades or Kingfish in Biscayne National Park, they all can be trace to one source, the legal importation of exotic animals.  Why don’t we have laws against the importation of any non-native species.  We have experienced the devastating consequences of this animal trade; it is time to put an end to it.