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  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Red Shouldered Hawk
    Friday, November 30, 2018 9:26 AM

    The Red-shouldered Hawk is seen and often heard all around Sanibel and Captiva throughout the entire year. This mid-size hawk lives throughout the pine woods in the interior parts of Florida and easily adapts to perching amongst the buttonwoods and mangroves along the coast.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: White Pelican
    Friday, November 23, 2018 1:00 PM

    The White Pelican, one of the largest birds in North American, can have a wingspan of up to nine feet. With fall upon us here in Southwest Florida, this large bird is one to keep an eye out for with it's bright white breast and black outlined wings often circling in unison high above the Southwest Florida coastline, where the White Pelican calls home for the winter months. If not high in the sky, the White Pelican can be seen in large flocks resting on a sand bar or oyster mound in the back bays of Sanibel, Captiva and North Captiva.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Raccoon
    Friday, November 16, 2018 1:00 PM

    Florida raccoons are common throughout the entire state of Florida and are typically smaller than those farther north. The word " Raccoon " is derived from " Arakun ", an Algonquin word meaning " he scratches with his hands". This originates from the fact that raccoons possess a far greater manual dexterity than other small mammals and have a highly developed sense of touch. Their paws are comprised of what looks to be slender fingers that provide for great climbing capabilities as they flee from danger or climb for food such as the seeds of our state tree, the Cabbage Palm.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Reddish Egret
    Friday, October 26, 2018 4:33 PM

    The Reddish Egret, a conspicuously long-legged and long-necked wading bird of coastal regions, is more tied to salt water than other of our other Herons or Egrets. It is known for its erratic dancing when it forages and is a species of special concern. There are only 3,500 pairs of reddish egrets worldwide, with nearly 10 percent of that population in Florida, where it can reside year-round. This egret is also a year-round resident along the eastern coast of Texas, where the majority of the breeding for the Reddish Egret takes place.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Royal Tern
    Friday, October 19, 2018 3:57 PM

    The Royal Tern is common along tropical and subtropical shores of the world throughout the entire year, favoring protected warm coastal waters, as in bays, lagoons and estuaries. Habitats throughout Southwest Florida provide ample areas for this bird and plenty of viewing opportunities.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Florida Soft Shell Turtle
    Friday, September 28, 2018 12:25 PM

    The Florida Softshell Turtle is a species of American Freshwater Turtles, a native of the Southeastern United States and one of the 26 species of turtles found in Florida . It is found all around the islands of Sanibel and Captiva. They prefer slow-moving fresh water bodies that have sand or mud bottoms but will utilize brackish water, often near the mouths of small rivers or streams. They are large turtles, with the adult females being up to 24" in length, twicw that of an adult male. Softshell Turtles can weigh up to 40 pounds and if one of these mistakes your bait / lure for it's next meal, you are in for quite a fight.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Hibiscus
    Saturday, September 22, 2018 4:40 PM

    Hibiscus is the genus of a very large group of plants, comprised of several hundred species that are native to warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. They are known for their large, showy flowers and known simply as "hibiscus" or Rose mallow.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Gulf Fritillary
    Friday, September 14, 2018 3:32 PM

    The Gulf Fritillary is a brightly colored butterfly common across the extreme southern portions of the United States. It is found in all 67 counties in Florida and is a regular inmost butterfly gardens, including those in urban settings. This butterfly does migrate throughout the Southeastern United States with adults moving to the northern limits in the spring and migrating back south throughout the state of Florida in late summer and fall.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Red Bellied Woodpecker
    Saturday, September 01, 2018 12:10 PM

    The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is one of the more common birds you'll find around the area. It's range is all throughout the Southeastern United States and prefers swamp and riverside wooded habitats. It feeds on insects, berries and nuts and sometimes catches flying insects as well.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Zebra Butterfly
    Saturday, August 25, 2018 12:55 PM

    Since 1996, the Zebra Longwing Butterfly has been classified as the state butterfly of Florida. It's easily identified by it's long, narrow wings that are black with light yellow zebra-like stripes. It flourishes in damp, tropical areas and is typically found in hammocks and thickets. Due to this habitat preference, south Florida is the most common area in the state to find this butterfly. The passion vine / passion flower is the host plant to the Zebra Longwing. The host plant is the plant that the larvae ( caterpillar ) feeds on. The larvae of the Zebra Longwing have white bodies and long black spines and a yellow head. Several larvae will hatch from eggs laid on the underside of a leaf and these veracious caterpillars will continuously eat, grow quickly and if conditions are right can go from egg to butterfly in just a little over three weeks.

     

    The Zebra Longwing can be seen all around the islands. Native passion vine is throughout the island, providing the needed host plant for generation after generation of this butterfly.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Great Egret
    Saturday, August 04, 2018 4:48 PM

    The Great Egret, next to the White Ibis, may be one of the most commonly observed wading birds here on Sanibel and Captiva. The tall, graceful Great Egret is a wader of the quiet waters all around Southwest Florida throughout the entire year. It is certainly smaller than the Great Blue Heron with bright white feathers throughout, a yellow bill and black legs.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Eastern Phoebe
    Sunday, July 29, 2018 7:03 AM

    The Eastern Phoebe is in the Flycatcher family and is considered an early migrant, bringing with it hope that spring is at hand. They often nest on buildings and bridges and prefer woodland edge habitat, which makes the golf course a great place for it to spend it's days hunting for food during the winter months in Florida. It's common winter range to be found is from the coastal Carolinas, along the Southeastern U.S. shoreline to western Texas. The Phoebe feeds on mostly insects such as small wasps, bees, beetles, flies and grasshoppers. In many cases, it catches flying insects in mid-air for a meal. The Phoebe also eats fruits and berries during the cooler months and these are considered an important part of the winter diet. Although not seen on the islands at this time of the year, the Phoebe is a great birdwatching favorite to keep an eye out for during our Florida winters.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Yellow Rat Snake
    Saturday, July 21, 2018 4:28 PM
    Rat snakes are the one of the largest kinds of species of snakes, with over 50 types of sub-species. One of the most common of this large group is the Yellow Rat Snake. They are a relatively large constrictor snake, growing up to five to seven feet in length, and in the south are yellow in color with long brown stripes that cover the entire length of the snake. Yellow Rat Snakes are found along the coastal United States, with the most populated area of them in Southern Georgia and along the Savannah River in the Carolinas. Being that they are found mostly near water, they are excellent swimmers. They are most active at dusk and throughout the night and as their name indicates, the most common food in it's diet is rats. Their diet is quite varied though and the young survive on lizards, frogs and mice.
  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Tri-Colored Heron
    Saturday, July 14, 2018 12:55 PM
    The Tri-colored Heron, formerly known as the Louisiana Heron, is a year-round resident here in South Florida and can be found in the coastal United States from North Carolina all the way to the southern tip of Texas. It is typically found in the quiet, shallow waters that make up coastal lowlands, sheltered estuaries and mangrove swamps in coastal communities. Its name comes from the three colors, Blue-gray, Lavender and White that exhibit on the adult bird. 
  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: :Pileated Woodpecker
    Saturday, July 07, 2018 6:15 PM

    The Pileated Woodpecker, the largest woodpecker in North America, excavates large holes into dead palm trees and other dead hardwoods in search of insects for it's next meal. Carpenter ants can make up 60% of it's diet, which are most commonly found in rotten wood of all types. If not eating insects, the Pileated also feeds on wild fruits, nuts and berries. The Pileated Woodpecker is found year-round all across Southwest Florida. They nest in new cavity each year that is excavated by both the male and the female. The female lays between 3 -5 eggs and both parents participate in the incubation of the eggs, which lasts approximately three weeks. Once hatched, the young leave the nest in four weeks but stay close to the parents for the next coupke

     

    The Pileated isn't a difficult one to spot or identify. Always in search of the next meal, they seldom sit still and are very busy flying from tree to tree. The well-known " Woody the Woodpecker " was modeled after the Pileated Woodpecker, if memory serves me right, he's quite a busy woodpecker also. Keep an eye to the sky for the Pileated Woodpecker!

     

  • SWEET SHOTS AT THE SANCTUARY GC: Florida Mud Turtle
    Friday, June 29, 2018 11:53 AM

    The Florida Mud Turtle is one of many varieties of Mud Turtles that are found throughout the United States, Central America, South America and Mexico. These relatively small turtles can live up to 50 years and typically inhabit lakes and streams that are heavily vegetated. They prefer clearer waters with a muddy bottom so that they can burrow into the soft mud and hibernate when the time is right.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Green Heron
    Friday, June 08, 2018 5:37 PM

    he Green Heron is a stocky, small, solitary, somewhat secretive heron that lives around small bodies of water or densely vegetated areas. The "green" on the birds back is an iridescent color and often looks dull or dark blue. The Green Heron forages by mostly standing still or stalking very slowly at edge of shallow water or perched on emergent aquatic plants like this Cattail in the photo, waiting for prey to approach, sometimes using "bait," to lure fish within striking distance.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Black Skimmer
    Saturday, June 02, 2018 1:58 PM

    The Black Skimmer is truly a treat to see in action. The skimmer flies low, with its large lower mandible plowing through the water, snapping the bill shut when coming into contact with a fish. The graceful precision of the hunt is unlike any other bird and skimmers are sometimes placed in their own family, although they are truly related to the terns. Black Skimmers are coastal throughout most of North America and can often be seen in large flocks resting on sand bars and beaches.

     

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM THE SANCTUARY GC: Mangrove Tree Crab
    Saturday, May 26, 2018 11:40 AM

    The Mangrove Tree Crab can be found all along the barrier islands of Southwest Florida and may at first glance look like a spider climbing along our native Red, Black and White Mangroves. As crabs go, they are very small, only being an average of an inch across.

  • SWEET SHOTS FROM SANCTUARY GC
    Saturday, May 19, 2018 2:07 PM

    The Red-shouldered hawk is a very recognizable year-round bird of prey here in Southwest Florida, especially in swamps and deciduous and mixed forests with tall trees and open understory. This hawk of the woodlands will often be found nesting in pine woods and even mangroves throughout the state of Florida. This medium sized hawk hunts by watching from a perch and is often seen swooping out of a tall tree along the edge of the golf course to grabbing a meal by surprise that's travelling in the open turf. Their diet consists of small mammals, amphibians, reptiles and even other birds. Their quick agile flight capabilities will surprise you as the whip through thick wooded areas showing off their latest catch.

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