Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

This is part 2 of my birding adventures this weekend. Thanks to the generous help of one of the Enchanted Forest Sanctuary (EFS) volunteers, I had batteries for my camera and thus a lot more photographs to share.

I had last been to EFS during the Florida Birding and Wildlife Festival in January, so it was nice to go back now in the summer, although it was much more quiet (in terms of people and birds).

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Enchanted Forest Sanctuary

The first creature I encountered was a LARGE “Banana Spider” (Nephila clavipes, also known as a golden silk orb-weaver spider). In fact, they were all over the park, in paths and up in trees. Here’s a link to a photo album of some of the spiders. (I won’t post them directly  here out of respect for my arachnophobic followers).

The sanctuary has several “loop” paths through different biomes. I started on the Coquina Ridge path, which parallels an old unfinished canal cut. Remnants of the coquina that was removed are strewn throught this part of the park, some of them arranged as ornaments. The holes in the center are from natural erosion when the coquina was under water.

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Ornamental coquina

After dodging a few spider webs, I turned onto the Biodiversity Loop. The park was noticably more cool, humid and mosquitoey (but my bug repellant seemed to be working). The canopy had some dramatic draping of Spanish Moss and other plants hanging off the Live Oaks and other trees.

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Dramatic Spanish Moss is dramatic.

As is typical of late summer in Florida, the bird presence was pretty minimal, but there was still plenty of wildlife around, and the plants were pretty too.

Quite a few butterfly species were in evidence. They can be difficult to photograph without a really big lens on an SLR, so I did my best with my Kodak Easyshare Max Z990. I captured this Zebra Longwing early-on in the hike through the Sand Pine loop. photo zebra-longwing.jpg
Zebra Longwing enjoying some summer nectar, as one does.

Later in the hike I also shot this orange butterfly. My Internet searching hasn’t positively identified it, but if any of my followers know what it is, please let me know. photo orange-butterfly.jpg
One of many butterfly species and individuals at EFS.

Along one of the upland and sandy trails I came across a Gopher Tortoise and got some glamor shots.

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You never know who you might cross paths with!

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Gorgeous!

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Head shot!

I know I’ve shot Beauty Berry a few times this summer, but they are a very photogenic plant. Here’s a bunch of those and some goldenrod which was quite prevalent along one of the trails. Plenty of flowering plants and other vegetation of the butterflies and other insects

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Beauty Berry, again
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Goldenrod.
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A green cicada.
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Mini-lubbers were here, too.

Before heading for the exit (dodging spiders all the way), I caught some Blue-grey Gnatcatchers skulking along the trail.

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It is a birding blog, after all.

I expect both EFS and Pine Island Sanctuary will get busier with respect to bird activity as the month of October arrives, and I aim to visit both as the fall migration gets under way.

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Until our paths cross again.

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