Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 11, 2013

Birds & Butterflies At Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

While visiting relatives in South Florida I went on a docent walk at  Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge this past Sunday (9/8/13).  The refuge is a 147,392-acre (596.47 km2)  and includes the most northern remnant of the historic Everglades wetland ecosystem. There is also a 400-acre (1.6 km2) Bald Cypress swamp that is the largest remaining remnant of a cypress strand that once separated the pine flatwoods in the east from the Everglades marshes. It is home to American Alligator, the endangered Snail Kite, and as many as 257 species of birds. It is designated a ‘gateway site’ for the Great Florida Birding Trail.

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I did a quick walk on the Cypress Boardwalk trial and than sought out the docent led walk on the Marsh Trail. I was very fortunate to be the only one to show up for the walk and have  an individual  tour with a knowledgeable docent, Howard Bernstein.

Birds seen were Northern Cardinal, Anhinga, White Ibis, Mourning Dove, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Limkin, Common Gallinule, Tri-colored Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Egyptian Goose and an unidentified warbler.

Butterflies were especially good and we saw Zebra Longwing, Gulf Fritillary, White Peacock, Fiery Skipper, Pearl Crescent, Queen, Viceroy, Orange-barred Sulphur, and probably a Black Swallowtail.

Also seen were two alligators. dragonflies, , and a number of flowers with the Moonflower possibly the most impressive.

For more information contact: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge  or Friends of the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge.


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