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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Punta Gorda

February 6th, 2013 · 1 Comment

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Punta Gorda is a small city on Charlotte Harbor 30 miles north of where Sharon and I stayed during our month in Florida. Punta Gorda’s greatest distinction is that it’s where my friend Bob Guetzlaff lives. I got to know Bob when I toured Panama two years ago and have kept in touch with him since then.

Early one morning Sharon and I met Bob at the Alligator Creek Preserve of the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center, where we hiked. Sharon took this shot of Bob and me when we weren’t looking.

My Friend Bob (at left) and I Amble Along the Eagle Point Trail in the Alligator Creek Preserve

My Friend Bob (at left) and I Amble Along the Eagle Point Trail in the Alligator Creek Preserve

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Later, Bob took us to some of his favorite places, including Ponce de Leon Park in Punta Gorda. This is where I watched this little bird at work.

A Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) Catches a Crustacean

A Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) Catches a Crustacean

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We went to lunch at a seafood restaurant in Punta Gorda’s shopping center, Fisherman’s Village. While we were enjoying our meal, I happened to look out and spot this big bird on top of the next building.

A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) Dries its Wings After a Fishing Trip

A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) Dries its Wings After a Fishing Trip

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On other days Sharon and I explored units of the nearby Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. We saw both butterflies and birds there.

When I mentioned the butterflies to my friend Dyveke, she told me that she thinks of them as “flying flowers.” No description of these two butterflies would be more apt:

A Flower Flies at the Charlotte Flatwoods Environmental Park

A Flower Flies at the Charlotte Flatwoods Environmental Park
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The Zebra Longwing, Florida's Official State Butterfly, on a Terrestrial Flower

The Zebra Longwing, Florida's Official State Butterfly, on a Terrestrial Flower

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A Flower Blooms in the Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area
A Flower Blooms in the Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area
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In the Galapagos last year I developed a special fondness for a rather plain genus, mockingbirds. The rare Charles Mockingbird, which I photographed from a rocking dinghy, had played a big role in environmental theory. Later, my friend Fran Stearns made a watercolor from my photograph and gave it to me.

The Northern Mockingbird is the only member of this genus commonly found in North America, and Sharon and I found lots of them on our hikes along Florida’s trails. This one let me come close for its portrait.

The Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is Florida's Official State Bird

The Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is Florida's Official State Bird

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While Northern Mockingbirds live throughout the Lower 48, another bird that we found at the Charlotte Flatwoods Environmental Park is a permanent resident of only one state, Florida. This unusual looking bird is the Wood Stork and is the only stork that breeds in this country.

Three Wood Storks (Mycteria americana) Wake Up

Three Wood Storks (Mycteria americana) Wake Up

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We found these Wood Storks just after sunrise still nesting at the top of a pine tree. While you might say that the early bird gets the worm, I prefer to think of the early photographer getting the picture.

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Posted in: Florida

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Steve // Mar 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    As a diabetic EnglishmanI was excited to see you had been to Punta Gorda, I know it well having stayed in Charlotte Harbour several times and enjoyed many a meal at fishermans village watcing the amazing variety of birds.

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