Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gulf Coast - colors

Sunset on the Gulf Coast's Honeymoon Island State Park washed the sky with colors.  

With a few days to spend in Florida, this state park was a must-see. Hundreds of photographers (and bloggers, perhaps)  waited to capture that perfect moment as the sun splashes into the Gulf.  

This Florida State Park is a short forty-five minute ride from the Tampa Airport.  We  happily paid $4.00 at the gate to get in.  Pay-to-play parks are an awesome idea, and I never grumble about paying to see nature. I would drop cash to see any art museum or zoo, why shouldn't I want to support the natural areas we love so well?  There is a theory that fees also help keep the riff-raff out, but... I was still there!

Nature: Beautiful, soothing, portable: a Zebra Longwing butterfly.

 This Zebra Longwing butterfly was flitting about the landscaping at our hotel's pool. I hoped to encounter one on this trip, as I have never seen one in the "wild".  Zebra Longwing is the state butterfly of Florida and their host plant is Passionflower.

Several southern butterfly species do "migrate"  or "emigrate" to Ohio (which will be part of my program for Shreve Migration Sensation on Saturday March 24th), but the Zebra Longwing is not one of them.  If you want to see this member of the Heliconiinae subfamily, you have to go south. It certainly made this whole trip worth while for me!

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