Fakahatchee Barred Owl

Fakahatchee Barred Owl

An adult barred owl watches from the hardwoods at the northern end of the Fakahatchee Strand early in the morning in Southwest Florida near Golden Gate.

Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina)

Carolina Saddlebags Dragonfly

Found throughout the Eastern United States and some of the Canadian provinces, this large attractive dragonfly was photographed in the wild and swamp-like Tate’s Hell State Forest in Northern Florida on the Gulf Coast.

Laughing Gull Close-up

Laughing Gull Portrait

Close-up portrait of a laughing gull in Apalachicola, Florida on the northern Gulf Coast. A shrimp boat had just pulled in to port, and this sneaky opportunist was just waiting for an easy meal!

Baby Great Horned Owl

Baby Great Horned Owl

A baby great horned owl – or owlet – that had fallen or had been possibly pushed out of the nest by a parent. Huge for a chick, this one was probably old enough to fend for itself, and with parents who probably still watched and maybe even protected it from a distance for a time.

Gopher Tortoise Portrait

Gopher Tortoise Portrait

This old gopher tortoise was found in Estero, Florida in an area with a large healthy population. Taking a break from some recent digging, this one was covered in packed, stained sand, common underground in pine scrub habitats.

Southeastern Lubber Grasshopper

Southeastern Lubber Grasshopper

A southeastern lubber grasshopper in the Fakahatchee Strand (in the northwestern part of the Florida Everglades) does what grasshoppers do best – eat vegetation!

Black-and-Yellow Garden Spider

Black-and-Yellow Garden Spider

The biggest black-and-yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) I’ve ever seen! This huge female was positioned on her massive orb web between a couple clumps of palmettos and some live oaks near Hickey’s Creek in Alva, Florida.

Gaping Male Alligator

Gaping Male Alligator

This large adult male alligator lives in a pond in my hometown of Bradenton, Florida and is a particularly aggressive fellow. Every time I got near him, he gaped and hissed like he is in this image. For some reason he shut his eyes in this shot.

                                                                                          

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Rich Leighton
December 9, 2014
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