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Nestled among the boat rental stores, malls, and multimillion dollar homes, are two beautiful cottages surrounded by a tropical paradise garden of palms, mango trees, bouganvilla bushes and banana trees. The peace of the surrounding nature is immediate as one passes through the doors from the parking spaces to enter the garden overlooking the expanse of the intracoastal waterway. It is unspoiled by the craziness and excited spirit of the modern commercial and popular world – all just 50 yards away and available if you have a weak moment and need to return to commercialism. The cottages however are nature at its best.
The Pathway to the Water through the Garden
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View of the Water
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Despite the small size of the property the landscaping is quite genius. The property is landscaped into 4 tiers. There are nooks of hanging out areas and eating spots in the tiers, each with unique perspective of the landscape and the water.
The top tier is where the cottages are located and each has a patio with chairs and tables. A barbeque grill is available for each of the cottages.
The second tier is equipped with another set of tables and chairs, chaise lounge chairs, and hammocks both for hanging out or for eating.
The third tier has beach sand with a open fire pit for night time cooking, for conversation over smores or for reading and relaxation. Hammocks, beach chairs and side tables are found on this tier as well.
The 4th tier is the water level with docks and boats and fishing facilities.
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Sunrise is a special treat for a few reasons. Firstly for the sheer beauty over the water. The mixture of orange blue and yellow hues, the reflections on the water all changing by the minute. Secondly the colors and cloud formations are different every day cumulus, stratus, strotocumulus and altocumulus. Thirdly birds and fish are awake and little else but the quietness of the day and stillness of the water intermittantly interrupted by the splash of the tail of a passing fish or a mannatee.
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|116047p.8 Jupiter Florida sunrise south cottage landscape view palms hammock dock 2012 Davidoff family photography|
Nature at the Cottages
Whi\ile resting at the cottages a few of natures wonders of the flower, fruit, and bird worlds were ripe for appreciation.
2012 Davidoff family photography 116061p.81
|116631p.8 Courtesy Talya Davidoff|
|116101pb.8 Jupiter Florida birds wildlife on the property Sandhill Crane: Grus canadensis 2012 Davidoff family photography|
Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
Extracted from the web site
The Busch Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and conservation of Florida’s wildlife and natural resources. To accomplish this goal the Sanctuary has a two fold mission of wildlife rehabilitation and environmental education.
The Sanctuary offers an opportunity to learn about Florida’s wildlife and natural environments. Nature trails lead visitors through pine flatwoods, oak hammocks, and cypress wetlands. Along the trails are wildlife habitats exhibiting a variety of native animals from eagles to panthers, crocodiles, foxes, snakes, bears.
The Busch Wildlife Sanctuary was originally founded in 1983 with the primary mission of wildlife rehabilitation by caring for sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals. Sadly, the majority of the animals brought in for treatment had suffered injuries from human related causes.
To compliment its rehabilitation efforts the Sanctuary took on the additional mission of educating the public about nature, wildlife, and environmental issues in 1989.
Joining forces with the Peter W. Busch Family Foundation in 1994, the Sanctuary began focusing its energy on creating a facility that would bring wildlife and people together to develop community awareness of the value of Florida’s natural resources, while promoting wildlife and habitat conservation.
In 1997 the Sanctuary developed a partnership with the Loxahatchee River District, which resulted in the construction of the Sanctuary’s current facility located on the District’s property.
Today, the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary provides free comprehensive medical and rehabilitative care to over 5,000 wild animal patients each year with ultimate goal of returning recovered animals to their natural habitats. Annually, over 100,000 children and adults visit the Sanctuary and participate in environmental programs, tours, and exhibits.
Link to The Web Site
The following text is from the website http://www.everglades.org/white-ibis/
“Among the wading birds you are most likely to see often in south Florida is the White Ibis. They seem to be everywhere – which is both a new thing and an old thing. It is an old thing, because White Ibis are and always have been the most abundant wading bird in the Everglades. If any bird were to be emblematic of the magnitude of wildlife that once found homes in the Everglades and nearby southern Florida it would be this one. It typicality has not gone unappreciated locally, it is the University of Miami’s mascot (a hurricane not being sufficiently cuddly for a mascot).
The White Ibis is a modestly sized wading bird, weighing a couple pounds. It is white as an adult but brown on top as a juvenile, turning white before its first birthday. Its bill, exceptionally long and down-curved, is used to probe the mud, water or soil, as if it were giant tweezers. Anything caught between the tips is tossed back into the gullet with a quick head flip and probing resumes. They walk along in very shallow water or even on land, probing as they go. This is not a technique that’s good for fishing, as most seem to be able to avoid the probe. Rather the technique catches slow moving animals such as crustaceans, larval insects, worms, and snails. So unlike the Wood Stork, which is also a non-visual prober but specializes in catching fish, the White Ibis eats invertebrates, most especially crayfish in fresh water and small crabs along the coast. And unlike the Wood Stork, it is not so dependent on falling water levels to concentrate its prey. Mostly it just likes the water shallow enough to wade about, but doesn’t mind probing in lawns either. But it does like company, and moves about in flocks that can number in the hundreds. The success of the ibis in the Everglades may be attributed to such tendencies as flocking (a help in both finding feeding sites and stirring food up), nesting in tight colonies, moving around nomadically if needed to find areas appropriate for nesting and feeding, nesting at nearly any time between spring and late fall, and feeding in many situations – on falling water levels, rising water levels, stable water levels, and even out of the water on soft dirt.
If one were to compare birds within a flock closely, it can be seen that they are quite dimorphic, the male’s bill being half again as long as the female’s. This is all the better to the defend the nest site with, which is a skill much needed as they nest tightly together in colonies, and males are not above pilfering nest materials or even trying to mate with neighboring females. During nesting the otherwise pinkish bills become bright red, as does the face and throat that in males is inflated to the size of a ping pong ball during courtship. Although a bird of the Everglades, the White Ibis has a very extensive range throughout southern North America and into South America, where its place is taken by the very similar Scarlet Ibis that differs mostly only in being all red instead of all white.
As the White Ibis in the Everglades, lines of Scarlet Ibis can fill the skies of a Venezuelan Llanos or Brazilian Pantanal sunset.
One cannot read much about the Everglades without coming into contact with statements about the numbers of wading birds that used to be. There was a time when it was thought that these were in the millions, but there is no proof of that and thinking in these numbers gets expectations confused. In fact the best that can be done for ‘historical’ numbers is from about the 1960’s through 1980’s. These numbers for all wading birds are in the high tens, and maybe low hundred, thousand. What is a fact, is that whatever the historic numbers of Everglades wading birds really were, they were for the most part White Ibises.
That is the old part. The new part is that in recent decades the White Ibis has become more and more of a suburban, even an urban bird. Where to go to see them? Almost anywhere – the Florida Keys, Homestead, Redlands, Naples, road margins, artificial ponds, downtown Miami, and, yes, at the University of Miami campus (where the mascot came long before the real birds). A good example of the current situation is at Key Biscayne where over a thousand nest annually on a small island at Crandon Park while feeding all over nearby the yards and parks and even flying to and past Miami to feeding sites. You can watch the evening flight lines of ibis from urban Miami along the Causeway out to the Key. The White Ibis is now an urban bird – a testimony to its adaptiveness.
We can appreciate the resilience of the species and appreciate its beauty as it now graces our yards, but is there not something amiss here as well? Why is it that these birds are not out nesting in the Everglades as they use to? Some are for sure, and it is still the most abundant nesting species in the interior marshes. But it is not likely that the urban situation is so wonderful that it just compelled them to take up residence there. Rather it is a sign that the situation in the Everglades is not to their liking, and that overall some can do better in backyards. White Ibis is inherently a nomad, moving about from year to year as it finds conditions that are suitable to its nesting. A sure sign of the Everglades’ restoration will be when the White Ibis again is nesting in the tens of thousands each year at changing sites within the Everglades. In the meantime, we can enjoy the spectacle of the emblematic bird of Everglades wildlife in our yards, and wonder what comes next for the Everglades and its wildlife.”
The Great Egret
Extracted from the Web site http://www.shannontech.com/ParkVision/Everglades/Everglades2.html
Among the most magnificent of the wading birds is the great egret, is readily identifiable with its yellow beak and black legs, as can be seen in the picture below. The great egret is one of the larger birds in the park and may stand between 37 and 41 inches high. This enables it to feed in the deeper portion of the pond, unlike most other wading birds.
|116314p.8 Courtesy Talya Davidoff|
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Turtles – Wikipedia
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Extracted from the BWS web site on Alligators
Busch Wildlife has both large and small gators. The name alligator originates from the early Spanish explorers, who call them el lagarto, meaning lizard. That eventually became allagarto, then alligator.
The American alligator is found only in the southeastern part of the US. Their habitat includes marshland, swamps, rivers, lakes and ponds.
Alligators are cold blooded, that is they cannot automatically control their body temperature. In morning the gator comes out to bask in the sunshine. When their body becomes too warm they return to the water to cool off. Then in the afternoon they return to the sun, before they return to their sanctuary to spend the night.
April and May are mating season. Then two months later the female lays anywhere from 10 to 70 eggs in a nest, and covers them for about 65 days to incubate. The mother stays nearby and when the eggs hatch, the mother carries the babies to the water in her mouth.
The temperature of the nest determines the sex of the alligator baby. If the temp is between 90 and 93 the babies will be males, while if the temp is between 87 and 89 the babies will be female.
The age span of the gator is 40 yrs in the wild, about 50 in captivity. Males can reach 14 ft in length. The alligator’s diet include fish, turtles and snakes, but they may eat an occasional small deer, wading bird, raccoon or small pet.
•Freddy – a female gator that was hatched prematurely out of her egg by a child, so she has some developmental issues.
Small gators on exhibit are rotated periodically – all were illegal pets
Are gators considered an endangered species? No
What happens to the gators at BWS when they become big? They are placed with other facilities
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Extracted from the BWS web site on Bald Eagles
“Busch Wildlife Sanctuary has a number of both Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles. In years past the bald eagle was both considered threatened and endangered. Currently the eagle is still protected, which prohibits transport, sale, import, export and possession of eagles to anyone not having a permit. Even possessing eagle parts, nests or eggs are illegal. Excluded from this law, is Native Americans who have traditionally used these emblems in their culture.
The female eagle is larger than the male and can have a wingspan of up to 90 inches and a length of 37 inches. Their average weight is ten to fourteen pounds. Golden eagles are larger than bald eagles. Habitat is usually along the coast, on lakes and rivers. They feed mainly on fish. While they will eat carrion, they generally do not feed on chickens or other domestic livestock.
Average life span for the eagle is 15 to 20 yrs, although one eagle in captivity lived to 48 yrs. Once paired, eagles remains together for life, although if one of the pair dies, the remaining eagle will take another mate.
•Osceola, Jeannie (immature), Runway are Bald Eagles on exhibit.
Where did your eagles come from? The bald eagles on exhibit were either hit by cars, or were shot. The Golden Eagle was a transfer from a facility that was shut down.
Will they be released? No, they are permanently injured and could not fend for themselves.
Do they have babies while here? No, they have not bred.
116635p.8 Courtesy Talya Davidoff
|116635p.8 Courtesy Talya Davidoff|
Extracted from BWS website Panthers
“Jupiter Florida Busch wildlife sanctuary panther Busch Wildlife Sanctuary currently houses 6 panthers. Florida Panthers are the state animal. They are one of the most endangered mammals on earth. It is known by many names – puma, cougar, mountain lion, painter, catamount as well as panther. Male panthers are larger than females and can reach 27 inches at the shoulder and be 7 feet from nose to tip of tail. Males average weight is 130 lbs., while females are smaller. Average life span is 10-15 years. Florida panthers in the wild primarily eat white-tailed deer, but will also eat feral hog, rabbit, raccoon, armadillo and birds. Currently the population is estimated at fewer than 100 adults. The breeding population of Florida panthers is found only in the southern tip of Florida, but has been known to range as far as northeast Florida. Panthers are solitary, territorial and mostly active between dusk and dawn.
BWS PANTHERS: •Wizard – male, one year old, illegally owned •Dakota – male, our oldest male on display, taken from a property in Okeechobee •Akia – female, our oldest female, seen by a toll collector being smuggled into Fl via turnpike •Mikaya- female, 4 yrs old, being used for glamour shot photos at a mall in Ohio. Confiscated at PBIA •Micco – male, 4 yrs old, confiscated with Mikaya How did we acquire these panthers? Panthers are not meant to be pets. Some uninformed people believe that panthers can be kept as pets. This is not legal, or safe. As such, our panthers were confiscations from this type of situation. Here both the panthers are safe and well cared for, and the guests are able to see the wildlife, learn about their situation and be safe. Although panthers living in the wild are the ideal, this is a solution
|116630p.8 Courtesy Talya Davidoff|
Extracted from the web site of BWS – section on Skunks
“Here in Florida we are fortunate to have two species of skunk. One, most people will recognize as the striped skunk, with its large white stripe from head to tail. The second species in residence is the spotted skunk. The striped skunk is about the size of a house cat and usually weighs about 8 pounds. The smaller, spotted skunk weighs only about 2.2 lbs. with white spots and short white stripes in a jet black coat.
While the striped skunk is common throughout the US, spotted skunks are not as common. However, in this part of FL, you are more likely to see the spotted variety. Skunks have only one litter a year, usually consisting of 4-6 young, but may have as many as 16. The young stay with the mother about 6 months and both sexes mature by the following year. Skunks are nocturnal, slow moving and have great confidence against other animals. They live in clearings, pastures, as well as open land.
Their food consists of both plant and animals. Their preferred diet is insects, including grasshoppers, beetles and crickets as well as mice, rats, rabbits and other small mammals.”
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Extracted from the BWS web site on Raccoons
Raccoons are one of North America’s most recognizable species. Raccoons are one of the species that adapted to life with humans. They live in cities as well as forests. They eat a large variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, acorns, fish and even birds and mice when the opportunity arises.
Raccoons are generally nocturnal in nature. Raccoons give birth to three to five young and may remain with their mother until after their first winter.
•Cinders, senior male, kept as an illegal pet
•Casper, senior male, kept as an illegal pet (albino)
Why is one raccoon white? Casper is an albino raccoon. Albinism is fairly common in some species of animals. He would not have any camouflage in the wild and would be easy prey for other animals.
Are raccoons friendly? They are not afraid of people, but they would still act on their wild instincts if they felt threatened.
Do raccoons carry diseases? Raccoons can carry some diseases – rabies, baylis as examples
Intracoastal Boat Ride
Going Back North
And some of the People on the Water
And then we Turned to Go Back South and Homeward Bound
Flowers and Trees
|116624p.8 Jupiter Florida Jupiter Island 2012 Davidoff family photography Courtesy Talya Davidoff|
Extracted from the Wiki pedia article (link below)
“The Florida mangroves comprise an ecosystem of the coasts of the Florida peninsula, including the Florida Keys. The Florida mangrove community includes three mangrove species, Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans) and White Mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), and one species that is variously classified as a mangrove or a mangrove associate, Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus). These plants have differing adaptions to conditions along coasts, and are generally found in partially overlapping bands or zones. The Red Mangrove grows closest to open water. It has multiple prop roots, which may help to stabilize the soil around its roots. Next comes the Black Mangrove. It does not have prop roots, but does have pneumatophores, which grow up from the roots to above the water level. The White Mangrove grows closest to shore. It may have prop roots and/or pneumatophores, depending on conditions where it is growing. The Buttonwood grows in shallow, brackish water or on dry land.
Mangroves are tropical plants, killed by freezing temperatures. Mangroves can survive along most of the length of the Florida peninsula because the winter climate is moderated by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast and the Gulf Stream on the east coast. The Florida Mangrove community is found as far north as Cedar Key on the Gulf coast of Florida, and as far north as the Ponce de Leon Inlet on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Black Mangroves can regrow from roots after being killed back by a freeze, and are found by themselves a little further north, to Jacksonville on the east coast and along the Florida Panhandle on the Gulf coast . As Florida is sub-tropical in climate, it is not ideal for mangroves, and the trees tend to be shorter and the leaves smaller in Florida than in tropical regions.
Palm trees and Coconuts
Extracted from the Wikipedia article on Palm trees
Arecaceae are a botanical family of perennial lianas and trees commonly known as palms. (Due to historical usage, the family is alternatively called Palmae or Palmaceae.) They are flowering plants, the only family in the monocot order Arecales. Roughly 202 genera with around 2600 species are currently known, most of them restricted to tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climates. Most palms are distinguished by their large, compound, evergreen leaves arranged at the top of an unbranched stem. However, many palms are exceptions, and in fact exhibit an enormous diversity in physical characteristics. As well as being morphologically diverse, palms also inhabit nearly every type of habitat within their range, from rainforests to deserts.
Palms are among the best known and most extensively cultivated plant families. They have been important to humans throughout much of history. Many common products and foods are derived from palms, and palms are also widely used in landscaping for their exotic appearance, making them one of the most economically important plants. In many historical cultures, palms were symbols for such ideas as victory, peace, and fertility. Today, palms remain a popular symbol for the tropics and vacations
|116631p.8 Jupiter Florida home 17781 SE Federal Highway coconut 2012 Davidoff family photography coconut Courtesy Talya Davidoff|
Extracted from the Wikipedia article omn Coconuts
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. The spelling cocoanut is an archaic form of the word. The term is derived from 16th century Portuguese and Spanish cocos, meaning “grinning face”, from the three small holes on the coconut shell that resemble human facial features.
Found throughout the tropic and subtropic area, the coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many domestic, commercial, and industrial uses of its different parts. Coconuts are part of the daily diet of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of “water” and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. When mature they still contain some water and can be used as seednuts or processed to give oil from the kernel, charcoal from the hard shell and coir from the fibrous husk. The endosperm is initially in its nuclear phase suspended within the coconut water. As development continues, cellular layers of endosperm deposit along the walls of the coconut, becoming the edible coconut “flesh”. When dried, the coconut flesh is called copra. The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is a refreshing drink. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating. It also has cultural and religious significance in many societies that use it.
Extracted from Wikipedia article on Banana
“Banana is the common name for flowering plants of the genus Musa, for the species Ensete ventricosum, and for the fruit they produce. They are some of the oldest cultivated plants. Musa species are native to tropical Australia and Southeast Asia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. Ensete ventricosum is native to northeastern Africa. Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics. They are grown in at least 107 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber, banana wine and as ornamental plants. Its fruits, rich in starch, grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. They come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red.
Almost all modern edible parthenocarpic bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of these cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana or hybrids Musa acuminata × balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific names Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca are no longer used.
In popular culture and commerce, “banana” usually refers to soft, sweet, dessert bananas. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called plantains or “cooking bananas”. The distinction is purely arbitrary and the terms “plantain” and “banana” are sometimes interchangeable depending on their usage.”
White Bird of Paradise
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Extracted from the following link to hardy tropicals.org
White Bird of Paradise “A crown of banana-like leaves atop a palm tree trunk, combined with huge, uniquely beautiful flowers, is deserving of the name, “Bird of Paradise tree.” Related to the bird of paradise flower (Strelitzia regina ), this close cousin is a much larger plant forming huge clumps of stems to 30 feet in comparison to S. regina’s 3 to 4 feet height. The 6 – 8′ leaves are grey-green and arranged in fans atop the trunks. Plants form clumps of several variably-sized trunks that may grow to 18′ in width under optimal conditions. The inflorescence are composed of a dark blue bract, white sepals and bluish-purple “tongue”. The entire “bird” can be as large as 7″ high by 18″ long and is typically held just above the point where the leaf fan emerges from the trunk. Flowers are followed by triangular seed capsules. The foliage on this plant will typically die back in areas with a hard frost, though the plant itself can be kept alive as far as zone 8a with a good mulch. With additional protection, you may be able to grow it in the ground even further north. Any time it dies back to the ground however, the plant basically has to restart its growth – so flowering is very unlikely this way. Only mature plants typically flower, so you must pot the plant up if you live above zone 9-10. Family: Strelitziaceae Genus: Strelitzia Species: Nicolai
Bouganvilla aka Bougainvillea
Bouganvilla and Young Palms in the Parking Lot of the Cottages
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Extracted from wikipedia on Bougainvillia
Bougainvillea (pron.: /ˌbuːɡɨnˈvɪliə/) is a genus of flowering plants native to South America from Brazil west to Perú and south to southern Argentina (Chubut Province). Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus.
They are thorny, woody vines growing anywhere from 1 to 12 metres (3 ft 3 in to 39 ft 4 in) tall, scrambling over other plants with their spiky thorns. The thorns are tipped with a black, waxy substance. They are evergreen where rainfall occurs all year, or deciduous if there is a dry season. The leaves are alternate, simple ovate-acuminate, 4–13 cm long and 2–6 cm broad. The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts with the bright colours associated with the plant, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow. Bougainvillea glabra is sometimes referred to as “paper flower” because the bracts are thin and papery. The fruit is a narrow five-lobed achene.
Bougainvillea are relatively pest-free plants, but may suffer from worms, snails and aphids. The larvae of some Lepidoptera species also use them as food plants, for example the Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia).
Extracted from the Wikipedia article on the Cape Honeysuckle
Cape Honeysuckle aka Tecoma capensis, is a scrambling shrub which is native to Africa.
It grows to about 2 to 3 metres in height and a similar width. It is normally an evergreen shrub, but may lose its leaves in colder climates. In certain habitats it may scramble, meaning that it shoots out long growth tips which lean on the stems and branches of other plants, as well as boulders, trellises, fences and walls; this can lead to the plant appearing untidy.
Leaves are evergreen to semi-deciduous in colder climates. They are opposite, slightly serrated, green to dark-green, pinnate with 5 to 9 oblong leaflets.
Flower colour ranges from orange to orange-red to apricot and are produced at different times throughout the year. In addition, these are tubular, narrow, about 3 in (7.5 cm) long. They are grouped in terminal clusters that are 4–6 in (10–15 cm) long.