Welcome to a state of ‘b’ing’

Florida’s beaches and natural areas remain places to revel in beauty

Waves roll in gently at Nokomis Beach. Photo by Fran Palmeri
Waves roll in gently at Nokomis Beach. Photo by Fran Palmeri

Music lovers have Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. We Floridians have birds, butterflies and beaches. Comprising 1,300 miles of coastline, beaches are Florida’s stock in trade. Even in the center of the peninsula, gently rolling countryside is reminiscent of an ancient dune system.

The “wraparound beach” supports vast numbers of shorebirds. We can count on seeing brown pelicans and gulls all year ’round. Other birds, such as sanderlings, are here for the winter. In spring they migrate to the far north to nest. In summer, Florida mottled ducks raise their families in the back dunes. The yellow-crowned night heron fishes in the surf. Herons and egrets feast on handouts from indulgent fishermen, delighted with the beautiful weather.

On warm sunny days, all of Florida is a butterfly garden. In places where nature is still allowed to function naturally — parks, roadsides and vacant lots — butterflies of all shapes and colors stop by to nectar on the wildflowers. These creatures would be outside our front doors if we planted blanket flower and put up with a few weeds like Spanish needles.

For centuries, people have reveled in the beauty of Florida. But so often, they bulldoze the land — and everything on it. Beauty never figured on anyone’s bottom line.

Let us be vigilant to preserve this Florida of ours and not be lulled into a state of well “b’ing.”

Gulls surround a solitary human beachgoer. Photo by Fran Palmeri
Gulls surround a solitary human beachgoer. Photo by Fran Palmeri
Sanderlings visit for 'season.' Photo by Fran Palmeri
Sanderlings visit for ‘season.’ Photo by Fran Palmeri
A brown pelican becomes airborne. Photo by Fran Palmeri
A brown pelican becomes airborne. Photo by Fran Palmeri
A Great Blue Heron hopes for a handout. Photo by Fran Palmeri
A great blue heron hopes for a handout. Photo by Fran Palmeri
Mottled ducks nest in the back dunes. Photo by Fran Palmeri
Mottled ducks nest in the back dunes. Photo by Fran Palmeri
A yellow-crowned night heron makes its way across a beach. Photo by Fran Palmeri
A yellow-crowned night heron makes its way across a beach. Photo by Fran Palmeri
A Gulf Fritillary and a Zebra Longing enjoy the wild coffee at Sleeping Turtles Preserve in Venice. Photo by Fran Palmeri
A Gulf Fritillary and a Zebra Longwing enjoy the wild coffee at Sleeping Turtles Preserve in Venice. Photo by Fran Palmeri
Oh, how this Gulf Fritillary loves his (wild) coffee! Photo by Fran Palmeri
Oh, how this Gulf Fritillary loves his (wild) coffee! Photo by Fran Palmeri
A Zebra Swallowtail delights in Florida paintbrush. Photo by Fran Palmeri
A Zebra Swallowtail delights in Florida paintbrush. Photo by Fran Palmeri
A black swallowtail nectars on blanket flower. Photo by Fran Palmeri
A black swallowtail nectars on blanket flower. Photo by Fran Palmeri

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