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Who Wants to See Some Hummingbirds?

For the longest time, probably at least ten years or so, I've wanted to visit Butterfly World off the Florida Turnpike near Fort Lauderdale. Last Friday, my dream came true.

Leaving rainy Miami, we headed North on the Turnpike, taking the #69 exit to BW, which sits pretty much adjacent to the road. During our visit I knew not a whole lot about how it came to be, however, now that I've read the info, in the link above, I'm even more impressed. Arriving just after 10 AM, the weather was still chilly, and if you know anything about butterflies, you already know that sort of weather is not conducive to flying around. However, I am happy to say it did not stop the birds from doing so.

Oh my goodness!

Cue--hummingbird photo...
According to the guide, this is a male Broad-Tailed hummingbird, or in birder terms, "hummer." Never have I seen one before, in fact, I've rarely even seen a hummingbird in my life. A month or so ago, Bruce, while working at his desk, saw one in the flower garden outside his window, calling to me to hurry with my camera. Although I did see it for a moment, it was gone in a flash. Now I've seen, not one, not two, but probably five or so. After doing a little research I discovered that there are about 325 different hummingbirds to see in one's lifetime, a feat I don't see myself doing, but now you know, just in case you want to do so!

Here's a beauty, high up in a tree:
And how about this Yellow Legged Honeycreeper?
There were several aviaries, a very large one with both butterflies and the hummingbirds. As we were arriving, so were several school buses filled with boisterous children who followed the guides around. This lady was quite entertaining, and from the looks of it, takes her job very seriously!
You had to look very closely, due to the weather, otherwise it was very easy to overlook the butterflies resting on the plants and trees. A few of them were out and about:
We saw very few what might be referred to as "common butterflies", but more that are native to other parts of the world. I certainly can't remember the scientific name for this one, but in laymen's terms, they call it the piano keys butterfly.
Although we went for the butterflies, it was the birds that captivated us the most. These little finches kept landing on Bruce's head, presumably to get some hair for a nest?
Oops, I left one of the aviaries a little too quickly. How about this one?
It goes without saying I'm very happy with the above photo! This was the first time I have had the opportunity to use my new Panasonic with the longer lens, and in spite of a few glitches, it worked beautifully! Those glitches, by the way, were on my part.

We loved all the little finches, none more so than this "owl finch."
Is that not the cutest little bird in the world? Well, maybe not the cutest, but darn close. We saw this one, who is still getting his feathers, up in a tree:
Or maybe he'd just had a bath?

This was one of the first times that I've ever seen birds eating flowers,
and as you can imagine, I was enthralled with watching this little one,
working away at the orange flower. Bruce finally drug me away, not without protest, let the record show, but more delights were upcoming. Apparently the owner loves Passion flowers, with the walkway lined with varieties climbing the posts.
Lorikeets are cool and all, but after the finches we didn't stay long in this aviary. The most interesting thing we saw there was the worker letting the bird get into his EAR!!!
Honestly he just stood there still as a statue while the bird nosed around! Or should I have said, "beaked" around?

Finally, there was the bug museum and zoo. I'm sparing you the cockroach exhibit. Good grief, the minute we walked in the door, I exclaimed, are those roaches? Bruce, on the other hand, got quite close to watch the hundred or so, gigantic roaches, crawling all over themselves. I'm known for taking photographs of just about anything, however, I draw the line at roaches. In the museum portion there were some of the most fascinating bugs you would never want to run into!

This area was quite well done, with case after case of mounted butterflies from around the world. The colors! The iridescence! The intricate patterns! Well, you decide....
Adding to this, there is a short film about the Monarch migration which was awe inspiring to say the least.

It is quite the drive from Orlando, but if you are anywhere near Fort Lauderdale, I'd say you should pony up the $25 admission and see for yourself some of the wonders of our beautiful world.

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