Sophie, right, is almost 10 years old and a black mouth cur mix. Her little sister, Izzie, is about a year old and is a true mixed-breed rescue from All Sato Rescue in Puerto Rico. Izzie has not seen a lot of things most dogs encounter every day here, but as long as her big sis is with her, she’s not afraid. The girls live with a kitty and their mom, Carol Scharfeld, in Lutz.
Lillian Cucuzza, an avid bird watcher and photographer, saw this blue-headed vireo in her sister’s backyard on Lake Padgett, in Land O’ Lakes. Check out its white spectacles! Blue-headed vireos forage in mature trees and move slowly from branch to branch, searching for insects. The bird will tilt its head to look carefully in all directions, then pounce on a caterpillar or other prey.
This Carolina wren was found hanging out near the home of Marisol Fontanez, in the Blue Jay Mobile Home Park in Dade City. Carolina wrens seem to love nesting near humans. Nests have been found inside garages, in old shoes and empty cans, and even in clothespin bags hanging on well-used clotheslines. Compared to its counterpart, the ‘Florida’ Carolina wren is larger and stouter, with a darker rusty chestnut above and deeply colored below.
Maisy, left, and Miles, brother and sister, were named for the kids in the film ‘Uncle Buck.’ When they were together, they were the friendliest, most lovable pair you could meet. Maisy loves to lick anything and everything — hands, chairs, sofa, doors, legs! Both of them wanted to be lap dogs and tried to do so often. Unfortunately, Miles passed away a few months ago at the age of 12 ½, under the care of Laps of Love in Lutz. Miles was the family’s ‘big hug,’ and is dearly missed. Maisy lives with Sheri and Ross Gottstein, in Lutz, in the home they all shared with Miles.
George W. Cpaz spends an hour or two every morning on the Seven Oaks nature trail in his community, in Wesley Chapel, taking photos of wildlife. He snapped this stunning portrait of a red-shouldered hawk keeping watch. Cpaz loves to venture out into other local parks, too.
Local Wildlife note: In reference to the request for the identification of last week’s mysterious yellow moth, we received a response from Michelle Armstrong, a member of Coast 2 Coast Snake and Wildlife Identification and Education, who said one of the group’s members suggests it is a female southern flannel moth, the adult of the puss caterpillar.
Sasha is a 13 ½-year-old Doberman pinscher that went to Pasco Animal Services looking for a kitty. Teddy, only 6 weeks old at the time, reached out to her from his crate with his little white leg, to get Sasha’s attention. Sasha had never been around cats before, but they have bonded with love. Teddy and Sasha live with their proud family, Bob and Sandi Giddens, of Lutz.
Sharon Thompson found this moth in front of her house in Country Walk, in Wesley Chapel, but has been unable to identify it. She even checked out books from the public library and looked on the Internet. It is possible it is a lo moth, but if any of our readers can help with its identification, please send a note to .
Florida is abundant with wildlife, and whether it flies or crawls, or swims, our readers sent in a variety of photos from birds to butterflies and, of course, alligators.
We thought we’d take a look back and share some of the creatures we showcased in 2019, in our Local Wildlife feature.
Thanks to our readers for sending in their stories and photos. Keep them coming in 2020!