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Top nature photos from around Sarasota, Longboat Key, East County in 2023-24

Readers from across the region submit their photos to the Observer's 2023-24 Weather and Nature Photo Contest.


  • By
  • | 11:32 a.m. February 21, 2024
  • Sarasota
  • Neighbors
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Go to YourObserver.com/weather to submit a photo or several photos! Each week, we will choose a photo to run on the weather page of our print edition.

All submissions will be entered for the 2023-24 Weather and Nature photo contest. In February 2024, you will vote for your favorite photo, and the submission with the most votes will win a $500 gift card.

To see past entries, also visit our Facebook page: Facebook.com/ObserverGroup.

Joyce Lockhart took a photo of a hawk flying over Beacon Lake in Heritage Harbour.


Donna Brown took this photo of a group of sanderlings on Whitney Beach.


Donna Brown took this photo of a giant alligator at Myakka State Park.


David Ondocin took this photo of a roseate spoonbill along Watercrest Way in Lakewood Ranch.


Gary Wise took this photo of a tree frog out at night on Longboat Key.


Lisa Kaplan took this photo of palm trees along Bayfront Park at sunrise.


Gordon Silver took this photo of a waxing crescent moon over Lakewood Ranch.


Donna Brown took this photo of a curious woodpecker in Longbeach Village on Longboat Key.


Catherine Goranson took this photo of the sunset coming through the clouds over Siesta Key Beach.


Phil Pape took this photo of a great blue heron at Lake Uihlein in Lakewood Ranch.


Donna Brown took this photo of sanderlings along Whitney Beach on Longboat Key.



Gordon Silver took this photo of a gopher turtle snacking on grass at Myakka River State Park.


Gordon Silver captured this photo of a sandhill crane near Lorraine Road in Lakewood Ranch.


Donna Brown took this photo of an indigo bunting taking a rest on Longboat Key.


Gordon Silver took this photo of a bee getting pollen from a hibiscus flower in Del Webb.


Gordon Silver took this photo of a wood stork in Del Webb of Lakewood Ranch.
Donna Brown took this photo of a sunset at Longbeach Village on Longboat Key.


Gordon Silver took this photo of a great blue heron showing off his catch of the day in a pond in Del Webb.


Becky Edwards took this photo of some young, photogenic cows in Sarasota.


Donna Brown took this photo of this snowy plover chick on Whitney Beach, Longboat Key.


Gordon Silver took this photo of two eagles near The Lake Club with one coming in for a landing.


David Ondocin took this photo of three sandhill cranes on the Legacy Golf Course’s No. 12 hole.


Lisa Kaplan took this photo of a bald eagle flying over Triton Bend on Longboat Key.


Dawn Parizo took this photo of a sunbathing alligator in Myakka State Park.


Gordon Silver took this photo of a male and female bald eagle in a nest in Lakewood Ranch.


Leighton Allenby took this photo of pelicans diving into the Gulf of Mexico off Longboat Key.


Pandora Seibert took this photo of a lifeguard tower on a quiet morning on Siesta Key.


Randy Christo took this photo of a sunset driving down Lorraine Road in Lakewood Ranch.


Leighton Allenby took this photo of a ghost crab on a Longboat Key beach.


Gordon Silver took this photo of a snowy egret grabbing a snack along the lake shoreline at Myakka River State Park.


Gordon Silver took this photo of two otters on the lake bank behind a home in Del Webb.


Donna Brown took this photo of a curious cardinal checking out some plants in Longbeach Village on Longboat Key.


Gordon Silver took this photo of two otters on the lake bank behind a home in Del Webb.


Gordon Silver took this photo of a sunset from Country Club East subdivision.


Jeff Collier took this photo of a gorgeous view from Longboat Key.


Gordon Silver took this photo of a sunset from Country Club East subdivision.


Matthew Press took this photo of a whimbrel in the surf at Siesta Key Beach.
Christine Lapinski took this photo of the sunset over Veranda Beach Club on Longboat Key.
Marty Franssen took this photo of a blue heron at sunrise at James L. Patton Park in Lakewood Ranch.


Marty Franssen took this photo of a cormorant eating a fish at James L. Patton Park in Lakewood Ranch.


Ellen Rubinstein took this photo of sandpipers running along North Lido Beach.


Darlene Edelman took this photo of a sandhill crane looking for a mate in University Park.


Gordon Silver took this photo of a small gator checking out new territory along Lorraine Road.


Jenelle Alber took this photo of the sun setting on Whitney Beach, Longboat Key.


Jeff Collier took this photo of a rainbow over Siesta Key beach.


Jennifer Volpe took this photo of a deer in Lakewood Ranch.


Ginny Weltzin took this photo on Beer Can Island on Longboat Key.


Patty Flynn took this photo of a boat passing by Siesta Key at sunset.


Marty Franssen took this photo of a cormorant in a lake at Heron’s Nest Park in Lakewood Ranch.


Jeff Collier took this photo of a colorful sunset on Siesta Key Beach.
Fran Plumley took this photo of a peaceful morning near Beer Can Island on Longboat Key.


Ron Owens shot this photo of two black-bellied whistling ducks in Country Club East.


Fran Plumley took this photo of an egret looking for a snack on Longboat Key.


Vincent OShaughnessy took this photo of a crab walking the shoreline on SIesta Key Beach.


Carole Sullivan took this photo of a full moon over River Club.


Jenelle Alber took this photo of the afterglow of a sunset off Whitney Beach on Longboat Key.


Carole Sullivan took this photo of a full moon over River Club.


David Ondocin took this photo of a full rainbow over a pond in Lakewood Ranch.


Trevor Hash captured this black skimmer flying over the surf on Longboat Key.


Jim Eachus took this photo of a red-shouldered hawk flying over Celery Fields in Sarasota.


Joe Dombroski took this photo of a row of sunflowers in Lakewood Ranch.


Ray Collins took this photo from Condo on the Bay, looking west over the Intracoastal Waterway toward Longboat Key.


Mayra Garcia took this photo of these morning blooms at Urfer Family Park.


Karin Shillus took this photo of a roseate spoonbill in Lakewood Ranch.


Kimberly Corder took this photo of the sunset from the North Longboat public beach access ramp.


Wendy Dillon took this photo of some wildflowers in Sarasota.


Gordon Silver took this photo of a an egret fishing at Myakka River State Park.


Jenelle Alber took this photo of the morning moon over Whitney Beach.



Gordon Silver took this photo of a an egret fishing at Myakka River State Park.


Tom Norton captured this roseate spoonbill visiting his backyard near University Parkway.


Jenelle Alber took this photo of a spectacular sunrise from Bishop’s Bayou on Longboat Key.


Becky Edwards took this closeup photo of an orchid at a local garden in Sarasota.


Marvin Crepea took this photo of a heron devouring a frog in a Thornhill Court pond.


Jenelle Alber took this photo of the sunset breaking on Whitney Beach.


Pat Howell captured this photo of a baby sandhill crane in Lakeshore Village.


Craig Mueller took this photo of an alligator in a pond at Esplanade in Lakewood Ranch.


Joel Levine took this photo of the sun coming through the clouds above Beachplace on Longboat Key.


Damon Powers took this photo of the full moon rising over the Ringling Bridge in Sarasota.


Katrina Zagroba-Kamal captured this lightning strike along with a double rainbow over Lakewood Ranch.


Jenelle Alber captured this shot of a sunset from Longboat Key.


Gordon Silver captured a shot of this Limpkin eating a fresh water clam in Del Webb.


Gordon Silver captured a shot of these two dragon flies.


Donna Brown took this photo of Romeo and Daisy enjoying the midday sun on Longboat Key.


Gordon Silver captured a shot of these two dragon flies.


Gordon Silver took this sunset drone shot above Country Club East in Lakewood Ranch.


Jenelle Alber captured this photo on a clear day on Longboat Key.


Michael Graham captured this photo of a cormorant spreading its wings near the Circus Museum at the Ringling.



Melissa Sevola took this photo of the clouds reflecting on the lake at Waterside Place.


Jenelle Alber took this shot from Beer Can Island, just off the coast of Longboat Key.


Diane Fairey captured this great blue heron on Lido Beach in Sarasota.


Jessica Lima captured this photo of a cotton candy sky above Lakewood Ranch’s Country Club.


Jenelle Alber captured this photo of the sun setting over Longboat Key.



Diane Fairey captured this shot of a white egret fishing on Lido Beach.


Darlene Edelman photographed these two young Sandhill cranes walking around in Riva Trace of University Park.


Nancy Scott captured a photo of this osprey protecting its catch on a tree near the bridge to Longboat Key.


Gordon Silver captured this photo from Whitaker Gateway Park of the sun setting over Sarasota Bay.


Gordon Silver captured these goldfinches relaxing in a pine tree near White Eagle Boulevard.


Irene Phillips captured this red morph screech owl out hunting on Longboat Key.


Wendy Bond captured this photo of an air plant at Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota.


Gordon Silver captured this photo of two herons in a face-off along Bourneside Boulevard and Masters Avenue in Lakewood Ranch.


Gabriella Barone took this photo of the sunrise over Longboat Key.


Lisa Sherry took this photo of a magnolia fully open at Dolphin Bay on Siesta Key.


Gordon Silver captured this once-a-year bloom of a tabebuia tree at University Parkway and Bourneside Boulevard in Lakewood Ranch.


Blake Fleetwood captured this photo of a sunset on Longboat Key.


Irene Phillips captured this photo of seagulls lined up along the shoreline on Siesta Key.


Gordon Silver captured this water lily in bloom along Masters Avenue in Country Club East.


Shelly Crouse took this angled photo of a palm tree on Longboat Key.


Wendy Bond captured this photo of flowers in bloom at Palma Sola Botanical Gardens.


Mark Dimitroff captured this photo at a Ranch Nite Wednesday event at Waterside Place.


Jane Fleetwood captured this photo just after sunset on Longboat Key.


Becky Edwards captured this closeup photo of a flower at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota.


Gordon Silver captured this photo of this double-crested cormorant about to swallow a catfish in Del Webb of Lakewood Ranch pond.


Blake Fleetwood captured this photo of the moon reflecting off the Gulf of Mexico on Longboat Key.


Josh Fuller took this photo of a monarch butterfly in Shenandoah Park in Sarasota.


Bonnie Ottaviani captured this photo during a walk in Del Webb.


Kimberly Corder captured this pelican cleaning itself at Land’s End on Longboat Key.


Blake Fleetwood captured this photo of sailboats riding the wind on Sarasota Bay.


Gordon Silver captured these two Limpkin’s feeding on the numerous supply of mussels in a pond in Del Webb.


John Harkness captured a shot of this dolphin midjump off the coast of Longboat Key.


Becky Edwards created this photo of a multicolored hibiscus in Sarasota.


Carole Sullivan captured this photo of a small alligator in a pond in Sanctuary of River Club.


Leighton Allenby captured this photo of a roseate spoonbill on Longboat Key.


Jennifer Mitchell caught this photo of a lightning strike over Lido Beach.


Gordon Silver captured this close-up of a bougainvillea in full bloom in Del Webb.
Jenelle Alber captured this photo of a bird of paradise in Longbeach Village on Longboat Key.
Gordon Silver captured this close-up of a bougainvillea in full bloom in Del Webb.
Marvin Crepea captured this photo of turtles sunbathing on the banks of a pond by Thornhill Court in the Country Club of Lakewood Ranch.
Sergio Albuquerque captured this photo of a stunning cloud formation off Longboat Key.
Becky Edwards captured this photo of a Florida holly tree at the Lakeview Park Disc Golf Course.
Gary Wise captured this photo of a mushroom covered in morning dew at marker 35 on the Florida Trail.
John Harkness captured this photo of a blue heron looking for a snack along Longboat Key.
Gordon Silver captured this eagle with his catch of the day along S.R. 70 in Lakewood Ranch.
Gordon Silver captured this blue heron gliding across a pond in Del Webb of Lakewood Ranch.
Monique Palladino captured this zoomed-in photo of the moon from Buttonwood Harbour on Longboat Key.
Becky Edwards captured this macro shot of a hibiscus in Sarasota.
Becky Edwards captured this photo of a stunning sunset at Turtle Beach on Siesta Key.
Sergio Albuquerque captured this photo of a striking sky after a heavy rain on Longboat Key.
Robert Baker captured this photo of a lily lotus about to bloom in Lakewood Ranch.


Sylvia McNichol captured this photo of a hawk at Lakewood Ranch Country Club.


Jenelle Alber captured a photo of the sea oats over the sand dunes on Longboat Key.


Diane Suner captured ths photo of an egret along a breezy Lido Beach.


Pam Ringquist took this photo of these six baby alligators just off Deer Road near a pond in Waterside at Lakewood Ranch.


John Harkness captured this white pelican taking flight from sandbar on Sarasota Bay.
Mary Kondrat captured this cloud formation over Longboat Key.


Gordon Silver captured this photo of a yellow leg sandpiper along the water’s edge at a lake in Del Webb of Lakewood Ranch.


Mary Kondrat captured this photo of sandpipers lining the beach at sunset on Longboat Key.


Julie Ann Bakker captured this photo of an egret catching some sun at Marina Jack.


Gordon Silver captured a sunrise off University Parkway in Lakewood Ranch.


Jenelle Alber captured this photo of a white ibis at Beer Can Island on Longboat Key.


Diane Suner captured this photo of a great blue heron looking for dinner at Bird Key Park.


Gordon Silver captured a black bellied whistler duck with her seven kids along a lake in Del Webb.


E.J. Benioni captured this photo of a crab coming out of its shell on Longboat Key.
Becky Edwards took this photo of an orchid in bloom in Sarasota.


Jeff Collier took this photo of a colorful sunset on Siesta Key Beach.


Patty Flynn took this photo of a boat passing by Siesta Key at sunset.


Gordon Silver took this photo of two otters on the lake bank behind a home in Del Webb.


 

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