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Mark Catesby was an English painter and naturalist from Suffolk who Between 1729 and 1747 published his “Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands“, the first published account of the flora and fauna of North America. It included 220 plates of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, and mammals.

In 1712 Catesby sailed to Virginia to visit his sister in Williamsburg. For the next seven years, Catesby traveled throughout the colony, observing the natural resources and gathering plant samples and “many birds, shells, snakes and other specimens” to send back home. When he returned to England, he caught the attention of William Sherard, one of the leading botanists of the day. Sherard and a group of “curious friends” sponsored Catesby’s second trip to America in 1722 to collect more samples and to make the first extensive drawings of American nature.

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Fishing Hawk (Accipiter piscatorius)
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