Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Scratch Three

We made a list of things that we would like to do/see/visit while we're here and today we crossed off three of them.  

We started by visiting Martha at the Good Ole Days Coffee and Ice Cream Shop in Fisherman's Village.  We met Martha the first winter we were here when we visited the coffee shop several times a week.  She and her husband own a place here but spend summers in Wisconsin.  I had a coffee, Bill had a frappe and we got two oatmeal raisin cookies, which we shared while sitting on one of our favorite swings overlooking the harbor.
After finishing our snack, we checked out the marina to see what was going on there.  Most of the activity in the marina takes place in the afternoon when the fishing boats come in but that doesn't stop some of the fowl from waiting.
adult brown pelicans
juvenile brown pelicans
These three were giving me the hairy eyeball.

Next stop was the Peace River Wildlife Center.  This is a non-profit wildlife rehab and intensive care facility which we have visited several times.  Many of the birds here cannot fly due to damage to their wings and they spend the rest of their lives being cared for at this facility.  There are a number of shore birds, owls, vultures, pelicans and so on.  My favorites are the two bald eagles.  Even injured, they are incredibly majestic.
One of their new additions is a leucistic screech owl, which means it's white, rather than brown.  You can read more about him on their home page at the link above.  Anyway, the bird, called Luna, was born white.  His mom was less than thrilled by that development and threw him out of the nest.  Poor Luna ;o(  Luckily he landed near a walking path, was picked up by a good samaritan and found his way to the PRWC.  Being little and being white, his changes for survival in the wild are small; therefore, he will be staying at the center and becoming an ambass-a-bird.  He is extremely cute.
The pelicans get fed at 2:30 and although we were too early for that, Mac (one of the very knowledgeable volunteers) did talk about some of the birds in the pelican enclosure.
He talked about the difference between the white and brown pelicans. He said the Sandhill Crane is one of the oldest species of birds, ever.
We learned that the Magnificent Frigatebird will drown if it lands on the water and it can fly for days at a time.
AND, I found this years Christmas ornament in the gift shop.
It's only about 3-4" tall, handcarved in Peru and yes! it's got bees on it ;o)

We ate lunch from the Hot Dog Lady at Gilchrist Park, overlooking the harbor.
Our next stop was the Punta Gorda Railroad Depot and antique mall.  We have driven past this structure dozens of times in the past five years and it was finally time to check it out. 
This depot is the only one of six built in the Mediterranean Revival Style that survives.  It was originally built in 1928; the train transported fish and pineapple, along with some passengers.

When restored, the original "white" and "colored" sections were kept intact.
The "white" side contained individual seats, while the "colored" side contained a bench.  Otherwise there wasn't a lot of difference, each side contained restrooms.

The freight area of the building houses the antique mall.  Neither one of us gets all the excited by antiques, but we wandered around, eventually ending up in the ticket office area.  This area housed a miniature town and train, along with other memorabelia.
Although the windows are side by side, one serviced the "white" side and one the "colored" side, as there was a wall seperating them on the other side of the windows.
There were seats available for passengers outside, although I wonder if they were available to everyone or only the "white" clientele, since they were on the "white" side of the building.
"My ship's missing at sea, so I'm waiting for the train instead."
Lastly, we visited the Punta Gorda Nature Park. 
 According to The City of Punta Gorda webpage...The "21 acre park is situated in the center of Punta Gorda Isles neighborhood. The park includes palmetto forest and salt/high marsh habitats which include a multi-use recreational trail and observation deck".  One section of the park is being developed as a garden area by local volunteers and includes a number of topiaries, in their infancy stage.


Sandhill Cranes?
We walked along the trail, which winds around behind one of the fire stations.  When they had a call toned out, it felt kind of weird, bringing back many memories for each of us.  It's very quiet and seems like you are in the middle of nowhere, although you are surrounded by lots of condos and houses.
The path has a lot of markers, providing information about habitat, animals and vegetation, among other things.  
Although we didn't stop to read all of them, we did learn that the armadillo ALWAYS gives birth to quadruplets and they are ALWAYS the same sex.  Information that could be helpful playing Trivia or Jeopardy.

Thanks for stopping by...


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