Sunday, March 19, 2017

Birds, Birds and More Birds at Corkscrew Samp

I love this place.  
When we came last year, there was water everywhere and the birds were few and far between.  This year, there has been very little rain since November, which means the water in the swamp is very low, being concentrated in two of the "lakes".  And that means the many wading birds are also concentrated in the lakes.  Apparently, the lack of water is not unusual; however, it is about a month earlier than normal.
This was just one of the areas...dozens of birds...egrets, herons, ibis.  There seemed to be a little squabbling over territory.  It was loud, with lots of squawking and calling back and forth.
The anhinga just sits quietly, soaking up the sun.
I love these bright yellow feet.
The main reason I wanted to go was because I read that Roseate Spoonbills were there and they have been on my "want to see" list for several years.  They are soooo cool!  This one is immature, just starting to get it's "blush" on.
Once mature, they are more pink and have a bright red color along the top of their wings.
Bill caught this one landing.
Now I want to see a whole flock of them!

We also saw a bird I have never heard of but it was super pretty, much brighter than the picture in the book.  It's a Purple Gallinule and it also has bright yellow feet.
The other really cool bird we saw was a Swallow-tailed Kite.  It's in the hawk family and they are only seen this time of year as they are migrating. It was high overheard so I didn't get a picture of my own but I still get to check it off the list.
internet photo
They are amazing gliders and are known to eat while in flight.

Bill got a good photo of this female cardinal.
There were two baby owls perched up high, bending over the limb to look at everyone looking at them.
I need to learn how to draw on the photo so I can put arrows in.

As we were leaving the boardwalk we spotted this Red Shouldered Hawk.
It wasn't just about birds today.  The alligators were quite visible, although they may not be quite so visible in these photos.
This is a momma and I counted at least seven babies tucked near the base of the old tree in the background.
This one was lazily swimming around, maybe looking for lunch.  The nearby birds would casually back away when it came too close.  It was fun to watch...from the safety of the boardwalk.
There was this black snake, also a good swimmer.
and a venomous cottonmouth, curled up on a log.  It was difficult to see, let alone take a picture.  One woman commented it looked like a "pile of poop".  Very scientific ;o)  but quite descriptive.

Even though it was super dry, the flag iris were still blooming.
It was a really nice day and we got to see a few birds that were new to us.  Looking forward to next year.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day

We missed Wendy and Dan this year for our annual St. Patrick's Day photo shoot, but we will get that taken care of next week.  

We stopped by The Celtic Ray for a beverage and some free entertainment.  The day turned out sunny and warm, so the place was super crowded.  Oh well, still the best place to be on the only Irish holiday!
Bill even wore his green Celtic Ray shirt...thank you Greg!
I look at blogs all the time and see pictures posted of several dogs, all decked out in holiday attire, sitting patiently for their photo.  Taking pictures with Titan is frustrating, to say the least.  He totally wears me out...completely uncooperative.
This is the best we could do...
We hope you enjoyed your day and got your fill of corned beef, cabbage and green beer!

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Happy 41 Greg!

Wishing my most favorite son a super, duper spectacular Happy Birthday!
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota
Manatee Park, Ft. Myers
I am so proud of you and the man and father you have become.  I love you more than you can imagine.  xoxoxo

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Visiting CROW

It took us quite a while just to get over the causeway and onto the island, traffic was bumper to bumper.  It's $6/car...imagine how much money they take in every day...
ka-ching, ka-ching
The view is really spectacular...
Looking the other direction, smoke from the Picayune Strand State Forest brush fire is still clearly visible.  
The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife covers a 10 acre tract of land on Sanibel Island.  This is the center that cared for the baby eagle, E8, twice in 2016.  Although they predominately handle birds, they care for all different species of wildlife, including but not limited to, raccoons, possums, sea turtles, rabbits, snakes and so on.  They have a veterinary staff, as well as interns and volunteers.  

The tour was $20, which provides food and supplies used exclusively to treat animals in the hospital.  It included the Visitor Information Center, a 45 minute presentation (this one was about raptors) and a tour of the hospital building.  The outside enclosures can be seen but visitors aren't allowed to get close to them because it stresses out the animals, completely understandable.
They did have several animal ambassadors that we were able to see and photograph, including Lola the Kestrel

Shelldon, the gopher tortoise ...
 Bill got to feed him a hibiscus flower.  Apparently they are like crack for turtles.
FYI...gopher tortoises do not swim.  Shelldon got caught under a car and subsequently is missing "toes" on one of his feet, which would not allow him to dig a burrow for protection, as well as sections of his underside.  

Sidney, the alligator...
She is just a baby and will be raised around people so that she can be used as an ambassador, helping people understand the species and how to live with and protect them.

Our plan was to eat lunch on our way and take the 2:00 tour but since it took us such a long time to get there, we skipped lunch, so by the time the tour was over, it was nearly 4:00 and we were starving.  We stopped at out favorite deli on the island for a sandwich and a beverage and strangely enough, it was "raining" ash from the fire.  

Unfortunately, from the time we got back on the road, it took us nearly 1 1/2 hours to travel 2 miles just to reach the road that goes over the causeway.  Ugh!  Honestly, if we never travel to Sanibel again, that's okay with me.  Otherwise, it was a good day.

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Three Cheers for Spring Training

Except for the wind, it was a beautiful day for a ball game.  The Red Sox played the Atlanta Braves, although I don't really care who the other team is.
We had standing room only tickets under the Green Monster deck.  We find these perfectly satisfactory for us, mostly because we are in the shade.  We have sat in a couple of different sections and it is blazing hot in the sun...we like the shade.  ;o)
We found the perfect spot right along the third base line.  There was a little railing to lean on and no one in front of us.  We just have to remember to get to the park early enough to get this spot next time.

The winds were blowing about 20 mph so I didn't dare rest my beer on the railing so I could eat my popcorn.  Bill came up with this clever idea...
hands free popcorn holder
We left at the end of the 8th inning, Sox were ahead 11-1.

While there, we smelled smoke, watched several fire trucks racing down the highway and eventually could see the smoke from a brush fire that started in the Picayune Strand State Forest.  
**By Wednesday, it will have grown to 8600 acres, destroyed two homes, caused the closing of a portion of I75 and the evacuation of several RV parks.
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