A Day of Wildlife

This morning, we sat out back on our patio overlooking the mangroves drinking our coffee, as usual.  As a reminder, here is our towing dolly, on a rack behind the motor home.  It is tucked neatly out of our way for the winter.

On closer inspection, you can see this lizard sitting on the tire.  We don’t know our lizards well enough to name them but think it is the same one every time.  It seems like a nice, safe place to hide out.  So, Andy has named him Louie.  Then, after a few more minutes, Andy noted that “When we leave, Louie will have to retire”.

This moth landed on a mangrove leaf and rested for a while.  This is a black mangrove leaf.  Black mangroves are very interesting.  They grow in the tide zone and are sometimes in the water and sometimes on dry land.  That is salt water here on the ocean.  They suck up the salt with the water and, later, extrude in on the backsides of the leaves.  Here, you can see the salt on the top of the leaf.  It is very salty, like a potato chip. When we gave nature tours at Crane Point (here in Marathon), we would have the tourists pick a leaf and lick it.  They were always surprised at the saltiness.

We noticed this very small spider in the mangroves.  I think it is a male orb weaver as the female is very large. This is its belly.

This gecko regularly hangs on this dead tree.  This is the first time I’ve gotten a good picture.

In the afternoon, we walked to the waterfront to check the ocean. Several cardinals were flitting around and I got a picture of one. Too bad the focus is not good.

This osprey was perched on a stick that marks the channel out to the deeper water.

This little warbler was also flitting about in the mangroves.  It barely sat still long enough for me to get a picture.

It is spring break season.  Not exactly wildlife, but two boatloads of college boys came in.

They are the Clemson variety, as I determined from the orange and purple flag on the second boat.

A small barracuda was hanging about next to our vantage point.

This hermit crab was scurrying about.  It is amazing how fast it can go carrying a shell.  It may be the same one I saw a week or so ago.  I have no idea how far afield they travel.

And, lastly, there were horseshoe crabs.

Yes, it was a wild day alright.

 

 

It Looks Like a Boring Walk

We drove to Key West this morning for our annual eye exams. Our first stop was Cooper’s Paint, Body, and Glass Shop to get a new tire.  It was to have been done with the other repairs but, the tire was back-ordered.  It only took a few minutes for them to replace the tire and we were on our way.  It was too early for the eye appointment so we parked along South Roosevelt (A1A) to take a walk along the waterfront.

South Roosevelt

Not much going on there except the road and the Atlantic Ocean.

We did walk under the path of planes landing at the airport. This could have been the Lone Ranger.

The airport is hidden behind a couple of hotels.  You might not even notice it except for this sign.

The next point of interest is the East Martello (small fort) museum.  We have been to the West Martello but have not visited this one yet. I see from the sign that it is a Civil War era fort.

East Martello Key West
East Martello Key West

There were a good number of people out walking and riding bikes along the wide sidewalk.  The sun was shining and there was a good breeze blowing.  The temperature was in the 70s so we did not get hot.

Walking Back to the Car

Refreshed from our walk, we headed to our appointments.  It may not be particularly interesting but, it was a great walk.

Spring is Bustin’ Out All Over

The way I can tell that it is spring here is when more flowers bloom. I’ve posted these before but, since I love them so much, here they are again.  These Frangipani are next to our community clubhouse.

Pink Frangipani

A neighbor gave me a piece of frangipani that had two leaves on it.  Both have fallen off.  Hope springs eternal and the fleshy stalk looks as though it might put out another leaf.  I can’t wait to see what I’ll get. Any color in beautiful.

Pelicans Fishing

Our first walk of the day was at Oceanfront Park. Before walking, though, we watched the pelicans fishing.  Today I took more pictures.

When we first walked to the waterfront, we thought this kayaker had caught a big fish.  It turned out that his line was snagged.  Eventually, the line broke.

Kayaker Fishing

The pelicans were having better luck. They fly over the water looking for fish and, when they spot one, they dive straight down.

Pelican Splash

You can tell when they catch one.  They pause with their beak/bill still in the water.  This must have been a big fish; they don’t usually have it in this far.

Pelican Caught Fish

This is more like it.  It must be a really big fish.  Pelican is tipping over.

Pelican Holding Fish Underwater

After holding the fish underwater for a moment, they throw their heads back and swallow.  This one was a little tougher to swallow than most.  It sure looks awkward. It does remind me of Ogden Nash, though.

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican,
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week
BUT I’M DAMNED IF I SEE HOW THE HELICAN!”

Pelican with Fish in Pouch

I’m not sure why the wings are partially up.  I usually take that as a sign that the pelican is about to take off.

That was a big bite of fish.  You can see it is still in the pouch.

Fish Had Not Gone Down Yet

I’ve never seen one with its head so far underwater while holding a fish.

Headless Pelican

This is how they normally look when they pause before the swallow.

I lost count of how many they caught.  I don’t know how they could fly with all that fish in their bellies.

Pelican with Pouch Full of Fish

I seldom get a good picture of pelicans flying. This one isn’t going to win any photography awards but, it is the finest in my Bird Butt Collection.

North End of a South Bound Pelican

 

March 6, 2017 – The Day We Did It

I have been thinking about a house for several years.  We’ve been talking about it for over a year.  We looked in the fall in Tennessee and then some more in Florida.  It was too stressful to deal with.

But, I have been mulling it over for the past four months, doing some internet shopping around, and decided last week that I was ready to make a decision.  Andy agreed that the time is right for a number of reasons. We decided to go with a house in the Arlington Ridge community in Leesburg, Florida. We mailed in the contract and deposit today.

I’m not freaking out so it may be a good decision for us. It is leading into the next phase of our life.  Just like we merged from the boat to the RV gradually, we are not giving up the RV just yet. I expect that will come in a few more years. I guess I want a house, but I don’t want to settle down.

This is the house, except for that little golf-cart garage attached.  I don’t think we’ll need that.

Oleander Model

 

Bahia Honda Walk

We planned our walk for low tide and had plenty of beach to walk on.  It was very cloudy in Marathon, but they sky was blue at Bahia State Park.  Here is a look back toward Marathon.

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Sandspur Beach at Bahia Honda State Park

The pelicans were busy fishing close to shore.
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We see a lot of these small birds, but I have not figured out what they are.  The only guess I have is a warbler.  It doesn’t look exactly like the warbler pictures either. (Update:  my Friend Bill Williams suggested that it is a Palm Warbler.  After searching Google images, I agree)

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Palm Warbler

There is a lot of sea grass on the beach in this area too.

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Sea Grass on Beach

It is sad to see what remains of these two palm trees. They were always a popular spot for a beach blanket when they were standing.

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Palm Tree Root Balls

There are two small islands offshore of the park. They can be seen in the background of the picture with Andy walking on the beach. These two small red mangroves are growing in the shallow water between them. Red mangroves have those prop roots that distinguish them.

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Red Mangroves

We have seen rays along the beach.  This stingray is larger than most.  It was also swimming very close to the beach.

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Stingray

I took one last picture of the beach and clouds as we walked around the toilet building to wash the sand off our shoes.

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Clouds Over Sandspur Beach at Bahia Honda State Park

 

We got a few rain sprinkles as we drove back home.  Lucky us, the rain did not start in earnest until after we were back in the motor home.