November 23, 2015 – Crane Point

Our first outing of the day was to the dentist to get our cleanings.  I have had some terrible sensitivity for the past few months and Dr. Kiefer found a crack in a tooth.  He says I need a crown.  It could turn into a root canal too. Really, it hurts the purse more than the mouth.

I spent the rest of the morning studying Extended Warranties for the motorhome.  Here’s the thing: reading insurance-type documents makes my eyes snap shut. And the price of the policy is enough to take my breath away. Andy took me out of my misery by suggesting we go to Sombrero Beach to eat our lunch and then Crane Point for our walk.  He didn’t have to ask me twice.

After several weeks of rain, heat, and high humidity, today was spectacular. We got our favorite picnic table at the beach.

b Our Picnic Pavilion

I spotted this Great White Egret as we were walking back to the car after we ate.  It was at the same spot as the Little Blue Heron the other day.

b Great White Egret

Since I was on the pier in Sister Creek, I turned and took a picture aimed out at the ocean. That’s our favorite picnic pavilion on the left.

b Sister's Creek

Crane Point Museum and Nature Center is a 63-acre preserve and one of my favorite places to walk.

b Crane Point Museum

We walked out Crane Road to Crane Point.

b Crane Road

I love the Florida Thatch Palm leaves and take more pictures of them than anything else when we walk around Crane Point. The leaves are a couple feet across.

b Florida Thatch Palm

And, I always get a close up.

b Florida Thatch Palm Closeup

The trees were loaded.  I’m pretty sure these are Pigeon Plums although they don’t match all the pictures on Google Images. They are closely related to Sea Grapes and the fruit is an important source of food for migrating birds.

b Pigeon Plums

Porous limestone is what is under our feet in much of the Florida keys.  Treacherous.

b Limestone

b Orange Flower

b Orange Flowers

Crane Point is named for Francis and Mary Crane who built this house in 1949. It is in poor condition and not open to visitors.

b Crane House

I found these mangrove blossoms out at Crane Point. They are very small and you have to look for them.

b Mangrove Blossoms

We stopped in the Wild Bird Center, for injured birds.  Some are healed and released and a good many of them are permanent residents, like this tiny  burrowing owl.  I don’t know how it is possible, but they can burrow tunnels through that limestone.

b Burrowing Owl

There is always a pelican sitting just like this on this perch.  I think it is the same one.

b Sleeping Pelican

Here is a bird that I don’t recall seeing before. It looks as though his eye is in his beak. I can’t find it in my bird books or on line. Anybody know what it is?

b Herring Gull

This is the Adderly House, the oldest house in the keys, outside of Key West. Built in 1903 by Bahamian George Adderly, the house is crumbling.  The woman in the picture is doing some preservation on the tabby.

b Adderly House Touch Up

Crane Point Street Fair

Crane Point held a street fair in the garden behind the museum today. We really went there for our normal daily walk, but stopped to see what was going on.

Our neighbor Sue was greeting people at the front door of the museum and putting red stickers on them.  She had just stuck a sticker on this smart aleck man and he jumped and howled as though she had stuck him with a pin.  It startled Sue and she also jumped and squealed.  We were lucky enough to walk up just in time to see it and get a good laugh at her expense


Sue Got a Shock

A man and woman were there with a telescope for looking at the sun.  Whoa! Won’t that blind me? The man explained that he has plenty of filters on the telescope so it would not be too bright.  Wow, I could actually see the small fringe of rays around the edge.  There were not any big solar flares today. Here is Andy taking his turn.

Andy Scoping Out the Sun

They also had a Sunspotter.  The woman had to explain it to me.  With holes and mirrors, an image of the sun appeared on the paper in the center (when the instrument was oriented correctly). The image was so clear; it looked like a photograph.  It would be perfect for watching an eclipse or Venus transiting the sun.

Sunspotter with Sun on Paper

After a quick walk through the art tables, we continued on our walk through the park. Thatch Palms are actually used to thatch roofs.

Thatch Palms Along Bahama Trail

Close-Up of Thatch Palm Leaf

The Golden Orb Weaver is huge. Her venom, similar to a Black Widow is potent but not fatal.  Her silk is exceptionally strong. Check out Wikipedia for a picture of a cape made from Golden Orb Weaver silk.

Golden Orb Weaver

I had pretty good luck getting portraits of some of the birds in the bird hospital through the wire.

Green Heron


Peregrine Falcon

Plumbago in Key RV

And that was the end of our walk.