Category Archives: Camera Critters

Critters from the Naples (Florida) Zoo

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com

IMG_2107-Porcupine-Naples-Zoo-Florida πŸ™‚ Once upon a time, a cougar stuck his tongue out at me at the Naples Zoo (Just call me β€œThe Cougar Whisperer”. The long name for the Naples Zoo is Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens. The property was once privately owned by a botanist, who had populated it with plants and trees he’d collected from around the world. A few subsequent owners later, animals were added to create a zoo, which was opened to the public in the 1960s.

There are other animals dwelling there besides my friend the raspberry-blowing cougar – let’s have a look at a few of them. The day of our visit was very hot, so we found that most of the animals were sprawled out in whatever shade was available. The porcupine in the photo above was hiding the cool comfort of his stone cave (thank you 10x optical zoom).

IMG_2059-Fosa-fossa-Naples-Zoo-Florida

The fosa is a native of Madagascar, so he’s used to the heat and knows what to do – sleep through it!

IMG_2159-Egret-Naples-Zoo-FloridaThis egret is probably not a resident – more likely, he is a squatter from the wild. And he’s doing that “strike a pose there’s nothing to it VOGUE” thing that birds of his ilk do so well.

I’d like to go back and visit this zoo again sometime during the cooler weather – I think I’d linger longer at each exhibit and get some better photos.

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If topiaries could talk…

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com

IMG_3306-WDW-EPCOT-topiary-Zazu-Scar

Zazu bemoans his fate to no one in particular


IMG_3228-WDW-EPCOT-topiary-Bambi-Thumper

Meanwhile, at the O, Canada! pavilion, Bambi and Thumper wax rhapsodic over the chicks they’ve just encountered


IMG_3407-WDW-EPCOT-topiary-Stitch

Yeah, just what Stitch needs – sugar and caffeine!

Happy Critturday!

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A marauding mob of African meerkats

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com

As mentioned previously on this blog, meerkats are among my favorite animals because, like prairie dogs and otters, they are the shape and size of puppies and therefore very cute. In fact, all three species – prairie dogs, otters and meerkats – are known to “bark”, just like a puppy. The only time a meerkat doesn’t look like a puppy is when he’s standing up on his back legs, using his tail for balance.

Last week, I referred to a group of meerkats as a “colony” but I have since discovered that this is incorrect. One needs to refer to a group of meerkats as a “mob”, sometimes also “clan” or “gang”. This makes them sound dangerous, like they should be starring opposite the Jets and the Sharks in West Side Story πŸ˜‰

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This fellow is performing sentinel duties while the rest of the colony forages for insects, small lizards, scorpions, eggs, centipedes and anything else that might be “slimy yet satisfying”, as Timon of The Lion King has been known to describe his diet. Should the sentinel spot a predator approaching, he will emit a warning bark and all the mob of meerkats will scatter into the many “bolt holes” they have built on their territory, so they have a place to hide during such emergencies. The sentry is responsible for emerging first and checking to see if the predators are still there before giving the “all clear” signal.

Last time I visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the sentry posed nicely for me for several minutes before staring at me to signal that the photo shoot was over. Here’s a slide show of the sentry from that visit, along with a clan from 2008.

Subscribers: if you do not see a Flickr slideshow right below this sentence, please click through to the blog to view it,



BONUS!- the Animal Planet channel has a series called “Meerkat Manor”, and there are some snippets of episodes on YouTube. Season’s 1 through 4 are available from Amazon.com on DVD

Meerkat Manor – Season 1
Meerkat Manor: Season Two
Meerkat Manor: Season Three
Meerkat Manor: Season Four – The Next Generation

Here’s Season One, Episode One snip from YouTube, which explains what the whole ongoing drama serial is about. I hope you enjoy it πŸ™‚

Subscribers: this is VIDEO – if not visible, click through to the blog



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Random Animal Kingdom trio

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com

IMG_3065-WDW-DAK-great-blue-turaco

This is the Great Blue Turaco. I heart this bird’s colorful plumage.

RANDOM FACT about the great blue turaco: In the province of Africa formerly known as Zaire, the great blue turaco is hunted for food as well as feathers. Those yellow feathers on the underside of the turaco’s tail are considered good luck. Next time I visit the Pangani Forest Trail, I hope I remember to look around on the ground for a yellow tail feather.


IMG_6989-WDW-DAK-meerkat

Here’s a meerkat – for fans of The Lion King, that’s a “Timon”. I like meerkats for the same reason I like prairie dogs and otters – they remind me of cute little puppies.

RANDOM FACT about meerkats: Meerkats are social and live in little colony families. One of them always keeps lookout while the others forage for food.


IMG_1470-WDW-DAK-butterfly

Saved the best for last. I stalked this Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly all over creation, it seemed, but only got ONE good shot, and this is it!

RANDOM FACT about swallowtail butterflies: There are over 500 species of swallowtail butterfly that live on every continent of the Earth except Antarctica.

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It’s just ducky in Canada

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com

05162010848-WDW-EPCOT-Canada-ducks

A pair of ducks stop for a rest on the lawn of the Canadian pavilion at EPCOT.

Someday, when I grow up, I want to live in that little cabin.

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A Sanibel osprey vogues for me

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com

IMG_3854-Sanibel-Lighthouse-Beach-OspreyThere’s an osprey nest atop a tall pole at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse Beach. Nearby are the branches of a dead tree which make for a convenient perch for this young osprey. He waits impatiently for a parent to come back with some dinner. While he waits, he whines, much like his human counterparts. Only, he whines on a single note, rapidly and repeatedly. “Where! Is! My! Food! I! Want! To! Eat! Where! Is! My! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! MOM!” If you want to hear what the osprey sounds like, then CLICK HERE for a *.wav file I found (it opened Quicktime in the browser for me). OK, now picture being subjected to that for even two minutes straight while you are trying to shell serenely. Do you not want to run away screaming yourself? πŸ˜‰

IMG_3853-Sanibel-Lighthouse-Beach-Osprey
Since he’d given me his profile in the previous shot, he decided to turn the other way and give me the other side, too. Not sure which I’d classify as his “good side”, but he does seem to be sporting quite the stylin’ cowlick in this one. This is one hawt seahawk! πŸ˜‰


IMG_3877-Sanibel-Lighthouse-Beach-Osprey
And finally we get his very best, “What are YOU lookin’ at?” pose – as though he totally isn’t digging all the attention! I think the only way he’d like it more is if I had a dead fish in my hands instead of a camera!

Click each photo to see a variety of sizes in Flickr

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Dinosaur Week: Is this Chester or Hester?

Β© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com
click the photo to see if there is a bigger size available in Flickr

02-18-08_1316-WDW-DAK-brontosaurusπŸ™‚ This is the last of DINOSAUR WEEK here at My Mobile Adventures *~*~*, and I have a question for you – is this Chester or is it Hester?

In the DinoLand section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, everything is named after these two dinosaurs, but I’ve never been able to work out who is who. While this one looks like a brontosaurus, the other one is more of a triceratops.

Does anyone know – which one is Chester and which one is Hester?

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Hibiscus: Hollywood’s haute cuisine

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com

IMG_1035-WDW-DHS-MGM-DinosaurπŸ™‚ I have decided that it’s DINOSAUR WEEK here at My Mobile Adventures *~*~* – if for no other reason than I have a few pics of dinosaurs πŸ˜‰

Here’s one from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, only I took the photo when it was still Disney-MGM Studios. He seems to enjoy chowing down on the hibiscus. He’s not very scary, as dinosaurs go – he’s rather placid looking, friendly even, and there are no discernible teeth. I’m pretty sure he’s a vegetarian, actually, so unless he accidentally stomped us, I’m convinced we’ve nothing to fear from him.

I’m not sure what movie he’s supposed to be from – can’t be Jurassic Park because that’s that “other” theme park in Orlando *cough* Universal *cough*. I’m trying to think of what movie Disney or *cough* MGM did that has a dinosaur like this in it, but I’m afraid I’m coming up blank.

Does anyone know what movie this dinosaur appeared in?

I promise, I will not google – I will wait for one of you to tell me!

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Me and my girl-illa: escape from the paparazzi

Β© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com

This is a continuation of the story that began on March 19th 2010 with “Me and my girl-illaClick the photos to see them larger in Flickr.

IMG_3134-WDW-DAK-baby-gorillaπŸ™‚ Hello again. Last time we met, I was busy sneaking around in the brush, trying to keep the prying lenses of the paparazzi away from my newborn baby girl-illa. There was a whole swarm of them, so I kept her pretty close to me (here you can only see the crown of her cute little head), creeping from one bush to the next, hoping to lose them. It’s not easy to elude the paparazzi; they’re a sly and resourceful bunch of stalkers, often working together to corner us, like dolphins herding schools of fish. I saw that on the BBC’s Planet Earthseries, which seems to have greatly contributed toward Disney’s own Earth (Disney Nature)

IMG_3142-WDW-DAK-baby-gorillaFinally, I found a nice fallen tree behind some bushes; it looked like a good place to lean back and rest from all the running to and fro, hither and yon, trying to find someplace, ANYPLACE to hide from the hordes. It was sunny and peaceful out there for a bit, and we both got some shut-eye. Well, I have one eye shut -the other one has to remain open at all times, just in case we’re invaded again. While we were snoozing, my mobile rang – it was Britney and Billy Ray, conference-calling with some advice on dealing with the whole publicity spotlight thing. Britney says that sometimes it’s better to bring the kid out into the open for a few minutes, under carefully controlled circumstances, of course, to make it seem like you’re friendly and cooperating. Billy Ray concurred that this tactic had worked with his darling Miley many times.

IMG_3150-WDW-DAK-gorilla

Well what’s a mama to do? I took her up on the hill, a safe distance from that herd of pests, and let them see her face. And wouldn’t you know, she turns out to be quite the little ham! She turned that sweet face up and gazed into my eyes and said, “I dunno who you are but I wuvs you!”. Couldn’t you just melt?

IMG_3151-WDW-DAK-baby-gorilla
After a while, the paparazzi just started to annoy me. They yell directions, calling me by my first name like they’ve known me all my life, telling me to look this way, hold the baby higher, smile, turn your head, no the other way…. I tell you, this one guy was on my LAST nerve. Here I am giving him my best withering look. I think he was good and properly scared, as well he should be. These paparazzi dudes, they may be armed with a camera, but I’ve got THIS.

Meet the baby daddy πŸ™‚


IMG_3128-WDW-DAK-gorilla-daddy

You talkin’ to me? Are you talkin’ to ME?”




DISMARK this article!

Happy Critturday!

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Me and my girl-illa

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com

IMG_3130-WDW-DAK-baby-gorillaIt’s not easy being the parent of a child star these days, especially when your child is a DISNEY star. We’ve been pretty much besieged ever since my darling little girl-illa was born. So much activity, so many people to see, so much of our lives played out in the spotlight. I tell you, sometimes I feel like we live in a zoo! Well, if you were paying attention during the late 90s/early 00s, you know that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is “nahtazoo”, but it still feels like one at times. On this particular day, the baby and I were just hangin’ out in the clearing up on that little hill in the forest, trying to take a little nap – but there were a lot of those noisy humans congregating on the bridge, and sleep wasn’t coming.

IMG_3126-WDW-DAK-baby-gorilla I think one of them was aggravating one of the boys across the ravine; a Cast Member had to go and put a stop to whatever shennanigans were going on over there. I decided it was too much for us to tolerate, so I thought of another resting spot and relocated. Clutching my little princess tightly to my chest with one hand (which makes me sort of lope along sideways on my other three limbs), I scrambled over the hill to a nice little rocky enclave where I’d stashed the baby’s pink receiving blanket. There we settled in, hoping to get a little rest.

IMG_3131-WDW-DAK-baby-gorillaWell, we were both nearly asleep when those damned paparazzi figured out where we’d gotten to and descended en masse upon the glass enclosure! Ridiculous amounts of flash ensued – I mean, don’t these people read the manual when they buy these newfangled point-and-shoot cameras? If they did, they’d know we were too far away for the flash to help their pictures, but close enough for it to nearly blind us when we looked up. And I hate to be the one to tell them this, but you know all those pictures they thought they were getting of my child, the little girl-illa star? Well, I’ll just bet you that all those pictures turned out horrible – just blobs of light bouncing off the glass. Silly, silly humans!

IMG_3134-WDW-DAK-baby-gorillaBy this time, I was just really grumpy – I mean, wouldn’t you be? All I wanted to do was catch a nap and see to it that my little princess was properly fed and rested. I am starting to rethink this Disney child star thing… maybe we should move far, far away and dye our hair and that sort of thing, live in disguise for a few years until all of this blows over. I honestly don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Children are born every day! There’s nothing extraordinary about that. I mean, if all those peoples with their cameras, ooo-ing and ahhh-ing all over the place think she is so special, they can just come on in and take a turn at changing her diaper! Then we’ll see what the definition of “special” is… anyway, I was done, I tell you – D-O-N-E, done! Carefully cradling my princess once more, I mustered all the dignity I could and stalked off into the brush to hide…

TO BE CONTINUED…

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6 more sleeps till the Flower and Garden Festival!

Β© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*

http://MyMobileAdventures.com

Next Friday after work, I’ll head over to Orlando to meet up with some friends for dinner. We’re going to cheer some other friends who are running in Disney’s Princess Half-Marathon, and take in the Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT.

Be sure to check in over the weekend (Saturday March 6th and Sunday March 7th)for some mobile blogging fun – I hear we’re going to hit the tequila bar in Mexico πŸ˜‰

In the meantime, enjoy these topiary critters from last year’s Festival.

IMG_1060-WDW-EPCOT-topiary-critters

Rafiki presents the newly-born Simba to the kingdom

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Mufasa’s subjects arrive to pay homage to the new prince

IMG_1056-WDW-EPCOT-topiary-critters

Just look at that Orlando sky!

Happy Critturday!

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Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it…

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

http://MyMobileAdventures.com


IMG_1268-WDW-DAK-egretπŸ™‚ I was walking in the Oasis, a quiet, lushly green and tranquil section just inside the gates of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. It’s a soothing place where you’ll find twisting paths, a rope bridge, a joyously tumbling waterfall and all manner of exotic animals and birds. The day was hot, and the air was heavy and still. The silence was broken only by barely discernible ambient music and the gurgling of a stream. I rounded a corner and came upon a beautiful glade that surrounded a pool. And there he stood, on a rock – a Great Egret.

I became excited when I realized that he was in full breeding plumage. My heart started to beat faster; it was so loud in my ears, I was sure he would hear it, become frightened and take flight. I think I might have even been holding my breath. I crept forward to get a closer look, reaching into my bag for the camera.

IMG_1269-WDW-DAK-egretThe closer I got, the more convinced I became that he very well knew that he had company and didn’t mind in the least.. He seemed to straighten a bit and puff out his chest. I took this as a good sign in terms of getting some photographs, and I was no longer afraid of making the slightest sound. The mechanical whir of the camera’s lens opening and extending broke the reverie, contrasting sharply against the backdrop of rushing water and the far-off exclamations of other types of birds who lived at the Oasis. The Great Egret stood his ground, unperturbed. I fired off several shots of him just standing there on the rock, playing with distance and focus. He started to fuss a little, and I stopped shooting, holding my breath again, finger hovering in mide-air over the button.

And that’s when he did it…

IMG_1270-WDW-DAK-egret

… the Great Egret VOGUED for me!

(to be continued…)

Happy Critturday!

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—————-
Now playing: Madonna – Vogue

Things with wings at Walt Disney World

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

http://MyMobileAdventures.com

Walt Disney World is in the quasi-tropical climate of Orlando, Florida. The flora is so well-maintained and lush, it can support any number of critters that love the warmth and humidity. Encounters with local wildlife (in other words, not placed there by Disney) are not only very satisfying, but can also be frequent if you keep your eyes open and pay attention to your surroundings. Today we’re going to look at some “things with wings” – butterflies I’ve met at Walt Disney World.

IMG_0454-WDW-MK-butterfly Found and photographed near “stroller hell” aka the former sky ride in Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom – November, 2004


 

IMG_0638-WDW-EPCOT-butterfly Not sure if this is a butterfly or a moth. Found in EPCOT, and I believe I was over by Universe of Energy. April, 2005


 

IMG_3055-WDW-DAK-butterfly Last one – this beauty was found quite near a gorilla at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – it was like “beauty and the beast” in there that day πŸ˜€ October, 2006


 

Happy Critturday, everyone!

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More critters from the Chinese zodiac

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com
Click photos to see if there’s a larger version to view in FlickrπŸ™‚

In honor of the upcoming Chinese New Year, which falls on Valentine’s Day this year, I’ve decided to continue covering the Chinese zodiac, as photographed at EPCOT during the International Flower and Garden Festival one year. To see the original post in this series, click here and read “Red for luck and love at Disney”.

IMG_4296First up today is the dragon. According to ChineseZodiac.com, the dragon is the “mightiest” of all the Chinese zodiac signs. Dragons are dominant, ambitious and prefer to lead. If you are a dragon, you’ve got passion and courage and a wee bit of a temper πŸ˜‰ You also love your independence, but you are not impervious to falling in love provided you find someone engaging enough for you – and once in love, you tend to stay there. Dragons are best paired with Monkeys and Rats, but will not do well with the Ox or the Goat. Hey, Rat – that’s ME! Hmmm, I wonder if I actually know any dragons….

IMG_4294EEEK, it’s a SNAKE! Well that’s what I would say if I found one in my garage or on my lanai… notice I do not say “in my house”, as I have no wish to tempt the gods πŸ˜‰ Snakes are very intelligent and analytical; this makes them good at plotting and scheming. They are also very materialistic and enjoy luxury surroundings, so I’m guessing that part of all that plotting and scheming is to obtain the fine things they want. At work, they are creative and diligent but can become easily bored and therefore tend to job-hop. In relationships, the Snake is characterized as an attractive and expert seducer – why am I not surprised, given the Biblical story about the snake in the garden! They are a bit possessive and jealous of their mates. Don’t make the Snake cross, as they are big lovers of revenge. Snakes get on well with the Rooster and the Ox, but with Pigs and Monkeys – not so much!

IMG_4293Last one for today – it’s the Horse, and I actually like this particular statue best because of the awesome detailing that went into making the saddle. The Horse possesses many attributes that please – he’s energetic, outgoing, humorous and loves to be the center of attention and have a good time. Athletic and intelligent, they are also a little bit on the “ADD” side, starting many projects at once but not necessarily finishing before pursuing the next thing. The Horse enjoys interaction, and does well in careers where they deal with people on a regular basis. Horses are spontaneous in relationships, throwing themselves completely in, often leaving a little chunk of themselves behind when it ends. That must be completely exhausting! Horses can successfully partner with Dogs and Tigers but should not try it with a Monkey or a Rat.

Wow, no wonder why it never works with the “fun” guys :p

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My Mobile Adventures *~*~* – Top 20 Posts of 2009

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com

Now that 2010 is almost upon us, it’s time to do a 2009 “Best Of” post. I get a kick out of “fun facts”, so this year I’m taking a statistical point of view. Let’s see what 2009 held!

My Mobile Adventures *~*~* Top 20 Posts of 2009

Posts are ranked according to how many visits they received during the 12-month period ranging from 12/29/2008 – 12/29/2009. Data gathered and presented by the WordPress Stats plugin.

  1. Lego Sculpture at Downtown Disney: The Dragon
  2. Colorful birds from Orlando, Florida
  3. Disney’s Ladies in RED
  4. My Top 5 FUNky Facts About Pelicans
  5. β€œThe Rocks”, Sanibel Island
  6. More Disney Characters in RED
  7. 7 Things To Do In Walt Disney World On Halloween (except THAT!)
  8. β€œThere once was a man from Nantucket…”
  9. Yet More Disney Characters Who Wear RED
  10. My β€œfavorite” Disney red-head
  11. A Disney Dance of the Hours
  12. Of Mice and Mutts
  13. Lighthouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  14. The Empress Lilly, Downtown Disney
  15. Critters on the Castle: Kaa
  16. Sanibel Island beach birds
  17. Frog metamorphosis at Disney
  18. About
  19. Dancing mushrooms from Disney’s Fantasia
  20. Mickey Mouse Chillaxin’ In Paradise

IN WITH THE OLD

001-Meme-Related-Blog-Stats

Among my Top 20 Posts of 2009 are four posts which were originally published during 2008.

  • 100% of these posts contain Disney-related content
  • 50% of these posts were created for the Ruby Tuesday meme, and deal with the topic of Disney characters who wear the color red.
  • Dark horse: my “About” page somehow squeaked into the Top 20. Who knew, huh? πŸ˜‰

SPEAKING OF MEMES…

002-Meme-Related-Blog-Stats-Pie-Chart

  • The Ruby Tuesday meme, created and managed by Mary The Teach, is responsible for prompting 35% of my Top 20 posts.Β  The runners up are:
    • Camera Critters (Saturdays, 23%)
    • The Wednesday Trifecta (22%)
    • – of the three memes in which I’ve participated in on Wednesdays, Site Meter indicates that it is Outdoor Wednesday, created and managed by Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer, that brings the most visitors.

    • The Monday Trifecta at 9%
    • – Well, it’s actually a bi-fecta now, one of the memes having fallen prey to blogger burnout. None of them stands out as bringing in more traffic than the others.

    THE MORAL OF THE STORY: since I’ve been cutting back on meme participation – it was starting to feel like a “gotta” instead of a “wanna” – I should probably concentrate on my Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday memes, if I want to maintain decent levels of traffic.

    SPEAKING OF SITE METER…

    Lots of interesting information about your audience and how they get to your blog each day can be had from Site Meter.

    • Even though I do get a lot of traffic from the photo meme sites themselves, the vast majority of my traffic comes from Google searches. The memes just seem to provide an excellent prompt for what people are searching for.
    • I seem to have hit the nail on the head with several of my post titles in the Top 20. There are many, MANY searches for phrases like “facts about pelicans” and “Disney red characters”.
    • I get a chuckle every time I see that someone has searched on “there once was a man from Nantucket…” πŸ˜‰
    • Site Meter tells me that I get a lot more visits on the days I mobile blog than I do when I create meme-related posts that are not mobile blogged. This is especially true when I mobile blog from Disney. Visits on mobile blogging days tend to be from fewer unique visitors, yet those unique visitors show up multiple times throughout the day to check for updates. Each post has fewer visitors but collectively they add up for the day to be many more visits than on a regular blogging day.

    THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Services such as Site Meter can provide valuable insight into who your audience is, where they come from, why they’re visiting and why they return. Add to this a little intelligent SEO in post titles and repeat traffic ensues.

    EFFORT COUNTS… sort of!

    It was a difficult year in my day job. I was thrust into something completely new and different and it was a tough row to hoe, for a while there. As the year wore on, my job became more and more carnivorous, devouring my life.

    003-Top-20-Posts-By-Quarter-2009

    Here we can see that as the year wore on, less and less posts were making it into the Top 20 for the year. 40% of the Top 20 were posted in the first quarter of the year; 30% in the 2nd quarter and 10% in the 3rd quarter. The 4th quarter is not represented at all.There are a couple of reasons for this:

    • That’s the way it goes when you’re in corporate finance; the last quarter of the fiscal year is challenging and doesn’t leave much time or frankly energy for other endeavors.
    • But to be fair, the posts from the previous quarters and even the previous year have been hanging around longer and had a longer time to rack up search engine traffic.
    • Had I been able to put more effort into blogging as the year wore on – posting every day, visiting other blogs – I might have been able to do better, but realistically, this sort of measurement over a finite period of time renders more recent posts chronologically challenged.

    Now here’s something weird. Despite the traffic appearing to slow down, the number of subscribers I have has been steadily increasing all year. Take a look at these numbers from Feedburner

    004-Monthly-Subscriber-Volume-With-MoM-Variance

    Despite not having the personal bandwidth necessary to visit other bloggers as much as I’d like to, I was still able to do a few things to gain exposure:

    • TweetMeme – I put the retweet button on my posts, and occasionally, someone actually pushes it!
    • TwitterFeed – I signed up for this and now every post I make is automatically tweeted
    • PicATheme – “elite” group of photobloggers/meme participants who posted to a group blog (group has since folded). While I was contributing there, I noticed some visitors who followed my link from there
    • WaltDisneyBoards.com – my feed automatically posts there to my very own forum. I get exposure, the owner gets Disney-related content. The fact that it is a forum means I can have conversations with the folks there; a busy thread will draw more and more people in, to see what the buzz is about, and many of them end up clicking through to the blog. If you are a Disney fan, I strongly suggest you check the place out. You will find a nice bunch of folks there to chat with about your favorite obsession. πŸ™‚
    • Facebook – My Mobile Adventures *~*~* launched a fan page at the beginning of August. At this time, I’m not auto-posting there but I want to do that in the future. So far, I have about 70 fans; I have to assume there is some cross-over from my subscriber base, but a lot of them are real life friends and relatives who were not really aware that I blogged until I created the fan page and sent them an invite. So I gained a few subscribers there as well.

    MORAL OF THE STORY: Distribute your feed and mention your URL via multiple means. It all adds up to more exposure, more requests for the feed – more subscribers!

    CONCLUSION

    These are very modest numbers I’ve been describing. Had I not a day job, I would have the time and the energy to devote to creating more valuable content and publicizing the blog more widely, including those all-important fellow blogger connections. However, modest or not, I think the numbers show that taking action makes a positive impact.

    • There are many venues in which to take such actions – Twitter, Facebook, forums are all good places to promote what you’ve got to offer.
    • Use metrics tools like Site Meter and a stats plugin to observe and measure – what’s working, what’s not working, what’s standing still. The numbers tell a story!
    • Use SEO techniques to attract search engine traffic – name your photos and construct your post titles with SEO in mind.

    Even a blog that is “just for fun” can enjoy some success and steady improvement when a few simple actions are taken. I’m looking forward to more of the same in 2010, and I’m also looking forward to hearing about YOUR blogging insights.

    Happy New Year!

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Critters in bronze – it’s Jiminy Cricket!

Β© Copyright 2009 Tink *~*~*
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Love these little bronze statues that circle the hub at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Here’s Pinocchio with his beloved little friend…

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“… and always let your conscience be your guide!”

For a twisted take on Jiminy Cricket = conscience, take a look at this blog post at Disney Every Day. My Twitter friend @AmandaTinney has put together a clever post filled with humorous animal pictures, one of which I tweeted to her earlier this week. Enjoy!


Happy Critterday!

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The dread jackalope of Captiva

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04202009020-Jackalope-on-CaptivaπŸ™‚ Of all the exotic creatures discovered by explorers when they first set foot on Captiva Island, there is none more respected and feared than the dread jackalope. Entire ships full of pirates and other scalawags were brought down by the resident herd, making it difficult to transform Captiva into a proper pirate hangout. This is why the jackalope was hunted nearly to extinction, and why in later years, a permit was necessary to hunt them. Here we see one of the last known specimens of the dread jackalope, stuffed and mounted, hanging over the bar at Captiva’s Mucky Duck restaurant.

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Just call me “The Cougar Whisperer”

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_2068-Naples-Florida-zoo-western-cougar-sign πŸ˜› While touring the Naples Zoo in Southwest Florida last week, we came upon an enclosure full of cougars. No, not the Courtney Cox variety! These are the type found in the wilds of the western United States. Other words for cougar are panther, mountain lion, even puma – all are part of the same species of big cats.

I remember reading a few years back about genetic defects found in the Florida panther that scientists attempted to correct by introducing DNA from Texas mountain lions. They trapped a number of female mountain lions and transported them from Texas to Florida, releasing them into the Florida panther’s habitat. When the females gave birth, the genetic defects had been either reduced or eliminated from the offspring. All of the Texans were then returned to their home state.

At the zoo on this particular day, a pile of cougars lay sleeping on the ground in the shady enclosure, while a significantly larger one lounged on a wooden platform. I stood there silently wishing he’d get up and move about so I could get a good shot of him. Suddenly, as if my wish were his command, he roused himself and looked directly at me with sleepy, patient eyes – and then he stuck his tongue out at me! πŸ˜›

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Just call me “The Cougar Whisperer” πŸ˜‰

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When critters attack!

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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Unsuspecting villagers practice yodeling outside the local pub while a giant bunny prepares to attack the village. RUN, UNSUSPECTING VILLAGERS – RUN!

(it’s really just the toy train village that’s set up outside the German pavilion at EPCOT)

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My top 5 FUNky Facts about the ring-tailed lemur

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_1363-WDW-DAK-ring-tailed-lemurπŸ™‚ Ring-tailed lemurs can be found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, pretty close to the entrance to It’s Tough To Be A Bug. I enjoy watching these guys. To me, they look like an odd mixture between a fox (pointy face), a raccoon (rings on the tail) and a spider monkey (general shape of body). I’ve done some reading about them and here are the FUNky facts I’ve discovered

1) Ring-tailed lemurs are in fact primates, so they are related to all sorts of monkeys as well as to humans. However, they are not of the simian order of primate; they are what’s known as Strepsirrhine primates, typically regarded as less intelligent than simians (although, that has recently been debated). There are several different kinds of lemur, and all of them hail from Madagascar.

IMG_1364-WDW-DAK-ring-tailed-lemur2) Ring-tailed lemurs like to sunbathe, and are often found doing so sitting up in the Lotus position. The sunbathing is to warm themselves during the day, but at night they sleep all piled up with one another to share warmth. Such a sleeping pile is called a “lemur ball”. They are usually found moving about on all-fours (quadrupedal), but are also capable of standing on hind legs for short periods. Whenever I’ve seen one walking around, they’ve usually sort of stalked along, similar to a cat or a raccoon.

3) While most lemurs are nocturnal, the ring-tailed lemur is dirunal – like (most!) humans, they are awake during the day and asleep at night. They are very social and live together in troops of about 30. The most lemurs I’ve seen at Disney is two, and I often wonder if they miss living in a big troop, and what Disney does for them to help compensate for socializing with the troop. I hope to remember to ask around next time I’m there.

IMG_1366-WDW-DAK-ring-tailed-lemur4) Ring-tailed lemur troops are female-dominant. This is true of all types of lemurs. The hierarchy of females in the troop is not inherited; you don’t get to be the top mama lemur just because your mother was.

5) Lemurs have scent glands that they use to mark territory, and sometimes they even have stink fights with other lemurs. They soak their tails in “stink” from their scent glands and wave them at the opponent. I have to admit that I giggled when I read this. In my head, I heard the voice of the French soldiers in Monty Python and the Holy Grail – “Hah, I stink in your general direction!” πŸ˜€

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Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge – pelican roost

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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πŸ™‚ Back in May 2009, I took a cruise on Tarpon Bay with the Tarpon Bay Explorers. The cruise was a “thank you for your donation” gift from the local National Public Radio (NPR) station, WGCU, 90.1 FM in Fort Myers, Florida. The narrator is Dr. Jerry Jackson, a professor at FGCU (Florida Gulf Coast University) who also narrates a daily radio spot on WGCU, “Out With The Wild Things”. Enjoy! And for those in the USA, hope you’re having a wonderful Labor Day Weekend.

I enjoyed the tour of Tarpon Bay – beautiful surroundings, sunny May day, fascinating speaker, what’s not to love? But I much preferred last year’s tour with Dr. Jackson on Rookery Bay. Click this link to see photos and videos from the Rookery Bay tour.

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Dinosaurs at Disney!

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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click any photo to see a larger version in Flickr

IMG_4124-WDW-AK-Dino-ParkingThere are dinosaurs at Disney! Upon arrival at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando, Florida, Guests are presented with their first exposure to these ancient critters. My friend Robin taught me the value of taking a photo of the navigational signs in the parking lot. If you cannot remember where you parked at the end of a long day at play, you can always refer back to photographic evidence obtained upon arrival. As you can see, on this particular day I parked in the dinosaur section.

IMG_4126-WDW-AK-Dino-Drive-ThruDisney’s Animal Kingdom is set up in themed “lands”. There’s The Oasis when you first enter the park, the central hub called Discovery Island (where the Tree of Life “grows”), then Camp Minie Mickey, Asia, Africa and – you guessed it! – Dinoland! This billboard for the McDonald’s franchise in Dinoland always cracks me up. Can you imagine being a poor Mickey D’s drive-through clerk and having a T-Rex pull up to the window? Yikes! 😯

IMG_4128-WDW-AK-Dino-RamaAh, we’ve arrived at Chester and Hester’s Din-o-rama! This area of Dinoland is themed like a midway, with rides appropriate for the younger crowd as well as games of chance where stuffed animals can be won. I have to admit I’m not a fan of this section. I’m no good at games of chance, and one of the rides, affectionately nicknamed by some as “Primeval Hurl”, knocks me around too much. I’m getting too old in the bones to be knocked around like that!

IMG_4125-WDW-AK-Dino-StonesHere’s a cute critter made of stone and decorated mosaic style. I think he’s located pretty close to the aforementioned McDonald’s “billboard”. I can sometimes become obsessed with photographing all the stone and carved statues of critters sprinkled around Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Hmmm, I think I smell a Camera Critters series coming on! Anyway… can you spot the baby dinosaur in this photo?

Happy Critturday!


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Native Wildlife in Disney’s Animal Kingdom – the brown anole

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_1541-WDW-DAK-giraffe-statue-uprightπŸ™‚ Every time I visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom, my appreciation for the theme park Imagineers’ incredible attention to detail only deepens. The park is impeccably themed, and I especially enjoy the animal statues sprinkled here and there. Some are carved of stone like idols, while others are made to look like wood carvings but are more likely made of resin – this is Florida, after all, a land where the termite thrives and flourishes πŸ˜‰ Tucked away in a stand of bamboo, congregating in a forest pool or peeking out from behind dense foliage, I delight in happening upon these imaginative and often colorful critters.

IMG_1543-WDW-DAK-giraffe-statue-bent-anoleRelatively close to the front of the park, there’s a grouping of orange and yellow giraffes grazing in the underbrush by the side of the path. I remember stopping there once when Nieceling was young to photograph her with the smaller one; there’s a conveniently-placed flat stone for a kid to stand on, in case she’s too short to get both her head and the giraffe’s head in the photo. On this particular day, I was strolling by on my way out of the park – and I admit, it takes me a LONG time to stroll out of this park, so I have to start about an hour or so before I actually intend to get on the bus! Anyhow, I glanced over at the giraffes, and something caught my eye…

IMG_1542-WDW-DAK-giraffe-statue-back-anole-dewlapIt’s a brown anole, hanging out on the bent back of one of the giraffes. I caught him with his dewlap open! Technically, the brown anole is not a “native” of Florida – more of a naturalized citizen from the Caribbean. However, they’ve been here so long, they seem like natives. Just like all the other Americans, I guess πŸ˜€

Happy Critturday!

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Native wildlife in the Magic Kingdom – The Great Egret

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IMG_1213-WDW-MK-Frontier-trading-post-egret πŸ™‚ At first glance, I thought this was a statue perched atop the Trading Post in the Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland. But then my brain reset itself and remembered that egrets are often found in this section of the Magic Kingdom – it’s right across the street from the lagoon that separates Frontierland from Tom Sawyer Island. If you take the time to look, you will find that there are egrets flying, wading and hunting all over Walt Disney World. These are native Floridians, availing themselves of the amenities of the Walt Disney World resort – well-maintained habitats and dropped food opportunities πŸ˜‰

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See? Told ya he’s not a statue πŸ™‚

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My Top 5 FUNky facts about the eastern lubber grasshopper

Lubber grasshopper on Sanibel IslandI mobile-blogged a slightly cloudy version of this photo a couple of weeks ago. My niece and I encountered this lubber grasshopper while on line to see the premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I’ve done a little research and found out some FUNky facts about lubber grasshoppers.

1) RANGE: You might have seen one of these critters while vacationing at Walt Disney World or elsewhere in Florida. In fact, the range of this extraordinary creature, so lobster-like in appearance, extends across the southeastern United states from North Carolina to Texas.

2) GROUNDED: Even though lubber grasshoppers have wings, they cannot fly. To get around, they jump or crawl. This one was crawling rather pathetically up and down the cigarette butt receptacle outside the movie theater. It felt around before taking a step, so much so that I thought lubber grasshoppers might be blind. However, I’ve found no evidence suggesting sight issues, so I guess maybe they are just very careful crawlers.

3) COSTUME CHANGES: Lubber grasshoppers go through several colorful stages; this lobster color is representative of an adult in a light colored phase. Other phases can include stripes, green, yellow and deep navy blue. They don’t just turn colors; they molt! Man, I wish I could find the shell of one that has molted. It would be cool to have because it would look pretty without actually being a creepy-crawly critter πŸ˜‰

4) REPRODUCTION: Females lay their eggs in the summer time; the eggs hatch in the southern part of Florida in February, but wait until March over the rest of the lubber’s range.

5) MISCHIEF: The lubber has been known to cause significant damage to vegetable and citrus crops. The best way to control lubbers is to remove their habitat – they like dense vegetation in moist areas, so if swales and roadsides are kept clear of vegetation, the lubbers will move on to denser pastures and not migrate over to chow down on your orange trees.

More information: eastern lubber grasshopper – Romalea guttata (Houttuyn).

Happy Critturday!

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Sand sculpture critters at Walt Disney World

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πŸ™‚ Several years ago, the BBC presented a series called Planet Earth, which explored wildlife stories as they unfolded in natural habitats. The story goes, there was footage to spare, and since Disney, like country radio, is all about “the story”, there was enough to form stories about three animal families and release it as a DisneyNature production called Earth.

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This past spring at the 2009 International Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT, the film was being publicized in the form of sand sculptures strategically located in the fountain plaza just outside of MouseGear. There were some Cast Members on hand, as well as activities for smaller children. Me, I just thought the sand sculptures were cool – enjoy!

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A Disney Dance of the Hours

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One of my favorite parts of Disney’s classic animated film Fantasia is set to a musical piece known as Dance of the Hours, the ballet section from Ponchielli’s opera La Gioconda. Disney’s inventive animated interpretations made classical music accessible to everyone. In this scene of the film, an assortment of ballet-dancing critters – hippos, ostriches, elephants and crocodiles – were used to portray the music’s charm and humor.

At the 2009 International Flower and Garden Festival in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT theme park, these characters from the ballet sequence in Fantasia were represented in topiary around the Innoventions section of FutureWorld.

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Disney critters at work and play

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_1992-WDW-DTD-Cashier-grasshopper-antsπŸ™‚ I was in Walt Disney World (where else?), standing in line at the big World of Disney store in Downtown Disney, waiting for my opportunity to indulge in some rampant consumerism. The Cast Member who was ringing up the woman ahead of me was inexperienced, slow and giving out some really bad advice about where discounts could and could not be had. Bored, impatient, but trying to be nice and pleasant and Zen about it, I glanced at the ceiling and smiled with genuine delight – there, painted on the ceiling, were the subjects of one of my all-time favorite Silly Symphonies.

Disney’s Silly Symphonies are a series of 75 short, animated films produced over a period of about ten years during the 1930s. In fact, the very first full Technicolor film was a Silly Symphony called Flowers and Trees. Some of these short films were based upon myths, legends, morality tales and fables. One of Aesop’s best fables made cut – The Grasshopper and the Ants.

IMG_1991The story features a grasshopper who fiddles and sings his way through summer, when food is abundant, and scoffs at the ants, hard at work setting aside stores for the lean months ahead. Winter finds the grasshopper collapsing on the ants’ doorstep, starved and nearly frozen. In pity, they take him in and care for him, but the arrival of the colony’s queen strikes fear into his heart. He supplicates himself before her, knowing that he’s been lazy, has not worked, has scoffed at them, and doesn’t deserve their kindness. The queen hands him his fiddle and admonishes him… to play! At once, he realizes he just landed himself a position as court musician. He strikes up a jolly tune and the dancing commences. Soundtrack swells, fade to black.

I once took a sociology class called “The Disney Empire: Culture and Power”, where I learned that both as an employer and as an entertainment company, Disney tends to blur the lines between work and play. There are many examples in Disney’s films of work and play interchanging, but none so pointed or classic as The Grasshopper and the Ants.

It’s pretty rare in this world to have a job that feels like play. Sometimes, when I watch the young Cast Members, barely adults themselves, playing with the kids along the parade route in the Magic Kingdom to help them pass the time, I’m just a little envious. I know they don’t make much money, I know – I just like the idea of getting paid something, ANYTHING, for playing πŸ˜‰

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Dragonfly gymnastics at EPCOT

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πŸ™‚ I found this little guy hanging out in the lily pond outside the China pavilion in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT theme park. I don’t know what he’s doing, but it looks like gymnastics to me! Click the photos – you’ll be taken to Flickr, and you can choose a different size to examine. You’ll see that the poor little fella’s wings are a little tattered and torn – I wonder how that happens, and how it affects his ability to fly?

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Tarpon Bay Explorers – red hermit crab

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A red hermit crab has inhabited a very large horse conch shell in the touch tank at Tarpon Bay Explorers, Sanibel Island, Florida. The naturalist on duty at the time told us that the crab had recently molted …..

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Here’s the exoskeleton of the red hermit crab – nope, he’s not in there! That’s just his old skin. I think it’s remarkable that it comes off all in one piece like that, right down to the claws. I did a little reading about molting hermit crabs, and discovered that while or directly after molting, a hermit crab can appear to be limp and lifeless. It’s apparently pretty easy to believe they are actually dead, when they are just molting. Many times they will dig down into the sand and do it underground, but they can also do their molting on the surface. How lucky the naturalists at Tarpon Bay Explorers were – they got to see it happening!

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Mickey Mouse meets the yeti

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IMG_1524-WDW-DAK-Mickey-Mouse-yeti

πŸ™‚ I should have bought it. I like toys! Found one in the gift shop near Expedition Everest, the “E” ticket roller coaster at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. So, we’ve got TWO critters here – a mouse, and a yeti. Doesn’t Mickey look horrified? Hope the yeti isn’t as mean as he looks… RUN, MICKEY – RUN! πŸ˜‰

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[video] Wildlife in the tidal pool, Sanibel Island

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I spent Memorial Day on Sanibel Island, visiting with a friend who has been vacationing here from the Midwest. Late in the afternoon, we decided to rouse ourselves from the comfort of beers under the umbrella to check out the tidal pool that was forming as the tide went out, and see what we could find. We each found some nice shells that pleased us, but also something I’ve never seen before – a fair quantity of live lettered olives were creating their little snail-trails along the bottom of the pool.

The lettered olive is a gastropod whose Latin name is Oliva sayana. The most interesting thing about the lettered olive is that, when they capture prey, they burrow under the sand and take it below ground to snack on it.

If you are going to collect lettered olive shells, here’s how to tell which are the best specimens. First, of course, check to ensure that the shell is empty! Collection of live shells is not permitted on Sanibel, and although it might be permitted where you are going shelling, it’s just plain not nice and Karma’s gonna get you for it! Next, check the tippy-top of the shell – it should be intact and pointy. A lot of the time, when an olive shell has been rolling around in the surf for a while, this is the first thing to go and there’s a hole instead of a point.

Finally, you want to check for shineyness. The olive is naturally shiney and slick-feeling because of this brilliant finish, but if it has been rolling around a while, the shine is gone. DO NOT BLEACH YOUR SHINEY OLIVES – they will lose their shine. Plain water is fine for an olive – it’s pretty shallow and they tend to not be stinkers, so don’t worry about deep cleaning. Also, do not be concerned if the opening/aperture is clogged with debris; when you get home, you can just pop that stuff out with a knife.

Here’s some video I took last weekend of an olive in the tidal pool. NOTE to email subscribers – this is video and probably won’t come through on the email. Please click through to the blog to view.

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The White Ibis on Sanibel Island

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IMG_0556-white-ibis-family πŸ™‚ The American white ibis is found from the mid-Atlantic region of the United States all the way south into the tropics. They are colonial by nature, and can be found roosting among quantities of other types of wading birds, such as herons and egrets. The two genders are virtually identical in appearance, but they do have different calls – the male is more of a grunter, while the female is more of a squealer. Doesn’t THAT just make you want to be around while they’re rockin’ the rookery? πŸ˜‰

Getting back to their appearance – the feathers of the adults are actually not completely white. When an ibis takes flight, you can see that the tips of their unfurled wings are black. Juveniles have a sort of mottled appearance, like this one I photographed a few weeks ago on Sanibel Island here in Southwest Florida.

IMG_0563-whilte-ibis-family-wading You can often find an ibis or 5 patrolling the beaches here for their dinner. They use their long, curved, red beaks as a probe to find tasty morsels amongst the piles of marine debris brought in on waves from the Gulf of Mexico. The ibis will eat fish and other marine animals, insects, small reptiles and frogs. In addition to being found at the shore, the ibis can often be found hunting for insects on people’s lawns. Since I’ve had cinch bugs destroy parts of my lawn on more than one occasion, I don’t think I’d mind if a flock of them decided to drop by now and then!

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Critters on the Castle: The Cheshire Cat

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IMG_1032-Happiest-Celebration-banners-castle
In 2005, all Disney theme parks across the globe participated in “The Happiest Celebration On Earth” in honor of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the original Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. At the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, Cinderella’s Castle was covered with golden effigies of beloved Disney characters – many of them critters! For the next few weeks, I’ll feature some of these each Saturday as my contribution to the Camera Critters photo meme.

 

The Cheshire Cat

 

IMG_0886-Castle-Critters-Cheshire-CatWe’ve come to the end of the Critters on the Castle series, bringing it full circle back to Alice in Wonderland

The Cheshire Cat is the only character in the story who levels with Alice. He explains to her that everyone in Wonderland is mad; madness is the norm, and Alice, with all of her logic and reasoning and impatience for the nonsense that is the very fabric of Wonderland, doesn’t fit in. So if Alice is not normal, she must be mad… but… but… if she’s mad, then isn’t she really normal, by Wonderland standards? It’s all so confusing!

To top it all off, The Cheshire Cat can make parts of himself disappear! He can reduce himself to just a grin, floating on thin air with no head, no body, nothing but teeth. You know what I think? I think he got into the caterpillar’s hookah, that’s what I think!

In Disney’s 1951 animated feature, the Cheshire Cat was voiced by the incomparable Sterling Holloway, whose impressive resume includes the voicing of several other prominent Disney characters, including Kaa from The Jungle Book and Winnie the Pooh. Admit it. You just heard his voice in your head, saying, “Oh, bother!” πŸ˜‰ I know, me too!

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Critters on the Castle: Hakuna Matata!

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IMG_1032-Happiest-Celebration-banners-castle
In 2005, all Disney theme parks across the globe participated in “The Happiest Celebration On Earth” in honor of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the original Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. At the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, Cinderella’s Castle was covered with golden effigies of beloved Disney characters – many of them critters! For the next few weeks, I’ll feature some of these each Saturday as my contribution to the Camera Critters photo meme.

Hakuna Matata!

IMG_0847-Castle-Critters-Simba-Pumba-Timon
Critics and literary analyst-types have likened aspects of Disney’s 1994 film The Lion King to a number of works, most notably Shakespeare’s Hamlet and a few stories from the Old Testament. The former kind of intrigues me, for that would mean that Pumba and Timon are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern… πŸ˜€ I laugh just thinking about it!

Here we see Timon and Pumba leading the young Simba on a merry march around one of the castle turrets. Can’t you just hear them singing “Hakuna Matata” as they amble along? As I recall, the phrase is Swahili, and as the song instructs us, “it means no worries for the rest of your days”. This is Pumba and Timon’s “problem-free philosophy” for life, and they teach it to Simba so that he may forget about his unhappy past.

“Hakuna Matata” was one of three songs from The Lion King that was nominated for an Academy Award; the other two were “Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” (which ended up winning).

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Rookery Bay Osprey – Naples, Florida

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IMG_5602-Rookery-Bay-Osprey-nest
Taking a break this week from the Critters on the Castle series; while selecting the Rookery Bay sunset photo for yesterday, I came upon this shot of two osprey posing rather prettily for me in their nest. I’ve published this one before, I believe, but I thought it bore repeating.

If you’re an amateur photographer like me, you will know the feeling when I tell you that it’s one of those shots that you get home and put it up on the computer screen, and you cannot believe that YOU took it! So happy to share this with all the Camera Critters fans out there πŸ™‚



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Critters on the Castle: Kaa

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IMG_1032-Happiest-Celebration-banners-castle
In 2005, all Disney theme parks across the globe participated in “The Happiest Celebration On Earth” in honor of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the original Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. At the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, Cinderella’s Castle was covered with golden effigies of beloved Disney characters – many of them critters! For the next few weeks, I’ll feature some of these each Saturday as my contribution to the Camera Critters photo meme.

Kaa

IMG_0857-Disney-Castle-Critter-Jungle-Book-KaaaDisney’s 1967 film The Jungle Book is based upon a novel of the same name by Rudyard Kipling. The Jungle Book makes several contributions to Disney’s burgeoning collection of villains, not the least of which is the ssssoft-sssspoken python, Kaa. In Kipling’s novel, Kaa was actually Mowgli’s very close friend, and his gift of hypnotism worked on everyone except Mowgli. In the Disney film, Kaa has a bit of a competitive streak, making not one but two attempts to capture and eat Mowgli before the man-eating tiger Shere Kahn does.

Kaa was portrayed by the hypnotically soft-spoken Sterling Holloway, whose resume is peppered with Disney projects. I’ll have more about Holloway in a subsequent edition of Camera Critters.

Walt Disney died during production of The Jungle Book, so he never got to see it. However, the film still bears Disney’s imprint; the original script was a bit dark for Walt’s taste, and it underwent revisions by a different writer at his insistence.

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Critters on the Castle: The White Rabbit

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_1032-Happiest-Celebration-banners-castle
In 2005, all Disney theme parks across the globe participated in “The Happiest Celebration On Earth” in honor of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the original Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California. At the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, Cinderella’s Castle was covered with golden effigies of beloved Disney characters – many of them critters! For the next few weeks, I’ll feature some of these each Saturday as my contribution to the Camera Critters photo meme.

The White Rabbit


IMG_0849-Magic-Kingdom-Castle-White-RabbitThe White Rabbit is a character from Disney’s 1951 animated feature Alice in Wonderland. Without the White Rabbit, Alice would never have ventured down the rabbit hole to have all those adventures in Wonderland.

The film was based upon Lewis Carroll’s novels, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.. Those who endeavor to analyze literature have always taken Alice’s tumble down the rabbit hole as a metaphoric representation of some sort of intellectual and/or emotional and/or spiritual awakening (they can’t seem to agree on this). That would make our White Rabbit the catalyst for such an awakening. He is, after all, a herald – note he’s got his trumpet, preparing to announce the arrival of the Queen of Hearts and her hapless King.

On the other hand, Jefferson Airplane saw the White Rabbit as a metaphor for a (possibly chemically induced) psychotic, mind-altering experience. Whereas Disney’s White Rabbit races by muttering, “I’m late, I’m late!”, Grace Slick’s version admonishes us to “Feed your head! Feed your head!”

Whichever the case – if you see the White Rabbit, remember that he is the proverbial rocker of worlds and hang on tight – your trip down the rabbit hole is likely to be a wild ride πŸ˜‰

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Just hangin’ around at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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IMG_7067-DAK-bat-teeth-flags
I bet he says that to ALL the girls


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Sanibel Seagull Smiles

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IMG_0371-contortionist-seagull-Sanibel

There’s an attention ho in every flock; Dave was theirs.

IMG_0375-mixed-seagulls-Sanibel

HAPPY CRITTURDAY!

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My Top 5 FUNky Facts About Pelicans

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IMG_0385-American-brown-pelican-Sanibel-IslandHere are just 5 of the more FUNky things I learned while browsing around the interwebz looking for information about the American brown pelican

(Pelicanus occidentalis – click the photo to see a larger version in Flickr)

1. Pelicans have been around for about 40 million years, the earliest form of pelican having been found fossilized in France

2. The male of the pelican species pitches in to help incubate the eggs, much like a penguin does.

3. There are various legends in various cultures that would have the pelican either nourishing or resurrecting her young with her own blood

4. The pelican is the state bird of Louisianna

5. Pelicans may have been worshipped in ancient Peru; they are depicted in a lot of Peruvian art

NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART – a bystander captured video footage of a white pelican in St James Park, England swallowing a pigeon whole and live! The footage shows the pigeon continuing to struggle inside the pelican for quite sometime. DON’T CLICK IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE!

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Frog metamorphosis at Disney

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IMG_0389-Frog-tadpole-EPCOT-ChinaI found this little guy in the lily pond outside the China pavilion at EPCOT in Walt Disney World. I was shocked to see that although he looks like a fully-formed adult frog, his tadpole tail is still quite prominent. Researching this, I later found out that there’s a biological process known as apoptosis that is supposed to happen during the transformation from tadpole to frog. As the frog is growing up, limbs form with webs between the toes for swimming, and the tail is no longer needed. Apoptosis is the process whereby the cells that form the tail are programmed to die one by one until the tail disappears. After examining photos from various places on the web that show the metamorphosis of a frog, I’m convinced that this little guy is a bit too mature in other ways to still have that much of a tadpole tail. Maybe the tail is his “security blanket”… πŸ˜† click the photo to see a larger version in Flickr

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The unfortunately named peacock at Disney and Busch Gardens

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IMG_0293-peacock-plummage-disney-animal-kingdom

This peacock blends in pretty perfectly with his surroundings.
Photo taken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. April 25th, 2004

Peacocks come in different colors, which is something I did not know until I encountered this one at Busch Gardens “Africa” in Tampa, Florida –

Interestingly enough, I’ve discovered that the peacock technically should not be included in Busch Gardens “Africa” because it is indigenous to India. But he was pretty so I’ll let it slide. πŸ˜‰

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Of Mice and Mutts – Disney’s Flower and Garden Festival

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click any photo to see a larger version in Flickr

IMG_4264-Pirates-Donald-Duck-Pluto-topiarySpring is coming, and you know what that means – soon it will be time for the Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT in Walt Disney World! I am positively enamored of the Flower and Garden Festival. I used to be quite the garden geek back in the day, before I moved to a place where I have NO idea what is growing on the side of the road. It’s kind of disconcerting not to be able to identify any of the trees or shrubs or flowers that are in my own front yard! Yet when I go to the Flower and Garden Festival, I can identify stuff, thus re-inflating my sense of self-worth. (Pssst… if by chance I cannot identify it, guess what? They’ve got signs on practically EVERYTHING! πŸ˜‰ )

IMG_4272_crop-Minnie-Mouse-topiarySomewhere in my travels across the internet, I have heard Disney’s character topiaries referred to as “The Chlorophyll Zoo”. Now, it is true that not all of the topiaries you’ll find at Disney World are animals. Just a few weeks ago, I featured topiaries of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and despite Dopey’s big, floppy ears, none of these can be accused of being a critter. Even today’s topiary critters are suspect; they’ve all got some anthropomorphic qualities. Well, all except for Pluto. While Goofy, who is a dog, walks upright and speaks and has “hands” instead of front paws, Pluto, who is also a dog, was introduced in a cartoon short during the 1930s as Mickey Mouse’s puppy! And typically, you will see pluto on all fours. So technically, only one of today’s subjects is actually a critter through and through. The rest of them are suspect :mrgreen:

IMG_4263-Pirate-Goofy-TopiaryBack to the subject of topiaries – often you will find that Disney topiary supplies are offered for sale in Downtown Disney or at the festival itself. The frames can be rather pricey, but if you keep looking online, you can sometimes find a bargain. I’ve seen smaller versions of the ones you see here; I think most of these are taller than I am, and at 5’7″, I am not short. The smaller ones are about two feet high and I hear tell they take quite a bit of sphagnum moss and fishing line to get them set up. I’ve also seen very small table-top sized versions of a Mickey Mouse topiary for sale at the Flower and Garden Festival. The larger ones are started at least a year, if not more, before the Festival at which they debut. There must be a greenhouse somewhere on property with a dozen or so of each character in various stages of it’s life cycle – some just starting, some halfway there, and some ready to take their place in the landscaping of the parks

IMG_4270-Pirate-Mickey-Mouse-topiary The year these photos were taken, the theme was pirates. Peter Pan, Hook, Smee and the pirate ship all graced the front entrance of EPCOT, with Spaceship Earth making an iconic backdrop for the scene. Meanwhile, in the World Showcase Plaza, Mickey and the gang were posed around a “treasure chest” with ivy and golden blossoms spilling out of it. I had my oldest niece with me; it was her graduation gift to be taken to Disney World.

In the middle of this coming May, my very youngest niece, just 4 years old, will be making her first visit to Walt Disney World. I’m not sure she will be paying attention to the topiaries. She’ll be too busy being excited over the prospect of having a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Auntie Tink *~*~* recently sent her a lovely Cinderella costume that she’ll be wearing for her visit to the castle, complete with dainty slippers, tiara, and earrings that don’t pinch but she’s afraid they will, so she won’t try them on πŸ˜‰ Bro. No. 2 says she’ll get over it by time she heads up to the Royal Table. She will be beyond adorable with or without them, I’m sure!

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Todays-Flowers-LogoEDITED Sunday 02-22-2009: someone suggested that I use this post to play Today’s Flowers, too. So that’s what I’m doing! I’ve never played before, and I hope this qualifies.

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Respect The Power Of The YETI! at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Respect The Power Of The YETI! at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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IMG_3019-Yeti-shrine-Everest-loomsWandering through the Asia “land” of Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, you’ll eventually come upon a waterside shrine, laden with many gifts of food, candles and trinkets strewn upon it. “Mount Everest” looms large in the distance, a dramatic, snow-capped backdrop for this sacred spot in the village of Anandapur. But who is it a shrine TO? We must get a little closer to investigate…

IMG_3020-close-up-yeti-shrineIt’s a rather strange and ferocious-looking creature, is it not? Somewhat like a bear or an ape, walking erect with claws extended, it is clearly revered by the people who have come to lay down treasures before this statue of it. Since that is “Everest” in the distance, we can be sure that we are approaching the Himalayas, and that can only mean that this feared-revered creature is none other than the fabled Abominable Snowman, a.k.a., the Yeti. This creature has been the subject of countless expeditions and studies by scientists, writers and adventurers for several centuries.

IMG_4130-Yeti-shrine-red-dotThe people of the Himalayas have made the Yeti the subject of much of their local art and folk lore. The Yeti is the stuff of legend, much like “Big Foot” a.k.a. Sasquatch in North America. Primatologists, anthropologists and many other types of -ologists, I’m sure, have studied such evidence as footprints and hairs left behind by this creature, but no evidence has thus far been deemed conclusive insofar as proving the existence of the Yeti.

IMG_3016-Everest-inside-queue-yetibiliaThe Yeti so captures the human imagination, there have been expeditions in search of one as recently as 2008, when a band of Japanese researchers went off adventuring into the Himalayas to see if they could find one. Scientists routinely test “evidence”, usually hairs that are claimed to have come from a yeti, but DNA results indicate that they are always some other type of animal, chiefly bears. That region of Tibet enjoys the presence of three different types of bears – blue, brown and red, and the word “yeti” seems to be derived from two Tibetan words, one for “bear” and the other for “rocky place”. Given the location, “rocky place” does make sense.

IMG_4132-respect-power-YetiOne of the pet theories that has been floated now and then about both the Yeti and Big Foot is that somehow, the gigantopithecus giant ape from the Pleistocene era has survived and is alive and well and living in the Himalayas. It’s a nice theory, but most scientists agree that gigantopithecus was a quadruped, which would not explain why the Yeti is able to climb up Disney’s Expedition Everest attraction on two legs while ripping up the tracks with his hands! I guess those fans of the gigantopithecus theory have not been to Disney World recently.

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Ring-billed gulls, and “the circle of life”

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Ring-billed gulls, and “the circle of life”

(a Camera Critters post)

click any photo to see the bigger version in Flickr
IMG_0101-ring-bille-gull-marchingEarlier this week, I posted a photo of shore birds feasting upon some scallops that had been stranded by the tide. I realized that I didn’t know what the birds were called, so I went through some recent photos to see if I could find a close up. Here’s a shot from early in January, and according to my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida, this is a ring-billed gull. You can see that there is, indeed, a ring around his yellow bill. According to Audubon, this bird migrates north for the summer, but non-breeders will probably stick around here.
IMG_0204-Ring-billed-gulls-feastingLast week, when my friend Kim and I were at the beach, we encountered a pile of shells that had been tossed up onto the shore by the tide. As we pawed through the pile for treasures, we found many scallops had been stranded with the empties. Some were still alive, as evidenced by their nervous chattering as we came near. Yes, they do that thing that you see them do in the old cartoons – they open and shut rapidly, trying to scare us away with the clatter, I guess. Usually, when I find a live one, I will endeavor to place it back in the water. But then I began to notice that humans aren’t the only ones interested in a pile of shells.
IMG_0207-ring-billed-gull-tasty-scallopThe ring-billed gulls were feasting! And here I thought, with all the hubris and inflated sense of importance that a human can muster, that we were doing the scallops a favor by giving them a “second chance”. It’s not really a carnage that humans need to “fix” (oh, we are such fixers, we humans, aren’t we?). As often happens, it dawned upon me in the lyrics:

Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life…


Yeah, I did. I burst into song. I think Kim laughed at me, but I don’t mind. If you’re embarrassed 😳 by people who are prone to bursting into song, don’t go shelling with me πŸ˜† . The point is, the scallops had found “their place on the path unwinding”. It was right there, on the beach, waiting for a ring-billed gull to come along and decide it looked tasty.
The scallops, they have their purpose. They don’t have to think about it, or struggle to discover what it is they are meant to do. The Circle Of Life just kind of takes care of that for them. Not so much for us humans. We often struggle to find our place. For many of us, it’s not all that clear what we are meant to do with our lives.
Sometimes, I still don’t know what I’m supposed to be when I grow up. If “when I grow up” should ever happen, I’ll be sure to let y’all know.
RESOURCES

  • Cornell University has a cool bird site, with sound samples.Β  Click here if you want to hear ring-billed gulls laughing (it opened Quicktime for me; your mileage may vary!).
  • Download The Circle of Life MP3 file from Disney’s THE LION KING, performed by Elton John. Amazon also has DVDs of the film and its sequels, the entire film soundtrack (CD or MP3 download), and my personal favorite, the original Broadway production sountrack.
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Eagles from the Florida Gulf Coast

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Eagles from the Florida Gulf Coast

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A couple of weeks ago, I saw a bald eagle hanging out in a dead tree on Sanibel Island. I was only able to get a few shots, most of them no good, before it took off. I was told that the eagle had been collecting sticks out of the tree to make a nest.

IMG_0130-eagle-tree

This got me thinking about some other photos of eagles that I’ve got in my archives. Here’s the big Anheuser-Busch topiary eagle. It can be found in Busch Gardens “Africa” up in Tampa.

11112008249-topiary-eagle

The other eagle I found on my hard drive is made of sand. I photographed this particular eagle at The 2008 American Sand Sculpting Championship Festival. The detail is amazing, and I find it a real treat to watch people create beautiful tableaux from a pile of ordinary sand.

IMG_7253-sand-eagle

Bald eagles have spent some time on the endangered species list. Use of the pesticide known as DDT had a huge negative impact on bird eggs until it was banned in the early 1970s. The second largest population of bald eagles in the United States is now in Florida (first: Alaska).

I’ve written about the effects of DDT poisoning before, when I cruised Rookery Bay with Dr. Jerry Jackson last spring. Dr. Jackson is a wildlife biologist at Florida Gulf Coast University, and has a radio spot on the local NPR station, WGCU 90.1 Fort Myers. The eagles have made a significant comeback since the banning of DDT, but encroaching civilization represents a new threat. Deforestation in Florida has resulted in a loss of habitat. Very often, people will point to eagle nests coexisting with human neighborhoods, such as the one by the Dairy Queen on Sanibel, as evidence that the eagles will be fine, and that they have adapted. Dr. Jerry Jackson says that situations such as the Dairy Queen nest have not existed long enough to know whether or not coexistence is really a success.

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Southwest Florida Rent-A-Cows

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Southwest Florida Rent-A-Cows

(a Camera Critters post)
click any photo to see larger on Flickr

IMG_0157-cropped-Calf-Fort-Myers-Florida-01-18-2009 I get a kick out of the sharp contrast between the word “city” (as in, “city of Fort Myers”) and the presence of cows grazing unconcernedly on the empty parcels of land that are sprinkled between new building boom developments, university satellites and the ever-encroaching strip malls. In my mind, Tampa is a “city”, for Tampa has a “downtown” with sky scrapers. Fort Myers? No sky scrapers, therefore not a “city”. My Long Island-bred eye sees this “city” as more of an area of wannabe suburban sprawl. I’d remove the word “wannabe” if it were not for the rent-a-cows.

IMG_0158-White-Cow-No-Trespassing-Fort-Myers-Florida-01-18-2009Actually, I recently discovered that it’s not the cows that are rented – it’s the land. Property taxes are drastically reduced for those who pasture cattle. If there’s a guy that owns land but no cows, and a guy that owns cows but no land, then a lease agreement can’t be far behind. The cattle owner will pay the land owner to use the empty land as pasture for the cows. I always thought it should be the other way around. The land owners should be paying the cows for giving them such an awesome tax break. Probably, the landless cattle owners should rise up, form a cow cartel, and turn the tables on the guys who are getting the awesome tax breaks. I just hate to think that the cows are performing such a valuable service to the land owners, yet in the end their only reward is landing on someone’s plate. It just doesn’t seem fair.

IMG_0160-Cattle-Egrets-Fort-Myers-Florida-01-18-2009(To read more about the business of raising cattle in Southwest Florida, check out Florida Weekly’s recent article called “Local Beef…it’s what’s for dinner someplace else“)

We even have cattle rustling here in Southwest Florida! Early in the new year, 10 head of cattle, including a valuable Angus bull, were stolen from a “rent-a-pasture” in Charlotte County. The rustler was unfortunately not very bright, for he drove the contraband bovines to an auction and tried to sell them, apparently failing to notice a rather prominent and totally identifying brand on the hide of each of his ten hostages. The authorities were summoned and the cow-napper was apprehended (“Deputies Arrest Suspected Cattle Rustler”)

IMG_0163-Red-Cow-Fort-Myers-Florida-01-18-2009I found the cows in these photos pastured on an empty stretch of land adjacent to the new Kohls/Sports Authority/Circuit City strip mall on Six Mile Cypress Parkway. This field is pretty close to the intersection with Colonial Blvd. in Forty Myers, Florida, and used to be much larger, able to accommodate many more head of cattle plus a “watering hole” of sorts – but then the Kohl’s/Sports Authority/Circuit City strip mall was built. I’ve only lived here three years, and I’ve already seen a lot of this sort of thing. Formerly open spaces are now covered with housing and retail developments. A stand of woods is leveled and cleared to make way for a new chain pharmacy. Literally, they’ve “paved paradise and put up a parking lot”. I’d object more strenuously than that, but that would make me a hypocrite. Five years ago, a tangle of wilderness reigned where my own house now stands.

IMG_0166-Strip-Mall-Former-Pasture-Fort-Myers-Florida-01-18-2009I can see that someday, the intermittent open spaces where the cattle currently roam will be gone. The bottoming-out of the housing market has slowed, but not permanently halted the inevitable. Someday, the land owners will have sold all of the open spaces to developers, who will erect yet more townhouses and supermarkets upon them. I wonder where the cows will go when that happens?

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Lamp Post Critters at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Lamp Post Critters at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

(a Camera Critters post)
click any photo to see a larger version in Flickr

IMG_6915-DAK-lamp-post-spider-webSpiders! *shudder*
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the infrastructure – buildings, bridges, light fixtures, etc. – are covered with folk-art styled critters. Carved, painted, bright and whimsical, some of these cuties can be found on the lamp posts sprinkled throughout the park. Here’s a spider weaving a web on a lamp; click the photo and you’ll see evidence of the presence of this faux arachnid’s real-life brethren.

IMG_6938-DAK-lamp-post-bunniesThe Prey Prays
I found these bunnies in the quiet patio area out back of the Flame Tree BBQ counter service place. I like this area because of the spectacular view of Expedition Everest; one can sit there with a cappucino and become mesmerized watching the cars slowly ascend into the darkness, only to emerge from the other side, careening around with screaming cargo. Anyhow, you might have noticed that these bunnies are in a sort of a praying posture, and they appear to be a bit bug-eyed. Of what are they a-feared, you ask? Well…

IMG_6937-DAK-lamp-post-owlEEEK!
Well, no wonder – there’s an owl soaring above that’s got the bunnies assuming positions of supplication. “Please, don’t swoop down and eat us!” they seem to plead… actually, that owl doesn’t look all that scary to me. In fact, he sort of reminds me of Van Halen’s logo. C’mon, you see it too, don’t you? That’s not scary! Well, not unless they’re thinking of getting back with David Lee Roth AGAIN. In which case, my advice is to “run, little bunnies – FLEE! Flee for your lives!” πŸ˜‰

IMG_6917-DAK-lamp-post-turtle-snail“I’m singin’ in the rain, just singin’ in the rain…”
I love this one – the turtle assumes the Gene Kelly position and I fully expect him to break into song at any given moment. And the sky! The sky is just that amazing Florida blue sky that I’ve grown to revere.

I’m sure there are lots more whimsical lamp posts in Walt Disney World. This is just a small sampling of them. I hope you’ve enjoyed them!

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Flora, Fauna, Magic! revisited

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Flora, Fauna, MAGIC! revisited

(a Camera Critters post)

Was reliving some old trip reports to Disney, and came across this Photo Story that I call “Flora, Fauna, MAGIC!”. It’s 4 minutes, 38 seconds, set to music, mostly animals found around Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It’s a Windows Media Player file.

Enjoy!

CLICK TO VIEW Fall Frolick 2004 – Flora, Fauna, MAGIC!

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Tigers of The Royal Forest of Anandapur, Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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http://MyMobileAdventures.com

Tigers of The Royal Forest of Anandapur, Disney’s Animal Kingdom

(a Camera Critters post)
click any photo to see a larger version in Flickr

IMG01416-DAK-tiger-trash-can-artLast week, I wrote about my Favorite Critters At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and one of them was the tiger.  In that post, I explained that Disney has placed their tigers in a setting that is similar to the “temple of the tigers”, a preserve in India that had at one time been royal hunting grounds. 

IMG01430-DAK-tiger-sign-wood-houseDisney places the tigers along the Maharajah Jungle Trek in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and calls the forested section “The Royal Forest of Anandapur”.  I googled “Anandapur” and found two villages, one in the state of Crissa in India, and the other is in Bangladesh, from whence the Royal Bengal tiger comes.  Well they also hang out in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Myanmar (Burma), but a “Bengal” is someone from Bangladesh, so there you go.

The first image above is actually trash can art, and was captured just outside the Maharajah Jungle Trek entrance. The second image heralds your arrival in the Royal Forest of Anandapur, where the tigers frolic amongst the ruins of a royal palace that is crumbling with antiquity.

IMG_7079-DAK-one-tiger-fountainPlease excuse the “ghosts” on these photos; they were shot through glass, and I think it’s remarkable that they are as clear as they are, given how many little fingers leave their imprints on a daily basis πŸ™‚ This tiger guards a crumbling fountain; he doesn’t see what I see behind him…. maybe he’s got tiger “spidey sense” that allows him to know somehow, but I didn’t consider that at the time and I thought we, the tourists of Anandapur, were about to see some action…

IMG_7078-DAK-one-tiger-pool No, I have no idea why there appears to be a board in the water, but I’m glad you noticed because I was kind of wondering myself. A second tiger stealthily skirts the fountain pool, looking for all the world like s/he was stalking the first one. What will happen? Is there going to be a conflict, a great, fierce battle? The tourists of Anandapur hold their collective breath!

IMG_7082-DAK-two-tigers-fountainWhew! It looks like the second tiger is disinterested in conflict after all, passing by without a even a passing glance, never mind a roar or even a growl. The tourists of Anandapur, lungs bursting, release their collective breath.

Peace descends upon the Royal Forest of Anandapur. Happy ending – YAY! πŸ™‚

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Favorite Critters from Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Favorite Critters from Disney’s Animal Kingdom

(a Camera Critters post)

Here are some of my favorite animals that are “must see” whenever I visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

(You can click any picture to go to the original in Flickr; when you get there, click “All Sizes” and then select “Original”)

IMG_0156_DisneyAK_Elephant_2004

This is an African elephant; looks like that might be Paw, as opposed to Maw. Elephants have a remarkable capacity for emotion. When a member of the herd passes on, they have been known to behave in ways that mimic our own death customs, including mourning for several days (waking or sitting shiva) and throwing branches or grass clumps on the carcass (dropping clumps of earth into the grave). To read more about elephant emotions, visit the Public Broadcasting (PBS) page for the TV show “Nature – Unforgettable Elephants”

IMG_0145_DisneyAK_Flamingo_2004

I’ve featured pink flamingos here at My Mobile Adventures *~*~* several times in the past. That’s because I love them! Oh, when you pass by where they hang out, they absolutely STINK, to be sure. But they are so beautiful, I don’t mind the stench too much. Some of them have wings that are sort of outlined in black, which is stunning when set against the deep pink of the flamingo’s other feathers, and which you can only see when they stretch their wings. The sometimes overwhelming odor near the flamingos in zoos and theme parks is probably from their diet. Flamingos eat a diet based upon an algae known as spirulina. The Nature site has a page on flamingos too, which goes into greater detail about why some flamingos are pinker than others.

IMG_0307_DisneyAK_Tiger_2004
Here’s an Asian tiger, looking pretty bored. I think these are actually Royal Bengal tigers. The environment that Disney has built for the tigers is very similar to what “Nature” calls the “temple of the tigers” – the Bandhavgahr Preserve in India. Mythology meets archeology in this place, which consists of an ancient fort (est. 2,000 years old), statues of some of India’s gods, a series of man-made caves complete with hieroglyphics, and a pleasing biodiversity that includes some members of India’s “Project Tiger” at the top of it’s food chain. I think the setting Disney has created for these tigers is the reason why I like visiting them so much. It’s as though the tigers themselves are the gods, slipping in and out of the ruins like ghosts; we are fortunate to catch glimpses of them now and then, frolicking in the crumbling remains of ancient walls and fountains.

IMG_0334_DisneyAK_Otter_2004
I saved my very, very favorite for last – it’s the river otter! There is no visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom that’s complete without making a stop, probably several stops actually, to watch the otters play and swim and tumble about and BARK. Yes that’s right, they BARK, like little prairie dogs. In fact, it would not surprise me if I found out that they were related – otters and prairie dogs, i mean. These are gray; native Floridian otters are more of a chocolate brown color, I believe, but have the same sleek coat that helps them to glide and dodge and weave through the water effortlessly. Sometimes the otters aren’t there, or you see them off in the distance, sleeping in a little cave, all piled up on top of one another. When they sleep in a pile like that, it gives one the impression that someone is going to have to go in there and unknot them, but then they slither around and voila, no more pile o’ otters.

Well there you have it – some of my favorite critters from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I’ve got lots of critter photos that I took the last time I was there, and I’m happy to be able to share them on Camera Critters over the next few weeks. Please DO leave your link in the comments, so I can visit you back and see your critter posts.

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Cotton-Topped Tamarins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Cotton-Topped Tamarins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

(a Camera Critters post)
click the photo to see a larger version

IMG_0330-Disney-Animal-Kingdom-Tamarin-2004I met these two little fellas (gals?) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom during a trip I took in 2004 (my pre-Florida resident days). They are called cotton-topped tamarins, and they used to be found in the wild as far north as Costa Rica. However they are now endangered and you have to go to Columbia to find them.

At the time this photo was taken, the Cast Member who is feeding themΒ  (vitamins, by the way – yum!) told me that there were more in captivity than in the wild at this point, probably only about a thousand or so in the jungles. They are the smallest of all primates, and when they speak to each other, it sounds like birds singing! I was fortunate to hear that once.

The last few times I’ve been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the tamarins were not anywhere to be found; I hope they are just resting or maybe on loan to a zoo or something like that.Β Β  I used to see them in a tree in the garden area around the Tree of Life, close to where the lemur and the entrance to It’s Tough To Be A Bug is.Β  If anyone has seen them recently, please let me know where and when.

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