Category Archives: Sanibel Island

The arch at the Ding

20140530-143424-52464700.jpgThis arch marks the entrance to the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Center. It was made by the same artist who made the faux scat for the scat trail at the new wildlife boardwalk. There are a number of plant and wildlife species woven into the design. People were standing around the archway, trying to count how many. I heard the number "17" being tossed around…

Environmental education at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

20140530-102337-37417005.jpgThis morning, I’m attending an environmental education conference at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island in Southwest Florida. The conference opened with a short hike to the new Wildlife Education Boardwalk. Here’s the view of the “tunnel” into the mangroves that flows beside the new observation tower. Looking forward to learning more today on beautiful Sanibel Island.

Late autumn in Southwest Florida – paradise!

Β© Copyright 2012 | http://MyMobileAdventures.com | CLICK any photo for a larger view

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What a beautiful time of year it is to live in Southwest Florida!

The summer can be unforgiving – the heat and humidity are relentless, the rain is capricious, and there is always the threat of a hurricane or two hanging over our collective heads.

However, as October melts into November, a kinder, gentler Southwest Florida emerges. Blue skies and refreshing breezes reign in the late autumn and early winter days. It’s a little cooler, a little drier, and much more enjoyable. It’s time to take it outside in Southwest Florida – let’s go!


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I got a call earlier in the week from friends who were going to take a boat out of Fort Myers Beach, and did I want to come along? You bet I did! We did a leisurely tour through Matanzas Pass and Ostego Bay, then emerged into the Gulf via Big Carlos Pass, near Lovers Key. That’s the bridge over Big Carlos, behind us (above).

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We decided to head for Nervous Nellie’s in Fort Myers Beach after our excursion. The town is all done up for Christmas. As a native New Yorker, it still gives me the giggles to see Christmas decorations juxtaposed against palm trees and blue skies.

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Here I am, enjoying royal status for about three minutes – Princess Without A Country πŸ˜‰ You will find this over-sized bench with the cutout near the gazebo beside Nervous Nellie’s, should you have a princess you’d like to photograph.

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At Moss Marine, I saw this egret standing on a post and took aim with the camera. I saw the pelican come in for a landing behind him, but did not see the little shore bird on the post in front of him until I got the picture up on the computer screen later on.

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A closer look at the egret – handsome fellow, isn’t he?

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The sun was setting as I crossed back over Matanzas Pass and made my way toward Summerlin. I decided to take a side trip before heading back to Lehigh, and made my way to Bunche Beach Preserve, where I saw this little blue heron hunting for his supper.

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The little blue wasn’t the only one looking for dinner – pelicans and an egret hunted as well. A misty glow enveloped the Sanibel Causeway in the distance – one of those scenes that makes your heart go “ahhh!”

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The sky is streaked in Creamsicle shades as the sun descends upon Sanibel’s east end.

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A side trip to the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve the next day yielded the delight of finding a cute little two-foot gator sunning himself in the vegetation along the banks of the gator lake. He would not be the last gator I would see this week!

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Saturday found me at the C.R.E.W. Bird Rookery Swamp, where I would participate in a geocaching event. It was a glorious day to be tramping around in the cypress swamp’s wide trails. Here’s a balsam pear we found growing wild alongside the path. It’s a relative of the cucumber.

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I haven’t identified this moth yet, but I liked the angle of his upper wings against the lower “tail” part of his flying apparatus.

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It’s that time of year, when the beautiful but destructive lubbers turn into lovers. These grasshoppers go through several colorful stages before they reach the cooked-lobster hue you see here.

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See? Told ya there would be another gator! Actually, there were two, on opposing sides of the path, but the other one was a bit too far away to get a decent shot. I’d say they were about 4 feet or so. We observed them for a while and when we were ready to move on, they quite agreeably slunk into the swamp and let us pass unmolested.

So that was my post-Thanksgiving week. How was yours?

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VIDEO: Crossing the Sanibel Causeway at sunset

I learned a valuable lesson last Friday evening as I was crossing the Sanibel Causeway at sunset – a dirty windshield is far more visible when the glare of full sunlight is not present! I turned on the radio and got a funky blues pop tune, which seemed to match the mood of the sky. Enjoy πŸ™‚

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Kris Krossing the Sanibel Island Causeway

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On Friday, I took a run out to Sanibel Island to celebrate my birthday. As I came through the toll, a really OLD song came on the radio, so I decided to “roll tape” for the perilous crossing. Join me for a ride in the “happy lane” πŸ™‚

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A change of venue – The Fish House on Sanibel

Social butterfly that I was today, I left the Mashable meetup and made the perilous crossing over to Sanibel, where I met some friends for dinner at The Fish House. It used to be called McT’s and I had not been there since before the transformation. I went to the ladies room, and there was a martini on the wall

Thursday’s treasures from the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach

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Catch of the day!

I decided to go back to the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach this afternoon, to see what I could see. Directly to the right of the fishing pier was a Sea of Stink – all the beached pen shells where heaped in a tidal pool, slowly dying. There were some pickin’s to be had in there, but the stench was nauseating, so I continued down the beach. A pair of young ladies, one of whom I’d seen engaged in the same activity yesterday, were on a mission to rescue all of the lightning whelks that were once again stuck in between the roots of the mangroves. They had one of those GIANT beach bags, bright pink, and they were filling it up and relocating the stranded souls to a tidal pool, closer to the surf.

Monster lightning whelks

Right smack dab in front of the lighthouse, I found this pair of monsters, all snuggled up together just below the surface of the sand. They were right under the breaker line, so I did not see them – I felt them through my shoes. I took my trusty net-on-a-stick and used the aluminum edge to pry them up. I was SHOCKED that they were empty. Hadn’t seen any empties of this size since Tropical Storm Debby dumped them all there.

Multi-toned lightning whelk

I always wonder what makes a whelk change colors and patterns midstream in the making of the shell. Was it something she ate? Did the environment change? I have not come across any really good answers about this phenomenon.

Mac 'n cheese

After hunting a little longer in front of the lighthouse, and finding the tulips there, I walked back toward the pier. When I got close, I found this mac ‘n cheese (juvenile horse conch), and it made me smile. It’s a good shelling day, whenever you find mac ‘n cheese. I found the rest of the whelks you see in the first picture in rapid succession after that, just to the right of the pier, in the breaker line. I was pretty happy with my treasures, and made my contented way home shortly thereafter.

I might go back tomorrow, too πŸ™‚

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More Sanibel Island, post-Tropical Storm Debby

Β© Copyright 2012 | http://MyMobileAdventures.com | CLICK any photo for a larger view

Egret reflectedI’ve got just a few more pictures to share from my afternoon foray onto the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach, plus some videos that are percolating on YouTube and should be ready shortly.

Here’s the parking lot again, the one closest to the fishing pier. Normally, there are abundant spaces in this lot, but today they are limited by the flood left behind by Tropical Storm Debby.

Chemicals called tannins are exuded from the roots of mangrove trees growing on the beach, which is what gives the water its reddish hue. I thought the reflection of the egret was pretty; wish I’d had something other than an iPhone in my hand, so I could have zoomed, but it is what it is! The reflection from the gnarled trees looks especially spooky in the red-tinged water.

Teaming shores

I thought it curious that so many banded tulips were clustered around these two pen shells. It seems unlikely that they are preparing to feast. Banded tulips would typically go after much smaller fare. Curiouser and curiouser!

Trap set adrift

This trap, which washed up directly in front of the Lighthouse, didn’t appear to have snared anything before coming ashore.

Poor wee turtles :(

Poor wee turtles! Storms are not good for turtle nests. They can change the temperature of the nest, causing the eggs to fail. Storms can compact the sand, making it impossible for hatchlings to dig their way out. They can also remove sand from the nest, exposing the eggs to the elements and to predators. It is not likely that a washed-over nest is viable any more.

OK, here come some videos. SUBSCRIBERS: If you do not see any videos below this sentence, please click through to the blog at http://mymobileadventures.com/2012/06/more-sanibel-island-post-tropical-storm-debby


Crossing the causeway, jamming out to No Doubt on the radio. SO, so happy that there’s sun!


A live horse conch rolls around in the surf. I estimate it was about 14″ long. Never get over the shock of what color they actually are, underneath the shell and the dark black periostracum that covers it.

I saved the best for last – unbelievable quantity of live shells in the tidal pool and well above it! I posted it to Facebook; should be visible to all https://www.facebook.com/MyMobileAdventures/posts/316120388480932?notif_t=like

Hoping to go back again on Thursday and maybe even on Friday, to see what happened to all the live ones – stay tuned!

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A day of play in Southwest Florida

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Don’t you love it when you are working on something, but it barely feels like work, just because you are loving it so much? That was today! I started out meeting up with a “work day” group at Deep Lagoon Preserve, one of my county’s land conservation preserves. The county conservation land stewardship and management entity is called Conservation 20/20, and I’ve been helping them to raise their social media profile by creating and administering a Facebook page to promote interest in the preserves. This particular preserve was once a farm. Gladiolus bulbs were raised here. After that, it was turned into pasture and fenced in so the cows would not wander and cause trouble πŸ˜‰ Now, it is slowly but surely being restored to it’s natural form, so that it may serve as habitat to native plant and animal species. During the height of the summer rains, this place is ankle-deep or more under water. It therefore also serves an important recharge function. There is a connection to the Caloosahatchee River and Pine Island Sound, which is salt water, and there’s some tidal flooding action that occurs as well. Therefore, the edges of the preserve are actually home to some mangroves, which I’ve recently read are very efficient processors of carbon dioxide. Worth conserving, I’d say!.

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There are dozens of native plants and wildflowers growing here. These are a variety of loosestrife. They’re on the “rare” list for this region.

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Here’s a closer view; they’re actually called winged loosestrife.

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This thistle has a visitor; he barely gave me a glance, and kept his butt in the air the whole time I was watching him.

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Thistle sans lunch guest; aren’t they pretty?

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After I was done photographing the work day (will publish soon on Facebook!), I decided to check up on a friend on the island, so off I sped, oops I mean off I sedately traveled at a speed no greater than 30 MPH πŸ˜‰ over the causeway to Sanibel Island.

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After having some brunch with my friend, I decided to start at Periwinkle Place and shop my way off the island. This is the butterfly garden out back; there were no butterflies to look at, so I continued on to the little pond across the back parking lot.

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There wasn’t any action in the pond, either. There’s actually a tall berm/hill between two ponds that are sort of connected but not really, and I stood up there with a dad and his two kids, watching bubbles rise periodically from one of the ponds. We were hoping that an alligator would emerge, but if he was down there, he was keeping his own counsel and not pandering to the paparazzi this fine day.

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Coming back from the pond, I passed this tree, and spied something in one of the cubby holes…

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Tree snails live here! Upon further inspection, I saw a few empty snail shells on the ground around the base of the tree. I was reminded of the years before I lived in Southwest Florida, when my niece and I would “go shelling” in my brother’s front garden up north on the Loverly Isle of Long. Now I can just drive to a local beach and go shelling pretty much any time I want. How cool is that? πŸ™‚ I left the snail shells where they lie, smiling to myself.

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At last, it was time to leave the island and go home. Yes, those are storm clouds. No, it did not storm. Yes, we’re wondering when it will, too. It’s too dry here!

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Goodnight, Sanibel



Goodnight, Sanibel, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

Alas, not seeing the moon – I guess there’s too much cloud cover.

Well, there’s always next month for the full πŸ™‚

My legs hate me because I not only made them run a couple of miles today but I also made them squat down on the beach forty or fifty times to check out the miniatures that had washed up.

Time for dinner. Goodnight, Sanibel!

Lighthouse beach transformed



Lighthouse beach transformed, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

What a different beach from last week! I’ve come to catch a glimpse of the full harvest moon when it rises. There must have been some storm that washed this beach clean immediately after the dunes. The blowing wind creates sandy waves and makes y beer bottle sing. I fully expect a tumbleweed to roll by.

Another view from Edison’s porch

The porch wraps ALL the way around the house, and it is seriously wide enough to throw one heck of a party. With the cool breezes blowing and the lovely view, why would the Edisons ever want to leave?

I know I don’t want to go, but it’s now the height of the heat of the day (that’s 3PM here in Southwest Florida) and I need to hydrate and feed myself. It’s been swell – thanks for hanging out with me today πŸ™‚

Mina Edison’s lily pond



Mina Edison’s lily pond, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

I see tadpoles wiggling around down there, and I ws not fast enough to capture a snake that swam by. That’s a pond apple tree. It has a cousin nearby (behind me) which has littered the ground with ripened fruits whose seeds look remarkably like those of a pumpkin. this pond is right behind Edison’s pool complex.

Parasite part deux



Parasite part deux, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

This is an orchid labeled "cattleya", found growling on a strangler fig (ficos aurea, S. florida and West Indies).

While I was standing her taking the photo, a giant, spent palm frond liberated itself from a nearby tree and plunged (some things just don’t waft!) SPLOOSH into the river. As it bobbed around, a huge beetle crawled frantically all over it, trying to figure out what to do. I hope he escaped, but I wasn’t about to risk a dunk in the river to assist. No, let’s let Darwin have his way with the beetles!

In the shade of the monkey flower tree

This tree is the monkey flower, also called guacamayo. I wonder how that relates to guacamole? Wish I knew some Spanish!

While peering through the branches, twice I spied me a flash of silver "wings" – yes, fish can fly on the Caloosahatchee!

Barnebydendron riedelii, Central and South America

Porch breezes at Ford’s “The Mangos” Estate

Both the Edison House "Seminole Lodge" and the Ford house "The Mangos" enjoy wide porches that catch wonderful breezes as they travel to and from the Caloosahatchee River. Resting in the shade of the porch outside Ford’s house, the breeze lets you know what the wide-open home smells like – wood and furniture polish and a bit of musty mildew, that hallmark of all old wooden houses everywhere. It must be a real chore keeping the mildew at bay in this particular climate, especially in the summer. I reckon the breezes help with that!

(why does "mangos" look wrong – is there supposed to be a e in there before the s? I’m moile ad can’t look it up easily!)

Old-world charm with a modern world backdrop

I ambled down to the Caloosahatchee River from Ford’s caretaker’s-cottage-turned-gift-shop and sat on a bench. Immediately, the wind coaxed a song from the giant stands of bamboo that paint a lacy pattern on the sky.

Feeling for all the world like Forest Gump waitin’ on the bus, I watched with held breath as a feather wafted down from somewhere above and gently deposited itself in the river.

Safe journey, little wafter.

An egret glided in and claimed a spot on one of the pilings of Ford’s old dock. Without his black-beaked profile, he blended with the clouds behind him.

I raised the camera and whispered, "Turn sideways, please".

He turned and I took the shot. He turned again and looked right at me. I grinned at him and whispered again. "Thanks, dude."

Give me one good reason why I should ever rise from this bench!

Something provocative on Edison’s “Friendship Walk”

Do you see what I see?

Leading up to Edison’s front door from the gate at McGregor Blvd, there are a number of stones lining the path that bear the names of friends and benefactors. They generally all bear the year as well.

This one is inscribed with an additional feature that makes me curious as to what sort of "friends" these people might have been.

Do you see it? I will google this when I get home….

Watt’s Appleware in Henry Ford’s pantry

Many years ago, I visited my grandparents in their home in Maspeth, Queens (New York City) and my grandmother gave me her cookie jar. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was part of the Watts Appleware collection. All I knew was that I had fond memories of the treats it had contained over the years and the pleasant sights and smells of my grandmother and her kitchen were somehow infused within the pottery.

Here, we see that the Henry Fords had similar taste to that of my Italian, sainted grandmother, so far away in New York – a far, FAR cry from Fort Myers!

Largest banyan tree in the continental United States

I’m touring the Edison-Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, FL today. I bought a Groupon a few months back, which I’d clean forgot about. I decided to use it today, before it expires.

This is the place where Edison continued his research during the winter months. He was looking for a cheap, locally-produced source for making rubber. The estates are therefore populated with all sorts of exotic botanical candidates for rubber production. the sub-tropical climate of Southwest Florida proved ideal for growing many of the plants Edison needed to study.

By special request – the Sanibel Island Lighthouse

Got a note a moment ago from Mary The Teach, who wanted to see the lighthouse associated with Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach. I remembered that there was still a pic in the phone that I never sent to the blog because I was in a hurry to get to the causeway the other night.

The pic is hereby liberated, and if you scroll back a couple of days on the blog, you’ll see another.

Yes, aparently I take requests πŸ™‚

I didn’t mean to go shelling, really I didn’t!

I am not dressed for it and don’t have my gear, but once I saw there were a few things rolling around, I got a plastic bag out of the car and a long tree branch from up at the high tide line and went shelling the hard way! I got a few good things – alphabet cone, horse conch, and my first-ever baby’s ear. It was too cold to stay very long.

For “steinbecke”, after her Sanibel vacation



For "steinbecke", after her Sanibel vacation, originally uploaded by Tink*~*~*. 1 Jun ’09, 7.07pm EDT PST

πŸ™‚ To keep you safe on your drive home after spending a month on Sanibel, I’m having your beer for you. It’s the least I could do – anything for a friend.

And in case he’s reading, a shout-out to my fave former “extreme blonde” πŸ˜‰ I think a beer called Beach Bum could only taste this good in Southwest Florida. And the guy on the bottle sorta looks like you circa Spring 1978.

LIVE from Sanibel on Sunday afternoon

Hi everyone! Starting around 2:00 PM Eastern, the usual suspects will gather for lunch and the next episode of The Sunday Sanibel Bar Crawl. Scroll down to see if I’ve started mobile blogging yet. See ya real soon!

NOTE:Β  If it says, “This Video Is Being Processed”, click it anyway – you can view it in Flickr

Nearly home

And the light show is pure Florida
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PS – according to Blogger, this is my 1,500th post – w00t!

Inland, ho!

Looks like home might be srtormin'
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