Tag Archives: Beach

Sand collar on the shore at Bunche Beach

Sand collar on the shore at Bunche Beach

I feel lucky to have finally discovered one of these – it’s a sand
collar, or more accurately, the egg mass of a moon snail. "Moon snail"
is the common name for a family of gastropods known as Naticidae. The
snail uses sand and it’s own mucus to make these collars, which consist
of two layers. The eggs are between the layers. It’s pretty sturdy
until the babies start to hatch; then, it just disintegrates. This
means that no one should really have a sand collar in their
beach-combing collection, for if it’s intact, that means it was still
carrying babies. If you find one, by all means examine it, but then
leave it where it is so the eggs can hatch.

sand collar from Bunch Beach in Fort Myers, Florida

A random act of shelling at Bunche Beach

I have a lot of shells; make that a whole LOT of shells. They live in
Rubbermaid bins and plastic Domino sugar containers in a big kitchen
cabinet. They clutter book shelves, fill up bowls on the piano and the
kitchen breakfast bar, and generally hang out in odd places here and there,
all over the house. I’m going to say something that would have been unheard
of 10-12 years ago when I first started to collect sea shells. I have TOO
MANY shells.

Still, I love to trawl the beach, and I cannot break myself of the habit of
looking for them and picking them up. But I know that when I get them
home, I will have to perform some combination of washing, de-sanding,
de-stinking, barnacle removal, drying out, sorting, shining, and putting
away. You know, in those Rubbermaid bins and plastic Domino sugar
containers in the big kitchen cabinet.

So last week, I freely looked and hunted and collected, but stopped just
short of bringing them home. Instead, I went up a little way beyond the
high tide line, wrote a message in the sand, and left my gifts from the sea
for some (hopefully delighted) tourist to find.

I think I’ve discovered a new hobby :)

[image: sea shells for you Bunche Beach Fort Myers Florida]

Striped burrfish at Bunche Beach

After photography class the other day, during which I was treated to a dizzying array of fun facts about my digital camera, I went for a walk at San Carlos Bay Bunche Beach Preserve in Fort Myers. The Gulf coast has suffered a recent spate of red tide occurrences, ranging from up in Sarasota to as far south as Naples, on the northern tip of the west Everglades. This, combined with a series of cold fronts, has resulted in some fish kill. While dead fishes washing up en masse isn’t fun for anyone, it does afford an opportunity to examine species that a non-fishing enthusiast (like me) would not normally get to see.

This is a *striped burrfish*, also called a *spiny boxfish*. The first thing I noticed about it, aside from the painful-looking spines, was his black spots. This reminded me of some butterfly species who have “false eyes”, dots on their wings that fool predators into thinking it’s a much larger “something else”, something not so tasty as a butterfly.

According to some quick research, the striped burrfish seems to like warmer waters than we’ve had; although they range up to New Jersey for spawning, that usually happens only when the water up north is warmer, typically July. The southern end of their range is the West Indies. The beaches were cleaned of dead fish after last week’s episode with red tide, so I’m leaning toward the possibility that this little dude expired of the cold.

Late autumn in Southwest Florida – paradise!

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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 ;) 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 :)

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More Sanibel Island, post-Tropical Storm Debby

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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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Everglades adventure! Part 3, The Finale

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

This is Part 3/the “finale” of a series, 2012-06 Everglades Adventure

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We’re continuing our beach walk from last time on the Everglades adventure – we’re still on Pavilion Key in Everglades National Park. We came to a part of the beach where we would have to make a decision to either start wading to get around this tree, or else turn back and head for the boat. In the interest of time, we turned back. No residents of this osprey nest were evident; they might have been off hunting, or else it was just abandoned.

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On our way back, we came upon this tree with dark, shriveled berries hanging from it. Bruce, our guide, speculated that it might be related to citrus, judging from the configuration of the leaves. I sent a photo to Leafsnap, but it didn’t come back with anything helpful. When I returned home, I emailed one of my instructors from the Coastal Systems module of the Florida Master Naturalist program, Roy Beckford of the Lee County, FL Extension Offices. Roy responded that it’s soapberry; “Fruits are a dead giveaway”, he explained. Further research indicates that the fruits are also referred to as “black pearls”, and are used to make soap, as their name would imply.

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I just thought this was cool, so I snapped a picture of it. A hollowed-out tree stump, still planted in the middle of the beach, provides a hidey-hole for all manner of sea debris – and probably a few critters, now and then ;)

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Some chicks are more popular than others; I get that, but this is sort of ridiculous, given that they don’t actually copulate! Also wondering about all the barnacle-like things attached to her… jewelry? I’m betting neither of the dudes bothered with dinner and a movie!

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Na na na na, na na na na,

Na na na na, na na na na,

BATFISH!

OK, now that you all know that I grew up watching TV in the ’60s… he was dead, and just kind of floating around in the surf. I’d never seen one before.

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On our way back to the boat, we passed the kayak expedition; they’d just made shore. We spoke briefly about the turtle nest and then each party went their separate ways. Closer to the boat, we passed these three whelks lined up on the beach. Someone in the kayak expedition must have arranged them there, for I hadn’t noticed them when we started out. Doing some googling around about Pavilion Key, I found some claims that there are THOUSANDS of empty, ancient whelks in the shallows, all bearing evidence that humans had eaten them – the tell-tale hole punched in the shell, through which something sharp would be poked and wiggled around to detach the muscle from the shell. I guess the Calusa were not interested in collecting shells, and therefore did not share our dismay at defacing them in such a manner!

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The batteries in my camera gave up the ghost while we were still on the beach, but I was able to take this dramatic shot with my iPhone once we were back in the boat and amongst the mangroves headed home. Bruce pointed out some butterfly orchids growing on it way up high, which you can’t see because it’s an iPhone. I still like the shot, though – it’s sort of spooky and mysterious.

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The trip around the Ten Thousand Islands ended, and I drove back to Everglades City to check into The Ivey House. On my way to the office, I saw this guy and knew right away that he was too bulky and walked too ungracefully to be an anole. He’s a curley-tailed lizard, and he’s not a native of Florida. He’s from the Caribbean. I believe I might have seen one before, at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve; however, it could have just been an anole holding his tail in a curled-up position. Once I was checked in, I pretty much RACED through taking a shower and headed out to the Everglades Seafood Depot, where the annual meeting of the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism (Florida SEE) was about to commence.

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The Everglades Seafood Depot was once actually a train depot. The inside is all done up in beautiful exposed beams, and there’s a lanai, bar, boat docks outside.

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The host waits to greet guests and seat them….

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Look at those teeth!

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We had an inspiring meeting, and I was elected to the board. I’m not sure I know what I’ve gotten myself into… I guess I’m going to find out! It was a nice little overnight escape, and I met some terrific fellow nature geeks. Would love to visit again when I’ve got just a bit more time to poke around the various local attractions.


Thanks for tagging along on the 2012-06 Everglades Adventure!

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Everglades adventure! Part 2

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

This is Part 2 of a series, 2012-06 Everglades Adventure

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Last time on the Everglades adventure!, we drove down through several state parks to Chokoloskee Island, where we met with some fellow nature geeks and boarded a boat bound for adventure. We’re still on the beach at Pavilion Key, observing all the wonders heaped upon it by the tides. The horseshoe crabs were incredibly, um, active with one another. I did some research and found that they are not actually having “sex on the beach”; she is digging a hole and depositing eggs for him to fertilize. He is merely clinging to her back. Research did not indicate WHY he does this – perhaps he is shielding the hole so no one else can fertilize her eggs? It’s as good a guess as any!

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A cluster of mostly oyster shells has washed up alongside some yellow-green algae, called sargassum weed – pelagic sargassum. “Pelagic” comes from a Greek word meaning “open sea”. The pelagic zone is the part of a body of water that is not the bottom, nor is it near the beach/shore. Sargassum floats around the pelagic zone on the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. Those little spheres aren’t seeds or fruits; they are BB-sized air sacs or bladders, which provide buoyancy.

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This is a rhizome from a plant known as mother-in-law’s tongue, more commonly referred to in this country as a snake plant. My mom had one of these in the picture window at the front of the house while I was growing up. They are attractive house plants, and make excellent air filters. However, on the beach in Southwest Florida, they are invasive exotics. They are native to West Africa. You can see how easily this plant must spread from island to island – all it has to do is send a rhizome out into the world and watch it float away.

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Ah, here we have every gopher tortoise’s favorite – the prickly pear cactus. This was a baby, maybe three inches high, and were it not for the center “ear”, I’d be tagging this “hidden Mickey” ºoº ;)

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At first glance, I took this for the biggest piece of branch coral I’d ever seen; it was as big as my hand, with wrist attached. However, when I picked it up, I found that it was light and had a chalky feel. Our guide told me it was a sea sponge. I’m not really able to identify it from the books I’ve got here at home; it looks close to what’s called a “variable sponge”, but I can’t be certain.

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Here’s a little field of mother-in-law’s tongue aka snake plant, growing on the dune. The plant behind it with the round, flat leaves is probably a sea grape, which hasn’t any fruit on it at the moment.

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Ah, the tree – THE TREE! This was a bit of serendipity for me. I think it’s BEAUTIFUL just the way it is, but wondered what it had been in its prime. I started googling for “trees on Pavilion Key”, thinking someone had perhaps documented the wildlife and plant inventory. What I found was a beautiful tribute to this tree, posted on Geocaching.com, of all places. I left my own picture (“Ann Terrie” is my geocaching name; private joke between me and my beloved nieces ;))This tree has been dubbed “The Sunset Tree” and is listed as a virtual cache. You can read about the tree here, and see pictures of it in its former glory. It seems the tree is in the surf pretty much all the time, and that may have contributed to its demise. It is possible that Pavilion Key is losing beach, or simply shape-shifting, which left the tree perpetually in the water. I wonder how much longer it will be there.

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After my reverie at the tree, I looked up to see our guide, Bruce, pointing to something in the sand. It’s a crawl! A mama turtle came ashore on Pavilion Key sometime after the last high tide (the tracks would probably be gone otherwise). I hurried over to see if there was a nest.

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At the bottom of this picture, you can see a disturbed area, which is possibly the nest. Bruce is standing up by a second disturbed area. We pondered this for a bit until I noticed lots of insect activity around the first area, and none in the second area. Thus, we speculated that the first area was more likely the nest, and the second area was merely a place to which she crawled before turning around and heading back into the sea. You can see that there’s some mother-in-law’s tongue growing in the possible nest area, and to the left of that, a small plant with bright pink flowers…

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Our guide called this plant “periwinkle” and indicated that it has healing properties relative to certain cancers. It grows in the dunes on Pavilion Key in little clumps here and there. There was also a white variety (previous photo, on the upper right of the “nest”, just below where Bruce is standing). After some investigation, I’ve determined that it’s Madagascar periwinkle, with eight variants, most of which are native to – you guessed it – Madagascar. Indeed, the plant is used to make a treatment for leukemia. It amazes me how many invasive exotics there are growing in Southwest Florida, and I often ponder how it is that they got here, from far off places like African and Asia. We finished up our exploration of the turtle crawl and turned back to retrace our steps to the place where the boat was beached.


NEXT TIME: MORE Pavilion Key, and our return to Everglades City!


Take me to Everglades adventure! Part 3, The Finale


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Everglades adventure! Part 1

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

This is Part 1 of a series 2012-06 Everglades Adventure!

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On Friday, I ventured further south in Florida than I’ve ever ventured before, to participate in the annual meeting of the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism (Florida SEE). The above map, captured from Google, shows where I wandered. “A” is Everglades City, Florida. Not many people are aware that part of the Everglades is Gulf-front, in Collier County. This map clearly shows the proximity of Everglades City to Marco Island, which is just off the coast of the city of Naples, Florida. “B” is Chokoloskee Island, which is partly comprised of a shell mound built by Native Americans over the course of a couple of thousand years. Chokoloskee is in Collier County. “C” is Rabbit Key; there’s a tinier island right next to it (can’t see it on the screen shot, but trust me, it’s there) that’s affectionately, if unofficially referred to as “Bunny Key”. “D” is Pavilion Key. Rabbit and “Bunny” and Pavilion are all in northern Monroe County. All three islands (B, C, D) are part of the Ten Thousand Islands area; Rabbit and Pavilion are part of Everglades National Park.

It took about an hour and a half to get to Chokoloskee from my house up in Lehigh. As you can see from the previous “on the road” mobile post, I had to pass through the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, which is made of of bits and pieces of other lands, including the Fakahatchee Strand, Everglades National Park, and the Big Cypress National Preserve. I went through Everglades City and straight on to Chokoloskee because I was scheduled for an ecotour with Everglades Area Tours, one of the ecotour operators certified by Florida SEE. I was excited to be meeting up with fellow members of Florida SEE and spending time out in the natural world with them. LET’S GO!

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After sitting and chatting a few minutes with the other members scheduled for tours, we split up – some were going kayaking, and two of us had opted to tool around the mangroves with a guide looking for birds. Almost right away, we came upon a group of royal terns named John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Kidding, I just gave them those names about three seconds ago. ;)

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The osprey is one of my favorite critters to look at – they’re just so handsome, physically incapable of taking a bad picture! Naturally, they’ve also been a favorite blogging subject

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Tiny shore birds frolic on a sandbar; we saw a bull shark idling by our boat while we were stopped here. The large landmass to the right is Rabbit Key. The tiny cluster of mangroves to the left is the “Bunny”.

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The advantage of having a guide whose experience with the area extends back some 25-ish years – he knows where to go in the backwaters to find the pretty critters :) How many roseate spoonbills can you count? Click the picture to see the full size version in Flickr!

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A group of 3 (I think) dolphins did a drive-by and started hunting around our boat. This is one of the few times I’ve been lucky enough to get more than a fin while watching dolphins hunt.

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Our Pavilion Key welcoming committee ;) We spent some time walking the beach and mourning that shelling is not permitted there.

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There was lots of “yard art” on the beach at Pavilion Key. This beat up whelk was longer than my foot and twice as fat. Some of the ones we found were clearly former Calusa tools, with a hole in the side into which a handle was fitted.

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If there was one empty, still-attached set of Venus clam shells, there were a hundred. My friend Christene would have gone NUTS on this beach.

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Mossy yard art! I could have gone on forever photographing these ginormous old lightning whelks, but I’ll spare you more of them.


NEXT TIME: more stuff from the beach on Pavilion Key!



Take me to Everglades adventure! Part 2


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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 :)

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.

On Sanibel we go shelling. BUT -



On Sanibel we go shelling. BUT -, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

– on Long Island’s north shore, we go rocking :)

I wanted some stones I could stack on my desk in a Zen-like manner, so I went to Sunken Meadow State Park and found all these candidates.

There were also some slipper shells, jingle shells, muscles, oysters, an inhabited moon snail that might have been dead but I gave it a second chance, and a couple of very stinky, bug-infested channel whelks. I didn’t collect any of them. I was there for stones :)

Seining on Lover’s Key, Florida

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06182011648-Lovers-Key-Real-FloridaDirectly after we finished up with the Field Trip On Estero Bay, we all got into our cars and drove down to Lover’s Key State Park for some more nature geek fun. First we all congregated in a shady area, settled in at picnic benches and ate our bag lunches. Then we proceeded down the path to the beach to go seining.

“Seine” is not just a river in France. A seine is a net that is used to capture small fish and other aquatic life. The seines that we used on this field trip look like a volleyball net strung between two poles. There are floats at the top of the net and weights at the bottom. I take one pole, you take the other, we stretch the net between us and then we walk through the water, slowly trawling toward the beach. Then, quickly, before someone perishes, we scoop up what we found and place it in tanks for observation. When we’re done learning, we set the critters free.

Lover’s Key is a Florida state park that is comprised of several islands/keys. The Bonita Beach Causeway cuts through it coming down from Fort Myers Beach. This proved to be an excellent site for studying the Southwest Florida coastal environment.

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PATH TO THE BEACH ON LOVER’S KEY

Lovers Key is covered with many different species of plant life. In true geek fashion, I am starting to find the biodiversity of nature to be endlessly fascinating, so I was happy to crawl all over the place with my camera after the expedition had ended. Here’s a shady nook close to the causeway entrance with a path down to the beach. Notice we are standing under the dense shade of a cluster of trees that include seagrapes; the branches overhead were heavy with fruit.

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CAUTION: SHOES REQUIRED

A different path to the beach here leads over a wooden bridge that spans a small bayou of sorts.

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PROTECTED AREA ON LOVER’S KEY

This is part of the bayou over which the little foot bridge crosses. Our instructor had wanted to investigate and observe life in the bayou as well as off the beach; however, it’s been marked as a “keep out” zone now, so we had to content ourselves with craning our necks over the side of the bridge to see what we could see. And of course, we all wore shoes ;)

Look at those clouds pop, huh? The beauty of the Southwest Florida sky is endless.

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VIEWING THE BEACH FROM THE BAYOU

Here’s a view across the bayou toward the beach, Big Carlos Pass and the hi-rise condos beyond. Note that there are plenty of hidey-places along the shore of the bayou; not sure what nests there but futher back in the protected area, I would not be surprised if there were some gators lurking now and then.

Funny thing about protected areas; in addition to the critters, they might be protecting YOU, too! So always take heed of the signs, OK? I don’t want to hear that you became lunch!

06182011650-Lovers-Key-Blue-CrabA LOVER’S KEY BLUE CRAB | Our instructors equipped us with plastic tanks which we filled with salt water from the beach in preparation for examining our finds. These tanks had “bubblers” attached to keep the water aerated and moving.

Our first seining attempt brought up a couple of crabs. Can’t really tell what the one submerged is – speckled, maybe? but on the right is a male blue crab. Normally, you turn them over to see if they are male or female. The female will have a marking underneath that is rounded like the US capital dome, whereas the male will have more of an obelisk-shaped marking, like the Washington Monument.

In the case of blue crabs, however, the female’s claws are tipped in bright orange. I don’t see any orange on this one, so it’s a male. Floating behind him are his sectioned “swimmies” – swimming paddles that are attached to the rear leg.

I don’t have any other worthy photos of the critters we saw, which included several types of fishes, some snails and a sea horse! It’s hard to photograph them in the tanks with the brilliant sunshine blasting them and the water distorting them. Also, I need to solve the problem of handling my camera while my hands are salty, sandy, wet, or any combination thereof.

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SEA OATS

After the seining expedition was done, I stuck around to take a few photos and find some plants for identification. Sea oats are one of the types of grasses that grow in the dunes. They are perennial and multiply by means of underground rhizomes. They can grow to be six feet tall or more! You’re not allowed to collect wild sea oats because they play a critical role in helping to keep the dunes together.

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INKBERRY PLANT


This is one of two tropical plants that look similar and are often confused with one another. The inkberry (pictured) and it’s counterpart, the beach naupaka, have pretty similar configurations, including the berries while green and the flowers, which look as though someone had pressed them in between the pages of a book. However, the leaves of the beach naupaka curl while the inkberry leaves do not. Inkberry fruits become very dark, looking like purple/black grapes; the ones pictured here will mature that way, while a beach naupaka’s berries will turn white.

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STRANGLER FIG


This is a strangler fig; looks like the “host” has long since succumbed to the treachery of its “guest”! These ficus trees are kind of like those guys in Corporate America who get to the top by crawling up the backs of their colleagues. Stranglers germinate on a host tree, sending roots down and branches up. In an effort to support their climb toward sunlight, they “strangle” their host. Here we see the hollow made where the host used to stand; you can see a bit of bark remains, but the rest has rotted away.

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TROLLEY TO BONITA BEACH


The beach trolley trundles its way across Big Carlos Pass. I like the foot/bike section on the bridge. It made me feel somewhat protected even as the vehicles went zipping by. These trolleys are a pretty efficient way to get around this area, especially during “season” when there are too many cars and not enough road down this way. There’s even a starting point on the mainland – park your car at the Winn Dixie on Summerlin Road and in a little bit, a trolley will come by to collect you.

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LOVER’S KEY FROM THE BRIDGE


This is the scene when you climb up the hill from the parking lot up to the foot/bike path on the bridge. You can see the bayou off to the left, above the blue truck, and the beach where we did our seining and discovery of cool critters.

Between the boat trip on Estero Bay and then this segment at the beach, everyone was some combination of hot, tired, wet, salty, sweaty, a little sunburnt and very happy by the time we were through.

I proceeded to Sanibel Island after this, let myself into a friend’s house to take a shower and when she got home from a hunting expedition of her own (shopping!), we went out for dinner with some other friends on the island.

Life in Southwest Florida is GOOD. :)

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Dolphin chase on Estero Bay

© Copyright 2011 | http://MyMobileAdventures.com | CLICK any photo for a larger view

Here’s some bonus footage from the my field trip on Estero Bay with the Florida Master Naturalist program here in Lee County, Florida. One of our classmates made up a song about the joys of Estero Bay and the dolphins seemed to love it. They ended up chasing our boat for a few minutes, leaping in and out of the wake as we sang our way toward the dock. Check it out in this video, below – Email Subscribers: if you do not see a video posted below this sentence, please CLICK through to the blog.


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Field Trip On Estero Bay, conclusion

© Copyright 2011 | http://MyMobileAdventures.com | CLICK any photo for a larger view

IMG_5734-Estero-Bay-NO-WAKEToday we’re continuing our exploration of wildlife and habitats in Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve with my Florida Master Naturalist class (Coastal Systems module).

As mentioned in my previous post, Estero Bay is very shallow. Sunlight penetration allows for the growth of sea grasses (they’re green, they need sunlight for photosynthesis), and sea grasses provide an excellent nursery for marine life, which in turn provides excellent feeding grounds for birds and bigger marine life.

See how it works? :)

If you speed through and your prop tears up the grasses, then you’re destroying habitat and the whole ecosystem is compromised. So, always pay attention to the “no wake” and “low wake” signs – they are there for a VERY good reason.


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“DIVE-BOMB BEACH”

As we rounded a corner and emerged from under the Big Carlos Pass bridge, we saw tall high-rise buildings standing sentry over a stretch of unraked beach – kind of unusual, since beachfront high-rise residents usually want to see an unblemished expanse of sand, not dune vegetation. This beach is unraked because it is a bird breeding ground. While we were floating out here discussing the habitat, we saw two people haplessly wander into the breeding ground and get dive-bombed by the birds defending their territory. It was a perfect example of this type of protective, territorial behavior. The people ran for cover; I think they were probably totally innocent and didn’t realize where they were.

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JET-SKIERS ON TOUR IN BIG CARLOS PASS

We could hear the leader of this tour speaking to the group; they might have been eco-tourists too, just like us. It’s actually fortunate that we took this ride in June. During “season” here in Southwest Florida, these waters would have been pretty well jammed with all sorts of recreationists.

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FLYING IN ESTERO BAY ?!?!?!!?

No sooner had we taken leave of the jet skiers and headed out of Big Carlos Pass then we saw this … I’m not sure what it is but it looks like fun! It’s a regular water sports and recreational paradise down here in Southwest Florida.

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TRI-COLORED HERON

I believe we are now heading into what our intrepid boat captains referred to as “Spoon Lagoon”, the location of which we swore never to reveal. I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you…. It’s called “Spoon Lagoon” for reasons that will become obvious soon. This is a tricolored heron. You might be thinking, “Hey wait a minute, didn’t she just tell us that kind of bird was a little blue heron?”. Nope, I didn’t. See the white underbelly? Not a little blue!

 

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RED MANGROVE ROOTS

Here’s a sight I love, although I haven’t quite figured out why yet. This tangled mess is actually a the prop root system of the red mangrove tree. It’s a vast and intricate network, like a very complicated work of architecture or sculpture. I just get lost looking at it, and not unpleasantly so. Well, as it turns out, the prop roots ARE somewhat of an architectural feature. They serve as braces for the tree, to hold it up. They also collect and hold sand and silt, so an island forms under and around the mangrove. Finally, they pipe air down to the actual roots of the tree. Pretty useful, huh?

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BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON

I feel a little sorry for this bird. It doesn’t have any neck to speak of, and it must feel a bit dowdy as compared to the other, more graceful-necked herons. This was the first time I’d seen the black-crowned variety; I’ve had a close encounter with a yellow-crowned night heron before, years ago in Ding Darling. It was doing yoga and smiling at me. Good times, good times ;)

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ROSEATE SPOONBILL and WHITE IBIS

And now we come to the rhyme and reason of naming “Spoon Lagoon” – it’s the roseate spoonbill, which our captain has known to hang out in this particular spot in the bay. Along with our spoony friend is a white ibis.

The spoonbill uses it’s bill to sweep along the mud for delectable morsels to nom-nom-nom, while the ibis has a bill more appropriate for probing down into the mud.

One of the things this class is teaching me is that my camera is woefully inadequate for these purposes. Perhaps Santa Claus will do something about that…

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THE NESTING POLE

Sights such as this one are common in Florida. As habitat is lost, the osprey often improvise, as we have seen previously with the nest on top of a channel marker sign. They are also frequently given a perch like this one. You see these platforms a lot along a certain stretch of the I-4 interstate, where the birds had been building on poles close to dangerous power lines. The chicks would fall out and fry themselves. Conservation groups come along and build these platforms to encourage a safer location for the nests. I’ve also seen these man-made perches back home on Long Island, specifically in the area of the Connetquot River in Oakdale, NY. It’s kind of cool – like building a bird house, only open-air.

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REDDISH EGRET

This reddish egret’s head nearly blends in with the reeds from far away. We recognized him by his lively hunting technique – he flaps and hops and jumps, chasing his prey all over the shallows. We enjoyed watching his antics :)

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ESTERO BAY SKYSCRAPERS


I am in love with the Southwest Florida sky. Clouds are endlessly fascinating to watch as they morph and change before your eyes. I am so lucky to live here, and I know it.

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THE FRIENDSHIP SENTRY ON ESTERO BAY

Our friend the cormorant strikes a regal pose atop the manatee sculpture that sits on a sign,which says: “The basis of environmental recovery lay in oneness with creation and with ourselves. Enjoy it.” The sign below it says, “Friendship Sentry”. I guess the cormorant is taking his job seriously!

This pretty much concludes the Estero Bay field trip. It was a wonderful excursion, a great way to spend a Saturday morning, and I highly recommend my classmates and boat captains for this trip, Good Time Charters. They are knowledgeable, skilled and generous tour leaders and no, they didn’t pay me to say this LOL ;)

Fear not – there are more Florida Master Naturalist adventures to document here! NEXT TIME: Lovers Key State Park !!! :)
BR> 

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OutdoorWednesdayLogo ||| WateryWednesdayBadge

Field Trip on Estero Bay, Part 1

© Copyright 2011 | http://MyMobileAdventures.com | CLICK any photo for a larger view

Snook Bight Marina on Fort Myers BeachOn June 18th 2011, my Coastal Systems Module class in the Florida Master Naturalist program embarked upon their second field trip. This time, we started from Snook Bight Marina on Fort Myers Beach and hopped aboard a sturdy vessel as the guests of Good Time Charters. We were fortunate to have Captain Mike, Captain Cristina and Captain Dwight all in our class, and found them to be excellent and knowledgeable guides for our “three hour tour… a three hour tour….” We had a beautiful sunshiny day for this adventure and the wildlife did not disappoint. There was some speculation that Captain Mike paid them all to show up ;) Well, if that’s true then it only serves to prove what clever wildlife tour guides those people at Good Time Charters really are!

Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve is the first aquatic preserve designated in the state of Florida (1966). The bay is extremely productive and contains elements of historic (and even pre-historic) significance, some of them submerged. A wide diversity of marine life starts out in the grass beds “nursery”. The environment is also ideal for rookeries, colonies of nesting birds who breed and raise their young on the many islands that dot the bay. Here are a few of the critters we managed to encounter on this adventure.

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LEAST TERNS

Least terns are picky about who hangs around their nests. If you walk through their nesting area, they will dive-bomb your head. We would witness this phenomenon later in the trip near Big Carlos Pass.

 

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BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN

Hard to catch these guys in action; you see them, get the camera on the spot where they WERE and they have already submerged, only to resurface somewhere your focus ISN’T. One of my many field guide books calls them “toothed whales” – as opposed to baleen whales, who have food filters instead of teeth.

 

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WILSON’S PLOVER (maybe…)

I think this might be a Wilson’s Plover but I can’t be sure because I cannot really see what color the legs are; if they are tan, then it is probably Wilson’s. They like to eat fiddler crabs.

 

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DOUBLE-BREASTED CORMORANT

The way to tell a cormorant from an anhinga is to examine the beak. Does it look like it’s good for spearing, or for tearing? This guy, looking very statuesque, has a hooked beak, so it’s good for tearing – and that means he is a cormorant.

 

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BROWN PELICAN and SLOW DOWN!

A brown pelican in breeding plumage (note the chestnut brown on the neck) stands sentry over the low wake zone. I read in the news this week that there’s a certain budding political party objecting to low wake zones, claiming that they elevate wildlife over people. I can only roll my eyes at such arrogant, self-centered ignorance. :roll:

 

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OSPREY NEST, IMPROVISED

Adaptive behavior – in the absence of tall trees, osprey will commonly build their nests on man-made structures such as light poles, tall buildings and yes, channel markers like this one. Saw lots of this type of adaptation in Rookery Bay too.

 

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BIRDING and RESPECTING THEIR SPACE

While observing wildlife, always remember to maintain a respectful distance. You don’t want to get close enough to interrupt their natural behaviors. Another good reason to keep your distance – if you’re in a boat, you risk running aground! We were advised that if you fall overboard in Estero Bay, the first thing you should do to save yourself is… stand up! It’s only a couple-three feet deep out there, which is part of what makes it a great breeding ground. Those are brown pelicans on the far sandbar, an osprey flapping around taking a bath in the middle, and an egret (can’t tell which – from the “fuzzy” head, I’ll guess snowy egret) hanging out in the foreground. I see another egret behind the prop roots, too – looks taller, my vote is great egret.

 

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LITTLE BLUE HERON

The class on the boat spent a bit of time trying to identify this bird from afar. Sometimes the colors can be deceptive in light reflected off the water. In the end, we determined via binoculars, zoom lenses and getting a bit closer that he was indeed a little blue heron.

 

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FLOCK O’ PELICANS

Here’s a closer look at the flock of brown pelicans at rest on a sand bar.

 

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BIG CARLOS PASS and THE PARADE OF CLOUDS

We’re out of the no wake zone now and speeding toward the bridge that spans Big Carlos Pass. I fell in love with that line of cloud formations. They look like they are marching over the bridge toward Bonita ;)

 


Just under a minute of some cruising on the bay – feel the wind in your hair! :)

NEXT TIME: More cruising, more critters and a surprise musical performance!

 


 

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Bowditch Point Field Trip – conclusion

© Copyright 2011 | http://MyMobileAdventures.com | CLICK any photo for a larger view

06112011594-Bowditch-Point-BoardwalkThis is the final installment of my first field trip with the Florida Master Naturalist class (Coastal Systems Module). Last time, we explored a few critter encounters at Bowditch Point. Now we’re going to continue on our journey over the hill, through the dunes and onto the beach.

The day was getting pretty warm, and a few of the plants had an “aromatic” (translation: unpleasant!) odor. I believe it was the plant described to us as a “stopper” plant, used by the Calusa natives once upon a time to make a purgative drink.


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The Estero Island Garden Club created a butterfly garden at the top of the hill.

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There’s a statue of a child fishing in the butterfly garden at Bowditch Point Regional Park. I got a kick out of the fact that they use a real branch as a fishin’ pole :)

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I’ve written of the EPCOT mystery shoes before, as well as a few non-Disney pairs of mystery shoes. But here’s a new pair – the Bowditch Point Mystery Shoes! They were on a bench near the butterfly garden while our guide was walking us through, and still there an hour later when I came through to take some pictures. Ya gotta wonder…

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There are a lot of coontie plants at Bowditch Point Regional Park. I believe this one is a female. The cones are shaped differently for a male. No I’m not kidding – male and female! This is called a dioecious plant – that’s Greek for “two houses”, and it means that the plant is either a male or a female. The Seminoles dried and ground the roots into flour and made it into bread. I’ve heard it referred to as arrowroot too, but there’s another plant called that… confusing, the world of botany! I guess that’s why people like to use the Latin names. There are no mistakes when you stick to the Latin names. So I’m told!

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You’ve heard of it all your life and now you’ve met one – it’s the prickly pear cactus! A few years back, I saw some of these fruits for sale in Publix but didn’t have the guts to try them. One of our classmates said he’s tried them and he felt great after a few days of eating them – I think they have anti-oxidant properties. Anyhow, the tortoises love ‘em so they can’t be all bad, right?

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Railroad vine is related to morning glories and so is their behavior – they are open during the day and close up once night falls. The Latin name, ipomea pes-caprae, relates to the shape of the leaves. Google Translator is telling me “foot she goat”, so I guess the leaves are supposed to look like a girl goat’s hooves (so what do a boy goat’s hooves look like, then?).

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Sea grapes grow in a bunch but you can’t really pick ‘em that way. They don’t mature/ripen as a bunch; they are individuals and each decides in its own time when it is ready to be ripe. That’s why you generally see only some missing from a cluster; the other ones weren’t yet ready to eat!

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This tree is called the strangler fig. It’s less than 20 years old and stands pretty much on the crest of the hill, spreading shade in a wide swath. Migratory birds like to stop and rest in this tree, for the fruits are nice to eat. The seeds are spread around via bird poop. Sometimes, the poop lands on another tree, where the new baby strangler latches onto and eventually envelops the host. As you can see, they have a pretty aggressive root system, too. I find it funny that one of my Florida landscape plant books identifies companion plants for the strangler; I’m fairly certain it’s just going to kill all its friends so I’m not getting the point…..

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Well, here’s at least one friend that the strangler won’t bother to strangle – a coontie grows low and spread out in the considerable shade. Our guide pointed out how different it looks from the ones in full sunlight. It definitely looks to me as though it is reaching around to find some sun.

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This plant has so many names, where do we begin? Chinese lantern, common ground-cherry, husk tomato (I’m told it tastes like a tomatillo), sand ground-cherry, bladder cherry (it floats)… a lot depends on where you live, I guess, when it comes to common names. Gopher tortoises like to eat these, too. I guess it makes sense – it’s certainly low enough for a tortoise to munch upon.

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These daisy relatives are called dune sunflowers. They pop up basically everywhere in the coastal system and they flower year-round, with just a bit of a break in the winter time. They are also related to Indian blanket flowers.

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Because of the way the tides flow around this area, Bowditch Point gets eroded and the sand is carted away by the sea. Periodically, the government will decide that “renourishment” is in order. The get a barge and a bunch of pipe, park the barge out in the bay and pipe in sand from “out there” somewhere. On the one hand, it’s intrusive to the environment and counter to what Mother Nature seems to want. On the other hand, Lee County is pretty dependent upon tourist dollars and cannot afford to have any of their public beaches get washed away. I checked this out pretty thoroughly before determining that the pipe was NOT bringing in quantities of good shells. Then I headed for the parking lot.

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There’s a shower and a foot sprayer behind me; to either side are little picnic areas and pretty flowers. It was a long morning and it was getting REALLY hot. I decided I was ravenously hungry and proceeded to meet friends at Jerry’s on Sanibel for lunch before heading home. Thus endeth the first field trip – but fear not, there’s more where this came from – stay tuned!

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Photo Friday: Sharp Focus

© Copyright 2010 MyMobileAdventures.com

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IMG_5656


Some more “messing around” with the macro focus on my Nokia N97. Man, I LOVE this phone :)

These are TINY flowers on a plant found at Bowditch Point Regional Park on Fort Myers Beach, Florida. The people we saw photographing these identified them merely as “heliotropium” so I had a tough time isolating it even with a bazillion books at my disposal. Finally found it at this site: www.regionalconservation.org/beta/nfyn/plantdetail.asp?tx… – and found it interesting that on the east side of South Florida, they are yellow, but here on the west coast, they are white, as pictured. So it’s actually a Pineland Heliotrope but I’ve also seen googled pictures identify it as a “seaside” heliotrope.

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Critter Encounters at Bowditch Point

© Copyright 2011 | http://MyMobileAdventures.com | CLICK any photo for a larger view

06112011610-Bowditch-wildlife-signageThis post will pick up where Wilderness At Bowditch Point left off. We’re on a field trip with my Florida Master Naturalist class (Coastal Systems Module), and we’ve got a really great guide named Roger Clark, from Lee County, Florida’s Conservation 20/20 program.

After telling us about a few of the plants and trees that we found growing on the perimeter of the parking lot, Roger led us up the man-made hill at the very northern tip of Estero Island aka Fort Myers Beach. Once on top of the hill, we saw a prominent “KEEP OUT” sign posted on a split-rail fence. Almost immediately, it became apparent that we were in for a critter encounter!


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If you are looking for a gopher tortoise burrow, here’s how to spot one – just look around for a heap of sand that looks like an ant hill on steroids. The ones I’ve seen come complete with a hole that’s partially obscured by brush. I don’t know if that’s intentional, or just one giant co-inky-dink.

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A female gopher tortoise contemplates jumping the fence.


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Whut-oh! Stand back, she’s on the move!


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She’s getting pretty close – Immma-skeered! :shock:


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Oh. Em. Gee! She passed very close to me. I got up and moved to the other side of a tree and turned on the video camera …

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This tortoise had a single-minded mission to leave her burrow and head into a scrub area, and no wildlife geek with a camera in her hand was going to stop her! I can’t believe I moved out of her path, and then she headed right for me anyway. You can hear one of my classmates coaching me (translation: playing with my head a bit) about how vicious these animals can be :D You can also hear him say “no” when I ask if I should move. In the end, I was running out of options to keep the lens on her and had to stand up to avoid becoming a pretzel. You can also hear scrub jays screaming in the background about the time I stand up.

After the official part of the field trip was over, I doubled back over the route we’d taken so I could get some better shots of the plants that had been discussed. As I came up the hill, I spied this little tableau:

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At first, I thought this osprey had an extra tail, or maybe one of her feathers was coming loose.

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Now we see that it’s definitely a tail, but it’s not hers. It’s lunch! I think this is what they call “mantling” behavior, where they hunch over their food so that nothing flying overhead will see it and try to compete for it.

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She’s really got an impressive profile, with a beak made for tearing. “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.” ;)

There will be one more installment of this Florida Master Naturalist field trip adventure in the very near future – so stay tuned! :)

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Camera Critters

Photo Friday:Wilderness at Bowditch Point

© Copyright 2011 Erin | http://MyMobileAdventures.com | CLICK any photo for a larger view

BowditchOnTheMap


For our first field trip, my Florida Master Naturalist class (Coastal Systems Module) went on a botanical exploration of a small wilderness located at the northern tip of Estero Island in the town of Fort Myers Beach, Lee County, Florida. This is Bowditch Point Regional Park, part of the Lee County park system. The site had been used as a repository for channel-dredged sand, and is consequently the highest point on the island at 22 feet. The land changed hands several times over the years until the County had the opportunity to purchase it in December 1987 for $5.75mm. Since that time, much effort has gone into the creation of a natural coastal habitat where native Floridian plants can thrive and wildlife can find refuge.

Our guide for this trip was Roger Clark from Conservation 20/20 here in Lee County. He was patient and knowledgeable and had a unique way of conveying information about a plant or animal; he’d first tell you some facts and attributes and THEN tell you the name. It was kind of like Jeopardy – first you get the answer, and then you get the question.

Roger had a field guide with him which he recommended to the rest of us – Florida’s Living Beaches: A Guide for the Curious Beachcomber. I stopped at Barnes & Noble on the way home and they had ONE left, so I quickly purchased it. I also found it on Amazon. The other book I like to use is the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida. It’s the typical slim, easy-to-pack-and-carry Audubon volume, and it’s great for just general identification while you’re out and about. I’ve got the paperback, which seems to be in short supply these days, so that’s a link to the hardcover edition.

I took quite a few photos, so I’ll be splitting it up into several posts. Here is the first installment – enjoy :)


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Notice how specific this sign is – couldn’t be plainer. I’ve seen similar signs at all beaches in Lee County, yet I’ve also seen people violating this law :( Most folks, however, are conscientious about it.

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At the bottom of the “mound”, just where it meets the parking lot, there’s a nice little shady spot to sit and enjoy the view of Matanzas Pass. The word “matanzas” is Spanish for “killings”. History tells us that the indigenous people who once lived here, the Calusa, had a habit of paddling out to meet Spanish explorer’s ships while extending a special kind of welcome with the business-end of their spears. Indeed, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon met his fate from a mortal wound received at the hands of the Calusa. There’s speculation that Matanzas Pass is the place where a lot of these “welcome”-type activities occurred.

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What do the gumbo limbo tree and the Florida tourist have in common? They are both red and peeling… ha ha ha ha ha ;) Migratory birds like the fruit of the gumbo limbo tree. We’ve got lots of these trees here in Southwest Florida.

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I was surprised to find out that palms aren’t really “trees”; they lack a vascular system. The smaller trees in the swale are pond apples. They were planted there because they can well tolerate having their feet wet.

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Pond apples have compound leaves – more than one leaf attached to the same leaf stalk. The apples are edible by animals and humans but they don’t taste very good, I’m told.

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The sea grape wants to be a tree! However, many people chop at them to keep them shrub-like. They are used in landscaping as hedgerows and borders. This one was allowed to be a tree. During this field trip, we found out that there are ANSI standards for pruning trees and that one should NEVER “top” a tree. ANSI standards? Who knew?!?!!

ANSI = American National Standards Institute

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This Jamaica Dogwood is otherwise known as the Florida Fish Poison tree. Powder made from the tree can be used to stun fish, making them more easily captured.

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We’re about to continue up the hill and catch a glimpse of some of the residents. OK, WAY more than a glimpse! Stay tuned – PART TWO of this field trip will be posted in a few days!

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Photo Friday: Best Shots Of 2010

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*

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Photo Friday wants us to show our Best Shots of 2010. I think this shot of the moon is my best, but there were lots of others that made the also-ran list as I went through my Flickr account in search of treasures. So here they all are – bon appetite, and have a fabulous New Year! <3

Full Flower Moon

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The Full Flower Moon rises over Gulfside City Park, aka “Algiers” beach on Sanibel Island. Thursday May 27th, 2010.
 

What are YOU lookin’ at?

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Almost-grown osprey awaits the return of a parent with dinner. Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel Island, Lee County, Southwest Florida. May 2010.
 

The Fishing Dude

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“The Fishing Dude” declares victory, June 13th 2010 (this is part of a series)
 

Sanibel Causeway Sunset

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Some brilliant colors were seen on July 31st 2010
 

Sanibel Sunset Silhouette

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A young tree silhouetted against the dramatic backdrop of a Sanibel sunset. September 12th, 2010
 

Heading Up The Rose Walk

Heading up the rose walk toward Imagination


Yellow rose in bloom, aken at EPCOT on October 25th, 2010 – WITH A CAMERA PHONE!
 

Dinner!

IMG_4116-Great-Blue-Heron


A great blue heron spears himself a meal from the pond in my back yard. October 10th 2010.
 

Frenzy On The Sanibel Causeway

Frenzy on the Sanibel Island Causeway


Seagulls out of control on November 7th 2010. And I will give you the entire original rant that went with it:
“There’s a guy off-camera throwing gawd knows what at these beach birds. People, you should NOT feed wild animals! It makes them unafraid of people and they can become a nuisance or worse. Plus it makes them dependent on people for sustenance.

Don’t feed the animals unless it is dire circumstances (like, a blizzard, which is unlikely to happen here)

Sent from my Nokia N97″
 

All Aboard The Magnolia Blossom

All Aboard The Magnolia Blossom


Taken at Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida on December 5th 2010. Love the drama of the darkening sky behind the cheerful blue and yellow boat docked in the sunshine.
 

The Big, Golden Ball

Big Golden Ball


Big Golden Ball – December 1st, 2010. Really, it’s Spaceship Earth, the iconic geosphere at the entrance of Disney’s EPCOT theme park. Late-day sunlight glinting off the Big Silver Ball! (to quote an entry on Foursquare). Makes it look like The Big Golden Ball instead.
 


Healthy, Happy and Peaceful New Year To All :)



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Treasure From San Carlos Bay

I found a nice, shiny, pointy-headed olive glistening on the beach at "Coney Island" (see Foursquare – I’m the Mayor!") – it’s one of the spoil islands that supports the Sanibel Island Causeway. What a treat! I figure a bird had it for an appetizer and left the shell for me to find. Thanks, random bird!

Sent from my Nokia N97

Frenzy on the Sanibel Island Causeway

There’s a guy off-camera throwing gawd knows what at these beach birds. People, you should NOT feed wild animals! It makes them unafraid of people and they can become a nuisance or worse. Plus it makes them dependent on people for sustenance.

Don’t feed the animals unless it is dire circumstances (like, a blizzard, which is unlikely to happen here)

Sent from my Nokia N97

Day trippin’ on Sanibel Island

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

09032010609-Fort-Myers-Beach-truckLast Friday, just before the three-day weekend festivities here in the United States, I took myself over to Sanibel Island for the day. I am very lucky to live within easy driving distance of the island (half an hour from driveway to causeway), and I really should do this more often.

As I approached the causeway, I encountered this truck on Summerlin Road. Considering all the “Mickey Mouse In The Wild” encounters I’d already experienced that week, I thought the “Don’t Mess With The Mouse!” slogan on the back of the truck was apropos ;) click photo to see it bigger

Looks like Vera Bradley threw up in here...

I was a little early for my appointment so I popped into a few shops. This one has a corner where it looks like Vera Bradley threw up!


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Finally, it’s time for my massage – can we say, “Ahhhhh!” now? :)


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After the massage, I poked around in a few more shops and found this wall hanging at “Pandora’s Box”. I liked the sentiment and the presentation, but didn’t think it was worth what they were asking for it. The artist’s name is Anahata Joy Katkin, in case you are interested in looking her up.


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My last stop was Gulfside City Park aka Algiers, one of Sanibel Island’s public beaches. I stayed about two hours, hunting the shoreline for treasures. It was mostly “kibbles and bits” shelling, but I did manage to score a couple of macaroni and cheese shells (aka, those little orange juvenile Florida horse conch shells).


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It was low tide by time I crossed the causeway again, and the sailboat that had run aground a few weeks back was now visible on that crescent-shaped sand bar just off the south side/”sad lane” (you’re sad cause you’re leaving Sanibel!). I wonder when someone is going to finally remove it – or is it destined to become a relic with all sorts of local legends attached to it?


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A Southwest Florida after dinner treat

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IMG_4029-Sanibel-Causeway-Sunset

:) Good thing it’s Wordless Wednesday –

because, really, there just are no words…


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How to catch a snook at sunset

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_3916A few weeks ago, I went shelling at Blind Pass around sunset. The tide was pretty low, and people were able to wade knee-high into the Pass. I stood on the Sanibel side and was interested in some kids who were playing on the jetty over on the Captiva side – fishing, horsing around, one of them striking a fencing pose with his fishing pole.

All the while, there was a guy in the Pass casting and reeling, casting and reeling. His friend kept encouraging him, even though he wasn’t getting anything. Suddenly, he had a bite! Instead of focusing on the kid, I focused on the Fishing Dude. When he finally reeled it in, he called to his friend, “Man I wish I had a camera!”

“Hey, over here!” I hollered from the shore. “I’ve got a camera!” Whereupon the Fishing Dude held his snook aloft like a trophy and I took the shot.

After they’d clambered out of the water, I asked for Fishing Dude’s email address so I could get the photos to him somehow. I ended up putting them into a set on my Flickr account and sending him the link.

Here’s that set of photos in slide show format, untouched – I didn’t even put a watermark on them, in case Fishing Dude wanted to download any of them. Hope you all enjoy!

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Gulf oil spill – learning how to help

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

07092010025-Captiva-Andy-Rosse-Lane:) Last Friday, I drove out past Sanibel Island and crossed Blind Pass over to Captiva Island. At the end of Captiva, there’s a resort called South Seas, which has conference facilities. I was there to get some safety training for beach cleanup volunteers – want to be prepared in case the Gulf oil spill makes its way to the Lee Island Coast of Florida. The drive looks short-ish on the map, but is made longer by the 35 mile per hour speed limit (maximum) that’s enforced on both islands. Pretty scenery is the saving grace – I wasn’t suffering at all!

07092010031-Captiva-South-Seas-OstegoThe course was four hours long and it was taught by a trainer from the Ostego Bay Oil Spill Co-Op and a trainer from OSHA – Occupational Safety & Health Administration. There were several different segments that explained the sensitivity of the Gulf coast, especially in the estuaries, the types of hazards that can be encountered in the environment that’s being cleaned, protective gear worn by cleanup workers, and the procedures they follow to maximize safety and minimize damage to people, wildlife, the environment and property.

07092010029-Captiva-South-Seas-candyAs conference facilities go – and I’ve been in a lot of them – South Seas has a lot going for it. First, location – a sub-tropical island really cannot be beat. The grounds are nicely landscaped with tropical flowering shrubs and swaying palms. The conference facilities are not all worn out and tired-looking. They are clearly well-maintained. The air conditioning in the conference center was neither too strong nor too weak – just right for people wearing shorts and tank tops. And the final thing to recommend South Seas – REAL iced tea was served, and there were candy jars on every table filled with “Made In The USA” mints.

Click the photos to see if a larger version is available in Flickr
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A V.I.P. visits the Sanibel Island lighthouse

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Sanibel Island lighthouse at Twilight:) Here’s a nice article about Miss Florida climbing to the tops of lighthouses all over the Sunshine State to raise money for charity

Miss Florida USA climbs Sanibel Lighthouse

Miss Florida’s lighthouse-climbing schedule can be found here –

Florida Lighthouses

On this page, there are a few photos – there are several different styles of lighthouse in Florida, but amazingly there are several that look extremely similar to the one on Sanibel! In fact, the one on Anclote Key is a dead ringer for the one on Sanibel.

gallery of Florida lighthouses

And finally – to see a fine collection of photos of lighthouses from all over the world, you should visit The Lighthouse Cafe on Sanibel Island. It’s on Periwinkle Way on the east end of the island. The walls inside the cafe are COVERED with photos of lighthouses, typically provided by tourists who stop there for a bite to eat.

*~*~* *~*~* *~*~* *~*~* *~*~*

PS – Amazon has a TON of books about Florida lighthouses – I’m impressed at just how many! Here are the top three for “relevance” –

That last one gives me the urge to take a road trip!

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Orange moon over “Algiers” Beach, Sanibel Island

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IMG_3893-Sanibel-Gulfside-City-Park-Moon

Last Thursday (05-27-2010) was the “full flower moon” according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. The moon was orange and huge as it hovered over the Gulf of Mexico. This is how it looked as seen from the beach at Gulfside City Park on Sanibel Island – more commonly known to locals as “Algiers”.

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This is what paradise means



This is what paradise means, originally uploaded by Tink*~*~*.

The moon hangs huge and orange over the Gulf.

I can hear racoons callinng to one another in the gathering dusk.

I damned near stepped on a SCORPION on my way back to tjhe car. OK not so much paradise but into every Eden a little evil must fall, to show you how good you’ve got it.

I found a reeeeeDONKulous (Nieceling word) number of mac and cheese shells after transplanting myself to Algiers.

Life is good :)

Sent from my Nokia N97