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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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The colors of autumn… in FLORIDA?!?!??

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

IMG_6572The weather has definitely broken into fall here in Southwest Florida, and that means the delight of being able to exert one’s self outdoors without risking heat stroke and/or coming home dripping wet.

This is an awesome time of year for hiking and exploring in Florida’s parks and preserves. One of my favorites, in part because it is so close to where I live, is Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in Fort Myers. The slough is a sacred place, where water moves at a snail’s pace and all manner of flora and fauna grow and thrive. I see something new every time I go there. It never gets old.

Due to the heavy concentration of cypress trees in the Slough, it’s a great place to witness the colors of autumn. Yes, you heard me. Bet you didn’t know that the trees change color and shed their leaves even here in Florida. Well, it’s true! I’ll show you. Ready for a walk? Let’s go!


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Let’s play a game. Can you “Spot The Gator”? He was about a four-footer, just catching some sun in the shallows right alongside the boardwalk. Some little kids came by and I put my finger to my lips. They froze and conspired with me, silently tip-toeing over to see what I was pointing at. How excited they were to see their first gator, so close!

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I took my leave of the children and soon came to my favorite place to “sit down in the woods and wait”. As many times as I’ve sat here before, I never noticed this…

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See that skinny little tree over there? It’s holding on to the handrail!

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Or maybe it has grown a tongue, which now laps at the boardwalk. How odd and beautiful it is, all at once.

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I then noticed something else about the little tree – it seems to be growing out of another tree, of a different species!

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See? The little tree is a cypress, and the “host” seems to be an oak of some sort.

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Further along the boardwalk, I saw the situation in reverse – a slender oak is growing out of a cypress tree.

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This cypress tree is very tall compared to the little oak.

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In the autumn, when the leaves start to wither and die and fall away, a number of things change in the swamp. Leaves falling into the water decompose, turning the water a deep reddish brown with tannins. This decomposing matter settles around the roots of the trees, and makes a great growing medium for little acorns and seeds. This is why it looks like one species is “growing out of” the other – it isn’t really, it’s just using the growing medium trapped there against the mature tree. Another thing that happens is that more sunlight can penetrate the swamp forest. The middle story of the forest opens up too, after the vines start to wither and fall away. The result is a better-lit, cleared away space where one can see the hidden infrastructure of the swamp. I walk through here frequently, and never see so many windfalls as I do when I come through after the leaves have had a chance to fall and the vines have withered and died away.

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There are a few red maple trees in the swamp, and they provide for a riot of red here and there. Here’s one along the boardwalk close to the amphitheater.

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Here’s a young cypress just dripping in autumnal gold. See? Who says we don’t get fall colors down this way!

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A few resistors struggle to maintain their greenery nearby. Who can say why some are so ready to shed, while others hold on to the bitter end?

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There are two varieties of cypress here, and they are relatively easy to tell apart – I just keep forgetting which is which! I made sure to bring home photographs of both this time, so I’d be able to look them up and learn this once and for all. This is a pond cypress. The needles are close to the stem and sometimes give the impression of spiraling around it.

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And this is a bald cypress. The leaves are flatly fanned out from the stem. There. Now you know the difference, too. 😉

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A visit to the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge

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

IMG_6509In celebration of the Florida Panther Festival here in Southwest Florida, I participated in a field trip on Friday 11/09/2012 at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in Collier County, Florida. Last year, I hiked the Bird Rookery at CREW (Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed); this year, I went a little further afield. The excursion came in two parts. First, we rode along the firebreaks in a swamp buggy, learning about maintenance efforts that keep the habitat in good shape for the Florida panther’s food chain. Then, we took to the trails on foot, exploring “the clubhouse” and back-country areas that are only seen by the public perhaps twice a year. The cell phone signal was spotty, sometimes working great but other times dismal or completely absent, so I did not attempt to mobile blog the adventure. Are you ready to explore? Let’s go!

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Our leaders for the field trip were several members of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife team who maintain this refuge as well as Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, also located in Collier County. There were two swamp buggies, each of which could seat 6 or 7 participants, and about 24 people showed up. Therefore, we were split into two groups. One group hiked while the other group rode, and then we made a rendezvous and swapped places. I was in the first buggy group with my friends Charles and Vicki Wright who run Everglades Area Tours in Chokoloskee, FL, and Jacquie Roecker, hiking buddy extraordinaire and sole proprietor of Nature’s Voice Photography in Naples, FL. Jacquie and I do these things together on purpose, but stumbling across Charles and Vicki was a pleasant surprise.

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The buggies would stop along the way so the rangers could point out efforts to control overgrowth, invasive exotics, and habitat diversity. They talked with us about herbicides, fire, and hydrology. It’s been an okay summer rainy season here in Lee County, but further south there has been disappointment. They’re just not getting the rain that they should, and man’s efforts to control flooding has resulted in a complex canal system that often diverts water from where it is needed and carries it away to where it’s not. I snapped the above photo while standing on a dock out back of the “clubhouse” that should have been under water. If freshwater wetlands do not receive sufficient water in the forms of sheet flow and rainfall, then they cannot properly support the life forms that depend upon it for habitat and food.

I’ve mentioned “the clubhouse” twice now. It’s an accessible-access wooden structure, screened in, which is intended to someday house an environmental education program about the refuge in general, and specifically about orchids. The failure or success of orchids growing in the swamp is monitored closely, and with great interest. Orchids are an “indicator species” for a Florida swamp; if your habitat has them, then your habitat must be doing pretty well. A lack of them growing where they are supposed to be could indicate that environmental conditions are not right, or perhaps another species is hogging all the resources.

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Every now and then, while prowling through panther country, you come across something like this. Panthers like to use a fallen log as a scratching post. The fallen log happens to be alongside a footpath or firebreak trail that is used by humans. It doesn’t matter to the panther. Panthers like to use the trails because they will be unencumbered in their travels by understory plants. In addition to stretching and sharpening their claws on a log, panthers just plain like to play with such things, biting and wrestling and rolling it around. But how do we know that panthers like to do these things while no one is watching?

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Someone IS watching! The location of such logs is the perfect spot to install both video and still cameras. In this manner, wildlife can be observed without being disturbed at the presence of people. In addition to capturing the antics of panthers, these cameras pick up the activities of other wildlife on the preserve such as the black bear, the white-tailed deer, bobcats, and raccoons. The rangers mentioned that lately, there is evidence of coyotes moving into the refuge. I’d love to be the person who gets to review the footage :)

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Once the field trip was over, we filled out evaluation forms and took a quick turn through the newly built greenhouse, where different plant experiments were in various stages of being conducted. I snapped the above photo at pond near where we had all parked. There’s allegedly a one-legged alligator lurking in there. If there was one bee on these wildflowers, there were a billion! Jacquie and I had each packed a lunch, so we dragged our beach chairs out of our cars and sat in the shade of some ginormous live oaks dripping with epiphyte air plants, ferns, and Spanish moss. One of the refuge interns joined us and we all enjoyed being with our “tribe” for some lively discussion. I drove home contentedly, and felt the wild desire to nap when I got back to the house. An early start and lots of fresh air will do that to a person 😉

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Live from the Fort Myers River District!

This epic view can be seen from the dock adjacent to the west of the Fort Myers Yacht Basin. Had a lovely “Ladies Night” at Twisted Vine Bistro with some friends, and took a stroll down to the river before departing for home. Beautiful views!

More Sanibel Island, post-Tropical Storm Debby

© 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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Everglades adventure! Part 3, The Finale

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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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The Iwo Jima statue



The Iwo Jima statue, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

I had to lie on my back at the base of the monument to get this shot. I am grateful that I can still get up from such a position under my own steam! I am not sure why cape coral chose to replicate the statue, and I wonder if it is to scale…

Cape Coral’s veterans memorial



Cape Coral’s veterans memorial, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

Alongside the road that comes from the bridge, a veterans memorial stands. There’s a vast, shady pavilion, statuary, and you can make a donation to get a paving brick inscribe in memory of a soldier. The World Wars, the Korean conflict, and Vietnam are all represented, as well as more recent wars in the Middle East.

“You have arrived…”



"You have arrived…", originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

That’s what the GPS lady always says, but I don’t need GPS to get to The happiest Place on Earth. I had not been here more than 2 minutes and already had three great CM encounters.

1. The security dude doing bag check looked deep into my eyes and said, "Have fun, Princess."
2. The CM at the turnstiles took note of the fact that Goofy is on my AP and said, "hey there, no goofin’ around now haw haw haw!" just like Goofy
3. I’ll tell you the third one in a minute…

Hiking ’round Harns Marsh, Part 1

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

Harns Marsh MapSaturday morning, I stumbled to my computer as per usual, ample dose of caffeine in hand, and sat down to read the news, check my email, and catch up on Facebook. I happened across an article about a nature festival taking place right here in Lehigh Acres, at a place called Harns Marsh, not far from where I live. I recalled that a couple of my classmates in the Freshwater Wetlands class (Florida Master Naturalist Program) had developed a trail guide to Harns Marsh for their final project. Without further fanfare, I decided to strike out for the preserve; gulped down some breakfast, slathered on some sunscreen, grabbed a thermos of water and off I went. I mobile blogged a bit from the trail (see yesterday’s posts) and now I want to share the rest of the photos I took.

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The marsh was engineered to handle runoff from the Orange River, a tributary off the Caloosahatchee River. The Orange River itself had been altered ‘way in the early 20th century; it was originally known as Twelve Mile Creek but then the Army Corps of Engineers dredged it 4′ deep by 50″ wide. Like many of Florida’s freshwater wetlands in winter, the marsh appeared to be significantly dried up as compared to the obvious high water lines that could be seen here and there. That will change as soon as rainy season is properly upon us, circa mid-May. Still, there was plenty of water to sustain abundant waterfowl and other wildlife. I saw turtles, coots, moorhens, apple snails, rams horn snails, a variety of herons and egrets, some vultures, squirrels, anoles, white ibis, glossy ibis, ducks, sandhill cranes, and to my surprise and delight, ONE snail kite on the side of the path.

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Freshwater turtles take advantage of the rocks protruding from the pond, sunning themselves on this glorious March day under sunny Florida skies. It was already past noon when I set out to the preserve, and the day was warm but breezy.

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When you’re out and about in a park or preserve, you can guess what amount of human traffic has been occurring by the behavior of the wildlife. For instance, at Lakes Park, where there are always lots of people walking, running, biking, picnicking and playing, the animals don’t flinch. In fact, they may approach you, if they have learned to associate humans with food. Here at the marsh, I passed the two turtles from a goodly distance, yet the little one hastily slipped into the pond rather than risk unknown danger from this unknown beast (me) treading the waterside path. However, the larger one stood his ground, unwilling to sacrifice his daily dose of D on the outside chance that I was looking for soup ingredients.

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It was not long before I realized that I’d been following a set of tracks in the muddy path. I thought it might be a dog’s paw prints, but then I realized there weren’t any people tracks to go with them, and I thought it odd that a dog might be at the preserve all on his own. I began to consider other options. Possibly, this was a bobcat I was following. I really thought it more likely to be a dog, but I’m not good enough at tracking to know the difference without reference materials.

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The Audubon app on my phone showed me pictures of bobcat tracks, but the prints on my path were not clear enough along the bottom of the pad to determine if it was canine or feline. I figured that the mystery might be solved, or at least a likely suspect identified, if I should come across some scat. I knew what bobcat scat looked like from a previous wetland field trip I’d taken with the Master Naturalists. Time would tell. I continued along the trail.

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As I moved northeast-ish along the path, I began to notice odd things in the water. Here we find a strange, spherically shaped object that looks to have seen better days. From afar, it has that pitted, wave-weary look of an old sea shell, the kind my friend Christene refers to as “yard art”. Now that I’ve got the photo up on the big screen, I confess I don’t know WHAT it could be. Anyone want to take a guess?

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It always surprises me when I come across the inevitable tire-in-the-water tableau. It just seems to ridiculous to be in a remote spot and see such obvious evidence of man having been here. WHY we must leave such evidence of our having passed through is mystifying and troubling to me. Pick up your damned tire and pack it out with you.

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Now, this is more consistent with what I would expect to have naturally landed in the water of a marshland preserve. After getting this home and enlarging it on the big screen, I determined that I’d captured the partially hollowed-out stump of a palm tree, lying on it’s side. Again, during one of my previous hikes with the Master Naturalists, I’d encountered a palm tree growing in erosion conditions, thus discovering that there was a huge, conically-shaped, solid mass under the soil which helps to anchor the tree during the high winds of hurricane season. It was surprising to see, but that kind of adaptation makes thorough sense when you think about other types of trees that topple in storms while palms remain upright.

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I was really excited to come upon this guy – I think this is my first relatively close look at and picture of a glossy ibis. Back in October, I took a hike at C.R.E.W.’s bird rookery swamp and caught sight of a flock of white ibis with juveniles amongst them; they can have very dark plummage, and I thought for a moment I was going to be able to photograph a glossy, but alas! It was a case of mistaken identity. This guy was VERY shy. The minute he became aware of me, he was outta there like a shot, over to the South Marsh. I find the white ibis to be less reticent in the presence of humans, especially if said humans are seated at a table outside of Casey’s hot dog place in the Magic Kingdom 😉

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Ah-HAH! At some point in the trail, I found the poop. I could not be absolutely sure, but again the wonders of the big screen at home enabled me to see the abundant amount of HAIR in this scat sample, which was squarely in the middle of the path. This does not look like dog poop to me! That’s not to say that the tracks weren’t those of a dog; perhaps the dog was following the bobcat 😉 It had rained the night before, which provided the mud that gave us the tracks, yet the scat was not looking terribly waterlogged. I feel pretty certain that there had been a bobcat on the path as recently as that morning, after the rain had stopped.


NEXT TIME: We’ll do some shelling

:)


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A banner day at Downtown Disney



A banner day at Downtown Disney, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

You can see the weather we’re up against – intermittent and sometimes even simultaneous rain and sunshine. Now that I’ve stuffed myself, I need to walk around a bit before getting in the car for a three-hour drive. A good browse through World of Disney should do the trick!

Fishing shacks in the sound



Fishing shacks in the sound, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

We’re still traversing Pine Island Sound (I think – I may be a bit turned around) and we are passing these historic fishing shacks. They’ve got a fascinating story, which I’ll have to google when I get home.

EDITED TO ADD: I found a local news story about the history of the fishing shack –
Historic fishing shacks of bygone days | News-Press.com

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.

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!

Castle In The Tropics



Castle In The Tropics, originally uploaded by Erin aka Tink*~*~*.

I’m pretty sure that Cinderella’s Castle was fashioned after some historic ones that still stand in European countries. So it’s kind of amusing to glimpse its spires between the palm fronds and exotic flowering trees; amusing but also beautiful.

Sent from my Nokia N97

Lakes Park Is A Pretty Place

Lots of water fowl enjoy this place – just saw some moorhens and a pelican. Also a weird, fat black goose with a red head. But I am standing amidst a bunch of fire ant mounds to get this picture and I don’t want to stand here too long….

Sent from my Nokia N97

Obligatory “Mickey In The Sky” shot

Just walked into Studios and I have a question for you. There were three teen boys on the opposite side of the (utterly theatrical and totally useless) bag check. They were all asked to take out their cameras and show them outside the bag, and one was asked to empty his bag entirely. Meanwhile, I am an adult female loaded down with electronics and I breezed through. Do you think this is age profiling at work? And if so, do you think it’s ok? Is it more ok than racial profiling? Why or why not? Not trying to start a war but I am curious. BTW, bag checker was black and female and maybe in her 40s; boys were all white. Just to completely describe the players.

Sent from my Nokia N97

Photo Friday: Breathtaking

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*

http://MyMobileAdventures.com

For today’s “Breathtaking” Photo Friday, I’d like to share some sunsets I have known.

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Above: EPCOT, Walt Disney World – October 2010

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Above: “Two Ladies In The Harbor”, New York City – September 2006

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Above: Sanibel Island, Florida – May 2009

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Above: My backyard – January 2009

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Photo Friday: Trees

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*

http://MyMobileAdventures.com
There are some wonderful flowering trees that bloom in the spring, just in time for Disney’s annual International Flower & Garden Festival at EPCOT. They bloom at varying times during the spring season. Here’s a sample from the front entrance of the park.

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In May, you can see the jacaranda trees in bloom. Planted in clusters near the geosphere, their misty lilac color melts into the steely gray of Spaceship Earth. They smell heavenly :) The bees like them even more than I do, so there’s an opportunity to observe them in the act of collecting pollen.

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Here’s a closer view of the jacaranda blooms with the geosphere and the sky as a backdrop.

Crepe Myrtle at EPCOT

Just one month later in June, the jacaranda have already stopped blooming – but the crepe myrtles are now in full force. These vines have been expertly woven over time into beautifully shaped trees. These bright pink ones stand in stately rows alongside the Leave A Legacy monuments near the geosphere. I’ve seen white ones scattered throughout the park too, most notably by the French pavilion.

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A closer view of the crepe myrtle blooms against Spaceship Earth.


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Photo Friday: Best Shots Of 2010

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*

http://MyMobileAdventures.com

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!

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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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Photo Friday: Tranquil

© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*

http://MyMobileAdventures.com

IMG_0623-Sanibel-Ding-Darling

I found a new (well, to me) weekly photo meme called “Photo Friday“, which gives a word prompt each week. This week is “tranquil” and since I’m a fan of Sanibel Island aka “paradise”, I figured I had lots of material from which to choose! So I’m playing along this week. Enjoy!

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