Category Archives: Florida Parks and Preserves

Southwest Florida: Scenes From Everyday Life

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09062010641-SWFL-waterfall-from-roof


It’s still rainy season here in Southwest Florida, which means we are still subject to the daily deluge. Here, a waterfall forms where the roof of the lanai meets the roof of the house. This is why I pick up “junk shells” from the beaches – I use them for erosion control! If I didn’t do that, there would be a big hole right there where the pavers meet the grass.


IMG_4074-SWFL-green-anole


Here’s a sight of which I am somewhat proud. Ever since I switched to an organic lawn maintenance company, I’ve seen a few green anoles around my property. Green anoles are indigenous to the southeastern United States. They face enough of a challenge from the invasive brown anole, which comes from Cuba and other Caribbean islands. We don’t need to be further eradicating them through overly-ambitious applications of pesticides. Even though I don’t care for the presence of anoles on my lanai (they poop all over the place!), I still think it’s a good sign that some green ones are hanging around.


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Top 5 FUNky Facts About The Roseate Spoonbill

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IMG_2987-WDW-DAK-roseate-spoonbillπŸ™‚ One morning this past March, I found a pair of roseate spoonbills in the Oasis at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. As I pointed my camera at them, they regarded me with their red-rimmed eyes as though a bit suspicious of the hunk of hardware in my hand (Canon SX110 IS). Today I decided to try and find out a bit more about them, so here are my Top 5 FUNky Facts About The Roseate Spoonbill:

  1. Aside from vultures and raccoons, one of the biggest enemies of a young nestling roseate spoonbill is fire ants!
  2. One of the top places in the United States to observe the roseate spoonbill in its natural habitat is Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, located on Sanibel Island. I’ve seen them feeding there and roosting in Rookery Bay down in Naples, Florida – check out these posts.
  3. The roseate spoonbill sometimes assumes a “wing-lift posture” to dry off its wings, similar to other fishing birds like the anhinga.
  4. I’ve often mistaken the roseate spoonbill for a flamingo when at a distance (and stubbornly not wearing my glasses). However, they’re actually not related at all. They are more closely related to the ibis. Here are some posts about the scarlet ibis (Disney’s Animal Kingdom) and the white ibis (Sanibel Island).
  5. The head of the adult roseate spoonbill is sort of green, except when they are breeding – then, it turns a kind of golden color.
  6. The oldest known roseate spoonbill was found in 2006; it had been banded and the band showed it to be 16 years old!

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Dear Governor Crist…

Β© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*

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IMG_5423-mingled-species-grazing-Ding-Darling

I sent an email last Friday to Florida governor Charlie Crist regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and what I consider to be the frittering away of funding on advertising tourism when we’re expecting to have a disaster to clean up. I realize people are suffering from lack of business, but I think there is other recourse to compensate them, and that it isn’t right to encourage tourists to gamble their hard-earned vacation dollars on a Florida Gulf beach vacation when we know there’s a good chance of the oil plume making landfall here.

If you would like to contact Florida’s governor or lieutenant governor, please visit

http://www.flgov.com/contact_governor

To: Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com
Subject: Redirect those advertising funds toward saving our Gulf shores!

Dear Governor Crist –

I moved to Southwest Florida 4 years ago from New York. I came here because of the tropical climate and natural beauty of the Lee Island Coast and because of my love for Sanibel, Captiva, Fort Myers Beach and the surrounding out-islands. I love the wildlife sanctuaries and rookeries along Estero and San Carlos Bays, the availability of fresh seafood all year round and our astounding beaches. It breaks my heart to think of all this beauty and abundance covered in crude oil, consequently dead and ruined for generations to come.

IMG_0362-Sanibel-sailboat-seagulls-beachThe oil gushing into the Gulf has been doing so for over 40 days. Even capped, it is still leaking. I know better than to think that any part of the Gulf states’ shorelines are going to escape some sort of impact. There’s just too much of it out there, and now hurricane season is upon us which will bring unpredictability in the form of currents and winds.

It is unethical, bordering on immoral, to dupe people into coming to Florida’s Gulf Coast, when we cannot guarantee them an oil-free vacation. We are bilking them out of their hard-earned vacation dollars. WHY are we wasting these funds on misleading advertising when they could be applied DIRECTLY to the problem? We could be using the funds to compensate the fisherman and those in the tourist industry for loss of income. We could be conserving some of it to help pay for the cleanup we KNOW we are going to need.

IMG_0385-American-brown-pelican-Sanibel-IslandWhile Louisiana’s leaders are making quite a compelling and widely publicized case for disaster funding, Florida is busy telling people everything is coming up sunshine and lollipops. By this time next week, we could be just as awash in the foul stench of crude oil and decomposing wildlife as Louisiana is right now. Anyone with even half an ounce of sense knows this is true. So why are we being deceitful with our tourists and wasteful with our funding?

IMG_0642-Lighthouse-Beach-2004-SanibelGovernor Crist, I hope you will do everything in your power to stop this foolishness with the advertising campaigns and start instead and in earnest to prepare Florida’s Gulf Coast for the impact that we all KNOW is coming our way. Start working on BP to step up to the plate and provide compensation for the tourism and fishing industries and funding for the cleanup. Stop worrying about enticing tourists and refocus all that energy – and all those dollars – on ensuring that Florida is prepared to meet the beast swiftly and intelligently when it strikes.

It’s going to be bad. But you can mitigate a lot of that if you will just focus on what matters, on what makes sense and on doing the right thing, always.

Sincerely
Erin White
Lehigh Acres, Florida

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What Floridians Should Know About Reporting Oil

Β© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_1534-Ding-Darling-Sanibel-Cove-In-Mangroves πŸ™ I am thankful to report that our beaches here in Southwest Florida are as yet unaffected by the catastrophic BP oil spill. However, no one knows how hurricane season (started June 1st) will affect ocean currents and therefore the direction the oil spill takes.

This oil well has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for more than 40 days. Impact would be devastating for this area – there are wildlife refuges that house rookeries and sea life breeding grounds all along the Lee Island Coast. The potential for unrecoverable destruction is high and it’s severe.

The City of Sanibel has provided links to important instructions that must be followed in the event that evidence of the oil spill is discovered. Follow the link below to access these documents from the City of Sanibel website.

City of Sanibel Urges All Residents to Review & Know the State of Florida β€œOil Spill Reporting Guide” / News / City Manager’s Office / Departments / Home – City of Sanibel.

Just call me “The Cougar Whisperer”

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

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

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

IMG_2067-Naples-Florida-zoo-western-cougar-tongue

Just call me “The Cougar Whisperer” πŸ˜‰

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Into the belly of the beast at the Naples Zoo, Southwest Florida

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_2095-Naples-Florida-zoo-gator-feeding-timeπŸ™‚ I recently had the privilege of touring the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens here in Southwest Florida. OK, “privilege” is stretching it a bit – it was REALLY hot and the animals were mostly sleeping, so not so much in the excitement department. But the botanical gardens were beautiful, and we know that if we go back in, say, December, we’ll have better luck with the animals being more alert. As it happens, it was the animals that are accustomed to the heat who provided the most entertainment and education for the day – plus, my spot of red for Ruby Tuesday! In this photo, we see one of the animal handlers at the zoo ringing a dinner bell – hmmm, who’s getting fed?

IMG_2099-Naples-Florida-zoo-gator-feeding-time
Hey, who said you could come up out of the water yet? Back, back you beast!

IMG_2100-Naples-Florida-zoo-gator-feeding-time
Now, you just get right back into that water this instant, young man. You heard me – git!

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Aw, you’re so cute when you’re all contrite and sorry like that! Good boy!

IMG_2106-Naples-Florida-zoo-gator-feeding-time
OK, here ya go – nice, juicy, RED steak. Supper time!

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My top 5 FUNky Facts about the ring-tailed lemur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge – pelican roost

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

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

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Florida’s Aquatic Preserves

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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IMG_0258-SW-Florida-aquatic preservesAnother week, another edition of my Monday Meme Trifecta, where I compose a post that’s appropriate for Manic Monday, Blue Monday and Mellow Yellow Monday. Today we’re going to talk about aquatic preserves, specifically the ones that are located off the Florida Gulf coast in Charlotte and Lee counties. I found this sign posted at the boat ramp on the east end of Sanibel Island – when you come across the causeway and finally make land on Sanibel itself, you’ll see the parking lot for the boat ramp immediately to the left. I snapped the photo to remind myself to do some research about the aquatic preserves pictured, and find out exactly what an “aquatic preserve” is.

Aquatic preserves can be composed of a variety of community or habitat types. The yellow parts on the map are dry land, the edges of which border mangrove forests, seagrass flats and salt marshes, all of which are wet. The green parts are where the seagrass communities are located. These areas make a fine hatchery and nursery for a wide variety of aquatic life. The aqua-colored parts of the map define the extent and boundaries of each preserve.

One of the more interesting things I discovered about the aquatic preserves is that they often encompass sites of historical interest, specifically encampments and settlements of both Native Americans and European explorers and settlers. Quite a few of these are represented by shell mounds, the purposes of which are not clearly understood; perhaps they really are just kitchen middens/refuse piles, or perhaps there was some ritual reason for building them. Due to rising sea levels, many of these sites are now completely submerged under water – talk about wet!

Click here for MORE about Florida’s aquatic preserves

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Sanibel Skies Over Fragile Marine Ecosystems

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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Tranquil blues and whites
do not always reflect Truth.
Truth can lurk unseen…

IMG_0623-Sanibel-Ding-DarlingI’ve read that all it takes is one single mangrove pod in the right place under the right conditions to blossom into a mangrove island. The evidence can be seen at the J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which covers a significant portion of the north side of Sanibel Island. The area is part of a larger marine ecosystem which is called the J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The complex includes other refuges such as the Caloosahatchee, Matlacha (matt-luh-SHAY), Island Bay up in Charlotte County, and Pine Island.

IMG_0592-Sanibel-Mangroves-CloudsThe state of Florida recently received an “iffy” report card, which rated the state’s efforts at protecting marine life with a lot of Ds (“A” being the highest grade). This means there is lots of room for improvement in our policies and laws that govern the use and abuse of ecosystems that have an impact on these wildlife refuges. It’s not enough to have laws that only pertain to the refuges; since everything is connected, actions in the middle of the state eventually produce a downstream effect on delicate marine environments such as these.

I’m looking forward to seeing some earnest effort on the part of the state legislature toward cleaning up Florida’s act, so that subsequent report cards reflect an increase in the amount of respect we afford our natural systems.

FURTHER READING:

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A morning at Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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Click each picture to see a larger version in Flickr

All photos taken at J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Sanibel Island, Florida – February 21st, 2008

IMG_5423-mingled-species-grazing-Ding-Darling
Several species mingle to graze

IMG_5433-white-pelicans-black-cormorants-Ding-Darling
White pelicans and cormorants ignore one another

IMG_5448-heron-poised-Ding-Darling
A heron is poised…

IMG_5449_crop-heron-takes-off-Ding-Darling
… to take flight

IMG_5425_crop-roseate-spoon-bill-landing-Ding-Darling
Roseate spoonbill comes in for a landing

(a Wordless Wednesday post)
(also a Watery Wednesday post)

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Six Mile Cypress Sky

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Six Mile Cypress Sky

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IMG_1565-Six-Mile-Cypress-sky-trees-clouds

Sky so blue and clouds
so puffy, filtered through the
branches of the trees
.

SIX MILE CYPRESS SLOUGH is a beautiful strip of wetland woods that isn’t actually six miles – it’s about nine miles long and maybe a third of a mile wide.Β  The slough (pronouced “slew”, rhymes with “you” – yeah, I had to look it up!) runs alongside Six Mile Cypress Parkway, just north of Daniels Parkway in Fort Myers.Β  Migratory birds like to take a pit-stop here to fatten up for their long journeys hither and yon.Β  People come to walk through the preserve, which you might think is icky if you didn’t know that they’ve built a raised boardwalk so you’re not slogging through the swamp.Β  πŸ˜€

I use Six Mile Cypress Parkway when I am driving to or coming home from Sanibel Island, and I always pass the sign that advertises the days of the week and the times for the guided nature walks, and think to myself that I’m going to have to play sick one of these work days and just go and do it!Β  I think I will ring up my friend Snowbird for this particular adventure, as she has expressed interest in the past.Β  I’ve been through there by myself, in the hot muggy summertime; this photo was taken in the Slough July 25th 2005, which was the trip I made down here to go house hunting.Β  I had to wear a ton of bug spray, and my tour ended when the skies opened up and let loose a torrential summer rain, so typical of this area during rainy season.Β  Yep, gonna have to do this soon, before the temps turn sultry and the air turns buggy again.

And after we do that, maybe I’ll play hookey again and we’ll do the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary down in Naples, Florida.Β Β  πŸ˜‰Β  It’s an Audubon site!

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Sunset Cruise on Rookery Bay, Part 5

Sunset Cruise on Rookery Bay, Southwest Florida
Saturday 26 April 2008
Part 5: The Osprey (aka, the “sea eagle”)

The rookery was practically teeming with osprey. They make their nests on top of the channel marker signs, and boats can cruise by them and even stop at a respectful distance to observe them. There were generally two juveniles in each nest we passed, waiting on a parent to come by with a meal.


Visual: Osprey chicks in the nest (bad light angle, sorry!)
Audio: Feed me, feed me!

The exception was a beautiful, regal pair that Carol said had been nesting there for years, and a parent watching from a distance as the offspring practiced his “mantling” behavior over a meal in the nest.

This is one of those “OMG!” shots that you don’t know how good it is until you get it home and up on the computer screen. It’s the pair of osprey that have been nesting there for a while.


Visual: Osprey high on the branch. Companion to one of the “mantling” photos
Audio: Describing the appearance of the Osprey.

Osprey “mantling” his food; another, probably the parent, observes from a tree in the background.


Visual: Osprey in the nest eating.
Audio: Dr. Jackson describes “mantling” behavior

Looking regal!

Dr. Jackson talked about DDT poisoning and how it nearly destroyed the osprey population. He said that DDT lasts FOREVER in the body of invertebrates; it gets stored in fatty tissue, the brain and the liver. A sudden dramatic weight loss can release the poison into the system and cause all sorts of serious problems.


Visual: Young osprey waiting in nest. White-headed brown pelicans fly by
Audio: SW Florida, mercury pollution, talking about osprey’s coloring, etc. This one is a very good length.

NEXT TIME: Sunset on Rookery Bay!

Sunset Cruise on Rookery Bay, Part 3

Sunset Cruise on Rookery Bay, Southwest Florida
Saturday 26 April 2008
Part 3: More About The Mangroves

Dr. Jackson told of a time he went to Costa Rica and visited old growth mangroves, which were a hundred feet tall and 3 feet in diameter. He said we don’t have old growth here in Florida any more because mangroves had been cut down and used to make furniture, but they’re starting to make a comeback. Anyhow, he described walking UNDER the roots of the old growth mangrove trees in Costa Rica, and he said that for him, it was like walking through a cathedral.

Video: Cruising by some mangroves. Audio: Early explorers faced the tangle of the mangroves – and lots of skeeters!

There are a variety of mangroves, and they grow in a sort of wave depending upon how far you are from the shore. Red ones grow in the water, then the black ones, then the white, and finally the buttonwoods grown the furthest inland.

Video: Bookin’ along at a decent speed. Audio: Lots of wind, but beginning of Dr. Jackson talking about Kleptoparasitism which is a kind of piracy amongst living organisms. I believe he was referring to the Magnificent Frigatebird

Dr. Jackson explains that estuaries are shallow, and this allows mangroves to take root and rise to the skies, as well as allowing other plant life to thrive in the water; the shallowness allows for sunlight to reach the bottom, giving rise to photosynthesis.

A new baby mangrove island just starting out

Another mangrove island

And yet another mangrove island

Because photosynthesis can happen in the shallow waters of this bay, grasses and other plants can grow here, providing food, hiding places, and nursery grounds for many, many forms of wildlife. This includes the mangrove islands.

Video: Panning a mangrove island where lots of birds are settling down for the evening. Audio: talking about clam seeds that start out as parasites

Video: Cruising by mangroves. Audio: Describing fish farms/hatcheries

Many of the life forms that thrive in the rookery and the mangrove islands can also thrive elsewhere, but there are a few that are found exclusively in the mangroves. The one that Dr. Jackson mentioned was the the mangrove cuckoo

NEXT TIME: Popular inhabitants of the rookery

Wordless Wednesday: Rookery Bay Sunset Interlude

Sunset on Rookery Bay

Naples, Florida

April 26th, 2008


Many, MANY thanks to all of you who have posted encouraging comments and sent really nice messages regarding the Rookery Bay Sunset Cruise series. We’re about half through, and it’s nice to know that this sort of blogging is appreciated.

Today is just a little pause for Wordless Wednesday; there’s more of the series to come tomorrow and Friday. Hope to see you here again!

Sunset Cruise on Rookery Bay, Part 2

Sunset Cruise on Rookery Bay, Southwest Florida
Saturday 26 April 2008

Part 2: Into The Rookery

Dr. Jerry Jackson


Dr. Jerry Jackson is a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. He’s kindly and energetic, and demonstrates a keen, bubbling-over enthusiasm for his subject, namely – birds! Dr. Jackson doesn’t always do this eco-tour; I have the impression it was a special treat for all us public radio geeks who listen to his radio spot on WGCU every morning.

Dr. Jackson displays a bird’s skull


What’s a Rookery?

He started off by telling us about the word “rookery”, which he points out has “rook” at it’s root, which is a European crow. Indeed, dictionary.com tells us that this is so, and also points out that “rook” can also mean “to swindle”. Perhaps the verb arises from a crow’s proptensity to swipe things. So if a crow is a “rook”, then a crow’s nesting place is a “rookery”, a term which came to be more broadly applied to places where any types of birds have their colonies.

The Importance of Mangroves

A little mangrove island with some critters hanging out

Dr. Jackson apparently loves words nearly as much as he loves birds, for he went on to expound upon the word “mangrove, remarking that the roots look like the legs and feet of a “man”, and that they grow in a “grove” or tight grouping.

A display of mangrove roots

A tricolor heron rests in the tangle of the mangrove roots

An egret wades for his dinner among the mangrove roots

NEXT TIME: More about the mangrove islands and their inhabitants.

Wordless, Sunday April 27th 2008

Wordless, Sunday April 27th 2008
“But… why?”

Six Mile Cypress Slough ~ Fort Myers, Florida ~ July, 2005

Eat At Joe’s

Just down the street from the park is this restaurant on the river. It smelled divine. Will have to try this place next time someone comes down to visit from the frozen north. There’s a quasi-wrap-around porch outside with a good view.

OK, so this concludes my outting to Centennial Park. It gave me the opportunity to post some miles to Shipshape (I’m guesstimating a mile and a half), and it kept me from sitting home and fidgeting because I don’t smoke any more. Day 19, woo hoo!

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Play time

Above and below, a couple of play areas for the kiddoodles. Notice the open space; they do fireworks over the river on the 4th of July, and I bet it gets packed with people for that event.

Below, more artsy fartsy stuff – I thought the sky looked cool through the labyrinth of bare branches, seed pods and new green growth.

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More sights

Above, we have some amazing cloud formations serving as a backdrop for the majestic high-rises. You can see from the palm tree that there was a fairly good breeze coming in over the water, which was a good thing because it sure was hot today!

Above, some tiled detail of a pavillion, under which there were some women and children setting up a meal on picnic tables, which they’d covered with brightly colored plastic cloths that flapped in the wind.

I only took the picture above because I wanted an excuse to hover nearby and listen to what was going on with reference to the sign below (took that pic surreptitiously). There was a semi-circle of people, probably 20 of them, sitting around discussing the bible. They all apparently brought their own seating, for the semi-circle consisted of a wide variety of stools, camp chairs, beach loungers, and even a few metal folding chairs. It did not feel it right to take their picture while they were at their Sunday worship. But I thought it was pretty cool that they have their services outside in a beautiful setting, and I found their conversation interesting. It was all about what temptation means in this day and age.

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I guess it was a low tide

There were some exposed mud flats close to shoreline/promenade. I peered down and saw some fiddler crabs waving in a threatening manner at one another – “look girls, my claw is MUCH bigger than his!” – but no king’s crowns, alas! It would have been pretty easy to clamber down there and retrieve them, had I spied any.

Dontcha just love mangroves? They are so weird! some of them that are just starting out sending down roots sort of look humanoid, but once they get more than two, they don’t spook me out much any more.

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Out on the pier

Decided to take a walk out onto one of the fishing piers. On advice of the above signs, did not jump in for a nice swim.

My attempt at artsy fartsy perspective shot.

From under the closer bridge, there is an amazing series of high-rises, standing majestically against the sky. Unfortunately, due to glare, I could not see the screen and chopped off the very tippy top of one of the buildings here.

More artsy fartsy perspective attempt.

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Battle of Fort Myers statue

I had to google (yeah that’s a verb now) and found out that Wikipedia calls The Battle of Fort Myers is known as the “southernmost land battle of the Civil War.” Coincidentally, it looks like tomorrow is the 143rd anniversary of the battle!

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City Seal and Clock

In keeping with my mood to capture trash can art and such these days, here’s the seal of the City of Fort Myers (above). There’s also an old-fashioned street clock down there, and it was actually keeping the correct time.

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More "uncommon friends"

Here’s more of the “Uncommon Friends” fountain. The flowers are part of the sculpture – they’re totally fake! Note there’s a cute little otter statue, too.

Here are some manatees; I looked in the river for some, but didn’t find any.

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Three Fort Myers Dudes

Speaking of cute, how ’bout that baby petting the turtle, above? πŸ˜€ Below, we have Mo, Larry and Curly – oops, I mean Edison, Ford and Firestone. I passed the Ford and Edison estates on the way home (I took McGregor); I guess that will be another outting I’ll need to take soon.

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Florida panthers

Here are some cool statues of panthers, which sadly do no live around here any more. I’ve read that a male panther needs contiguous roaming area of 100 square miles, in which up to 6 females + cubs can also live. We definitely do not have that much contiguous forest any more ’round these parts. This is why they’ve taken down the “panther X-ing” signs on the road to the airport. Anyhow, I like the little baby panther in the last picture below – he’s cute!

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Centennial Park, Fort Myers Florida

I needed to get out of the house today to try and walk off cigarette cravings, so I decided that since I’ve been living here nearly two years, it was high time I visited Centennial Park, which is on the Fort Myers waterfront. Above, I’m driving down Hendry Street toward the Caloosahatchie River.

Above, I’m still driving. I’m not sure how many bridges there are, or which one that is, above. It might be the one that’s part of I-75???

I parked in non-metered parking in the post office, which is across the street from this event center. No clue what sort of “events” take place there.

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