When is a pear not a fig? When it’s a whelk!

It has the graceful arc of a paper fig, but it’s a whelk. It’s not
left-handed, like the lightning whelk, nor is it beaded, like the
channeled whelk. I’ve been calling it a pear whelk lo these many years,
but now I find that the genus name, busycon spiratum, derives from
busykon, the Greek word for "fig". Meanwhile, the other fig is ficus
papyratia or "paper fig", but it has been renamed to ficus communis,
"common fig". I think I would object, if I were a fig – identity crisis

This particular pear whelk was found on Bunche Beach in Fort Myers,
Florida, tangled in some thread-like seaweed. After liberating it from
the mess, I placed it on one of hundreds of pieces of coral that had
recently washed ashore. They made a good pedestal for showing off the
whelk’s shapeliness, but I could not later identify them from the
photograph. After asking around and speculating, I’m settling on pillar
coral that has taken a beating in the surf.

pear whelk, Bunche Beach, Fort Myers, Florida

Inaugural photo foray – Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

© Copyright 2013 | http://MyMobileAdventures.com | CLICK any photo for a larger view

IMG_0231I’ve got a new camera. I promised myself that if I could sell $X amount of stuff on eBay within Y amount of time, I could have it. Coveting a camera makes for some powerful motivation, and I not only met my sales, goal, I exceeded it. This is the camera: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 50x Wide-Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom

I did a little messing around with it at home once it arrived, but yesterday – Easter Sunday – was my first foray into the world to give it a test drive. The primary reason I wanted 50x zoom is because I get frustrated with not being able to get close enough to wildlife to take a decent shot. It always astounds me that even with the near-sightedness of middle age, my eyes sometimes see more than my camera can. On the flip side of that, there are some particular wildlife specimens to which it is quite inadvisable to get too close. Therefore, a healthy amount of zoom is in order.

I have much to learn about this camera! Without further ado, here are some of the inaugural shots, taken at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, aka “my cathedral”. Let me know what you think! There will be more posted to my Facebook page.


I was surprised to find out that there is more than one green anole; I’d thought the green one was the American native (Anolis carolensis) and the not-green are invaders. I have since discovered that there is a Cuban green anole (A. porcatus), and that it has blue stripes or specks, like this one (see the area of his shoulder). So maybe this isn’t Anolis carolensis, and it’s actually a Cuban.


A little blue heron hangs out on the “barge” in the middle of Gator Lake. There were also a number of turtles parked on the platforms, sunning themselves.


I don’t really see the blue stripe phenomenon going on here, so my guess is that this anole is a native Floridian.


Up until now, we’ve been looking at zoomed photos. This one was taken as a macro. The macro button is in a different spot than it was on my previous Canon camera, but I finally found it! Oddly, the legs are looking really good, but the body is a bit vague… possibly because it is shiny? The spider was really delicate but patiently waited for me to get my shot. I thanked her profusely 😉


From death springs life; the swamp is really cool that way 🙂


In addition to heat-seeking anoles, there were quite a few gators sunning themselves, too. In this particular pond were three 1 – 1.5 footers, like this one. Of the other two, one was sleeping and the other was quite actively swimming around. This time of year, the livin’ is easy, what with the water levels lower and the ponds shrinking into concentrated pools of food. No wonder they are all tuckered out by afternoon!


I took lots of pictures of this little green heron. He was quite accommodating. Want to know what he was looking at?


There was another little green heron resting in the shade on the far left of the pond.


LOVE this shot – this gator, about a 5-footer, looks so smugly satisfied and comfy in his napping spot in the sun. The arc of his reflection is kind of neat, too.


A bit dark and not the best, but this shot of the pileated woodpecker at work would not have been possible with my old camera. He was simply too far away to capture without massive zoom. According to something the instructor said in a photography class I took last month, I might actually have been able to help this shot along with a long-distance flash.

More shots on Facebook – come check it out! CLICK HERE for more



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Dunk City!

Dunk City!, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

Sign was seen not ten minutes ago as I sat at the light there. In case anyone was wondering – if you get off I-75 at the Alico Road exit in Lee County, Florida, you have arrived at "Dunk City", home of the Florida Gulf Coast University basketball team that surprised everyone and messed up their brackets when they won a place at the Sweet 16. GO, EAGLES!

Three FUNky facts about the black skimmer

During a recent walk on Bunche Beach in Fort Myers, FL, I observed a
number of black skimmers among a hundred or so birds collected on an
exposed sand bar close to shore. Back at home, I did a little research
about the colorful birds with the freaky beaks. Here are my top 3 FUNky
facts about the black skimmer:

1. There are three different types of skimmer; the black skimmer is the
2. The lower part of the black skimmer’s red and black beak is
significantly longer than the upper part. This enables the birds to
"skim" food off the water as they swoop down low across the surface.
3. The beak is not the only unusual thing about the black skimmer. They
have vertical pupils, which is not unusual in the animal kingdom as a
whole, but it’s unique among birds.

black skimmers bunche beach fort myers florida

Grazing in Mexico

Grazing in Mexico, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

The birds situation here at the waterside tables in Mexico is abhorrent. We spoke to the manager and let him know that the dining experience is severely degraded and the birds and humans are in peril when guests are not told that feeding wildlife table side is not acceptable. He asked us to stop by guest relations and tell them too.

Warwick wedding cup

Warwick wedding cup, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

There is a fairy tale legend surrounding the Warwick wedding cup. A man wanted to marry a princess, but was told by her father that he could not unless he invented a drinking cup out if which two people could drink simultaneously without spilling a drop. He made it in the shape of this woman. And they got married and lived happily ever after.

Wildlife challenges at Disney World

When a mama duck will parade her children past a crowd that is only 6 feet away, it’s time to relocate the family. These ducks are simply too unafraid of humans and this leads to encounters with humans that are not safe for anyone involved.

This morning on Walt Disney World property, I witnessed parents and children alike persisting in chasing ducks down, trying to pet them, and then "OUCH – hey it BIT me!". More signs and more Cast Members are needed to educate and intervene.

Please, Disney – you used to be better at this! Don’t wait until someone gets hurt. And yeah, "someone" includes the animals. Practice a little risk management while making the World a little safer for the wildlife that lives and breeds on YOUR property. You can do this – don’t let me down!

The first sea shell I ever picked up in Southwest Florida

Who could forget the magic of finding something so small, so perfect, so enchanting? This sea shell is the Florida cerith, also known as the dark cerith, if you are reading about them on the Bailey-Matthews Shell museum web site.

This was the first kind of sea shell that I ever picked up in Southwest Florida. I’d come for an extended weekend with my three best friends from high school. We were celebrating a milestone birthday with a few nights in a beach cottage on Sanibel Island. I sat down in the sand, with the tide nibbling at my feet, and started examining all the bits and pieces around me. The joy of finding something so tiny and whole and miraculous cannot be adequately described.

Of course, back in my early days of shelling, I wasn’t so discerning and tended to not realize when a cerith was missing it’s “ear” – my term for the aperture. This one is perfectly intact. These little beauties like to hang out in the sandy bottoms and the grass flats of the Gulf, so it’s not uncommon to find them near inlets and bays, and not at all surprising that I spied this one sticking out of the wet sand on Bunche Beach in Fort Myers, FL. To this day, I still get down in the sand to find small sea shells like these. It’s one of my favorite things to do at the 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.

Frosty The Sandman visits Southwest Florida

The last several days have been very chilly here in Southwest Florida.
In a few days, we’ll be heading out of the cold snap and into more
moderate overnight temperatures. In the meantime, some enterprising
tourists have developed a method of melding North and South, frozen
tundra and beachy bliss. Allow me to introduce Frosty the Sandman. I’ve
seen him gracing the beaches before, but never with the Sanibel Causeway
in the background. Yesterday was a beautiful day for a coastal nature
hike, and I’m glad I stopped on the way home from a class. I’ve got
other treasures to share from this expedition, so stay tuned!

All About Rainbows

All About Rainbows, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

As I was rolling the trash cans to the curb on Sunday evening (March 3rd 2013), I noticed water droplets in the driveway. Yet, the sun was shining brightly. I looked up as I rolled, and what I saw made me first gasp, then run inside and grab my phone. The entire arc of a rainbow stood before me in the east. Dark clouds, presumably the source for those driveway droplets, provided a drama-filled backdrop for the spectacle.

A rainbow isn’t really an object or a thing; it’s more of a phenomenon. A rainbow happens as a result of light being reflected in water droplets in the atmosphere. The primary rainbow has red on the outside of the arc and progresses through Roy G. Biv until it reaches violet on the inside of the arc.

When light reflects on the water droplets twice, the result is a double rainbow. The order of the colors is reversed on the second rainbow. There’s a very faint 2nd rainbow in this photo. If you look closely near where the lamp post on the right intersects with the roof of a house, you can just about make out a faint tracing of my rainbow’s twin.

A rainbow will appear in the sky directly opposite of where the sun is. The front of my house faces east, and I’m standing in the front, in the driveway, taking this photo. Therefore, we know that the sun is in the western sky, and that it must be later in the day.

You can walk toward a rainbow all you want, but because it is not an object, you will never get “there”. This is why the leprechauns hide their pots of gold at the ends of rainbows; it’s a sure bet they won’t have to share 😉

(taken in Panorama mode with my iPhone 4S)

Downtown Pizza! In Fort Myers

Downtown Pizza! In Fort Myers, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

It was cold and windy, so after touring the farm, making some purchases, and standing around schmoozing for awhile, we headed to the warmth and comfort of Downtown Pizza, in the Fort Myers River District. We finished our lunch and, revived, took a walk around the waterfront. Then, weaving our way through the streets, we finally arrived back at the car.

The farm stand at Roots Heritage Urban Farm is located at 3901 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd (SR 82) in Fort Myers FL. They plan to be open 6 days a week, and want to expand into a real farmers market.  If you are a vendor, check them out!

Today’s Adventure: Roots Heritage Urban Food Hub in Fort Myers, FL

RootsHeritageOpening2013, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

Roots Heritage Urban Food Hub will celebrate their Grand Opening today here in Fort Myers, FL.

Roots Heritage Urban Food Hub is a sustainable garden growing on 5 acres off Martin Luther King Blvd where seasonal vegetables are grown without chemical assistance, using recycled water and bio solids.

We’re hoping that something tasty for lunch will be for sale. If not, there’s always the possibility of pizza in the Downtown Fort Myers area.

Weather permitting, I’ll mobile blog some photos when we get there.

Ready? Lets go! 🙂

A fountain view at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

I snapped this shot while walking to the bus stop from my room. It’s a beautiful if brisk morning at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. I am headed to the Magic Kingdom, where I will visit the newest section of Fantasyland.

The rest of the family is moving even more slowly than I am, and I am not sure what time I will meet them or where.

The bus is here now – let’s go!

Have Signal, Will Blog! Mobile/photo blogging the Florida lifestyle and vacations