Welcome to my "Florida" blog

Being a third generation Florida native, I'm completely enamored with the diverse beauty of this gorgeous peninsula. For most of the year the weather is divine which makes exploring its unlimited nooks and crannies fun and easy.

Wherever I go I appreciate nature and the world around me. Come along with me as I share the places I visit and perhaps a few other amusements I find interesting along the way.

(FYI: Every post prior to January 1, 2009 was previously published and imported from my garden blog)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Black Skimmers

Black Skimmers are beautiful and unusual shorebirds. The lower mandible being longer than the upper and their coloration striking.

In flight it is graceful and soaring with a wing span of 3.5' and a body of only 18".

A beautiful sight to see on the shoreline as it forages in flight while skimming its lower mandible just under the surface of the water.

There were large colonies of them roosting nearby the last time we were vacationing on Longboat Key.

They roost by lying almost flattened, with their entire body... from head to tail... in contact with the sand. Lots of yapping and barking notes go on during this time.

Human disturbance would send them into the air in a flurry. It was sad to see when folks couldn't recognize they should be left in peace. They would return to the same sandy area shortly.

Their habitat is coastal marine environments, including estuaries, lagoons, sheltered bays and inlets; and they roost on mudflats and beaches.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Crabby Breakfast

An early morning snag by the powerful beak of a Yellow-crowned Night Heron perusing the shoreline.

The ghost crab peeked his head out of his own home in the sand at just the 'wrong' time.

A wiggly, squirming, but useless struggle ensues.

Some flipping and tossing by the strong, deft beak.

Eye-ball to eye-ball, Mr. Crabby sees his life flash before his eyes.

Probably wishing about now that he had taken a moment to kiss his wife good-bye.

Could have saved his life prolonging it for at least one more morning.

Flipping and tossing is the usual procedure.

Afterall the prey has to slide down the hatch at just the right angle.

Now missing a few legs that have become dismembered and landed on the sand.

Awww... I see some resignation now on Mr. Crabby's face. Realizing his fate is inevitable he actually looks a little more sad than feisty at this point.

Better say your final prayers, Mr. Crabby. This is not going to end well.

One ginormous GULP and Mr. Crabby's next appearance will be in seabird guano. Geez, I actually buy that stuff to use as fertilizer for my garden.
Mr. Yellow-crowned Night Heron proceeds to pick up one fallen crab leg at a time to clean up the evidence.

Fully satisfied he turns to proudly stroll back in the direction from which he originally came. I wonder how long that meal will last?

A LIVE view of the skillful capture and maneuver of the Yellow-crowned Night Heron...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge

I've got a good bit of catching up to do on this blog.

Backing up a few months ... it was a cold, blustery autumn day when Mr. Meems and I made our way to St. Mark's Lighthouse and National Wildlife Refuge.

We spend quite a bit of time in the Panhandle of Florida. It is a beautiful part of our state.

So much land and so many places left untouched by man.

St. Mark's is a remarkably breathtaking place. The sunset and the cold winds blowing were a perfect combination to end a flawless day.