These birds are the ones doing the stalking (for their dinners). (Of course, as birders we were stalking them at the same time..with our cameras.)
These birds are the ones doing the stalking (for their dinners). (Of course, as birders we were stalking them at the same time..with our cameras.)
Visit Skywatch, hosted by Sylvia and Sandy -- Thank you! Click the links and share what people all over the world are seeing when they look up!
Visit Weekend Reflections and click the links for other reflective pictures. Thank you James.
Visit Sunday Bridges and click for bridges from the whole wide world. Thanks Louis.
Skies were a beautiful blue last week. We went by boat to lunch with friends at Marker 34 Restaurant. The restaurant's dock is at the end of a canal just before this little bridge.
Marker 34 is the spot where we turned the boat off the Caloosahatchie and into the channel where the restaurant is. This channel has a kind of 'African Queen' feel to it. The boat (rail in the right corner) is just in the middle of the channel, so the mangroves are this close on both sides.
The reflected sky looks bluer than than real one in the picture below. Here we were heading back into the main part of the river and then home:
FOR OUR WORLD and SHADOW SHOT SUNDAY (NOTE: We are back from the beach now, but this self-portrait seemed like such a good fit for SSS, I couldn't resist linking in.) Thank you to the hosts of both these wonderfully fun sharing places. We appreciate your work!
Off to the beach for a few days. See you soon!
Two collages showing just a few examples of the beautiful work done by some of our talented friends here at Upriver RV Resort. The craft show was part of the end-of-season festivities known here as Upheaval.
I'm not crafty at all, so my role is as an ooher and aaher..... there has to be somebody whose purpose is just to admire other people's talent! It was fun to see the final results of all their hard work.
FOR SKYWATCH FRIDAY and for the SUNDAY STILLS photo challenge from whom I took the title of this post. The challenge said: "In this season when winter ends and spring begins but in keeping with the seasons lets find us some weather…..naughty or nice."
This is the first week of Spring, a season known in most places for its changeable weather.
Here in the Fort Myers Florida area however, if we're talking about change, the weather is NOT. It's warm and sunny and skies are blue, with those fair-weather clouds we love... pretty much the same as it's been all Winter. We are not complaining!
Especially because yesterday, our friend Patrick from Oregon e-mailed us the pictures below. This is how the Lake where we stayed last summer looked on the first day of Spring! Now, that is change. That is WEATHER. (Snow is quite rare in Western Oregon -- even during the Winter. I don't remember a Spring snow in all the years we lived there.)
Here's a quote from his e-mail:
"Started last night, went to rain turning all into ice and then snowing again. Supposed to get hit again tonight with heavier. Weird, only Salem down to Eugene/Veneta and in the valley. The coast, Portland and the Siskiyous into Cal are just rain!"
Thank you Patrick. I am no longer envious of Oregon's early Spring.
for SIGNS SIGNS ..... Thank you Lesley!
Window sign in Cape Coral -- spotted on our way to lunch.
This shop's not my "fun service salon" -- it's too far away from where we live. I've never seen a shop actually "offer" mental therapy before, but when you think about it, it really is a big part of any good beauty-shop/salon visit!
Of course, my hair's so short that I don't have to go to the shop very often -- and it doesn't take long for a good operator to give me a good cut -- so I don't get a LOT of mental therapy. (Be kind -- no smart remarks please!)
.... AND no, I'm not talking about any of my Winter neighbors who are Ohio State (Buckeye) supporters (they're all wonderful and not the least bit common besides)! Nope, instead ...
I'm working on my butterfly identification skills...... and I think I've got this one nailed!
(THIS POST IS LINKED TO NATURE NOTES. Thank you Michelle)!
Spotted these beauties at Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge .... and saw the sign the next weekend over at Cape Coral (where we found the Zebra butterfly chrysalis for this post).
Perfect match, don't you think? So here are two views of a Common Buckeye.
I grayed the background on this shot and I think its lovely colors might even show up better that way:
The Buckekye's host plant (where they lay their eggs) is the mangrove -- one of the many reasons why this habitat is vital in our area.
Smaller than the great egret, the snowy egret has a similar white body and black legs.
It has some yellow beneath its eyes.
And the snowy also has bright yellow feet. It was called YELLOW SLIPPERS by the Seminole Indians.
The curly tail feathers are breeding plumage.
I'm sure about this identification (for a change). The picture shows every identifying criteria that our guidebooks talk about.
We didn't find as many birds at Darling this time as we have on past visits, but the ones we did see were wonderful!
It was a good day.
FOR OUR WORLD. Hosted by Sandy, Lady Fi, Sylvia, Gattina, and Arija. Thank you to each of these wonderful hosts for making this meme possible.
A private dining room for the Upriver Boat Club this month -- at Doc Ford's, Fort Myers Beach. That's our boat docked there in the bottom right picture.
Just a few of the views of the water and some other boats (not ours):
It is spring break week and there are lots of vacationers at the beach. The pirate's harbor-cruise boat was full and some other boats we saw were overloaded. Hard to believe the bottom right photo below. There is having fun and there is just plain stupidity (there are four people sitting up there in that fishing boat tuna tower -- it's made for one) :
There is always beautiful scenery along the way -- as well as good company:
Click on the links at Our World. "Where family-friendly bloggers share images of their world and tell us a little bit of the story about the place."
For the photo challenge SUNDAY STILLS. The challenge this week was to 'photograph your interpretation of transition'
The butterfly metamorphosis still seems like magic, even though I know better.
We found the chrysalis still hanging on at the Butterfly House at Rotary Park, Cape Coral. Zebra Heliconian butterflies had emerged from their 'shells' and were flying all over the butterfly house and even around the outside gardens.
The Zebra is Florida's State Butterfly. (I don't know whether most states have one or not.)
We enjoy seeing it and other butterflies all season long here.
Here's a link to one of many you-tube butterfly videos - I liked it because it kind of combines the science with the magic.
FOR: WEEKEND REFLECTIONS. Thank you James.
Folk artist Jim Sprankle has been carving amazingly lifelike decoys for 44 years. Here are some of them which he has donated to the Ding Darling Refuge on Sanibel Island near us.
These are just a few favorites -- (and those that I was able to photograph without getting my own mirror image).
***ADDED after Friday's post: Thank you to Nick (host of Floral Friday Fotos) who identified the flower. Here's a copy of his comment with a link to his source (and also click on Nick's name for a link to his excellent main blog):
Yet another Florida flower whose name I don't know. (All help welcomed!) It is a vine and is growing in only one yard here in the RV Park. Nobody I have talked to knows what it is. But we all think its lovely.
FOR: SKYWATCH FRIDAY Thank you to Sylvia and Sandy for hosting!
According to Jules Feiffer:
“Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue....
Those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we're stupid."
But: These skies are both red AND the way they really are (at least some of the time).
Thank you to the hosts of Skywatch Friday. Go. Click. Look UP!
Not much of a bargain. I can go to Lesley's SIGNS SIGNS every week and - for free - see almost that many signs that are witty and smart and fun to look at. This one's not any of those things. But this person would be happy to make it possible for you too to clutter up 99 more street corners. (Please don't do it!)
There's definitely more visual pollution along the roadsides here than there should be. If I were rich, I'd pay $99.00 to remove 99 signs!
FOR NATURE NOTES. Thank you Michelle.
The Cabbage Palm (Sabal Palmetto) is Florida's State Tree. We see it everywhere and I am fascinated by the basket-weave look of its trunk.
The Palm on the left is on the walking path in the nature area next door to our RV Park.
Below is some information from an interpretive sign at Manatee Park.
This history shows that the Sabal Palm was an excellent choice for State Tree.
"The leaves or fronds of the cabbage palm were used by Seminole culture and before that by the Calusa tribes.
Leaf tips and trunk fibers could be woven into bindings and fishing nets. The edible fruits were used as famine food by the Calusa. Dried fruit could be ground into a course meal for bread.
Whole palm trunks were used to build houses by early Florida settlers. The bud or "heart of palm" is edible and can be purchased in grocery stores. It is often referred to as swamp cabbage, an old Florida cracker favorite. "
Florida Cracker is (as far as we can tell) an affectionate term for native Floridians. One of the nearby small communities hosts an annual Swamp Cabbage festival, but we haven't gotten there yet. Maybe next year!
This shelter at Manatee Park is made using palm thatching.
Visit Nature Notes and click on the links. You will be glad you did. Today is the third anniversary for this great meme. I wish I'd found it sooner!
FOR WORLD BIRD WEDNESDAY. Thanks Springman!
We had fun watching a Reddish Egret in the mudflats at the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge last weekend. This bird feeds by confusing its prey.
It dances around, stumbles and flaps its wings and, in general, confuses the poor little fish so much that it can't figure out where to go to hide.
And then -- bam -- it's a fish dinner for the egret!
This egret actually weaved around so much it looked like it had had way too much to drink. Wish we'd had a video camera.
Sometimes OUR WORLD isn't about new and different adventures, but about the little joys of everyday life!
Daffodils just make me happy! There's no getting around it.
We went to a different grocery store this week and Bill found bunches of "field daffodils" in the floral section. In Florida they are an exotic species -- this was definitely not buying local.
But it was worth it. Because there's a lifetime of memories associated with these golden beauties.
Thank you to the hosts of Our World.
FOR RUBY TUESDAY with thanks to the hosts for this cheerful weekly collection.
These are accidental reds -- not really growing where they are supposed to be.
A touch of red brightens any day.
THE SUNDAY STILLS CHALLENGE for this week was "take two pictures…..one of 'the big picture' and the second of just a part of the same thing."
There's a nature trail between our RV resort and one part of the Caloosahatchie Creeks Preserve, where these pictures were taken. The first year we were here, we were surprised to see so many ferns. We were used to them in our native Pacific Northwest forests, but didn't know they'd also thrive in Florida's subtropical climate. But apparently as long as there is moisture they do well.
I'm happy to see them anywhere or everywhere.
FOR SIGNS SIGNS* (Not my pictures just this once -- these came in an e-mail, but I need a smile this morning and maybe you do too. )
(Great buy, but we have enough already thank you very much!)
Thanks to Lesley for hosting. Visit Signs Signs for more smiles!
This anhinga is spreading its wings to dry in the sunshine. Anhingas, like cormorants, are water birds that don't have water repellent feathers. That makes them less buoyant and more able to move quickly through the water. And that makes it easier for them to catch their fish dinner. But they can't fly at all well when their wings become water-soaked, so (after they've eaten) they perch somewhere to dry before moving on to the next meal site.
Anhinga is a Brazilian Indian word that means snake bird. When you see them in the water, it's easy to tell why they are named that. We watched a couple of them slithering through the water where we saw the baby alligators . For a while we thought that the birds might actually be chasing the babies, but it was probably fish.
The cormorant (seen here) has a shorter beak with a downturned hook at the end.
This is the time of year when I start to miss Spring flowers -- so it's time to play with the flowers we do have.
The tradeoff for no Winter (as we used to know it) is no Spring. So we don't have pussy willows or daffodils or violets or tulips. Or really any of the Spring flowers we used to grow (or at least see) back in our other life.
Florida flowers are more lush. Show-offs really.
But they're showing off under that blue sky you can see in some of these pictures. So we think it's a pretty good tradeoff!
No flowers were harmed in arranging and re-arranging these Florida beauties.
Joining Sunday Stills for the first time. This week, the challenge is "to find an opening (a window, knothole, fence…) and use it to frame something on the other side." (I am using photos from our FullTime-Life archives just this once. From now on, I will try to meet this weekly theme challenge with new pictures!)
In this other picture, you can see the high rise building just beyond the garden's boundaries.
If I lived or worked in that building, I'd visit this garden every day!
Looking ...and walking ... through these gates help to establish a feeling of serenity .... as if you've left the cares of the world on the other side.
The picture below is from the Japanese Garden at House on the Rock, in Wisconsin.
Here's a picture of one of the serene spaces beyound the gate.
THIS bit of SATURDAY SILLINESS is linked to CAMERA CRITTERS.*
SNAKE: NOT A SNAKE:
The one on the left really is a snake. But the Strangler Fig on the right almost seems more snake-like than the real one. Both were found at Corkscrew.
The Strangler Fig looks like vines growing up the tree trunk, but it is really roots growing down. In tropical areas this fig creates a dense canopy which can kill the host trees by shading them from the sun. (It doesn't actually strangle anything.) This area of Florida is on the northern edge of its habitat and winter temperatures are chilly enough to limit growth, so that it never develops into that thick canopy.
( * Thank you to Misty for hosting!! Visit Camera Critters. Most of the animals are warmer-blooded -- and cuter -- than my entry! )
These different shades of Southwest Florida blue
(from the first three months of this Winter season)
Linked to SKYWATCH FRIDAY
Sometimes it's hard to remember to look anywhere but up!
If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if the simplest things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive. (Eleanora Duse)