Hey folks, I have temporarily stuck Doc with the home chores, and gone with my parents and an ‘aunt’ (… cousin of my parents who’s essentially an aunt) to Florida for a week.  We’re down near St. Petersburg, sort of.

 

I’m uploading these from the resort we’re staying at, and so I’m not intending to write a huge long paper to go with them. (and sorry, they’re not all in order, but you’ll get the picture… well, metaphorically).

But here’s a bit of what’s going on.  We missed the red tide they had here by a few weeks (good thing!), and we drove down here just sliding south ahead of Diego the storm, and I had looked at the weather forecast and noticed that our arrival day, yesterday afternoon would be our best bet for anything in the ocean with warm air and calm breezes, so I went in yesteday (Saturday, the 8th).  I didn’t do a lot of swimming (I have a slight heeby-jeeby in water I can’t see through and in an ocean, with rip currents, bigger waves, and salt and sharks and other things, it’s a little less than paranoia …) but I did go in.  It tasted salty, and was not cold.

 

Dad always keeps a semi informal list of the birds he’s seen each year, and especially when I get to tag along for their vacations, I like to help him accumulate as many as I can, so I do a lot of buck-shot style photography of birds, so I can hope to ID them later.  We often have an idea of what we’re looking at, but aren’t sure which of a few options it might be.

 

So far, I’ll be able to post pictures of Forster’s Terns, Elegant Terns, <- Not elegant, Royal Terns (12-12-18) Sanderlings, Ruddy Turntones, Black-Crowned Night-Herons (adult and immature), Little Blue Heron, great Blue Heron, Willets, Ring-Billed Gulls, Black Skimmer, Osprey, and possibly Eurasian Collared-Dove (looks a little square-tailed to be Mourning Doves).  There were fish we saw, and someone said they were probably Sheepheads (sheep heads?), and we’ve seen a lot of Brown Pelicans but I’m not sure they’ve made any of my main pictures, and there was a Sandhill Crane at the bird sanctuary we visited today. There were other birds there that (like the Sandhill) were permanent residents because they couldn’t be rehabilitated to the point of being fairly released, and Dad doesn’t count birds that are “on display” sort of thing (zoos, stuff like that), but it was a nice opportunity to take a picture of one of my many favorite birds.

Oh yah, there was a Cattle Egret.  We haven’t really stopped at any inland parks yet, so I think we’ll pick up a bunch of new species there, too.  More of the ducks and similar ones, as well as maybe some perching birds which don’t really hang out on beaches!

 

 

P.S. oh yah, I forgot there were tons of sponges and a few other marine life forms (feathery wandy sticky things and corals and the usual shells) all over.  We’ve never seen sponges like this all over the beaches… but we haven’t been exactly on this beach, but we’ve been at other Florida beaches in the past in other areas of Florida.  So we don’t know if this is typical or not.  We haven’t had time to ask yet.  I’m wondering if the red tide killed a lot of things off (well, it did, a local told us it killed a bunch (like zillions of them, like carried off in huge numbers of trucks to an incinerator) of fish) or weakened them, so when the thunder storm with high winds and potential tornado went through last night and this morning, the weakened sponges and stuff ended up on the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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