So Dad’s bird list for this year is over 100 birds now, woo hoo!  He only had somewhere in the 70’s when we started the drive to Florida, so we’re pretty excited.  We’ve added a bunch, including Wood Stork, Loggerhead Shrike, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, (I’m sorry, I’m not sure I’ve got all the capitalizations correct for the bird names), Black Bellied Plover, Sandwich Tern, Black and White Warbler, Common Ground Dove, Tri-Color Heron… and I’m sure I’ll think of more later.  We saw dolphins again at one of the local parks we visited (I’m not talking ‘local park’ in terms of a few swing sets and a sand box on a bit of lawn), as well as horseshoe crabs, some other fish we don’t know what they were, a dead cow/box fish (not sure I’ll post that picture, it was not that ‘manky’ or gross, but it was washed up on shore with the soft bits mostly missing, but their scales fuse to make a sort of boxy bony protective …body shaped box for them, so that was left with a bit of washed out color).

Here come some of the pictures!

Again, they’re not in complete order, as some of them are taken with my cell phone (it seems to do better at focusing on horizon distance for sunsets and stuff for some reason…whatevs!).

Also, here’s a bit of the reason that Doc has me on a 3 month (ok, like 2 month and … lessee now… 14 day?) ban on from jogging… and I usually wear my fitbit so if I don’t wear it, it will be suspicious, and if I do wear it, he can check on my step pattern for the day…sigh.  I suppose I should probably try to actually let my Achilles tendon heal.  I’ve got a bit of a lump on the insertion (origin?) down near the posterior, a bit lateral point on my calcaneus on my left foot/heel.  It’s been there since at least last summer.  I started having trouble with soreness in the morning about the same time Ryan came back from the AT (I was doing a lot of jogging, and wearing a weight belt whilst so doing, and the roads I was jogging were not exactly flat…).  Anyway, I’ve been slowly taking it easy or having not as much time to jog, and now with the ban on jogging as well as the multivitamins, more magnesium, and collagen, as well as ice and heat and icing it, it seems to be feeling better.  I can’t say I’m not walking more than “resting it” would probably mean, and walking bare foot on the beach, but I’m not jogging (well, like I’ll jog like 20 feet once and a while to catch up or hustle across a road… but that’s minimizing it right?).

 

 

In what felt like a seriously long way away distance across a huge lake, but actually wasn’t that big of a lake at all, we spotted a raccoon.  Doc’s a fan of raccoons (when they’re not in the chicken coop or yard tangling with Kyle), so I tried to get some good pictures… by taking a lot of them and hoping.  I’m actually pleased, there are a few pictures that if you zoom in the grey blob in it actually looks kind of coon-ish.

 

 

Yes, I know those aren’t shoes.  But since it’s not like I’m hurting them at this point, it’s fun.  I didn’t try to put on any live ones.

Well, I think it’s fun.  They don’t care.

 

Gopher Tortoises apparently like grass.  I hope it’s as easy to find it as I would assume, and maybe that’s why they’re getting that large?  We’re not sure if that’s scraping on the top of them, or an identifying paint mark, or if they were curious about some maintenance project and got too close…

 

I was so happy some of those warbler pictures turned out to be in focus AND have a bird in the shot!  We spent a lot of time trying to get enough glimpses of them to figure out how many kinds of birds we were seeing, and what some of them were.  We’re pretty certain it was more Palm Warblers (now we’ve seen some, and their pumping, wagging, bobbing tail action, we’re spotting them in a lot of places), a few Black and White Warblers (one species, not black ones and white ones), and what is probably a Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher.  Gnats, not flies…there are other flycatcher birds.

It was pretty windy, and all the locals say it has been unseasonably cool the last week or so. Figures, oh well, it’s warmer than where we live!

I’m having fun trying to post these, because I just noticed that in this batch of pictures, my DCIM folder has made 118 and 119 recently in it…not that that matters, it just keeps making a new folder every hundred pictures I think, or something, even if I delete out all the previously taken pictures.  That’s fine, so nothing gets renamed an old picture name and all that logical stuff.  However, I noticed that there were pictures taken in the evening that were split over the tail end of the folder, and started the top of the folder, in the same folder.  It seems I’ve taken so many pictures (if you’ve never tried to take a picture of a warbler in a tree with leaves on, try it and you’ll know how many pictures I’m deleting to get ones with a drop/water/freeze etc. proof-ish camera not a SLR camera that are in basically in focus and actually have the bird somewhere recognizable in the picture), that my camera has started numbering them from zero… I’ve got DSCF9998 and DSCF0002 etc. I’d like to post.  But the upper numbers are taken earlier in the day than the lower numbers.  I will probably have to figure out how to set it to number them differently, or absolutely ensure I don’t mix any new low number pictures with the original low number pictures when storing them or they’ll get overwritten…sigh.
I’ll figure something out!

 

 

I cant remember what the green speckled sluggy thing was, a lady and gentleman we were walking with said they had looked them up but I can’t remember what she said they were… and I don’t know for sure what the thing that looks like a sea urchin and the bottom of a star fish had a baby is, but it was cool.

And hey, I managed to take pictures of a yellow-jacket/wasp insect that didn’t try to impale me (and I didn’t try to mow the lawn).  I did get a little concerned, because when I spotted it, it seemed to be digging a burrow in the pathway (which was loose sand).  And then I remembered the last 100 yards of path just around the last bend had been riddled with small holes… or tunnels.  I wasn’t sure what made them… and nothing came out to see what was walking on the path.  I’m still not sure they were from the wasp, it could have been a bird looking for lunch, or a burrowing crayfish, or something else.  They weren’t like the yellow-jacket holes in Pennsylvania we saw, those were a bit wider, and could accommodate more than one flying yellow-jacket at the same time, but these holes were barely wider around than a pencil.

There also are a lot of pictures I deleted because my camera doesn’t like to focus on things about farther than 40 feet (or something… I’m horrible at distance measurements like that, ask Doc…  ).  So there I spent a long time trying to take a bunch of pictures of the birds along the sandbar in the picture group above, and then trying to figure out what the short billed large shore bird was.  I think it was a Black Bellied Plover, but I didn’t get any good pictures.  Mom and Dad identified and spotted the couple Oystercatchers…which is cool because they’re pretty distinctive if you get a good look at the legs, bill, and body so you can be pretty confident about your ID even if you’ve only had to think, look, and check in the book back-and-forth for less than a minute.  I sat on the shore watching the sandbar long enough to soak my bum through my pants from the wet sand trying to narrow down choices for the plover.  The sun angle and glare, and shadowing didn’t help any of the ID’s, nor did the fact that there were so many birds and they kept doing their foraging thing up and down and back and forth along the edge of the sand bar.  We didn’t walk up along that beach because there was supposedly a movie about dolphins being filmed up towards the point.  That sounded believable, because there were an awful lot of people with equipment in the parking lot and up along the beach, and those reflective panels for getting light, and tents and just stuff that seemed out of place for day picnicking or beach combing.  The large pick-up (new model, powerful, black and just autoritative/swanky looking) that drove along the beach and back into the parking lot with a fake foamy life size bottle-nose dolphin with patches of paint missing helps support the whole dolphin movie thing. Whoop.

I was pretty excited because when I walked back to the bench Mom and Dad were gracing after finally identifying the plover, I spotted something they had been watching too.  It was a gull, which had either learned to eat the biofilm or something else on the shower/water spiggot along the beach, or was drinking from a leak or something.  Either way it was pretty slick, although I prefer the drinking water as extra slick.  I mean, it’s an ocean and low elevations, so where would a bird find an easy drink that isn’t salty? A human installed water source!  Slick, eh?  Also, we’re not sure what the heck the bird is, the nearest we can come is an immature Laughing Gull, but the back seems slightly off… or the neck…it’s just so simply grey and sleek. I like it a lot, it’s simple, clean and graceful, but it’s not a typical easily identified bird!  I’m fond of a lot of birds; gulls, hummers, grackles, crows and ravens, osprey, chick-a-dees, blue jays, hmmm well, most of them.

 

These grackles have learned to eat acorns cracked open and crumbled by foot traffic and cars, which is pretty clever and pretty darn handy seeing as there are a lot o all of them (acorns, feet, and tires).

 

 

 

Yah, I know, that’s not where we expected to find Storks, we kept hoping to see them in one of the parks.  However, we decided to tour the edges of the boardwalk tourist trap place almost across the way from where we are/were staying to see if the reports of dolphins hanging out in the passage between the actual coastal waters and an intracoastal waterway thing (or is it intercoastal…? it runs along the coast just inside.. and there are like barrier islands and stuff…oh whatever… it’s like a sort of canal along the coast).  And I ended up counting 50 or just over birds in this little area from a second story balcony, the power lines across the alley, and the front of this little tarot reading shop.  About two were Great Egrets, four were Storks, one was a Black-Crowned Night Heron, one was a Great Blue Heron, and the rest were Snowy Egrets, I think…there were A LOT!!!! And they were pretty habituated, other people had come down the alley to take pictures too, and they barely blinked at us all.  I think that’s all for this update dump of pictures, hopefully y’all are having a good end of the year and keeping well! Cheers!

Addie and crew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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