Thursday, June 22, 2017

Puzzle Solved!

We just finished our second 1000 piece photo montage. 

By the end we were seeing red. 

Considering we only pay .99 cents at the thrift store for these challenges, we've been fortunate that out of 2000 pieces there have only been two missing.  That keeps in the 99 theme with a percentage of .999.  We're getting ready to start our third so we'll see where our percentages end up after this one.

We don't see her all that much these days, so when we do, Annie makes sure to get her licks in and let us know that those little motor bikes of ours aren't really so special after all!

A while back one of the bushings on our windshield wipers gave out after 28 years of faithful service.  We had considered going ahead and doing all of them but being crunched for time we opted to only replace that one.  Then a few months later, another went out.  As we were replacing it, the rain was beginning to pour down.  So, once again, we decided to only replace that one.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago when on our way home from the beach in the rain.... bushing #3 gave out.  This time, we finished off all bushing with new and fingers crossed should be good in the rain for another 28 years. 

                                  Weekday Traffic

Our resident Yellow-crowned Night Heron hanging by the pond.

Suppose these guys were looking tasty.

                      One of our flashier swimmers.

We see more blooms each day.
Like these Rhoeo spathecea flowers,

also known as Moses In The Craddle which is a bit more
obvious in this shot.
This Shell Ginger plant is new for us and quite pretty.

The aptly named Firecracker.


Did you know that Pineapple plants are a bromeliad?

Not something we expected to see in our neighborhood.
            We were transported to Hawaii for a moment.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Possum Long Audubon Nature Preserve

Located just a short motor-bike down the road from us this preserve includes almost 5-acres of urban forest and sloughs that are slowly being rehabilitated to their natural states.

It seems we are (intentionally or not) working hard to build up our heat tolerance and on this day once again chose to make the outing smack dab in the middle of the day. 

Needless to say, it was quite warm but we trampled around and took in what we could before the lure of creating our own breeze by motor-biking became too strong to resist.

Two Juvenile Red Shouldered Hawks highlighted the day.
They did their best to hide but we still spotted them several times throughout our visit.
The Bromeliads were still showing some color.

Possibly in the trumpet creeper family.  Still investigating.
  We spotted this tiny Eulophia graminea (Chinese Crown) orchid.
While delicate and pretty, it is unfortunately an invasive and one of the newest invasives we’ve seen to date having first been discovered in 2007 in Miami. 

Nicole doesn’t really have a mushroom bucket list per se but she does have several that she’d like to see.  Seeing them though is purely haphazard for us.  The Clathrus ruber aka Latticed Stinkhorn is one she’s been interested in so she was pretty excited when Darlene found one on this walk.  It was on the way out but it still goes down as a much desired lifer.

more bloomin’ bromeliads
Two Great Southern White Butterflies Blending In

We found a nice shade tree just as one of the Red Shouldered Hawks did.
A bit of a size differential. Would you believe that this Red Bellied Woodpecker was aggressively defending her nest and had no fear of the monstrous beast next to her?

Gloriosa rothschildiana
Gloriosa Lily
That’s all for now...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sights in Stuart, FL

We're really not sure where the time goes these days.  A guy at work was getting all of these hugs and greetings and welcome backs so Nicole said, "was he on vacation?" No.  Apparently he had been out for two months having surgery.  Nicole could have sworn she saw him just a week ago! 

Anyway, time is flying by now that we are stationary for a bit.  Maybe it is just that we've become proficient at being less efficient.  We'll call it relaxing.

In between our proficient relaxation we've done some going, seeing and doing that did not involve Home Depot (both of us work there now, by the way).

The Intracoastal beach near our place was experiencing a very low tide.  Nicole spent time walking ankle deep and exploring the bottom which included a very large number of Hermit Crabs.

NOTE: The only camera available on this adventure was the one in the flip phone so due to low quality some photos may require interpretation or imagination.

                                           Purplish spots are tiny hermits.

                        They were leaving a neat pattern of trails everywhere.

                           Great idea gone bad?

Not sure if he was out exploring and couldn't get back to the water in time or maybe he was trying to molt.  It has been hot.  He dehydrated right in his shell and looked as if he had been trying to climb out to safety.

                       Another left high and dry. 

                          And some wet ones...


                      This one was a bit shy

                           but eventually made an appearance.

                                A flock of mostly Kildeer was hanging out.

                 There were other kinds of crabs too like tiny Horseshoe Crabs.

                                    They were quite determined travelers.

              Also they were quite small, covering only one and a half fingertips.

There were so many different kinds of shells and when turned
over to their non-algae side they were quite colorful.

       Nicole kept searching though in hopes of finding an empty one to take home.

Eventually, she found one that passed every test she could think of to ensure that it was sans inhabitant.  So, she put it in her bag of goodies and biked it on home.  When she got home she opened up her bag and she had a new friend staring at her.  The prized shell was not empty after all!  Looks like we were about to break the no pets rule for a night.

We set up a temporary home for our new friend and put some of our shell collection in there with him.  He was quite the character.  Peeking out now and then only to slam his shell down if we got to close.  When we weren't looking he would rearrange the shells in the tank and was always decorating. 

Did you know that hermit crabs really aren't hermits?  They are actually quite social and often live in colonies of up to 100 that sleep together.  Some groups have even been observed forming 'vacancy chains' which are essentially lines in order of largest to smallest and then swapping shells all at the same time (for safety).

It was a lot of fun having Jeeves in the house but we knew he was better off where he came from.  So, the next day he was returned whence he came.  It was a happy scene as two smaller hermits jumped right up on top and greeted him by crawling all over him.

                   Early afternoon Morning Glory

We've got a routine.  It involves relaxing in the morning and the evening and choosing to go out in the middle of the day.  Not the best as the temperatures are steadily rising to full summer steam.  But, it is what it is.  So, our trips are short and full of sun and the heat that comes with it.  But they are explorations regardless.

Here's some shots from a walk around our complex.  We were actually headed to the beach but got sidetracked walking around our place instead.

2017-05-05 Florida, Stuart - American Redstart Bird (11)
                     What distracted us was a tree full of American Redstarts.

2017-05-05 Florida, Stuart - American Redstart Bird (16)
    The females like this one and the males (like photo above) have splashes of color.

2017-05-05 Florida, Stuart - American Redstart Bird (19)
                       They often sit in such a way as to display those colors.

2017-05-05 Florida, Stuart - American Redstart Bird (23)
             Sometimes they don't even have to try.  The colors are just there.

2017-05-05 Florida, Stuart - American Redstart Bird (21)
This one is a decorator.  He thought what this Bougainvillea needed was a splash of black and orange.

Since we do not regularly see them we assumed that the Redstarts were most likely passing through.

2017-05-05 Florida, Stuart - Black Throated Blue Warbler Bird (4)
They had a friend and a lifer for us mixed in with them - the Black Throated Blue Warbler.

2017-05-05 Florida, Stuart - Black Throated Blue Warbler Bird (6)
                       A super cool sighting when you can get your sights on them!

Other sightings on this walk were...

2017-05-05 Florida, Stuart - Downy Woodpecker Bird (3)
                                                   Downy Woodpeckers

2017-05-05 Florida, Stuart - Gulf Fritilary Butterfly (2)
                                               Gulf Fritilary Butterfly

2017-05-05 Florida, Stuart - Hairy Funnel Mushroom (1)
                                                       Hairy Funnels

2017-05-05 Florida, Stuart - Northern Parula Bird (3)
                                                   Northern Parula

2017-05-05 Florida, Stuart - Red Bellied Woodpecker Bird
                              two Red-bellied Woodpeckers sharing a pole

2017-05-05 Florida, Stuart - White Peacock Butterfly (2)
                                             White Peacock Butterfly

            Brugmansia aka Angel's Trumpet Flowers

                                                    Resident Rabbit



                                      Fish Eagle bringing home the sushi

                                           lots of tadpoles in the lake


          As dusk approached a Yellow Crowned Night Heron followed us around.

                            We spotted some sizeable Magnolia flowers.


We were going to tell you about our visit to Possum Long Audubon Center just down the road from us but it seems we've probably already reached our photo quota for one post.

So, we'll just leave you with this....