Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Birds, Beaches, Parks and Preserves

We are seriously behind on photo / adventure sharing.  So, here's our best effort to get caught up once and for all.

With the migrating / new bird numbers dwindling, Nicole settled on attempting to improve on her best shot of each bird and continued taking the usual photos of insects, flowers and fungi.

                                                 Best shot yet of a Red-eyed Vireo

Mushroom... condo style.  More formally known as Armillaria tabescens, Ringless Honey Fungus.

                                                Leucauge argyra - Orb Weaver

Back in October Nicole's brother came for a visit.  We had intended to snorkel some of the wrecks in the area. 

                                                The ocean had other plans.

So, we adapted and took many walks and explored more of the land-based area on foot.

      At Maggy's Hammock we saw many familiar birds like the tiny black and white warbler.

           We also saw a Conradina grandiflora a.k.a. the Largeflower False-rosemary plant.

When walking a local trail the last thing you want to encounter is a fresh pile of mans-best-friend.

As we all approached we made sure to warn each other of the unwelcomed deposit.  But as Nicole passed by she noticed that some of the stinky stuff was moving. 

So, against her better desires, she held her nose and squatted down to take a closer look.  Low and behold, there it was... a fresh ball of poop just rolling along.  It was then that she realized this was her first real-life sighting of a dung beetle 'in action'!

Of course, she shared this with the rest of the gang and everyone took a closer look.  Isn't it funny how nature can make you take a closer look at shit you would normally avoid.

When he realized he was being watched, this fellow laid claim by climbing on top of his property.  If only he knew that we were not as excited to find what he was so excited to have found.

In the unusual category, we saw this one day while driving.  A sheriff's vehicle with the back 1/2 painted like a Taxi and the phrases "Choose your ride, DUI TAXI.", "This ride is about $20.00." and "Price subject to change."  What a sense of humor they have here.

We explored a wonderfully desolate and preserved 5 mile stretch of beach on another day.  Although the seabean season had begun, no new ones were found.  We did however find...

                   a new Queen for the Flotsam Army!

Someone in Nicole's seabean group commented on her 'epic hair'.  Yes, it was epic as was the smell that it possessed!  She has now become the Queen of the Plants and resides on the back porch.

Another day, we explored Savannas Preserve State Park.  Savannas Preserve State Park is predominantly open grasslands. The park is made up of pine flatwoods, basin marsh, scrubby flatwoods, wet prairie and the Atlantic scrub ridge. 

                          Mostly, there is the feeling that you are away from civilization. 

                                Well, as far as you can get in the middle of a city in FLA.

                       The park comprises seven thousand acres and 13 miles of trails.

                            We saw a familiar grasslands hunter, the Loggerhead Shrike.

                                                A Kingfisher kept watch over the water.

                                          And, a Northern Harrier hunted for lunch.

            A, new-to-us, Palmetto Skipper Butterfly was hanging out on a blade of grass.

                                     Caught sight of this Oak Toad... another first.

The neat thing about the Savanna Preserve State Park is that the water portions make up southeast Florida's largest freshwater marsh lying only a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean just behind a line of ancient sand dunes. 

                                         Does he know he lives in such a special place?

Despite seeing several winged things, Nicole continued to comment on how surprised she was that we weren't seeing more birds of prey.  The vast area of dead snags seemed perfect for them to perch in.

Still, it wasn't until we got home and she was reviewing the day's photos on the computer that she discovered we had seen one very important bird of prey

                                        The Peregrine Falcon - a winter migrant.

                                                               And, a LIFER!

Do you see what we saw?  This little booger had about ten babies.  When she heard us coming she squeaked to them to hide, they scattered like leaves in the wind and then mama ran across the path in front of us to distract us from them.  Classic parent instinct.

We originally thought we had missed the opening of what we thought was a hibiscus.  Turns out the Hibiscus furcellatus (which is also known as the Sleepy Hibiscus) just doesn't have the energy for a full open bloom.

How could the crazy hair day look of the Florida 'Sunshine' Mimosa not make you smile?

                                    That's what we're talking about!  Have a happy day.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Stuart AirShow 2017

Cannot believe that we have been here for a whole year already!
One of the first things that we experienced after moving into our condo in Stuart last year was the seeing the airshow right from our front porch.

So, seeing it return to town made 'a year' seem even more obvious.

Once again, we enjoyed the show from our front yard and for a few hours here or there while working our shift at The Depot.

Here's a few shots.

                                                                  C-130 Hercules
                                                       US Navy Leap Frogs



                                                          T-6 Texan


IMG_1224                                                            Pitts S1S



The Screamin Sasquatch - a 1929 Taperwing powered by dual power-plants:
a Pratt & Whitney 985 Radial Engine and a General Electric CJ610 (J85) Jet Engine with 3,000lbs of thrust.  It was quite a sight... and sound!


                       Holy Helicopters.... the Batcopter made an appearance this year!

                             The AeroShell Aerobatic Team came in just before dark.




                                                      Interesting size perspective...






                                                                Red Line

                                                       Stunt-plane Rainbow

                                                          Tico Belle, C-47

                                              Round Canopy Parachute Team


















and now for the big finish...