Pictures and observations of our environs when the boat is in a marina. Click on the image to see a larger version and to comment if you like.
A Tricolor heron perched on a dock line stops hunting to assess whether I am a threat or can be safely ignored. This compact predator is about 9 inches tall, unless he stretches out his neck, in which case he’s a little over a foot in height.
A male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail lights outside a dress shop in Uptown St. Augustine. He is about the size of your open palm. Females may also be yellow, but have an iridescent blue wash about their tails which the males lack. Females can also exhibit a protective dark coloration, which mimics the poisonous Pipevine Swallowtail.
For the last few days, tree limbs have been full of large immobile dragonflies. Even when I shake the branches, they remain perched, motionless. It’s as if they’re on standby atop some alien insectoid flightdeck, awaiting instructions from Mission Control. Shiver.
This roseate spoonbill begins to fish before he has fully landed. Spoonbills use an odd “hoovering” method to hunt. It looks as if they are continually vacuuming the water in a semi-circle in front of themselves. This agitates the water and startles little minnows, who leap up and are caught. This churning technique appears to annoy the sedate great herons, who wait still as statues, never rippling the calm water until suddenly…they strike! I have seen herons flap away in disgust from a favorite fishing site when it is invaded by a hoovering spoonbill.
The 312 Bridge viewed from across the marsh. This landmark, seen from the ICW two weeks ago today, gave us that “almost home” feeling. Participants in November’s St. Augustine Half-Marathon must run across it twice. We began our training last week.
Yesterday afternoon we experienced a big thunderstorm, strong gusting winds, and heavy rains. This morning’s surprise was the sudden appearance of scores and scores of tiny hopping toads. Coincidence? It was as if miniscule jumping beans were ping-ponging everywhere. As we ran from The River’s Edge to Robert B. Hayling Freedom Park, we tried to step carefully!😳 — in Saint Augustine, Florida.
This pretty lady has been a sailing kitty all her young life. She protects her boat by day, and after sunset investigates the marina’s nocturnal wildlife and climbing structures. We were lucky enough to receive a pre-dawn social call full of soft meows, head-butts, and tummy flops.
This tiny turtle, the size of a small Idaho potato, tries to escape the camera’s scrutiny by scrambling under a fallen leaf. I believe it is an Eastern Mud turtle, but would be glad of more tutored opinions from our friends. Seen in Lakeland Florida next to Lake Concerto.
Just before dawn one can occasionally catch our local fishing fleet together at dock. At all other hours, we can see, hear, and wave to the crews of such stalwart fishing vessels as “Captain Trey”, “Eight Ladies”, “Miss Friskie” and more as they follow their own schedules out to sea and back. At times they come home slowly, weighted with fish and trailing clouds of pelicans. On foul weather days they race in, pursued by buffeting winds, drenching rain, and lightning.
Birds have a special circulatory arrangement to keep their featherless limbs warm. However, on cool mornings, a tall fellow like Mr. Babadook will augment this system by holding one long leg next to his warm tummy.
The tidal range is much larger in Florida than in the Chesapeake. From high tide to low, the water level changes by about 5 feet. At high tide, I can kayak through the grassy hammocks seen at either side of these photos. At low tide there is no water to speak of in the mudflats.
Tiny Fleabane Daisy. Each flower head is about the size of your pinky nail. The leaves are edible, but hairy, so only for the adventurous, or the very hungry. The flowers appear pale lavender in sunlight.
This is Brownie, our marina’s beloved Early Warning System. When he detects a band of marauding pirates, an unfamiliar canine, or a passing pelican, Brownie will alertly sound the alarm with penetrating yips of Soprano Steel. To the listener, it feels as if Brownie’s bark bypasses the ears entirely and electrifies the brain’s auditory cortex directly.