Winters here in Florida are much like winters in south Georgia. We have 2 or 3 cold, wet, cloudy/foggy days, followed by 2 or 3 warm and sunny days. The main difference is the wind – which pretty much blows constantly. THAT part reminds me of October on Mackinac Island!
So, while I’ve never liked to walk around in the rain and cold (although we do it twice a day to get Bear and Maddie out of the house – regardless of the weather), when the sun does come out, Ted and I head for the beach!
I’ve never been much on naming birds, but I’m already getting interested in the shore birds – maybe because I see them everyday, and usually I can get pretty close to them). Here’s where my readers can help out. The closest thing I can find to this little sweetie in my bird book is a Wilson’s Plover (an immature one). Anyone know for sure?
Same bird, different angle.
I’ve already fallen in love with these beauties – they’re Royal Terns. I love that they look like they have a receding hairline, but I’ve read as summer approaches, the black feathers will cover their entire foreheads.
We came upon this huge flock of gulls and terns and couldn’t help but notice the “big daddy” gull in the middle.
When Ted scattered them, we could really see how big his wing span was compared to the other birds!
As we walked further north, we spotted this gentleman standing just where the waves were coming in. I wondered what he might be doing, and Ted said, “I think he’s catching sand fleas.” Sand fleas? “Why would you want to catch a flea – sand or otherwise?” Ted found that very funny.
Well, you know me – I had to see this up close, and thank goodness the fisherman was glad to show me his catch. These are Sand Fleas!
He had a pail full of them to use as bait. See, you learn something every day!
Here’s something else I’ve learned since moving south. Every few weeks the landscaper comes through our neighborhood and cuts back the dead fronds from these palm trees. If they don’t do that, the dead and decaying fronds mat together and become nests for rats and snakes! Now that is something I’d have rather never learned . . . . s0 glad they’re making sure they keep them cut back!
I guess this makes it official. Ted and I both got our Florida’s drivers licenses the other day, and Ted got his tag. I’ve got to go back after mine because we went in Ted’s truck, and they have to visually SEE the VIN number in my vehicle to sell me a tag. Ted chose the “Panther tag” since we’ve got one in the neighborhood. I’m thinking about going with a “Save the Manatees” tag.
In keeping with my renewed interest in birds, I couldn’t help bringing home this sandpiper sculpture they’d just taken out of the box at one of my new favorite shops – Hammock Gardens. Because of the color I needed to hang it on a dark wall, so I chose the blue wall in the powder room. Love it!
A LITTLE MACKINAC
The Lady on the Hill slumbers away in the snow. (Photo: Patrick Conlon)
While we’re talking about the Grand Hotel, you might want to click below to learn about the winter construction going on there. It seems they are working on adding suites at the Cupola level (WOW!) and doing some reconfiguring of the Tea Garden. http://www.grandhotel.com/winter-construction-update Good stuff!
This is what the island looked like from above today – pretty darn icy! (Photo: Bryce Tracy)
Since moving to Florida we’ve become much closer not only to our perfect grandchildren – Jordan and Matthew – but also our granddog, Ruby (better known as Ruby Jane to her closest fans).
Jordan and Matthew – celebrating Ruby’s 2nd birthday in December.
Ruby is a Boykin Spaniel, and birds are her passion. We first met Ruby when she was a puppy and belonged to Matt’s (our son-in-law) parents, Jack and Carolyn, who live about half-way between our house and Julie and Matt’s. They purchased Ruby from a breeder in Alaska, with the express purpose of turning her into a duck hunting dog. Ruby arrived full of enough energy to power the lights in New York, LA, and Atlanta – all at once. After a year, Jack and Carolyn knew they just couldn’t keep up with this little dynamo and agreed to let Matt, Julie, Jordan and Matthew adopt her (with full visiting rights, of course).
With lots of training (Ruby has been known to literally jump up and pick a low-flying bird right out of the air), she went on her first “real” hunt a weekend or so ago.
At first, she was a little taken aback when all the guns started firing at once. She’s sitting here with John, Matt’s brother – who is a dog trainer.
The next morning John brought in his own dog, Nitschki, to mentor Ruby.
And – after watching Nitschki retrieve duck after duck . . .
. . . little Ruby brought in her first duck! This photo was featured on Instagram’s #Boykinsofig!
Matt said you could just see the light go on in her eyes when she figured out exactly what her job was. She was excited!
Way to go Ruby Jane!
Hope everyone is staying warm and dry and well! See y’all back here on Sunday!