Monday, August 11, 2008

Sand where the sun don't shine

Hello, all! We are back from Florida's Gold Coast!

I am still digging sand out of orifices I wasn't aware I had.
I fully expected to blog while we were down there, but the lap top was on vacation, too. I took it out of the suitcase and the monitor wouldn't light up. So it needs to go to the PC doctor.

Anyway, sand....
Lots and lots of sand:
Girls in the ocean first time
The girls fell in love with the ocean (which was right outside our hotel...I mean, we stepped out onto the patio, went down one step and there was the beach. It was awesome.)
Isabelle and Lorelei spent nearly every waking hour in the water. Lorelei wouldn't go out too far, staying near the surf...and every wave deposited another cupful of sand into her bathing suit. I spent quite a lot of time rinsing suits out. My Mom states that when we went to Florida, back when I was about 4, I was carrying so much sand in my little bikini it looked like I had baked potatoes hidden in there. I guess what goes around, comes around?

My first lifer of the trip....brown pelicans:
Brown pelican fly over
I knew they were big, but man oh man...they are really big!

They didn't seem to care that 20 or 30 people were out in the water....they would fall out of the sky diving for fish 10 feet from us.
Brown pelican over swimmers

Another lifer (and countable!) was a flock of birds noodling around in the palm trees right outside the hotel:
Monk Parakeet
Monk parakeets! I kept hearing what sounded like our parakeet here at home, and was pleasantly surprised to see a slew of green birds swooping in and out of the trees. (Green birds are hard to come by here in Ohio) Monk parakeets are an introduced species (from escapes and numb-nuts letting them go) but they have established themselves in Florida and I am glad they did.
Another exotic species that has found a niche in Florida...a bird we know well here in the Williams' household:

Eurasian collared dove
Eurasian collared doves. They were easily as numerous as the rock pigeons down there. It was neat to see a wild bird just like our beloved Euro. Another countable lifer.

Effortless birding is always a treat. While stopping for lunch before hitting the Everglades, we came across common moorhens and their babies:
Common moorhen and babies
The little ones were adorable, running across the floating vegetation like chickens. Another lifer.

I have about a hundred photos to get through, so I will leave you with not only another effortless bird, but also another lifer:
White ibis
A white ibis, just stalking around a a neighborhood.

At last count, I had 11 lifers. But something that was lacking was the simple, easy songbirds. There weren't little birds just hanging out in the trees. I'm used to seeing chickadees and blue jays and sparrows out and about, but where we were, just shorebirds/sea birds/weird exotic birds.
More tomorrow!


Rachel said...

Glad you are back safely and that you had a good trip-can't wait to hear about it and see pictures!

LauraHinNJ said...

Sounds like you found some great birds, Susan! Can't wait to hear more.

The Swami said...

Are you sure those are Moorhens, they look like loons to me.

Your first photo is definitely of two rare, beautiful mermaids.

Lynne said...

It sounds like a wonderful family trip- fun for all.

Dave said...

Glad you had a good trip. Did you get to see any of those famous Floriday Cock Roaches?

dguzman said...

Wow, what a great bunch of lifers! Sorry you didn't see any cool songbirds. Guess that means you didn't see a painted bunting?

KatDoc said...

Thanks for my shells, are the dogs glad to be home?


kristin said...

Just stopped by for the first time, via Beth @ Look What Love Has Done...and enjoyed the visit. I am a fellow "bird-lover" (came by it via my dad, as he gave me my first pair of binoculars when I was about 4, so that we could go birding together!) Enjoyed seeing the photos of the Florida wildlife, as I lived there for many yrs (relocated to NC in April, 2003). I particularly loved the anhingas, watching them dive for fish, and then dry themselves on nearby branches. Very unusual/interesting birds. We lived along a "crick" for many yrs, and had daily encounters with FL wildlife, including snakes and alligators. However, I don't miss the cockroaches (aka "palmetto bugs") in the least! It was a sad day, when I discovered that they are able to survive just fine this far North, and don't mind going into a "mini-hibernation" for the few short months of "winter", here in SE North Carolina.

I knew a girl, back in Florida, who grew up in a home with a father who was a commerical fisherman. The family struggled at times, financially. One day she showed me, how when she was little, she would take 2 "Florida lizards/chamellions" (sp?), and use them to make "earrings", by letting them bite her earlobes. She said that sometimes they would hang on for several minutes! :)

Anyway, sounds like your time in Florida was incredibly enjoyable, interesting and relaxing! That's what vacations are for! Am happy for you and your family.

Great photos! Brings back so many memories for me....

KatDoc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RuthieJ said...

Sounds like you had a great trip Susan. I love that ibis just strolling around the 'hood!