My Fellow Captives…

I’m going with ‘Catalina Macaw’ unless someone knows otherwise…

3 birds for the price of one. ūüėČ

Black Swans

Turns out, I’m not the only one being held captive on this island!!!¬†¬† ūüėȬ† I was a driver for my baby’s field trip to Periwinkle Park here on Sanibel today, and I thought I’d share a few photos¬†of some of my fellow captives, ha, ha, ha.¬† I had never seen Black Swans up close before.¬† ūüôā

 

 

Wildflower therapy

Flies on Wildflowers

Wildflowers

Today, my daughter, (the oldest,) turned six-years-old.¬† She looked in the mirror this morning and said, “I’m six!¬† I’m new.”

Her comment played over and over in my mind¬†throughout the day.¬† I’m new.¬† She was so excited.

I imagined looking in the mirror and excitement shooting through me.¬† “I’m new.”¬† But when I look in the mirror these days, I see¬†a tired, overly caffeinated Mom trying to keep it together,¬†hoping the¬†mystery¬†substance her four-year-old smeared on her¬†shirt will come out with bleach.¬† I see a frazzled, always on the go, must meet my deadline and conquer the world¬†every single day woman, who¬†checks her calendar two to three times a day to verify, again, which day of the week it is.¬† I am anything but new

After a small birthday party at her school, I  feel slightly revitalized.  (Hanging out with thirty boisterous kindergarteners will do that to you.)  The rational part of my brain tells me to race home and get twenty-five minutes of work time in before I have to pick up my preschooler.  But suddenly that desire to feel new has me turning the car in a different direction, and I know where I have to go.

I dig eight quarters out of three different coin purses stashed around my car.¬† (I’m so organized.)¬† I pay the parking meter and walk out onto the beach.¬† I kick off my shoes and hope the trio of tipsy tourists won’t bother them, (they are well into something and clearly celebrating a¬†birthday.)¬† I take¬†a nice¬†fifteen minute¬†stroll down the beach and think¬†about this day six years ago.¬† The day my life changed so drastically.¬† The day I had a new baby, (who I had no idea what to do with…Seriously, I had never even changed a diaper.)

On my way back to my car, I veer from the path and follow a trail of wildflowers into the woods.¬†¬†Wildflowers of varying colors¬†dot the landscape, and I¬†try to capture a few photos.¬† I love the bright colors.¬† Before long, I am walking back to my car, and a happy¬†sigh escapes me.¬† I am completely¬†relaxed.¬†¬† An interlude with some¬†wildflowers and getting my feet in the sand¬†has me feeling renewed.¬† I may not be new, like my six-year-old, but I’ll take renewed for now.¬† There may be hope for this frazzled woman yet.¬† I guess we will see…

Chillin’ by alligator lagoon…

I’m not going to lie.¬† I think this is a juvenile White Ibis, but I have no idea.¬† Leave me a comment if you know.¬† I just had to share this photo because I love this fella’s hair-do.¬† He or she glanced at me on occasion¬†but was pretty much just chillin’ by alligator lagoon, seemingly unconcerned about anything lurking under the water.¬† Now¬†THAT is the level of ‘mellow’ and or relaxation I can only dream of having.¬† ūüėČ

The pond chicken and candy corn…

Common Moorhen

The first time I saw a Common Moorhen swimming in Alligator Lagoon, (the dipping pool behind my patio,) I did a double-take.¬† And then another.¬† I had never seen this bird before and had no idea what it was.¬† They show up very often.¬† After searching through my stack of wildlife books, I identified this bird.¬† I now know it is a member of the rail family, and it has a name: the Common Moorhen, also known as the ‘pond chicken.’¬† And here I thought I was the only chicken near that pond.¬† I was relieved to read one description of this bird use the phrase, ‘candy-corn bill,’ after I had assured Mom over the phone, (the bird woman,) that the bill reminded me of candy-corn.¬† Mom got to see what bird I was talking about when she came to visit me, and she technically was the one who helped solve this candy-corned-bird mystery if you want to know the truth.¬† It’s a good thing.¬† I would have called it the candy-corned duck if she hadn’t helped me.¬† This is, ‘the big pond chicken’ signing off…¬† ūüėČ

Girly Screams and Baby Scorpions…

baby scorpion

So, we live in southwest Florida…on an island…which is 90% wildlife refuge.¬† The humans?¬† We are just invading the territory of a variety of creepy crawlies.¬† Dr. Death, (our dear pest control guy,)¬†does his best to keep scorpions out of the INSIDE of our home, but seriously it only helps so¬†much.¬† Fortunately, we have only been seeing BABY scorpions inside lately.¬† The ‘mamas¬†and the papas’ we have only seen in our garage¬†since the last visit from Dr. Death.¬† I got pretty comfortable with seeing the big ones when we first moved in, which explains why the little ones, like the baby pictured above, don’t even get¬†my infamous girly scream.¬† Of course, when my little girl woke me up the other night and told me there was a bug in her bed, you better believe I did a thorough¬†search of that bed at 2¬†a.m…

Still, I have gotten used to our household ‘pet,’ the scorpion…¬† After assessing¬†the list of possible predators that could kill me in our back yard, from the alligators to the snakes, (to the panthers¬†or bobcats I have yet to see,)¬†I¬†have decided to save my girly scream for the moment I really need it.¬† Not that it will do me much¬†good…(Read about my initial impressions of Florida as told by the fly on my wall, here.) ūüėČ

Today, after I saw¬†two baby scorpions¬†next to my computer, I decided to have key lime pie with my coffee for breakfast.¬† (Thank you, Charles, for bringing it home-just in time.)¬† Something is going to¬†kill me eventually,¬†right?¬† Here’s to¬†another day in paradise!¬† ūüôā

In addition to wildlife, SW Florida has an abundance of KEY LIME PIE. ūüėČ

Osprey in flight

Osprey in flight

 

Osprey perched in tree watching the spring

 

Funny how drastically my¬†Saturday nights have changed since my twenties…Last night, I watched a couple of Ospreys hunting in the spring behind our home.¬† The good news is that the alligator did not bother me while I stood on the edge of the water, and also I got a pretty clear photo of an Osprey in flight!¬† ūüôā

 

Alligator smiling?

Alligator smiling?

I imagine the Ibis saying ‘I will not be intimidated…’

Quite a few birds flew away when this guy got out of the water, but the Ibises refused to be intimidated…At least that’s how I was looking at it…Once again, the sun went down while the gator was still on the bank, and being the light-less island that this is, I couldn’t see what happened next.¬† ūüôā

Call of the Wild

Red-shouldered Hawk ‘calling’

Usually, when I hear a cry or ‘call’ like I did coming from this Red-shouldered Hawk this morning, it is coming from one of my kids.¬† Seriously, my kids sound like hawks or descendants of dinosaurs a lot of the time.¬† So this morning, I was on my¬†wildlife patrol, (I know…I am such a geek, but I don’t care,) and I saw this hawk.¬† I pulled off the road, got out my camera, and was SO excited when the hawk called out!¬† What a cool sound.¬† (Again, I am easily excited in this stage of my life, I know.)¬† Of course, Sanibel being the town of Mayberry that it is, someone driving down the road recognized me as a parent from the school and pulled over as I was waiting for the ‘big’ picture.¬† (I wanted a photo of the Hawk in flight, since the one I have isn’t very clear.)¬† Obviously, the hawk decided to fly away right as the car stopped in front of me, and I didn’t get that photo.¬† Guess that means I will be back on bird patrol again soon.¬† I am so cool I can’t stand it, ha ha ha.¬† Hope you enjoy the photos! ūüôā

My neighbor, the Gator…

Alligator resting

 

I literally hung up on my brother a couple of days ago when I spotted my good friend Mr. Gator getting out of the water.¬† (I consider him a friend, obviously, since¬†it would seem we are the only humans living in this neighborhood….Okay, fine,¬†supposedly, we have neighbors…but I have never seen them!)

I interrupted¬†my brother…¬† “Got to go!¬† Gator getting out of the water!”¬† I vaguely recall him saying, “Are you serious?” as I hit ‘end’ on my phone¬†and bolted for my camera.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get outside in time to get photos of him crawling out of the water, but my buddy decided to rest¬†on the bank¬†as the sun went down.¬† It gets really dark here on Sanibel island, especially since there are NO street lights.¬† What I would give for some night camera vision! Who knows what kind of trouble that gator got into after sunset.¬† Of course, I do¬†have some theories…

Sometimes, we find footprints outside our patio door in the morning.¬† The other night?¬† We heard some terrible howling…I sat up in bed, looked out¬†into the pitch-black night, and woke Charles up.¬† “You hear that?¬† Something is getting killed out there,” I informed him.¬† “Yeah, I hear it,” he said,¬†and he proceeded to go back to sleep.¬† Me?¬† I was looking out all of the windows, trying to get a glance of the Discovery Channel after dark…I mean my back yard…