Saturday, December 30, 2017
Manatees, Tarpon, and Jack Crevalle
Friday, December 22, 2017
A Day at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Our son-in-law, Eric, suggested we might be interested in spending a day at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Now we hadn’t been to a zoo in quite a while and so not knowing what to expect, we made the forty-five-minute drive to the zoo.
Parking was free, and plentiful, we got there early, and buying tickets we entered the zoo. The rhino exhibit was nearby, (white rhino?), and we were amazed at the size of the animals! It was covered with the thickest hide I have ever seen, and the horns were missing. The park had cut them off to stop scum from killing them for their valuable horns.
The white rhinos are currently holding their own and are one of the most magnificent animals I have ever seen! I quickly realized the cost of the ticket was well worth the price, (the zoo is a nonprofit).
Exhibit after exhibit was filled with rare and threatened animals, the orangutan enclose was no exception! These are expected to go extinct in the wild, in the next three years, their habit will disappear dur to illegal harvest of coconut palm oil.
Stopping to enjoy the orangs, a large dominant male moved around the large enclosure, while a lesser orang hid behind a waterfall.
Strange monkeys and other animals passed by and I made a major mistake.
I did remember the red river hog, which is not from the Americas’. Another large ungulate cleaned itself with it sixteen-inch tongue.
Finally, we reached the end of the exhibits and looked at one of the newest babies. This was baby pygmy hippopotamus born December 1st! It mother kept next to the newborn as they floated in a small pond with the mother keeping herself between the baby and the fence we peered over.
Leaving the zoo, we all agreed that the price of admission was money well spent the cost of keeping so many rare and exotic animals must be enormous!
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Treasure Islands Christmas Boat Parade, 2017
One of our highlights of our time here, is to watch the annual Christmas boat parade. This year the Treasure Island Boat parade consisted of over forty boats! Our daughters friend Mike invited us over to his condo where we could view the parade from his fifth-floor condo balcony, and we got there in plenty of time to relax before the show.
It was a beautiful warm night with very light winds. A slight tide was flowing into John’s Pass. There are shallow islands in the pass and so the boats had to follow a narrow-defined channel to prevent them from running ashore.
The parade started at other end of the island and, so it took about an hour before the lead boat, rounded the bend. The lead boat is always a police boat and the flashing red lights cleared the way as boats full of watchers scurried to find a place to anchor.
The first few boats were somewhat small and, so it gave me some practice as I took some shots with our good camera. I thought I would try the thirty-five to seventy-five mm lens hoping that I would get better detail using the night setting.
Trying to take three images of each boat I managed to blur quite a few, but enough of the images worked out. The main problem I had was when boats used their spotlights as the bright white light made taking a stacked image almost impossible. The boats were moving as the camera took four images in a row before stacking them together.
Enough with the details, the boats arrived and passed below us. The people on board yelled Christmas greetings. Santa Clauses, reindeer, Christmas trees, menorahs, and lots and lots of icicles went by.
There were boats of all sizes and some of them were quite crowded with party goers. To give you an idea of their size some had four outboard engines mounted on the back, and each one of the engines was over four hundred horse power!
We yelled and waved back at the parade boats and everyone had an enjoyable time. None of the boats collided and the boats stacked up at the end of the parade inside John’s Pass. The last boat passed by and the boats started to disperse.
Mikes place is an ideal spot to watch the parade and we thanked him for his kind invitation! It seemed like it was the biggest and best boat parade we have ever watched. We would also like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and of course Clear skies.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
A Different Take in Florida. Renting a Beach Bungalow
It took us three days to drive from Texas, (where we parked the rig), and of course I came down with the flu, so Renita ended up driving most of the way. We also ate out and rented motel rooms, so it was a far cry from our usual travels. Kind of a like a vacation really.
Renita was recovering, and she suggested she was well enough to do some shopping at Madeira Beach. A strong cold front moved through, plunging the temperatures into the fifties and so we bundled up, drove to Madeira Beach and went shopping.
Today another cold front is coming through with high winds and another batch of forty and fifty-degree weather. Time to take our morning walk and get our steps and exercise in before it arrives.
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
The Whoopers are Back in Lamar!
Soon after arriving in Rockport we made several trips to Lamar. The damage was widespread, and the trees had taken a special destruction. Still, Big Tree had survived. We had also heard that the whooping cranes were headed south, and we hoped to see them before we headed to Florida for the month of December. Smaller sandhill cranes watched as the two males flared their wings in displays of might.
So, it was great to finally see five whoopers vying for territory in their usual spot in Lamar. As smaller sandhill cranes watched the two males flared their wings and flew into the air chasing each other in a determination of dominance. They both looked like neither was the real dominant male we had seen the previous years.
An immature Whooper fledgling looked on as the two females appeared to disregard the males. A flock of Black bellied whistling ducks, with two spoonbills also appeared to be somewhat interested while a funeral of turkey vultures seemed to wait for something to die.
In the shallow pond two snowy egrets waded and the farmers cows grazed as they plodded across the field. They were being accompanied by cattle egrets waiting for the herd to scare their way. We talked with several other birders and it was just plain obvious that everyone was relieved to see the true snowbirds, had returned home!
The newspapers reported that about four hundred and thirty whooping cranes are expected to arrive this winter. This number is over one hundred greater than last years population and is a record for the nations only wild flock.
It’s a far cry from the fifteen birds that once remained. It looks like they should have a good winter as their two main foods are in abundant supply, a wild berry and blue crabs! Now if the duck hunters will just leave them alone, (most of the duck blinds that dominated the refuge boundary have been destroyed). Clear skies
Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)