Saturday, January 28, 2012

Avocets, Monkey Squirrels, Marbled Godwits and the Three Bears Pillow Closet

No postings for a week as I have been on a whirlwind of activity here in central Florida visiting my sister and her dear  husband.  They live in one of those retirement communities for active seniors and boy are they active!!!  I fall into bed at night and go instantly to sleep!!

This is one of the frequent visitors to their bird feeders.  Bill refers to it as a deluxe sport model rat as it eats all the sunflower seeds in the feeders if given the chance.  But it is really a Sherman's Fox Squirrel.  It is a variation of the more common Fox Squirrel which is larger than your garden variety grey squirrel.  Their faces are black but I think they are a very different shape as well.  They are nicknamed Monkey Squirrels which I think is a very apt description as they really do look like monkeys when they are in action  using their front paws a great deal.  I just love watching them!

Here she is in the front yard eating from another feeder.  They have super long tails.

We headed off to Cedar Key on the northern Gulf Coast  on Wednesday to take a boat ride and see some more of our beloved shorebirds.  Before we went on the ride, we took a walk around the Shell Mound area and spotted these birds way way off in the distance.  They were so far away that we had to wait until we got home to positively identify them.  They were American Avocets -- tall with a distinctive white stripe across they black part of their wings.  You will have to double click on the image to really see them!   There were also Marbled Godwits but the pictures are only good enough to identify them from their coloring and distinctive two toned bills!

The Black Skimmers were the most common of the birds on the little sandbar that held the Avocets and the Godwits.  A boat came by and they all flew up in the air.  Skimmers are one of my favorites!

We just made the boat ride (they actually brought it back in so we could board it) and went on a tour of all the little islands.  We saw dolphins and lots of birds.  This was a Horned Grebe which was my second sighting of this bird -- again it was pretty far away.  Gail (whose blog is on my bloglist on the left hand side) got a great picture of a dolphin which hopefully she will post!

This Great Blue Heron was just taking off from the beach.  He was surrounded by the legions of Cormorants that we saw that day!

I love pelicans and particularly got a kick out of these pelicans who were clearly disturbed by the hundreds of cormorants that had just taken off because of the approaching boat!  This was the closest I have gotten to these magnificent large birds!!

My sister very seriously announced to me my first night here that if I didn't like any of the FOUR pillows on the queen sized bed, she had a further selection to chose from -- then she opened up half the closet in the bedroom where there were eight more different sized pillows (thus my Three Bears characterization)!! I just started laughing as I couldn't imagine assigning space in a closet to all those pillows plus the seriousness with which she offered my choices to me.  I still giggle when I think about it!  You would never find space enough in my closets to have these nice neat stacks!

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