Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays

Thanks to Charlie Corbeil for letting me use his beautiful card to wish you all a wonderful holiday season.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cabbages and Kings

Blog the Beach friend David blogs professionally for the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. His recent post about the Festival included a photo of an Al Rao mural. Al turned my guest bedroom into a Florida Swamp about ten years ago, and his son Frank recently turned my living room floor into a Wetlands. The Festival is a major event in our area, attracting first-class speakers and lots of visitors. It's held at the end of January, a peak time for birdwatching. (This photo is of a portion of one of the walls in my Swamp. After ten years, I still love this room, and everybody that walks into it starts to smile - it's that kind of room.)

We had some wicked cold weather last week. Fortunately, it did not last long, but Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission folks report that over 250 sea turtles were rescued, most from our own Cape Canaveral area. They were parsed out to various rehab facilities (those facilities certainly got a lot of experience last year!), and most are expected to survive. Keith Winsten, Director of our wonderful Brevard Zoo, writes an excellent bi-weekly column for Florida Today, and his most recent one spoke to how critters adapt to cold weather. There's a link to the article in Referenced Links below.

Charlie and Charlotte Corbeil had yet another story in the Florida Wildlife magazine - Mating Displays of the Great Blue Heron, with lots of beautiful Charlie Corbeil photos. I received their e-Christmas card the other day, and Charlie has given me permission to use it. I'll post it this coming week - you'll love it. The 2011 Indian River Lagoon calendar includes one of his black-necked stilt photos and a great land crab pic. (This is one of Charlie's great blue heron pix from his silhouette series. I love his pictures, and I particularly appreciate his willingness to let me share them with you.)

Friend Wayne (Space Coast Wildflowers) came over last weekend to dry-run his beautiful Wildflowers of Wickham Park presentation that he'll be giving at the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) Conradina Chapter meeting on Monday, January 10 at the Melbourne Library on Fee Avenue, 6:00 to 8:00. It's terrific. Very organized and informative (as you might expect from a former system engineer with a really nice mind), and chock full of gorgeous pictures of the wildflowers he has found and identified during his trips to Wickham Park. If you live in Brevard County, make plans to attend.

Artist friend Vickie Henderson continues to lead the fight against hunting sandhill cranes in Tennessee. What a really dreadful idea! Follow the link in Reference Links below to her gorgeous site - her artwork is just amazing. Be sure to look at her art cards and prints. (This photo is of some "tourists" visiting our defunct golf course today. At least I am assuming these are northern sandhills.)

A few weeks ago, my dog and I found a little three-striped mud turtle wandering around our aforementioned defunct golf course. Since it was mowing day, I brought him inside, made a mud turtle habitat on the screened in porch, gave him some canned dog food, and kept him through the cold spell. I'm not fond of the water on the golf course that he came out of, so on a warm day last weekend, I took him to a nice calm water location and released him. The three-striped mud turtle is not a flashy critter, and they are a little shy, but he was a very pleasant fellow, attractive in his own way. I hope he got burrowed into the mud before the cold spell arrived.

I've gone on waaay too long - hope your week before Christmas is non-stressful :)

Reference Links
Keith Winsten: Animals adept at dealing with cold weather
Blog the Beach: Tenth Annual Birding and Wildlife Festival
Charlie Corbeil Photography
Space Coast Wildflowers

FNPS Conradina Chapter
Vickie Henderson Art

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Purses with a Purpose

Serene Harbor is a local domestic violence center that provides shelter and assistance for abused women. Frequently, these ladies show up with few possessions. A few weeks ago, I received an email from the Women's Business Center describing the Purses with a Purpose initiative wherein one fills a gently used purse with things these ladies might need - new personal grooming items, underwear, socks, etc. I have one old purse - the one I carry! But I knew Melea, my daughter-in-law has a lot of purses, so I forwarded the email to her, hoping for a purse I could fill. Well, Melea and her friend Marissa filled two beautiful purses to the brim, even including Christmas cards. Charlie brought them over this week, and I just finished delivering them to Lori Halbert, the mastermind and coordinator of this effort, now in its fifth year. I think this is a terrific idea, not just for the Christmas season - elements of reuse, practicality, and financial feasiblity. Good job!

Reference Links:
Serene Harbor
Women's Business Center

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Manatee mania!

A few weeks ago, co-workers from Ohio were in town for a meeting and wanted to view manatees. I was unable to find any for them then, so I'm delighted to have these photos to share with them. (Manatees are large aquatic mammals frequently referred to as sea cows. The link below in Reference Links will tell you all about them.)

We've had some record cold mornings this past week (30s and low 40s), and the manatees are coming into the canals from the river because the canal water is warmer. Wayne got these pix at a canal near his home in Satellite Beach.

I'm most appreciative of Wayne's photos - every very time I try to take a manatee photo, by the time I get my act together, the critter has ducked back under the water, and I have yet one more picture of water!

This photo reminds me of a bunch of kids in a swimming pool having a party!

(Photos by Wayne Matchett)

Reference Links:
Manatee Facts