Wednesday, June 13, 2012

101 Reasons Why I Love Florida: Reason #32

Some time ago while walking through Key Vista park, Terri and I Happened upon some of these bright purple berries. When we looked them up we found that they are pretty awesome little things. Not only that, they're beautiful. They're called Beautyberry, and the claim is that they are a natural mosquito repellent. This makes me want to plant a wall of them around my house.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

101 Reasons Why I Love Florida: Reason #31

I've never liked monkeys. I have a few theories as to why, but the bottom line is, they creep me out. I must admit, though, Monkey Island is pretty cool.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

101 Reasons Why I Love Florida: Reason #30

When I announced to my family that I was moving to Florida, the reactions were mixed (that's a nice way of saying some people were really awesome about it, and others were... well, let's just say less than awesome). Those who fell somewhere in the middle began to call me "gator bait" in an apparent attempt to dissuade me from leaving by implanting an irrational fear of death by alligator. I think I was supposed to believe that there were huge reptiles lurking in every Florida ditch just waiting for naïve midwestern girls to unwittingly provide them with a meal.

Since I moved here, I have done everything short of camping beside every puddle of water I find in order to see an alligator outside of a zoo-type setting. After seventeen years, the number of gators I've seen in the wild is still in the single digits. And a couple of those were dead.

A few days ago, however, Terri and I were biking through Starkey Park and we passed a man who was riding one-handed, flailing his free hand, and yelling something mostly inaudible at us. When we looked ahead, we saw another man standing next to his bike holding a camera and looking intently over the railing. We stopped, and there, maybe 15 feet from the trail, was a roughly 8-foot-long alligator soaking up the warm sun. The one time I didn't bring my regular digital camera. But I snapped a few shots with my phone, and this is one of them. Of course, I spent the rest of the ride inspecting every marshy area I saw in the hopes of finding another one. No luck. Next time, perhaps!

Friday, November 11, 2011

101 Reasons Why I Love Florida: Reason #29

Every so often I get to see these beautiful Sandhill Cranes while I'm out and about. They are rare in Florida, as only about 5,000 remain. This stately pair were seen while my friend and I were on a bike ride not long ago.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

101 Reasons Why I Love Florida: Reason #28

The first time I saw a group of these key deer I thought, "Wow, I've never seen so many fawns without any adult." Then I was informed that they were fully grown.

The closest I've been to one was about a month ago on a bike ride through Starkey Park. Of course, as soon as I got my camera ready, the deer slipped into ninja mode and left my photo completely devoid of wildlife. Luckily, my husband got a picture of this group of non-ninja key deer.

Monday, September 5, 2011

101 Reasons Why I Love Florida: Reason #27

One of the first things I did when I moved to Florida was scurry to the ocean to find out what everyone was raving about. Terri took me to the nearest beach (Hudson Beach), and I stood there at the edge of the gulf completely overwhelmed with the vastness of the water and the beauty of the sky as we watched the sun disappear slowly behind the horizon. Since then I have seen innumerable sunsets over the gulf, each one just as breathtaking as the others. It just never gets old.

This photo was taken on July 4, 2011 at a neighborhood gathering. While it's not the clearest shot of the sun, I love the colors, the American flag, and the silhouetted boats in the river.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

101 Reasons Why I Love Florida: Reason #26

The gopher tortoise is currently a threatened species. Therefore, it was a treat to find one happily scavenging for leaves and grass when Terri and I were walking through Key Vista park the other day. He (she?) stopped, posed for a couple of pictures, then went back to gnawing on whatever plants had the misfortune of growing in his path. In fact, as he grazed, he wandered closer and closer to my feet. Very shortly after this last photo, I backed up several feet to avoid losing any appendages.