Only three days after we returned to south Florida from our (hopefully soon to be ex-) second home in Illinois, our son and his family-- all seven of them-- arrived for a visit. After hearing what they planned to pay for hotel accommodations, we offered to put them all up in our home. It all worked out very well and despite daily afternoon rain showers we all had fun.
These are images of a threatening sky at sunrise from our back patio:
An iPhone 180 degree panorama (click to enlarge):
The grandchildren loved the pool at our clubhouse, and we all piled into their 9-passenger van and visited several attractions. The Miami Seaquarium was fun despite my concern about the small size of the pools which imprisoned the dolphins and Orcas. Yet the captives seemed to enjoy performing:
A Great Egret and a Black-crowned Night-Heron photo-bombed the Orca show:
A sea lion seemed enthusiastic about pleasing its trainer, reminding me of how a pet dog can beg for just one more game of catch:
This is Florida, so of course there were the mandatory captive flamingos:
We all visited Everglades Natural Park and experienced a bit of life on the wild side. An immature Red-Shouldered Hawk cried loudly and persistently near the entrance:
The American Alligators were a special treat for our visitors from the arid Texas Panhandle:
A basking Anhinga gave us an opportunity to study the corrugations on its tail, an adaptation which acts as "spoilers" to reduce drag as the bird flies underwater to pursue fish:
The owner of the tail, a male Anhinga, was too near to fit into my prime telephoto lens:
Remarkably, the normally recusive Limpkins were abundant, as were the apple snails which make up their main diet. Peninsuar Florida is the northern extreme of their range. They are rarely found In the US outside the State, making them a sought-after specialty.
Limpkin scratching, with apple snail shell nearby:
Limpkin enjoying a meal of snail meat. The next photos illustrate its highly specialized bill, which is bent and twisted at the tip to form "scissors" which deftly snip the tissue that attaches the snail to its shell:
Not to be overlooked were the butterflies and flowers--
Pink wild hollyhock:
A few days after the visitors departed we did get out on the local wetlands. The first morning, about a half hour before sunrise, I heard an Eastern Screech-Owl calling just inside the entrance gate. I approached a dead palm with an old woodpecker hole which looked like a good place for their nest, but the sound then came from a tree over to my right.
I turned around and squeaked with my lips to encourage the owl to repeat its call. Instead, something hit my head and lifted up my hat. I reached up and my hand brushed against the wing of an owl as it released my hat and flew off. Since the attack came from behind it probably represented a second owl which was disturbed by my presence so near the nest. Its flight was entirely silent, and I never did see either owl.
My souvenir of the attack is the imprint of three little talons on the crown of my Tilley hat. (As a kid in New Jersey I remember watching a family of screech owls which nested in the steeple of a church near our home. One Sunday morning they started attacking the hats of ladies who were entering the church! It made the newspapers and I think the owls were relocated or worse.)
Disposing of our Illinois condo was more complicated than expected. The closing date has been delayed several times by the buyer, always for legitimate reasons, but there remains that unsettling air of uncertainty. Also, I completed my round of medical procedures and had surgery on June 11th (our 58th Wedding Anniversary!!) to remove a lesion on my nose (2 sessions of Mohs excisions followed by plastic surgery to cover the defect). I feel fine and it is great to get out again. Thank you for all your good wishes.
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue
Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh
Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display