Saturday, June 11, 2005

Egrets & Crabs & Snakes, Oh My!

I had already pretty much written this whole weekend off due to the passing tropical storm, but I was pleasantly surprised to wake up Saturday morning to blue skies. I drove all over town hunting down things that needed their pictures taken and my last stop was sunset at South Lido Beach. Sunset was a bust, but I got a few interesting animal shots for my trouble.

This handsome fellow is a Reddish Egret. They aren't the most common of egrets, and I didn't even know they existed until I wound up with a photo of one, and it didn't look like the egret I thought it was when I photographed it. You can see the reddish color of the neck feathers, which are also rather shaggy, the pink base and dark tip on the bill, and even the blue legs that tell you what species this is. There were two of these fellows feeding in a tidal pool this evening. I don't know how to tell the sexes apart, so they may have been a pair.

This crab claw was washed up on the beach, possibly a limb lost by a victim of the on-going red tide in the area. The beach was also littered in dead fish, some of them up to two feet long. But none of them were as photogenic as this colorful little carapace.

This little sneaky snake was pretty lucky I came along when I did. As I pulled into my parking spot, I spotted a great blue heron picking at something in a puddle. Before I could tell what it was, another car scared off the heron, so I walked over and found this guy who had narrowly escaped becoming supper. He was a little shocked from the experience, lacking the energy to even run away when I tried to pick him up. He made a couple of half-hearted attempts to bite me, but he mostly just curled up around my fingers and enjoyed the sensation of still being alive after having been pecked at by a giant bird.

I took over 800 pictures today, so I'll be posting stuff throughout the week from my adventures. Stay tuned for more fun!!!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Happy Anniversary!

In honor of my parent's 37th wedding anniversary today, here's a picture of them just after their wedding ceremony. Who knew Mom ever wore a skirt that short!

(No, I didn't take this picture. It was taken by Mary Taylor Color Photos, and they don't seem to be in business anymore. If anyone affiliated with them comes across this site, and happens to have the negatives to these pictures, please drop me a line.)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Oodles of Doodles XXII

This scrumptious looking doodle comes from the backside of Music For A Back Yard Barbecue by Norman Leyden And His Orchestra (RCA Victor LSP-1939, 1959). The two sketches you see above are actually from different areas of the LP back, interspersed among some liner notes, and a number of recipes. Had you bought this LP in 1959, you'd have been able to learn how to cook Frankfurters, Shish Kabob, Skewered Shrimp, Broiled Lobster, Potato Salad, Green Salad, and three different types of sauce (Regular Barbecue, Roquefort or Scallion!). The doodle artist is listed simply as Dillon, so I've no clue as to who drew this.

Ghost Story

It was a mighty productive day on Longboat Key this past Sunday. One of the more unique things I spotted was this little crab. This fellow is called a ghost crab. They live in those holes you see on the beach, coming out at night to feed, and occasionally during the day to wet their gills. That's when I spotted this guy, as he ran to take a dip in the Gulf. I came up on him from behind (below), snapped a quick picture, then he turned around, I got one more picture, and he took off into the surf. Luckily, both pictures looked pretty good. So enjoy!

Flower Royalty

The brilliant red blossom above is from a Royal Poinciana. This tree was on Longboat Key this weekend, but they are all over this area at this time of year. You can see in the picture below that there are thousands and thousands of blossoms on a single tree, so they make a truly spectacular sight when in full bloom. Many of them are red, but there are also some that are just a little bit orange. It's hard to tell the difference until you get two of them side by side, then the color difference really stands out.

Coming Out Of His Shell

I told you there was a hermit crab inside that shell!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Lightning Strikes Once (Ernie Classic)

Since I don't have anything new to show you today, I thought I'd show you something from the Ernie Classic file. This lightning strike was captured a few years ago out the window of my bedroom. Photographing lightning is pretty tough. You wait until it's storming after dark, you open up the shutter of the camera, and you wait. And if you wait long enough, you get a shot like this.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Oodles of Doodles XXI

This rather lovely doodle of a lady listening to her LP collection is from the back of Gogi Grant-Torch Time (RCA Victor LPM-1940, 1959). The artist signed this one, but I'm having a hard time making out the signature. I'm guessing something like Myelle Thompson, but that doesn't return any hits at Google. Anyhow, some of you record buffs out there may imagine this to be the perfect woman, but if you look closely, she has those LPs scattered about the floor, and they aren't in their sleeves! That's no way to treat a fine piece of vinyl!

Under The Sea (Sometimes)

I was worried that I wouldn't have any good pictures to show you from this weekend. Going into Sunday, it had rained pretty solid for 5 days, and when it wasn't raining, it was gloomy and overcast. So when the sun finally showed it's face again on Sunday afternoon, I headed off to the beach to get some pictures for my loyal readers. These shots all come from the Quick Point Nature Preserve at the southernmost point of Longboat Key. I just happened to get there at low tide, so I was able to walk out on the flats and shoot some of the wildlife that's normally on the bottom of the bay.

The above shot is the business end of a sea urchin. You don't normally see this end, but I wanted to show you the little mouth under there that does all the damage.

This little crab is in disguise, trying to look like a sponge covered rock instead of a tasty morsel for a passing predator.

You may not be able to tell from this shot, but this giant whelk is a foot long and almost 6 inches across. You can tell he's been around a while from the barnacles encrusting his shell. He's so big that when you flip him over, he has a hard time getting back inside his shell.

I thought this was just another interesting shell when I took the photo. I even picked it up and put it into my pocket to take home. Imagine my surprise later that night when I found out the shell wasn't empty. There was a small hermit crab living deep inside there. I have to carry him back out to the beach tonight, if he survives the day in my sink.

There were lots and lots of these little snails, the name of which escapes me. They are really much more colorful than this picture shows.

Last but not least is this odd-looking fellow. I think it's a sea slug, but I really don't know. There were a pair of them out there, and I was almost afraid to touch it. You never know what sort of response you're going to get from an unknown creature. (Update 20 June 05-I think this is a chocolate chip sea slug.)

This Week In June

Talk about excitement! This week's calendar page features a feather! And it's lying on a beach! The feather is from a seagull, and the beach it's lying on happens to have recently been voted the best beach in the whole USA! Can you believe it! That beach, by the way, is Ft. DeSoto. (OK, technically, this wasn't taken on the North Beach, it was down by the Gulf Pier...)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Turtle, Turtle Burning Bright

Here's a little treat for all you terrapin fans out there. This little box turtle crossed my path this afternoon, and I was obliged to take his picture. All turtles carry their house along with them, but only the box turtle can shut the doors to that house. You can see in the picture below how he is able to close up tight against any predators, or pesky photographers.

And just to show you what he looks like up close, here's a close up picture of this little guys shell.

Oodles of Doodles XX

This latest doodle features two guys taking a coffee break, appropriately enough, since they are from the flip side of Coffee Break by Reg Owen And His Orchestra (RCA Victor LPM-1582, 1958). The illustrator this time is credited only as RR, so if anyone has any idea about who RR might be, drop me a line. For that matter, if you know who this Reg Owen is, you can drop me a line about him, too.