Thursday, February 26, 2009

Leon Sinks Geological Area, near Tallahasee, Florida

Howdee all.

Today we went to a very cool geological area... An area of karsts
I took this information from the Leon Sinks website..
You can click on the link above to read more about the area and look at the trail map.

Leon Sinks Geological Area
Welcome to the fascinating world of karst. The term is applied to terrain that rain and groundwater have changed by dissolving underlying limestone bedrock. The porous limestone bedrock was formed long ago from ancient coral reefs and shell deposits. Rain and groundwater have dissolved the limestone to form sinkholes, swales and underground caverns. The Woodville Karst Plain runs from Tallahassee southward to the Gulf of Mexico. A wet sinkhole is an opening to the Floridan aquifer, which supplies our drinking water.
Many of these sinks are connected caves underwater....they have been explored by divers. If you are interested you can check out the video at Utube by clicking this link.


Jeff and I decided to do the full round trip, about five miles plus. We passed several dry sink holes.. and then came across this one..

Beautiful blue green water, very clear.

We hung out and watched a few birds come in to drink.
another sink ..
We passed many sinks..and this one below being the largest and deepest.
Big Dismal Sink offers a breathtaking view of more than 75 different plants cascading down the sink's steep walls.


besides the sinks we passes several small cypress swamps.


Oh whats this I see ..
Pink on a tree

Pink spots
and one PINK Heart...



How Cool is that!

I googled pink Lichen but couldn't find any info on it...any ideas?
(oh...smart sister found out what this is...)
Christmas Lichen
and this other link actually has photos of the lichen from the same area that we hiked today
More Christmas Lichen
Thanks smart sista...

and what the heck?????? How does this tree stay up?


with a little help from its friend...
its leaning into that spot up top.....

We saw some nice birdies today...alas no pictures...if i were one of you with those super cool cameras with real fast shutter speeds and zoom lenses you would have seen photos of...

White eyed vireo, Golden crowned kinglets, Hermit thrush, Yellow bellied sapsucker,
Red bellied woodpecker, Chickadees, Titmouse, Cardinals, Ruby crowned kinglet, Robins and Pine warbler and Orange crowned warbler.
But I dont have one of those cameras...so you will just have to take my word for it...tee hee...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Our new Backyard...St Marks National Wildlife Refugee, Florida

Howdee all,

We left St.George yesterday and drove 2 hours east to our new backyard.
We are staying in a small County Campground in Newport, Florida just a few minutes drive to
St. Marks National Wildlife Refugee and a half hour south of Tallahassee.

The Campground is partly wooded, we have full hookups..which means, unlike the state parks, I can take longer showers and do laundry.....Yipee...i wont stink and my clothes will be clean!
We can walk to a small river to view Manatees(haven't done that yet)



If you look on the map below you can see the refugee south of us..follow Lighthouse road..rt. 59.



View Larger Map



Today we drove to the Refugee to see what it was all about. We stopped at the visitor center, where we saw great close up views of Red-Shouldered Hawks on the Balcony railing.

below ..view of Visitor Center from trail
The Refugee is very large...and spreads throughout several towns.
Today we saw just a portion...
We checked out a few of the many ponds.




We had a fun day birding...
Lots of birdies here.
Canvasbacks and Redhead ducks were some of our highlights.

check out this beautiful Redhead Duck in the video.....

video

Black Necked Stilt
Great Egret

look at this Pied billed Grebe ..It kept spreading its wings like below..
does anyone know why it did this? Is it trying to attract a mate?


not such a great photo..but I loved how the green on this Green winged Teal...
just glowed.

We drove Lighthouse road...
to the end.

more ponds and birdies..gulls, terns, shorebirds, ducks, snipes, soras
etc.
We are very excited ...this is a beautiful refugee and birding is great. We look forward to the next week here...and who knows...we may extend our stay another week.

Goodnight from us here at St. Marks Wildlife Refugee

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Top Three reasons we Hiked another 10 Miles on the beach

Howdee all.

Yes we did another ten mile hike...repeated the same 5 mile bay side and 5 mile gulf side hike.
The morning started off cold but warmed out...
check out my morning gear..


Ok here are the

TOP THREE REASONS WE DID ANOTHER 10 MILE BEACH WALK.

Reason number 3. to Collect Treasures



Reason number 2. to see more birdies

and birdie footprints


below is a video of what we believe to be a Long-Tailed Duck, a Life Bird for us
Would anyone like to confirm that for us?




but the number 1 reason we walked another 10 miles

OYSTERS, FIVE DIFFERENT WAYS



While In Apalachicola..You must try the local oysters...
so we did ..
We went to the famous
Boss Oyster

Oyster A la Artie (Chef Tim Strand, Boss Oyster):Hand-picked Blue Crab, Artichoke, Monterey Jack Cheese
Oyster Monterey (Captain Greg R. Pace):Hand-picked Blue Crab, Sherry, Monterey Jack Cheese
Oyster Bienville (Mr. Webb, Apalachicola):Chopped Shrimp, Mushrooms, Garlic, Cheddar Cheese
Oyster Greektown (Diana Poppelreater, Atlanta):Garlic, Parsley, Feta Cheese, Greek Olives

Fried was my favorite.


the above post uploaded thanks to free wifi at the local Subway Shop.

Beach Finds...What do You want Family?

Howdee all,



Here are some of the Beach Finds..
Let me know what you might be interested in...because I don't want to lug these all around if you don't want them.
It was good exercise anyway...I think yesterday I carried two five pound bags for at least five miles.


The sponges..i wash most of the sand off of them... a few are cool for stand alone displays...
I don't know if they should be soaked in Vinegar or not.


This Clorox bottle I found in the water yesterday...Jeff looked online and someone was selling one for seven dollars.Assorted broken shells...cool..but I never could find a complete shell

In town I saw these type of skeleton shells in a tall clear glass cylinder jar..
it really looked cool

I thought these below would look nice in a big bowl

these are a few big stand alone shells
Ok that is just a sampling....
So sisters, mother, nieces, sister-in laws...
you know who you are...
let me know ...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Our new backyard, St. George Island State Park, Florida

Howdee all,

We have a new Backyard. We moved east on the coast of the Florida Panhandle to St. George Island State Park...

see the map below...
that's where we are...if you go to street level you can see our campsite.

It is pretty remote here...So my Internet connection is sooooooooo frustrating. It takes me hours to do a post...so we take a drive to hook up to some free Wifi. When i read blogs online I sometimes see pictures and sometimes not.
I can sometimes get a comment box to pop up the first time...usually it takes two or three attempts. It is annoying the heck out of me.....
OH well.............




View Larger Map


The RV park is very nice, wooded, large sites, campfire rings, picnic table and clothesline.
We have resident, Towhees, Cardinals, Catbirds, Yellow rumped warblers, Morning doves and Common Ground Doves
We set out some seed on the ground and I put out peanut butter suet...
which was robbed overnight by Raccoons most likely. No sign of the wire suet holder...

The little fur ball... Ballie loves sitting outside and watching the birds.

We had a nice ten mile hike yesterday to the east end of the island..

hiked five miles east on the bay side.
and then hiked back five miles west on the ocean side.
Thats me with my Yellow bag of beach treasures and my sore toes.

One thing we did notice...is that this area is not as birdie as our last favorite place!
Presenells rv park and marina in Port St. Joe's. We will definitely put that on our list of Favorite places to go back to.

There are birds here...just not as many ...and not as many species.

we saw...American Oyster catchers, Laughing Gulls, Ring billed Gulls, Bonaparte Gulls

Sanderlings, Dunlins, Black bellied Plover, Semi-Palmated Plover, Piping Plover , Snowy Plovers and Red Knots and Willets , Lesser Yellowlegs, and Ruddie Turnstones.
I guess there were a good amount of birdies...now that I am writing about them.

My feet were getting sore by the end of the hike....and today my toes were sore...
So we just did a five mile hike...to the bay side thru the woods...and took the rest of the day to drive around the island, uploaded some pictures using Wifi at Subways....Jeff worked on Taxes and I made a nice dinner.

Heres my little fur boy ...wherever we go the first thing he likes to do is jump on top of the picnic table..
Below he is guarding my beach treasures. Some sponge structures...and shells.


some strange root structures?


we don't have sunset out our front window...now we drive about a mile to this area
if we want to see the sunset.
Which is still nice...but we were spoiled at our last homesite where we could look out the window and the view was amazing.

Such is our life...the view is always changing.
and if we dont like it...
well..
we go find another one.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Great Backyard Bird Count from our current backyard Port Saint Joe

Howdee all,

Jeff and I decided to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count. This was a first for us...we figured we would be out birding anyway... why not help.....and count the birds.
It was fun...but we worked hard..going from place to place to try to record as many birds as we could, and went to different areas to get a diverse group of birds.


We could look right out of our window and see Brown and White Pelicans, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Tri Colored herons, Snowy Egrets, Laughing and Ring Billed Gulls, White Ibis, Willets, Killdeer.



We drove to a wooded area to get the some wrens and a few warblers.
And counting Robins that are flitting around in trees overhead....that was fun.

Great Horned Owl in nest.


But mostly stuck to the salt water marshes, where we saw Bald Eagle and Black Bellied Plover and masses of other shorebirds of which we had to ID and the count.




Have you ever tried to count a huge flock of anything? Well I guess some of you would say yes..
We havent.....so it was fun trying to count this huge flock of Black Skimmers....


Black skimmers flying over Jeff

I did stop and look at the ground a few times...many shells.

lots of Red-breasted mergansers


We scoped out a few islands that had White and Brown Pelicans and all the other assorted gulls, herons and egrets that we see on our little island accross from the campground..
We took turns going through all the birds and counting..we found it easier to scan through the group and just count one speices and then scan the same group for the next species.
Do any of you have special techniques that you use for scanning huge flocks?
We did our best...and if anything under estimted flock size.

But now........ I am wondering if we this count correctly...everything was counted in Port Saint Joe...but......
in different areas of town....Soooooooo...as I go back and read the directions....It looks like you need a different count for each area. Oh My!
So now what do I do? All these places were within 8 miles total...But we did drive to four different areas...
Darn it...I guess being my first time and not doing a great job reading the how too...I didnt get this totally right...

We did have a lovely, overcast day of birding.

we will be........Moving again..

Today we are moving to St. George Island, If we get there early enough we might participate again!

Locality: Port Saint Joe, Gulf County, FL
Observation Date: FEB 15, 2009
Start Time: 10:00 AM
Total Birding Time: 7 hours 15 minutes
Party Size: 2
Skill: good
Weather: fair
Habitat(s):
coniferous woods
scrub
salt water
Number of Species: 71
All Reported: yes


Lesser Scaup - 3
Bufflehead - 28
Common Goldeneye - 3
Red-breasted Merganser - 65
Common Loon - 5
Pied-billed Grebe - 2
Horned Grebe - 2
American White Pelican - 75
Brown Pelican - 42
Double-crested Cormorant - 60
Great Blue Heron - 16
Great Egret - 17
Snowy Egret - 11
Little Blue Heron - 2
Tricolored Heron - 4
White Ibis - 64
Turkey Vulture - 8
Bald Eagle - 3
Red-tailed Hawk - 1
American Kestrel - 1
Black-bellied Plover - 15
Semipalmated Plover - 3
Killdeer - 4
American Oystercatcher - 4
Willet - 24
Ruddy Turnstone - 16
Red Knot - 8
Sanderling - 32
Dunlin - 75
Short-billed Dowitcher - 3
Bonaparte's Gull - 5
Laughing Gull - 56
Ring-billed Gull - 45
Herring Gull - 4
Forster's Tern - 38
Royal Tern - 7
Black Skimmer - 224
Eurasian Collared-Dove - 8
White-winged Dove - 10
Mourning Dove - 7
Common Ground-Dove - 8
Great Horned Owl - 1
Belted Kingfisher - 4
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 2
Eastern Phoebe - 4
Loggerhead Shrike - 3
American Crow - 2
Fish Crow - 3
Carolina Chickadee - 6
Brown-headed Nuthatch - 12
Carolina Wren - 4
Winter Wren - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 6
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 2
Eastern Bluebird - 24
American Robin - 76
Gray Catbird - 5
Northern Mockingbird - 24
European Starling - 44
Pine Warbler - 8
Prairie Warbler - 1
Yellow-breasted Chat - 1 Confirmed
Eastern Towhee - 9
Chipping Sparrow - 45
Swamp Sparrow - 1
Northern Cardinal - 7
Red-winged Blackbird - 34
Boat-tailed Grackle - 37
Brown-headed Cowbird - 35