Tuesday, February 18, 2014

White Pelicans in a Blue Sky

We get plenty of brown pelicans year round in Florida, but occasionally, we get white ones, as well. This was part of a large migratory  flock at  the lighthouse recently. They were on their way back to Utah where they spend their summers. Brown pelicans dive for their fish, dropping from the sky with more splash than grace. White pelicans fish cooperatively, herding  fish into their group to feed on them. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How Sleet It Is!

Can't say as I have ever had a Snow Day before this month, but that is what we called it when school was cancelled for an icy road day. Few enough of us saw any snow, but plenty of us had sleet. The sleet that fell on the warm ground melted immediately, but the screen roof of our porch was plenty cold and it lasted almost 24 hours. More collected  overnight, but I had to go to school and did not get that picture taken. It got so thick that  you could not really see through the roof.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Two Black Nights

Two Black-Crowned Night Herons were dozing near the Headquarters Pond at St. Marks. Though they are Black-Crowned, they definitely had the blues that evening--even though they were wearing their golden slippers.

In the picture below, you can see the tip of the bill peeking out just at the breast.

That position makes my neck hurt to look at it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wild Hawgs

Coming back from the lighthouse, we always look down the hunting lanes. You never know! Down one we were recently rewarded with this sight: five hogs. Love the brown one.

The picture is far from wonderful, but the hogs were quite a ways down the lane and disappeared once they discovered they had been seen.

That is all we needed to keep us looking down the lanes each trip.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Multicolored Tricolored Heron

This tricolored heron was certainly displaying more than just three colors!

On this shot, you can see what a nice--if rusty-- zipper it has on its vest.

This one was perched across the road. It has more typical coloring.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hokey Pokey Avocet

The last two times we have been to the lighthouse, there was an avocet feeding in a mixed flock. It is such a graceful bird, even when it looks like it is doing the Hokey Pokey.

You put your beak in, 

you take your beak out...

You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself about

That's what its all about!

You put your left foot in....

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Crazy for Loons

The last time we were down at the lighthouse, we stopped to watch this common loon as it fed in the pool near the picnic tables.

Loons always look so drab when they are here. You just have to remember that they are just "cloaking." Here is a  picture that I did not take of a summer loon, somewhere up north. 

This is why seeing one is special. ---And their creepy call. I have heard them here, but only a few times.
Here is a little video of their call.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Green Cove Picnic

On our way home from St. Augustine, we stopped at the park at Green Cove Springs for a picnic lunch. It was a cool, crisp, beautiful day. B had visited there before, but our friend and I had not. The park is right on the St. John's River. After we ate, we walked out on the pier and looked across at a large cruise ship at dock.

The spring itself is just a ways up the shore. It is contained in concrete, but flows into a public pool.

Here is  looking into the spring, with its natural limestone walls.

 Notice the hefty flow rate.

From the pool, it flows into a small, clear stream, dotted with stones, and down into the St. John's. There is a nice playground on one side and it was full of families enjoying the beautiful day. The ironwork on the footbridge was charming.

This little red-haired darling in her blue tutu was as entranced with the stream as I was. 

My only disappointment was the sign that advised that no wading, swimming, or fishing was permitted.  It was a beautiful place and such a perfect place to wade.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Roped In

The galleon we toured in St. Augustine had miles of rope. Each has a specific purpose and a specific name. Some are lines; some are bobstays; some are bowlines; some are buntlines; some are cables; some are cordage; some are earings; some are downhauls; some are halyards; some are hawsers; some are lanyards; some are manropes; some are mainsheets; some are outhauls; some are ratlines; some are shrouds; some are stays.

Because there were so many lines, it was important to keep them organized. You couldn't have them getting tangled.

This is a closeup of one of the many deadeyes that were used all over the ship. B read that they, along with lanyards, reduce the stresses on masts, rigging and hull. Deadeyes were replaced by turnbuckles in more modern shipbuilding. Deadeyes were so named because they were thought to resemble the eye sockets and nose cavity of a human skull.

These large wooden beads surrounded the mainmast acting as rollers to assist in the raising and lowering of the yard.

Rope was even used to measure ship speed. It was measured in knots pulled from the spool as the rope was dragged in the water.

We learned that there is really a lot to know about sailing ships ---and that we actually know very little.