Saturday, October 17, 2009

Random Thoughts IV

The proof that global warming exists, as southwest Florida has had a very warm and humid summer this past season, seems awkward as so many other areas of the country have been experiencing record cold temperatures. This global warming mantra seems to be waning in favor of the addition of climate change to the lexicon of eco activists.

The raccoon above was photographed at National Audubon Society Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in October 2009.

A comment I heard from a mid westerner this week was that they'd arrived in town a little too early. I feigned empathy. The gulf water temperature was reported at a very comfortable 85 degrees today.

It was surreal to travel through the Fort Myers Beach area since my last memorable visit at the height of last year's tourist season as the traffic seemed relatively non existent. Commuting time will double in another month or so as the so called snow birds return.

The White Ibis above was photographed at Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Sanctuary in October 2009.

I made a long overdue trip to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary this week for the first time in a long while. It was good to see Phil and Mike again. The wildlife action at the swamp was surprisingly subdued. After my four hour visit making rounds through the different ecosystems several times, I left the venue without seeing several species that were noted on the sighting board.

While the water level is much higher than I remember seeing at the swamp previously this time of year, the 2009 precipitation thus far has come in a little short of that water needed for the sheeting effect that will otherwise attract so much more diversity along the boardwalk.

The Laughing Gull above was photographed at Lovers Key State Park in September 2008.

It was interesting to learn that the Sandhill Crane is being fed by a neighbor of the sanctuary. It explains why the birds are heard in such great numbers so early in the morning there.

My friend, Sue, whom has visited Harns Marsh Preserve significantly more than me, has advised me that there are indeed gators at the preserve. Wading in the water with the birds there should be avoided. I wish I knew this fact earlier.

The White Ibis above was photographed at San Carlos Bay: Bunche Beach Preserve in October 2009.

While I type these words, I hear the rain fall from the cold front working its way through the area. It should not be expected to significantly accommodate the needs of the swamp that would benefit from a tropical storm or hurricane which did not materialize this season.

More importantly, heavy rains would significantly minimize the encroachment of salt water into the Floridan aquifer which includes parts of Georgia and South Carolina.

The Little Blue Heron above was photographed at San Carlos Bay: Bunche Beach Preserve in October 2009.

I thought for sure that the rainy season was over, so this is considered a very welcome reprieve.

While Tim Rucci should be back from Ireland, Alena is on her way to Indonesia.

The Snowy Egret above was photographed at Sanibel Island Lighthouse in October 2009.

I'm very much looking forward to reporting to you from Florida in the coming months.

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