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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Standoff
November 10, 2008, 2:23 pm

It's Hawk Migration season again which leads to entertaining photos like this one of a Kestrel and two Collared-Doves. What you cannot see is the birdfeeder right below these three which drew the Doves in which, in turn, drew the Ketstrel in.

I wonder which one was the feeder set up for, the Kestrels or the Doves?

Nature Study
Some Sort of Heron
October 10, 2008, 8:46 am

Definitely a heron, too big for an egret. But what sort of heron? A Little Blue maybe? A Great Blue Immature perhaps?

Any id's are welcome!

Nature Study
Snowy Egret
October 9, 2008, 10:34 am

Identified by Marianna. One of her favorites, please note the yellow feet with black legs and lovely breeding plummage.

Nature Study
Beach Squirrel
September 23, 2008, 6:29 pm

Nature Study
The Boat is Ready
August 18, 2008, 12:26 pm

We've just arrived at the shelter on Boca Chica. Two nice rooms off of a little kitchenette common area are shared by 2 couples. I've noticed they've been keeping all the marina folk together and all the land-based people from Sigsbee together.

It felt great to get a shower here and clean clothes too! We worked so hard getting the boat ready, here's the before picture...

...and the after!

We had to help our neighbor move out of her slip into a single so we both could center up. The bimini was stripped off, most things below decks were secured and then we taped up all possible seams that might have the potential to leak in a driving rain. The dinghies were taken to the mangroves and tied off and slightly filled with water so they wouldn't flip in high winds.

All accomplished in incredible heat and/or dribbly rain over the past few days. We'll be hunkered down here for awhile, so far the winds haven't gone above 50 or 60 mph but the rain has been incredibly heavy!

Nature Study
Bird on a Wire
July 20, 2008, 10:05 am

The white crowned pigeon is back for the summer. Only occurring in extreme southern Florida this bird is large and eye catching. It has a tendency to fly with its head carried higher than other pigeons, resulting in a profile reminescent of a Viking ship prow.

It's preferred food is the Poisonwood Berry and its preferred sitting location is on a wire. The result is long hedges of poisonwood along the electrical and telephone wire routes.

The white crowned pigeon was famously painted in the Keys by John James Audubon using a branch of the geiger tree from the home of Captain Geiger in Key West. Here's the painting .
I wonder what the birds sat on before wires? Clotheslines?

The flutter of blue pigeon's wings
Under a river bridge
Hunting a clean dry arch,
A corner for a sleep--

~Carl Sandburg

Nature Study
That Conch
who lives under the S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen now.
June 7, 2008, 11:06 am

Pleuroploca gigantea is the state seashell of Florida, not the Queen Conch as many suppose. Horse Conchs are the menace of the seas, if you are another marine gastropod, that is! They actually attack and eat other conchs, can you believe it? We waited and waited for this one to emerge.

This was as close as he came. I think he was camera shy, don't you?

Nature Study
Spider Orchids and an Update
June 3, 2008, 9:55 am

Of course this would be my young arachnologist's favorite orchid. I never had a bit of doubt about that!


So the trip to Miami was good and bad as all trips to the mainland are.

Do you want the bad first?
~ I had to sit in that office from 12:45 to 4pm before seeing the doc. I actually arrived an hour early for my appointment hoping to get out that much earlier and beat rush hour traffic but that didn't work so well.
~ The 2 new eye drops he gave didn't cure my eye in one drop, darn it! It'll take at least a month, uggh!
~ The doc actually took a cell phone call while he was in the room with me and I hardly need tell you the impression that made on me!

Ready for the good?
~ He says I have an inflamed eye, nothing else is wrong. (???)
~ Traffic was fine. (for Miami, we only almost died twice)
~ Hal and Marianna had a great Daddy/Daughter Day while I sat. It involved hobby shops, fast cars, a music store and Jamba Juice.

So today we're off to the library and the grocery store and then this evening we're hauling Hal up the mast for an inspection of the rigging. I think we'll have a salad with cold shrimp tonight. No surinami, Hal, I promise! Last week's cold salad with el fake-o crab was not the greatest success. I'll stick with the real stuff tonight.

Happy June!

Nature Study
Hurricane Season
June 1, 2008, 1:44 pm

Welcome to Hurricane Season!

Enjoy the new tunes, you'll never be able to guess what theme I chose for this batch!

Of course, you have heard we already have a lovely Tropical Storm brewing. I think that is the traditional entry into the season. Start it off with a bang and all. Just to give those weather people something to practice with, you know.

Have you seen this totally awesome Hurricane Bingo game by SEECOOS? They have a very nice selection of Hurricane Activities for the upper grades.

Photo from previous year, 2006 A is for Alberto.

Nature Study
The Pinelands
Everglades Week
February 28, 2008, 9:50 am

Shorter, quicker post today - we're off on a bit of a cat sitting adventure!

Palm Fibers

Everyone thinks of the Everglades as a River of Grass, miles and miles of gators, er, grass standing in water flowing slowly to the sea. While this is true, there are "islands" in this river, hummocks of soil where trees and other plants can take root and grow. The Pinelands is one such location.

Scottish Thistle

Other, exotic though equally beautiful, plants also grow here, and it made terrific farmland for early settlers and even earlier Indians.

Tree Snail

With the isolation that comes from being an island each hummock developed its own rare Tree Snail. Tree Snails are fairly large and very colorful. They hibernate (for lack of a better word right now) during the dry season by sealing themselves onto the bark of a tree.

Very Rare Tree Snail

They have become a species of Special Concern due to 2 reasons: Over collection by collectors who would gather a few from each hummock and then torch the island to drive up the rarity of their prize, and hurricanes.

And because that is a very depressing note to end a post on, why don't you go color a Liguus Snail over at Panther Habitat Coloring Book!

How do little kids turn out such great looking pictures on that??? I'm way too spastic for that! I guess I need to get in touch with my inner 3 year old...

ETA: Or 13 year old. Marianna sat right down and adjusted the dot of paint from Great Big Blob to Perfectly Daintly Dot and turned out a superb Tree Snail. Hmmph.

Nature Study

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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Who: Capt. Hal, Jennifer, and our daughter Marianna, a great photographer!
Port: Boca Chica
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