Thursday, April 7, 2011

Florida in 12 Pictures

Mansion at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota

Who knew that 5 sons of German immigrants could build their fortune by creating a circus empire from the 1870 - 1929?

Myakka Canopy Walkway at Myakka River State Park

I was a little scared of this walkway. Once I saw it was so sturdy, I gave it a try. It was great!

We climbed a solidly constructed stairway to the suspension bridge through the tree canopy. Walking along the bridge there was a bit of swaying, but it felt very secure and safe. It was really interesting to see plants growing on the trees, plus to see the tree tops up close.

At the end of the bridge, you can descend a stairway, or climb up more stairs to a tower above the canopy where you can see for miles.

Good practice for canopy tours in the rain of my dream trips!!

Alligator in Myakka River State Park

The water level was low in March, since it's the end of the dry season in Florida. We didn't canoe with the alligators. But we saw plenty of alligators!!

Manatee at Manatee Park in Fort Myers

Manatees congregate in warm water during the cooler winter months in Florida. The park in Fort Myers is near the outflow from a power plant, where the water is warm.

We met people who saw 20 or more manatees at one visit to this park. We visited twice and saw this single manatee.

The manatee would stay under water for about 4 minutes, then surface and breathe twice, then head back under water. I liked seeing it in the wild because it was more sluggish and docile than I imagined.....I don't think there's a good way to get that across without actually seeing one in person.

My favorite beach on Sanibel Island

I fell in love with Sanibel on this trip!!

I like how low key the development is there, how the island has 25 miles of bike paths, that various conservation agencies have preserved large parcels of land on the island.

For me, the beaches are great because they're spacious, not very crowded, dog friendly, great for walking, shelling and wildlife watching. Plus, there are tons of amazing birds on the island.

Osprey clutching a flounder over my favorite beach

Osprey were everywhere on Sanibel. At one point, I was finding great shells, spotting dolphins in the waves, and watching 4 osprey overhead. So much fun stuff to see!

One osprey caught a large mackerel. Two other osprey gave chase, dive-bombing the bird with the fish.

When they were about 10 feet over my head, the osprey dropped the fish. We moved away from the fish thinking the birds would be back to pick it up. But they continued their skirmish and vanished into the woods.

Jim went over to check out the fish, which was flopping around in the dry sand. He picked up the fish by the tail and released it in the ocean. The fish swam away. Imagine the "fish story" that mackerel has for his school!!

Mixed flock of wading birds in Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge

Another great things about Sanibel is all the bird life in the wildlife refuge. We spent hours a day there watching and photographing birds. This is my kind of birding!!!

Roseate Spoonbill Landing in Ding Darling NWR

Naples City Pier

TripAdvisor ranks the municipal pier in Naples as one of the city's top attractions. That seemed weird to me, but one afternoon we were in Naples with a bit of time to spare, so we checked it out.

Within 45 minutes we'd been buzzed by a bald eagle, had several close osprey encounters, all while watching dolphins, pelicans and fishermen.

We returned after dinner for more sea life, plus a beautiful sunset.

The next morning, as we left town, we stopped by again. Mid-morning wasn't such a good time for wildlife sightings.


Hard to photograph, but always fun to watch!

Pelican Swallowing a Large Fish

Pelicans at Sunset

Sometimes, after a long winter, a trip to a warm, sunny place is a balm for the soul!!!

I totally apologize for not being caught up on your blogs or your comments before posting about Florida. Please know that I appreciate the huge swirl of creativity that all of our blogs foster, and I read and think about every comment that you leave for me!!! I hereby promise to catch up!


Cindie Kitchin eweniquely ewe said...

I've never been a fan of Florida but seeing your pictures makes it look awfully inviting! Wonderful pictures.

Lois Evensen said...

Wonderful, wonderful pictures! I love the pelican! We'll be on the way back to Florida later this month. :)

Evelyn said...

Beautiful photos! I have never been to Florida - these photos make it a must do trip one day.

LA said...

I know you're enjoying the warmer weather after such a long winter. It is so beautiful there!

Theresa said...

Wow, your camera skills have certainly improved, not that any pictures you've ever taken are truly bad. Looks like a lovely break from New England weather for sure. I'm familiar with some of that area, as my GP retired to St. Pete but I never did see all the fabulous bird life around there. Great pelican shot!

Marsel said...

Wow, these pictures are so lovely. You must have had a hard time choosing only twelve!

We are heading down to Florida tomorrow and I can hardly wait. Glad you had a wonderful trip there!

Delighted Hands said...

Glad you enjoyed FL-it is a beautiful place to visit/live!

Deanna said...

Oh so lovely pictures! And the Thomas Edison summer home in Ft Myers (right across from Sanibel) is a fascinating place to check out next time you are in that area. This was the perfect time of year, too - I vacationed there once in early summer and got sun-poisoning - which I never knew existed before that!

Gjeani said...

I would love to see Florida in real one day. Thanks for showing us the pictures.

Sharon said...

Wonderful pictures, great trip and I especially love the shot you saved for last. Lucky you :)

Leigh said...

What a great time of year to visit Florida. I lived there for 6 months and saw some of these things but not all. As usual, your photographs are superb.


You captured the West Coast beautifully, making this particular native proud. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. Sanibel is the seashell collecting mecca of all the Florida beaches. :)

ASpinnerWeaver said...

I loved Sanibel Island when I was there and still think of it fondly 25 years later. Glad you had a good trip! ~Annie

Tina T-P said...

What beautiful pictures - I guess if you couldn't get to Hawaii Florida might work. - Except they don't have alligators in Hawaii!

I've had a hard time getting blogs together this spring too - seems like there is a lot to do without being on the computer! T.

Donna S. said...

Ahh, you are so right! We are staying at a friends condo in South Daytona right now. Wonderfully relaxing & just what the doctor ordered!!

Lynn Majidimehr said...

Sanibel is one of the places I miss in Florida, thanks for the beautiful pictures that bring back memories!

Janet said...

When was I last in Florida? 1955 or thereabouts. I'm not sure things have changed all that much. Thanks for the reminders.

Lynn Majidimehr said...

Sanibel's a beautiful place, I'm sure you had lots of fun. Thanks for the beautiful pictures!