Tender Terrapin

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Turtle Snout, Walsingham Park, Largo, Florida June 2020

I recently spotted this distinctive snorkel-shaped snout poking out of duckweed on a freshwater pond. A quick internet search pointed me to a Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox). The species name derives from Greek and means tender, in reference to the leathery carapace.

I would’ve liked to have seen the rest of its body but it used the age-old strategy of freezing in place and outwaited me. Yeah, for those of you who know me I’m sure this comes as no surprise, patience is a virtue. It’s just not one of mine.

Off Target

Like Cupid aiming for my heart. Apparently, Cupid needs to head back to the archery range for some practice. This is gonna take awhile…

Bird for the Win!

This scene was quieter than I would have expected but the dancing and flashing of the Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) certainly caught my attention. The coiled up object near the center of the frame is a snake.

Based on the brief glimpse I caught of it quickly slithering away later, I am guessing the bird was harassing a Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus).

In case anyone is keeping score: Thrasher 1, Racer 0. And yes, I know, I need to work on my videography skills!

Don’t Lie to Me

“Don’t lie to me, it makes you look bad,

don’t lie to me, it’s all that you have,

don’t lie to me, you’re never gonna live it down”

I know I shared this song not that long ago, but sadly, it is all too relevant to my life right now. Lying, to me, is one of the Unforgivables (borrowing a term from the Harry Potter universe).

Aside from the little white ones we all tell to smooth societal interactions, of course. I am a very forgiving person but once you’ve lied to me about anything important you’ve revealed the truth of your character. And that, I won’t overlook. I’ve learned the hard way, there’s just no room in my life for anyone like that.

On a positive note, it’s a damn good tune!

 

Stunning

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Sunset, Treasure Island, Florida June 2020

Sunset this past Saturday was pretty spectacular but according to NOAA more dramatic ones are on their way, courtesy of the Saharan Air Layer (SAL). These plumes of hot air from the Saharan Desert form every summer and float across the Atlantic Ocean.

The coming plume is notable as it is unusually large and densely loaded with reddish dust. This dry, hot air will deter the formation of tropical storms for a few days and will make for stellar sunsets but it will also kick our temperatures up. Ah well, like they say, beauty has a price.

 

 

Lacking Red Eye

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Eastern Towhee, Walsingham Park, Largo, Florida June 2020

I was fortunate to watch this Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) for quite a bit of time the other day. The common name is onomatopoeic, based on one of the common calls. The species name is Greek for red eye (distinctive on birds that live in the northern part of the east coast but lacking on southern residents, like this one).

They spend most of their time on the ground, very busily shuffling through leaf litter looking for seeds and insects. This quick hopping and scratching behavior made it difficult to capture a decent photo. Many of them turned out like the one below.

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Change in Perspective

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Snag Reflection, Walsingham Park, Largo, Florida June 2020

When I’m bewildered by my life I seek solace in nature. The fresh air does wonders for my thinking process and watching wildlife grounds me in the moment. Sometimes, nature even provides me with little life lessons.

I’ve walked by this pond dozens of times in the past few months. But yesterday I noticed this reflection. To my eye, the reflection was even more alluring than the real tree standing across the way. It proved to be a gentle nudge, a reminder, to look at the vexing things in my life from another angle. Amazing what a shift in perspective can do!