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Erin

I coddiwomple through life, guided by my love of nature and insatiable curiosity.

Gulf Coast Girl

I like this fun romp by Caroline Jones for a few reasons. It was written by one of my favorite artists, Jimmy Buffett (with Mac McAnally), her backup band consists of Jimmy, Kenny Chesney, and Lukas Nelson (two more of my favorites), it mentions some places along the Gulf Coast that are special to me, and it just feels like a little bit of summertime.

“I love Pensacola, and Apalachicola, and Tampa, St. Pete…

…Cause I’m a gulf coast girl, partial to the warm winds and the salty water…

We can surf Boca Chica and Galveston Bay, ride horses on the beach in South Padre.

No, we’re not in Kansas. Hola, Port Aransas!”

Feels Like Forever

For a number of reasons, I am very thankful that I don’t have to do a lot of driving here in Florida. Number one is probably just plain safety, Florida has some of the worst accident rates in the country. Their auto insurance rates reflect those statistics, I am now paying double what I paid previously (and I’ve lived in three different states recently: Texas, Oregon, and Arizona). I almost fell out of my chair when I received the quote – ouch!

The other reason has to do with the traffic signals. To the best of my knowledge Florida doesn’t utilize smart signals (that sense traffic, or lack thereof) and they have the longest greens I’ve ever seen. Which can be a good thing if you’re on that side of the light but sitting at reds feels like a sort of slow torture (especially for little, ol’ impatient me).

I am happy to know that I am not the only one who feels this way, as evidenced by this gif that I discovered recently. Note: it’s not mine and I don’t know who to give credit to but someone deserves a shout out for it!

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Noisy Buggers

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Nanday Parakeets, Treasure Island, Florida February 2020

I heard these two Nanday Parakeets (Aratinga nenday) before I saw them while walking to the beach this afternoon. Please excuse the grainy photo, I only had my mobile with me. Their perching talk is aptly described as grating chatter. The two mockingbirds on the wire below them (not pictured) were decidedly unimpressed with their vocalizations.

Native to South America there is a breeding population here in the St. Petersburg area, resulting from either intentional or accidental releases as part of the pet trade. The first wild sightings were recorded back in 1969, so they’ve been around for quite some time.

For obvious reasons, it also goes by the common name Black-hooded Parakeet. Now, those of you who know me, can you figure out what’s bothering me about the common name and Latin binomial? I can’t find an answer and it’s driving me nuts!

Beach Bling

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Jingle Shells, Treasure Island, Florida February 2020

I am fortunate that the northern portion of beach near me is littered with shells (there are very few shells if I choose to walk south). I have to control my urge to collect all of them but I can’t seem to resist these sparkly, lustrous ones.

Jingle shells (Anomia simplex) come in various colors; milky white, shades of yellow and gold, coppery orange, and even silvery black. Lucky for them they are too small (averaging 1-2″) and bitter tasting for humans, so they are not threatened or endangered, unlike many of their bivalve kin.

The shiny, thin shells are often used decoratively and make a pleasant tinkling sound when strung together (hence the common name).

Treasures from the Sea

I participated in our local beach cleanup yesterday morning with 13 other hardy souls who braved the chilly temps (it was 48° when we started out). It is interesting to walk the drift line after a storm has blown through, I never know what I’ll find. Especially after one that riled up the surf as much as this last one did.

This time it was a lot of stuff that is usually firmly anchored to the sea floor: from sponges, sea whip, and soft corals to man-made objects such as crab pots (not pictured), split tires, and buoys.

It was a lovely morning on the beach plus, I scored a few treasures: a beach towel, three sand dollars, four pennies, two hair ties, a fishing lure, a can koozie, and two pairs of sunglasses (though one pair was a bit small for me).

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Vintage Florida

When scouting Treasure Island as a potential home base back in December I was charmed by the low-slung, retro motels that lined Gulf Boulevard. It was a pleasant reprieve after the towering condos and crowded beaches of Sarasota. Many of them have been converted into efficiencies that snowbirds from Canada (and other northern climes) rent out by the week or month.

As I wander past, I enjoy watching the clientele as they play shuffleboard, use the barbecue area, and gather for happy hour by the small pools. Thankfully, many of the beach motels have retained their spunk and sass (as evidenced by their signs).

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Considering the beach is only a block away, that’s not a whole lotta love!

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C’mon, admit it!