When my world is in turmoil, I seek quiet places of respite. The beach is a restorative scene for me and today was no different. Though it was warm, the lower humidity and a light breeze made for a relaxing afternoon.
Hoping to share this peacefulness with you all…
The peaceful afternoon I was sharing with an Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) was short-lived. A second butterfly swooped in and forced off the first one. Apparently, a good mud puddle is hard to find.
Puddling is usually practiced by the males of the species to gather sodium, minerals, and amino acids which are not found in nectar. They store these necessary supplements in their sperm and pass this nutritious bundle to the female during mating.
This, in turn, helps the female with egg production. So in essence, though the male has no contact with his offspring, he’s actually being a good dad.
My difficulty with this experience is, that as best I can determine, these butterflies are not males. I’m basing this on the white coloration of the two rows of spots as well as the iridescent blue scaling on the upper side of the hind wings, which are both female characteristics.
Then again, nature doesn’t have to follow the book, its not like these butterflies can read…
Love and Mercy
“Oh, the violence that occurs seems like we never win,
Love and mercy that’s what you need tonight,
So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight”
Beach Hair, Don’t Care
This Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) is rocking a crazy do. Which is pretty close to how my hair looks most days, thanks to long beach walks. Don’t worry, I’ll suffer through.
I took advantage of a break in the storm late yesterday morning to walk the beach. Though it was windy and the surf was up, I was happy to have the sand between my toes. I was surprised by the changes on my beach.
Typically, there’s about a football field of sand to cross before reaching the water. But that wasn’t the case, in most places there wasn’t any dry sand as the waves were touching the dunes.
Sadly, most of the sea turtle nests that were recorded here along the Florida Gulf Coast last month are washing away. Including the one here on my stretch of beach. I snapped this shot about an hour before high tide yesterday afternoon, so I fully expect it to be completely destroyed by now.
Though tropical storm Cristobal is making landfall over in Louisiana, the storm surge combined with the full moon exacerbated the coastal impact. In fact, I just learned there’s term for it; storm tide.
For your edification: A storm surge is an increase in water pushed onshore by the rotating winds associated with hurricanes and lesser systems. While a storm tide is the combination of a storm surge with an astronomical tide. These are the ones that can cause the most flood-related issues.
I admit, I am trepidatious about this hurricane season. Especially since NOAA is predicting an above normal one with an estimated 13-19 named storms. I take some comfort in knowing that the last major hurricane hit Tampa in 1920. Though there’s another way of looking at that, the area may be long overdue…
The clouds and rain started a couple days ago, precursors of tropical storm Cristobal. It is predicted to make landfall near Louisiana tonight. Over here in Florida we’re expecting even more rain and some flooding along coastal areas.
Yesterday, the rain came in waves with torrential downpours alternating with light sprinkles. Forget cats and dogs, it felt like it was raining dolphins and manatees!
Doesn’t this pirate ship look like a fun adventure? I mean, without all the pillaging and raiding, it’s basically just a pleasure cruise. And I think we could all use one of those nowadays…
Turtles Must Be Delish!
This video from a home in Venice, Florida made the news last week. Apparently, alligators think turtles are incredibly delicious! This one is certainly determined…
The diversity in coloration and even facial markings of Blue Jays is quite remarkable. There aren’t any plumage or size differences between the sexes, nor do they dress up for breeding season like other species. But each individual is slightly unique. I suppose as a communal bird that helps them tell each other apart?
As you may already know, their feathers are not actually blue. The blue we see is the result of light refracting through special structures on the feather barbs. The intensity of the blue is controlled by the amount of melanin, which is actually a brown pigment.
Apparently, Nature does not adhere to the What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) principle.