Busy as a Bee

Note that I didn’t say “busy bee” because although this creature resembles one, looks can be deceiving. This happens to be a sand wasp in the Sticitella genus.

Though relatively harmless to humans, they come by their common name, Butterfly-wolf Wasp honestly. They prey on small butterflies, stunning them before dragging them into their sandy burrows. A female can stuff as many as ten of them into her lair before laying her egg. After all her hatchling will be hungry!

Family in Sarasota

Yesterday’s post about the Sarasota song reminded me of a couple old family photos. In 1951 my great-grandparents drove down from Ohio to visit cousins in Florida (just a year before the aforementioned song was recorded). Lucky for their descendants, they wrote little notes on the back of each picture.

From 1926 to 1954 the ferry was the quickest way to reach Sarasota. According to the Bee Line Ferry ads, the 40 minute boat ride “Saves 49 Miles!”. Considering a one-way ticket was only $1.50 for motorists ($17 in today’s dollars) it was not a bad deal.

I’m rather disappointed that the opening of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay put the ferry out of business, it’d be a lovely cruise.

I have inferred that my relative’s trip took place during the winter for two reasons. One, that’s a great time of year to get out of Ohio and two, the Ringling Circus wintered in Sarasota. The animals were kept near John Ringling’s mansion, which I had the good fortune to visit recently.

I’m grateful for these little snapshots of old Florida.

One Year Later

Hard to believe it’s already been a year since I moved into my little house. I purchased a fixer-upper so there has been plenty of work to do. While I’ve crossed quite a few things off my list, there are still a number of projects for me to tackle. So far, I think its coming along nicely…

Daytime Surprise

It must’ve been the clouds that convinced this primarily nocturnal Atlantic Ghost Crab (Ocypode Quadrata) to open its burrow and venture out. Even though they are pretty good at matching their surroundings, these crabs are a favorite food of gulls, hence their preference for the nighttime hours.

As you can tell from the numerous trails around the hole, the species name ocypode (from Ancient Greek meaning “fast feet”) is rather fitting. These speedy critters dine on anything from sea turtle eggs and hatchlings to other crabs to mole crabs (similar to ones I discussed while living on the Oregon coast).

It was fun to catch a quick glimpse!