Sunset Salutation

Every Sunday afternoon a drum circle forms on the beach near me. I’m not sure how  or when it started but it is now a local tradition where everyone is welcome. Don’t have a drum? Use a tin can, old pot, or five gallon bucket. Can’t play a percussion instrument but still want to participate? Go ahead and hula hoop, belly dance, juggle, blow bubbles, or just move with the flow of the music.

Just want to relax and watch? Bring a blanket or chair and your favorite beverage. Really, anything goes. The circle ebbs and flows for the two hours leading up to the main event. As the sun dips into the water everyone turns to the west and cheers. It’s a great way to celebrate the end of week. Yet another reason why I really like it here!

 

 

ID-10-T Problem

Anyone who spends time trying to capture moments in nature knows that things do not always go as planned. Weather and uncooperative subjects often pose challenges and then there’s just plain old photographer error.

My recent encounter with a tiny octopus was one such frustrating example. After gently tossing it out into the surf I videoed its progress as it swam away. Or, at least, I thought I did.

Apparently, in my excitement I neglected to press that one important button (same button for start/stop). Instead, I captured my reaction to my epic fail, which I am sharing for your enjoyment (you’re not laughing at me, you’re laughing with me). As they say in the computer industry, it was an ID-10-T problem (remove the hyphens, you’ll get it).

Shell No!

Since moving to the Gulf Coast of Florida I’ve been out on the beach every day. My flips come off as soon as I hit the sand and I enjoy meandering along the wrack line, looking for whatever treasures the ocean may have left for me.

I am seldom disappointed, there seems to be no end to the fun discoveries. This recent find, made quite an impression (literally – on the bottom of my foot).  The Florida Spiny Jewelbox (Arcinella cornuta) is an aptly named mollusk, at least as far as the spines go (as for the part about it resembling a jewelry box – I don’t see it, but whatever).

Thankfully, they don’t get much larger than 1 1/2 inches but still, stepping on one is definitely an eye-opening experience!

In Honor of…

National Squirrel Appreciation Day I present some of my favorite photos of these furry bundles of energy.

I have a few shots that deserve extra special attention, like this series I snapped in 2010 of a Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel squeezing into his hole in the high country of New Mexico (someone had been preparing for a long winter):

Or this one in Portland, Oregon back in 2012 who was clearly laughing at my attempt to photograph it:

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And my all time favorite, from Rocky Mountain National Park in 2010:

Crazy Squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis)

Love them or despise them, you have to admit, they are characters!

High Flyers

As per usual, I spent a few hours on the beach yesterday afternoon. The beach was crowded with people attending the Treasure Island Kite Festival. It was a perfect day for it – warm, sunny, and breezy. The festival continues today and while the breeze is still present the temperatures have dropped and the sun is obscured by clouds which are due to drop rain any minute now.

While I enjoy the pretty colors and interesting designs, I confess I’ve never really been all that into kites. That said, I was mesmerized by the synchronized kite flying team.

Crooked One-eye

Came across these Atlantic Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus) exuviae (exoskeletal molts) after a big storm two weeks ago. Contrary to what the common name would have you believe, they are not crustaceans. They are more closely related to spiders than crabs.

In a great example of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” horseshoe crabs haven’t changed much in the past 450 million years. Often referred to as a living fossil, the casual observer wouldn’t notice any difference between a modern one and it’s ancient relative.

Not surprisingly for a species with such a long record, they are key elements of their ecosystem: they are known as “walking museums” since their carapaces can host a range of organisms (algae, mollusks, barnacles, etc), their multitudes of eggs feed hordes of birds during spring migration, and the adults are a favored food of the threatened Loggerhead Sea Turtle.

Lastly, a bit about the scientific name (because I’m geeky like that – you’re welcome). Limulus is Latin for askew (though I can’t determine how it describes them) while Polyphemus is one of the Greek Cyclopes in Homer’s Odyssey (based on a mistaken belief that they only had on eye).

 

 

 

Serendipitous

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Pin Found in Corpus Christi, Texas September 2019

I stopped one afternoon this past summer to photograph a cool mural in Corpus Christi. The azure, geometrical depiction of waves was the lone bright spot in the entire run-down area. In other words, I wouldn’t have stopped there, alone, at night (if you know what I mean).

I walked around the derelict parking lot for about ten minutes snapping the pictures I wanted. On the return trip to my car I espied a small pink object. Ever curious, I reached over and picked it up. The message on the front of the pin brought a smile to my face. Why, yes, I do sometimes feel like I’m capable of magic (or at least capable of experiencing magical moments).

The pin may be a little rough around the edges, yet it retains a positive outlook. This pin and I have much in common!