Thursday, January 24, 2013

Osprey, Manatees and a Sunset

Last week was a pretty busy, vacation-like week --  the Ford & Edison Estates Tour, the Tampa RV Supershow, a car & truck show in Fort Myers for the boys and an Art Show for me – so by Sunday we were feeling pretty burned out, and we decided to “lay low” for a few days and stay away from tourist activities!

Calm Gulf in the morning_Jan 24

Monday was a holiday for me and the boys, and it had cooled down somewhat, so we decided to tackle our next family project – painting the 2nd Tram Bridge.  I guess we did a good job on the first one, since Matt gave this project to us, too!

Tram on the Bridge

We only had enough white paint to do one side wall, but plenty of red paint to give the pedestrian walkway a fresh coat.  This bridge is longer than the 1st one we painted, but further from the parking lot, so we didn’t have as many fisherman or walkers to work around.  We started early, and got the whole project finished in one day . . . we’ve been told we wouldn’t make good government workers – we work too fast!

The next couple of days were cloudy & cooler, so between work and school, I did some laundry and gave the RV a good cleaning.  The evenings have been pleasantly cool too, so we’ve had a couple more campfires.  Overall, it’s been very relaxing and we’re all pretty much rejuvenated and ready to tackle some new adventures!  The boys are planning on getting the kayaks out again this weekend, and we may try to get over to Koreshan State Park sometime too.  Next week I think we’ll also set aside a day to go biking at Shark Valley in the Everglades . . . now that will be an adventure!

This morning there was a Manatee & Dolphin Interpretive Program, so Tom, Ken & I rode our bikes down to the beach to check it out.

Tom & Ken Biking

The guys helped Pam get setup in the gazebo, while I checked out the osprey nest for activity.  Nicolas said that one of the rangers told him that there were chicks in this nest now, so I wanted to see if I could catch a glimpse of them.

Osprey Nest with Chicks

One of the parents was guarding the nest, and I think that might be one of the chicks on the left.  Dad (at least I think it was Dad; could have been Mom, I guess) came back with a fish right then,

Bringing Home Lunch

but didn’t take it to the nest right away.  He sat on a nearby branch, picking at the fish, for quite awhile.

Osprey with Fish

I saw him again later, bringing another fish.

Osprey with Another Fish

It was time for the Manatee & Dolphin program to start, so I joined the rest of the group in the gazebo.  Pam puts on a really informative program,

Manatee Program

and we had a really large crowd for this one.

Manatee & Dolphin Program

I helped out with passing out handouts, and holding up manatee bones, and learned a lot in the process.  On the way back to the RV, along the bike path, Bryce and I were able to point out a manatee for several of the participants that were looking for one!

Manatee enjoying the warn afternoon

Bryce and I also went looking for the bald eagles today, but we didn’t find them.  We did find a bunch of turkey buzzards, though, including this guy who was keeping a very close eye on us!

Buzzard Giving us the Evil Eye

This afternoon was an informational meeting for all park volunteers, where we discussed safe operating procedures and learned all about jellies (they are not “fish”, so not being called jellyfish any longer) – the harmless ones, as well as the dangerous ones!

After the informational meeting, the resident volunteers were all trained in the operation of a new lawnmower that FOLKS (Friends of Lovers Key) purchased for the park, and that we can use to maintain our sites.  After the training, Tom was the first to try it out, cutting the area of lawn behind our RV around our firepit.  It worked really well!

Done for the day, we had an early dinner and actually ate outside for a change . . . with sunset later, we have time to get dinner in before it gets too dark and buggy! 

It was looking like we were going to have a nice sunset, so we all got on our bikes and rode down to the beach.  We were a little bit late (Tom’s fault – he had to walk the garbage over to the dumpster!), but still got a couple good pictures.

Sunset_Jan 24

Pelicans at Sunset









There was a Great Blue Heron hanging out at the beach,

Great Blue Heron on the Beach

and he was gracious enough to pose for a few pictures before he flew off.

Great Blue Heron

On the way back from the beach, we took one more sunset photo over the bridge.

Sunset over the Bridge

Back at the RV, the sky had turned really deep orange over the canal.

Sunset over the Canal_Jan 24

Orange Sky at Night_Jan 24

We’re really enjoying this beautiful southwest Florida weather this winter, and are looking forward to some more adventures in our last month here!  It’s about time to start figuring out where we're going next, though . . . more about that later!

1 comment:

  1. Great photos!! We really need to visit Lovers Key. Maybe later this winter as we head back to Lazy Days!! You are gonna love Shark Valley. If possible get there when it opens (I think around 8:30) so you can beat the first tram out. It is just an amazing bike right:o)) On your way there, you'll pass Big Cypress Preserve, but wait and stop on your way back. Also, there are a couple other birding walks west of Everglade City which are very nice as well. We'll waiting to hear all about it!!!!


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