More on Tropical Storm Fay

When the boys were little we lived in Myrtle Beach.  We evacuated several times over the years for their safety.  One time, and cannot remember the name of the storm, we stayed.  We simply boarded the windows, put everything in the garage and hung out.   We had power the whole time as it was a minimal category one storm and all of our power lines were under ground.  We spread out sleeping bags, ate pizza, watched cartoons.  We fell asleep with flashlights on.  The boys had fun.

Now they’re older, and this storm is making them nervous.  The Sarasota County schools are closed tomorrow to be used as shelters and so the neighbor kids told them they will have the day off from school.  Then they told my boys that they might have to stay in a hotel “if things get bad” because they have a bearded dragon for a pet and can’t take it to the shelter.  So now, not only are my boys bummed that they still have school tomorrow (since I homeschool them) but they’re super worried that “things will get bad”.  Its no use watching the Weather Channel talk endlessly about where Fay might make landfall.  It looks big and menacing on the radar.  They’ll just have to learn to deal with storms.  After all, we spent four years in NW Mississippi, and a half year in TX and endured countless trips to the closet as tornadoes skirted by.  We even traced the path of a tornado in our town to see what kind of damage it caused.  While it left it’s impact on my boys, watching and waiting is proving tough for them.

So what has happened so far?  We had a few minutes of rain twice since noon today.  Oh, and the sunset (what we saw from our house) was beautiful.  The whole sky was a light cobalt and pinkish-orange reflecting on the high cirrus clouds scattered about.  Directly above the sunset the cloud was pure yellow.  Too bad it didn’t translate well on film.

Everything is stored and secure and we’ll just wait until Fay passes.  I can hear my wind chimes out back so the wind has picked up.  I can’t wait to go beach combing on Wednesday.  Maybe we’ll take that day off from school…just kidding.

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Tropical Storm Fay

I can’t wait until Fay has passed.  I’m going to bet the beachcombing will be unbelievable.  There are several shells I haven’t found yet, one being the purple snail, and I’m hoping they’ll be on my beach this week. 

We’ve had red flags and rip currents all week so my husband, Gary,  hasn’t been able to go to the beach.  I’d go just for a walk, but he likes his “hydro” so we’ve found other things to do.  We finally went today…green flag.  While he and boys swam, I combed the beach.  Here’s what I found: lots of beautiful, small shells, strange bones (again, which I’ll write about separately), coral pieces, fairly large pieces of drift wood, green sea glass and a penny.  I’m not able to download the pictures right now so check back later to see them.

The waves were super calm this morning.  Later, we went back.  While the tide was far out the waves were a bit choppy.  Gary took off to swim, I walked down the beach.  There is a sand bar you can walk  to just north of the public beach area.  You can also access it from the south of the public beach as it was pretty much an extension of the beach at that point.  Well, today, the sands have shifted.  I walked toward the south from beach access 5 and found myself on the sand bar.  I didn’t see anything where it usually is. 

My family and I like to go to the sandbar at low tide.  The sand dollars are plentiful there.  We must have 300-400 of them.  As I walked along today I found a few but they were live sand dollars.  I left them there.  They’re so beautiful, green, sometimes with a purple hue, and rough to the touch.

Monk Parakeets

I was driving home from a trip to the grocery store on the “mainland” and was about to cross over the north bridge to Siesta.  To my delight, perched along the electric wires to my left, were about 100 of these parakeets.  They were so beautiful.  I rolled down my window and listened to them screech, which is the best description I can think of to describe their song.  Its intense with that many birds.  The sight was beautiful.

Monk parakeets have mostly grey colored face and breast.  They’re very noisy but in a beautiful sort of way that I, as a birder, finds everything beautiful.  Anyway, they remind me of a exaggeration of a nagging old hag with a high pitched voice.  But, like I said, in a beautiful, nature kind of way.

I first heard of them when I was letterboxing with a friend and her children.  One of our stops was the grounds of St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on Longboat Key.  There’s a colony roosting there behind the church and if you’re lucky you can spot some from the board walk that runs out toward the bay.  They hang out back there.  Of course I didn’t see them at that time.  When we all parted from the church grounds, I pulled over in a parking lot to take a phone call.  Above me, on a power line, perched several monk parakeets.  Lucky for me I had my camera.

The first parakeets I had ever seen here were the black hooded parakeets.  They are mostly green with a black head.  I hadn’t seen many since the spring.  I would bike ride through the village to what was called dog beach (I don’t know the new name) with my camera to capture some amazing pictures of these birds in the trees.  I guess they were nesting in the cabbage palms. 

Their range, according to my National Geographic field guide, is Brazil to Argentina, same as the Monk Parakeets.  They are considered exotics/escapees according to one of my birding books, “Birding Hot Spots in Sarasota and Manatee Counties” complied by the local Audubon Societies.  Curiously, the Monk Parakeet is not. 

The first picture shows the Monk Parakeets, the second shows the black hooded parakeets.

Tree of life

This summer someone had set fire to a section of palm trees in the neighborhood.  The fire department put it out and the trees stood black, smelly and convinced of death.

As the time went on new palm branches started to rise up from the center of the trees.  Even seedlings, that dropped to the ground, had germinated and shot up with new life. 

We pass that tree, the boys, dog and I, on our daily walks and watch it as it grows.  Wonder when the burnt trunk will show new life.