Owls in the neighborhood

Birds are so fun to watch and listen to.  We have a bunch of preditor birds around (owls, eagles, osprey, hawks) and so there’s been very little small bird activity.

We enjoy listening to the screech owl in our back yard trees in the evening.  Its a pleasant, soothing sound (hardly a screech).  I don’t know where the nest is but have a general idea.  Last year the house across the street behind us had a screech owl nesting on their front porch.  I didn’t get to see the babies, but I did see the ones in the trees next door.  The owners were having their trees trimmed and the tree people came upon a nest so they stopped trimming.  The owlettes moved to lower bushes and sat and stared at us.  They were beautiful.

Yesterday my younger son and I were working on the back lanai and he pointed out to me a pile of feathers under a tree.  I went out to look and discovered several handfuls of what I would suspect to be owl feathers.  No sign of struggle (the yard is mulched and nothing was out of place).  Shortly afterward, a neighbor stopped by and I showed him the feathers.  He’s the VP of our Audubon Society.  He speculated that our little owl was captured, probably by the Great Horned Owl that’s nested in the area and has fledglings.  He was on the hunt for owls that night because I had told him I heard of a snowy owl spotting near by.  Since no snowy owl has ever been spotted in FL he’s guessing it’s a Great Horned Owl’s baby that was seen.  Apparently they are yellowish-white and could be mistaken for a snowy owl.   I couldn’t go owling with him but maybe I’ll set out tonight looking for them. 

I do hope there’s another screech owl nearby for me to listen to.

February Events in and around Siesta Key 2009

Hopefully February won’t be as cold as January was this year, Brrrrrrrr. But our snowbirds (at least the ones I hang with) have loved the “cool” weather telling me about how it was 50 degrees below zero in IA before they left to come down here, or that the snow at their daughter’s house in RI was up to the top of the front door. Regardless, I shivered this January and look forward to a warmer February. Here are some of the many cool things you can do while you’re here:

On Siesta Key:

15th Annual Siesta Fiesta Craft Fair
Saturday, Feb. 7-Sunday, Feb. 8, 10am -5pm in the Siesta Key Village

Tai Chi on Siesta Beach every Monday, 15 minutes before sunset. Meets on the beach at the public beach access #5. Looks like fun and usually attracts a lot of people. Maybe I should join in instead of just sitting and watching the sunset. Hummmmm.

FREE YOGA on Siesta Beach: every Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11am to noon at the Siesta Key Public Beach. Call for info: 941-320-6693

Siesta Key Farmer’s Market, every Sunday 7am to noon at the Davidson parking lot in the Siesta Key Village.

“Everyone Gets a Kiss” Valentine Stroll in Siesta Key Village. Friday, Feb. 13.  6 pm – 9 pm. For info: 941-349-3800

Say I Do Again–Siesta Key Beach, Renew your marriage vows this Valentines Day. Saturday, Feb 14, 6-8 pm at Siesta Key Beach. Call for Info:  941-861-5000. This is sponsored by Sarasota Parks and Recreation and I understand they’re doing this at the Venice Beach also. The phone number above can give you that info as well.

While you’re strolling around the Village, stop into Bliss and check out the clothing line to the right of the store.  The “Sunshine Everyday” line is by my neighbor, Sandy Norton.  Words like “Laugh Everyday”, “Run Everyday” “Pray Everyday”, “Dance Everyday” are on the front of these shirts and other items.  They make a perfect gift for anyone (hint…Valentine’s Day!).  You can find Sandy’s work at ww.sunshineeveryday.com.  

Around Town:

For all you SHAKESPEARE fans (such as I), the American Shakespeare Center On Tour is performing “Hamlet” on February 3 and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” on February 4 at New College. Tickets are free but you have to call for reservations: 941-487-4155. Both performances take place in the Harry Sudakoff Conference Center begin at 7:30 pm.

Another SHAKESPEARE show, “A Winter’s Tale”, opens January 23 at the Asolo Rep Theatre.  www.asolo.org

Florida State Fair: February 5-16 in Tampa at the Fair Grounds. www.floridastatefair.com

GWIZ: Titanic exhibit ends Feb 8. I highly recommend it. Check out my blog for review.  www.gwiz.org

MOTE Marine Laboratory: HALF PRICED AFTERNOONS…all general admission tickets are half-priced between 3pm and 5pm through the end of February. Always wonderful stuff going on. Mote Marine Laboratory, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Mote Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota 941-388-4441 www.mote.org

Ringling Museum: the Kimono exhibit ends Feb 8. But more exhibits start this month.  www.ringling.org

Want to help out the Make A Wish Foundation? Go to Canvas Cafe for lunch every Wednesday through Feb. 25, 2009. They’re located at 239 S. Links Ave. Sarasota. Call for more info: 366-2233 or just show up.

The last day of the Sarasota Indian Festival is Feb 1 at Oscar Sherer Park. 9am-6pm. For more info: 941-924-2784.

The last day of the St. Armand’s Circle Arts Festival is Feb 1 from 10am to 5pm

Palm Grove Quilt & Craft Show & Sale: Palm Grove Mennonite Church, Wednesday, Feb. 04, 2009 – Saturday, Feb. 07, 2009. Wednesday-Friday 8AM-5PM; Sat. 8am – Noon  Palm Grove Mennonite Church, 1087 Beneva Road, Sarasota, 941 955-2187

Smooth Jazz on St Armand’s Circle. http://www.starmandscircleassoc.com

21st Annual Downtown Sarasota Festival of the Arts  (www.Artfestival.com)  Saturday, Feb. 21- Sunday, Feb. 22 from 10am-5pm Downtown Sarasota, Main Street between Orange and 5 Points

Winterfest at the Phillippi Estate Park  Large arts and crafts show featuring artists from around the country. Saturday, Feb. 21 – Sunday, Feb. 22;  10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For info: 941-861-5000

Bayfront Boat Show at Marina Jack’s. Jan 30-Feb 1; noon-7 Friday; 10-7 Saturday, noon-5 Sunday and FREE to the public. Check out the boat show website:  http://www.yachtworld.com/sarasota-yacht/sarasota-yacht_22.html

Dog Festival: Everyone with dogs loves to go to the Venice Dog Beach. We haven’t been. The idea of bringing home a wet dog in my car is not that appealing BUT, I’m bound to try it out anyway. If you’re a dog owner you’ll have to go to Fido Fest (dog festival) at Woodmere Park in Venice on Saturday, Feb. 7 from 12 -2 p.m. Woodmere Park is located at 3951 Woodmere Park Blvd. in Venice. For more info: 941-861-5000

Another dog event is the Sarasota Pet Fest on February 22nd, 11am-4pm.  Sponsored by Animals by Nature, the festival takes place at the Grand Slam Plaza (outside the store), 1100 North Tuttle Avenue across from Ed Smith Stadium.  For more information www.animalsbynature.com.  Look for my neighbor, Sandy, and her Sunshine Everyday booth.  She’ll have her “Wag Everyday” and “Purr Everyday” t-shirts, along with some others. 

Do you own a Ferarri or like to look at them? Then check out “Ferraris on the Circle“, the Florida Region of Ferrari Owners Club show/festival. Saturday, Feb. 14, 10 am, St. Armands Circle, Sarasota. For more info: 941-388-1554

History Day in the Park sponsored by the Historical Society of Sarasota County is held at Phillippi Estate Park on Tamiami Trail, Sunday, Feb. 8, 10:00 am. Located at 5500 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. For more info call: 941 366-1323

Selby Library has some events going on. Call the Friends of the Library for a schedule at 941-365-5228.

Sarasota Polo: Sundays, 11am-3pm. Call 941-907-0000 or http://www.sarasotapolo.com. The Polo games are a “must-go-to”. You’ll be surprised at how fun it is…not only the game but the activities going on around the game and the tailgating.

Lure Makers Art: Past and Present:  This sounds interesting. It’s an art exhibit, at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, that examines the history of fishing lures by exhibiting lures from the 1890s along with the contemporary work of Jan Cummings. How cool.  Through February 15th.  www.southfloridamuseum.org

For all of you art lovers, New MCC Fine Art Gallery Hosts Society of Artists Exhibit through Feb 19.  Call for info: 941-752-5225 or www.mccfl.edu.  There are plenty of other art venues, galleries on and near Main Street in Downtown Sarasota, the statue of the kiss at the corner of Ringling and Tamiami Trail, Historic Burns Square Artist’s Market on Saturday’s, and then this list of the arts (theatre, music, visual): Asolo Repertory Theatre,  Art Center Sarasota, Florida Studio Theatre, Gulf Coast Men’s Chorus, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota Arts Council,  Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Other things to do: Selby Gardens, Historic Spanish Point, Crowley Museum.

Creature of Siesta Key

I’ve heard about the green iguana invading our Key. I’ve heard its call or whatever that sound it makes around dusk. I’ve heard the stories of the iguana hanging out near neighbor’s doors in the late evening.

When I was walking my dog I stopped to say hi to a neighbor who immediately told me that the house two from mine had a large green iguana on the patio.  I headed back home and grabbed my husband to walk around my neighbor’s house looking for it.  She is a sweet lady and has a yellow lab who hangs out on the back patio and so I was concerned if it was still there and she went to put the dog outside…well it could be scarey. We didn’t find it.  A few days later a friend sent me an email that had been circulating about a green iguana (maybe 2 feet long) that was caught on the Key. It originated with another neighbor (behind my house and one down). He caught the thing in his pool net and called animal control. They later notified him that the iguana was pregnant with 50 eggs in her. Ugh. What an infestation.
Well, I heard back from my friend during the recent cold snap asking if I’d seen any iguana’s in the morning. Apparently they go into hypothermic shock and fall out of the trees. Too cool, except if you’re walking under that tree.
Enjoy the pics.

p1010025p1010026p1010027

Salt Water Fish Tank part 2

We started this aquarium back in November when we we given a tank by the Extension office here in Sarasota.  My boys are 4H clubbers and since we live closer to the beach than the other members of our club we took the tank and started the habitat.  First, after cleaning it out, we covered the bottom with sea shells and added water from the Gulf.  It had to sit 3 weeks for algae/bacteria to grow in the tank so that whatever life we put in the tank would have food.  So, after 3 weeks we went critter hunting at South Lido Beach.  This area is rich in sea life, probably because of the sea grasses.  Directly across the Pass, on Shell Beach (Siesta Key), we couldn’t find this abundance of life.

We started out from the parking lot and went out to the Gulf, walked south to the Pass and up toward the Bay.  We found some more cool shells to place in the tank.  Heading up toward the Bay, my 12-year old, Travis, spotted a huge conch shell.  We discovered it was housing for the biggest hermit crab we’d ever seen (about 3 1/2 -4 inches), plus a handful of snails and limpets.  We put it in the bucket and moved on to find more crabs and shells.  After collected some sea grass we headed home.

The boys named the crab Herman.  He fit nicely into our tank.  It was amazing to watch him climb around, eat the grasses, and move the shells in the tank from one end to the other.  I let the boys take him out of the tank once in a while to watch him crawl across the floor.Herman

Our dog, Dixie, became interested in the critter as well.  After she got the smell identified, she’d sit with us on the floor and just watch.  Then after Herman was put back in the tank, Dixie would sit and watch the tank.  The table it sits on is just low enough that Dixie can rest her head on top and look into the tank.   Herman is very active and often we’d find Dixie sitting there watching.

To be continued…