Red Tide in South Florida

Red Tide has affected the beaches from Manatee to Collier Counties in SW Florida since December. Highest concentrations this month are in Sarasota and Lee Counties.

According to myfwc.com, Red Tide is “a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic alga (plant-like organism).”  Karenia brevis  It can occur anywhere around the Gulf of Mexico; other algae species can cause red tide in other parts of the world. Red tide can be reddish, green, purple or brown.

This organism produces a toxin that kills marine animals so you’ll see potentially large fill kills washing up on the beach.  Shellfish (oysters and clams) can become infected and pass the toxins onto humans that consume them.   Scientists monitor the ocean for this algae to provide shellfish warnings. Red tide also causes respiratory irritation; most people are affected because the toxin becomes air born on wind currents after a wave crash scatters an algae bloom.

Be careful if you have respiratory issues and you’re visiting or residing in the affected areas.  I didn’t encounter a red tide bloom when I lived in Sarasota.  One had occurred before I moved there; now this one.  I have heard stories from my friends who have allergies and asthma.  Most people have watery eyes, nasal issues, and coughing.  Red tide can come and go quickly or last a long while.  I’m praying for my friends that it goes quickly.

I’d love to hear from you about how it’s going there.  Please write.

Washing Ashore on Siesta Key Beach

I love things that wash ashore. I only wish I had been there for this one.
http://sarasotabeaches.wtsp.com/news/weird/87496-giant-lego-man-washes-ashore-sarasota

Lego Man washed ashore Siesta Key and I think that’s where he should stay; on Siesta Key.  There are plenty of places to display the statue.  The public beach area or the Village are probably the best two areas so everyone can visit him.  Otherwise, if Lego Man has to leave the Key, Sarasota has a wonderful section of town along the Bay at the Marina and the entrance to Bird Key and Lido Key where they display sculpture art. I think that would be a fun place to display Lego Man.  Hopefully, though, Lego Man will be left on Siesta Key and I will get to see it when I return to Sarasota for my next visit.

The Majestic Egret

I’ve always tried to live near a body of water.  I think Meridian, MS and Fort Worth, TX were the only places of note where I didn’t get to watch water birds.  I’ve always noticed the egrets hanging around the water’s edge.  They’re royal in stature, sleek in design, graceful in motion, perfectly proportioned for beauty.  They’re majestic!  I have set these egrets, and herons as well, on a pedestal since my youth.  Everything about them, including the way they quickly jab at their prey, is just an example of elegance.  They are a wonderful creature to watch and to try to imitate.  Any young girl could learn poise and grace by watching these feathered beauties.

I’ve never noticed them anywhere except near water. 

I was in shock one day, shortly after moving to Florida, when a sat at a traffic light in Sarasota.  To my right in a parking lot was an egret poking at a discarded piece of food in a torn, fast food container.  My jaw dropped with disappointment.  I sat, staring at this white hunk of feathers wrestling on a black top with something other than a fish.  I think I started crying.  The car behind me honked when the light turned green.  Momentarily dazed, I drove off wondering if I was in some weird dream.

It  wasn’t until some later date, I saw this kind of thing again.  This time I took it a little better.  But still, my majestic egret was reduced, in my mind, to nothing more than a sea gull picking at french fries in a parking lot. 

I finally chilled out about the issue, in fact, laughed at the situation while telling a friend my story.  We were at her house on Lido Key.  She had her own story to tell me, but wanted to show me something first.  We walked up the beach to the public beach area and the snack shop.  Standing by the back door to the kitchen, as usual, was a great heron and some snowy egrets begging for food.  The kitchen manager came out and said the birds were always there, every day waiting for a snack…junk food.  heron

I will always love these birds and when they are in their place, at water’s edge, they are majestic.  When they are begging for food in parking lots, I have to turn away, and chuckle.