Monthly Archives: October 2015

Walking On

The Wild Side

In Sawgrass Lake Park again. Can you tell I like to go here to explore and adventure.

The Wild

We encountered a gentleman on the boardwalk and he introduced us to Mama Gator. He stated she has about 24 babies. I saw one of the babies.


Mama Gator


Mama Gator

The Flora


Holly


Lantana

These are Beauty Berries

The Unusual

I could not figure out what species of bird this was, so I sent a picture of it to the local Audubon Society to help me identify.

Let me introduce you to a Limpkin. Looks like a cross between a crane and a rail. However, this wading bird does not have any close relatives. I got to see not 1 but 2 Limpkins! These birds are usually solitary.

An unusual bird of southern swamps and marshes. These birds like to eat apple snails hence the shape of their long bill to extract the snails from their shells. This bird enters into Florida and Southern Georgia to satisfy its dietary requirement for apple snails.

I encourage you all to do an internet search for the “Limpkin Call”. Its screaming call is like a haunting banshee wail. This bird was too busy searching for food, so it did not make any noise when around it. In my research I found out these birds mainly call at dawn or at night. I cannot imagine traipsing through the swamp at night and hearing this bird scream – gives me goose bumps writing that!

The Fauna

The Birdlife

Egrets

Heron

Ibis

Moorhen

The Exotic


Do you see the snake?


(Photos by RSheridan)

Have You Taken A Walk On the Wild Side? Happy Exploring & Adventuring!

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Inspirational Forces

Be Inspired . . .

In my opinion Elizabeth Gilbert is an inspirational force to me! Her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear just speaks volumes and on so many levels to my whole being. Creating and living a creative life! 

“Creative Forces of Enchantment.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

To Be Curious

I still embrace my curiosity as an adult!

I like the phrase “creative” living! It applies to each and everyone of us. We all have gifts, talents and passions that we need to share with ourselves as well as other people!

The fun part is discovering what you love and what gives you passion and purpose in living your life! Tuning into your whole being and tapping into what you love, makes you happy and brings you joy. I am practicing to go after what I love most! It inspires, motivates and energizes my whole being. I am learning to come from a place of love by following my heart and doing more of what I love to do!

A big part of that process is facing head on what I fear most! There is nothing wrong in being fearful, however; if it stops you from living your life then that is not a good place to be. Taking a hard look at your values and beliefs as well as your attitudes and habits. You have to learn how to process and work through that fear in order to keep moving forward in creating and living your life! 

The relationship between fear and creativity: “Fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert

There needs to be that balance that works best for you and your whole being! Fear can be healthy in that it protects you from very real dangers. Every one of use is hardwired with a feeling of fear and sensing that fear to be good or bad. You have to create space and make boundaries to guide you in a safe and protected manner! 


Discovering . . .

To Be Free

I know the greatest lesson I have given myself and my whole being lately is practicing mindfulness! Just being in the present moment. I experience more passion and creativity as well as joy and happiness by being in that moment. That race to be all and do it all is draining and exhausting and really gets me nowhere with nothing gained!

It is about feeling inspired and motivated to explore, create and pursue what you want and need in creating and living your life! However, what matters is going for it and doing it! To be open to the possibilities. To be passionate to create.

Being inspired makes you open and motivated and energized to do more of what you love! To be curious to explore and try new things. To imagine and create. To communicate, interact, engage, and connect to your whole being. It can be a freeing process!

Just unleash your creative side and let it out to play!


Practicing . . .

To Be Brave

Here is the BIGGEST Revelation that I have had – Everything is Connected! There is meaning. There is purpose. There is conviction. Those unconnected events are connected in so many ways and on so many levels when it comes to creating and living our lives! 

The decisions and choices we make or do not make. Being stuck and getting unstuck.

The chances and the risks we take or do not take. Learning, growing and experiencing.

The way we respond and react. Changing and transitioning. Transforming and being true to who you are.

Everything is part of a bigger plan and some things come back around! Practicing, testing, learning. Developing, growing, experiencing. Every experience matters on some level in creating and living your life! 

Doing the things that scare you.

Being in the moment making those life memories.

Being humble as well as vulnerable to allow yourself to just go there, go for it and do it.


Taking That 1st Step . . .

To Be Creative

I practice cultivating creativity by making time to play, explore and adventure! Being able to use my imagination. Being able to express myself on many levels. By having creative outlets I am more effective and efficient in other areas of my life!

Being creative is about immersing myself in the process and enjoying being in that creative zone and flow of creative energy! It lets me stretch myself and try new things. It lets me explore my potential, gives me purpose and makes me feel good. Being creative is very much a part of my whole being!   

Being creative is about being aware of my surroundings and tapping into my senses! Paying attention and taking notice. Thinking outside of the box and coloring outside of the lines. That awareness creates inspiration and sparks creativity!

Creativity is like breathing at least for me! I see the good and the positive. I wish, hope and dream. I find life more exciting! 


Playing . . . (Photos by RSheridan)

What Do You Do To Inspire Creativity In Your Life Each and Every Day? Love to Hear, Please Share!


Following Your Heart

Coming From 

A Place of Love

Your heart is to be trusted. It knows what your head has yet to figure out. When you stop chasing what your mind wants you will get what your soul needs. ~Shannon Kaiser

(Photos by RSheridan)

Here’s to Doing What Works Best for Your Whole Being!


Venice, Florida

The “Shark’s Tooth

Capital of the World”

A city in Sarasota County. In 1927, the Florida state legislature changed the designation of Venice from a town to a city. Venice was named after Venice, Italy.

Hosts the Shark’s Tooth Festival every year to celebrate the abundance of fossilized shark’s teeth that can be found on its coastal shores.

14 miles of beaches from Casey Key to Manasota Key.

A Little History . . .

In the 1870s Richard Roberts established a homestead near Roberts Bay. In 1884, Roberts sold a portion of his holdings to Frank Higel. Higel established a citrus operation involving the production of several lines of canned citrus items. For the next 30 years the Higel family members were boat builders, fishermen, grove caretakers, and contractors.

The first railroad to Venice was built in 1911. A small fishing town and farming community through the first part of the 1920’s.

The first street in Venice opened to traffic on June 10, 1926.

Sharkey’s On The Pier

Are you sensing a theme in this area? I sure am!


Cue the Jaws Theme Song!

Caspersen Beach

Can I say “Shell Galore” while walking the beach! People were out looking to find prehistoric sharks’ teeth on this beach too!

Interesting Fact:  Ancient sharks, Carcharodon Meglodons, once were in these waters. At more than 52 feel long, each outweighing a T-Rex.

Flanked by the Gulf of Mexico and northern Lemon Bay. 177 acres of cabbage palms, sea grapes and sea oats. Over 9,000′ of gulf beach frontage with 1,100′ of boardwalk. The sand ranges from light gray to nearly black sand, especially at the water’s edge. Caused by fossilized material mixed with sand and shell.

FREE Parking. Picnic areas. Restrooms. Canopied Playground and Fitness Park. Paved and shelled walking, hiking and biking paths. Canoe and Kayak launch.

During the months of May through July there is another attraction on this beach. The sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. The nests will be marked by wooden stakes and yellow tape. Some nests may be covered by chicken wire to keep the raccoons out of the nests. Look for the turtle tracks left in the sand.

 


Do you see the prehistoric shark’s tooth on the sign?


Gray to Black Sand

Venice Area Audubon Rookery

 

Sight Seeing


(Photos by RSheridan)

Here’s to Exploring & Seeing the Sights!!!


Evening Stroll

North Redington Beach


Strolling Along . . .

Capturing Seashells

A Glob of a Jelly – Watch Out!

An Ocean Bubble

Beautiful Blues

Beach L-O-V-E


(Photos by RSheridan)

It Feels GOOD to Slow Down the Pace and Be In the Moment – Enjoy!


Fort Myers Area

Fort Myers

Fort Myers is the county seat of Lee County. The city is named after Colonel Abraham Myers.

A major tourist destination! The winter homes of Thomas Edison (“Seminole Lodge”) and Henry Ford (“The Mangoes”) are a primary tourist attraction in the region.

Fort Myers was one of the first forts built along the Caloosahatchee River as a base of operations against the Seminole Indians during the American Indian Wars. During the Seminole Wars, Fort Myers was a strategic location for its access to the Atlantic waterways.

An area rich with history too!

Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach is a town located on Estero Island in Lee County.

Arrived on a Saturday afternoon for a quick beach escape before heading back home. Wanted to check this area out and want to go back to see more of what the area has to offer too.

Bury Me Brewing


A Mango Sour – Yum – Cheers!

Twins Territory – Play Ball!


(Photos by RSheridan)

A Quick Trip & Worth Coming Back to Explore Some More!


J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The Refuge

Is part of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Complex along with the

  • Pine Island National Wildlife Refuge
  • Caloosahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
  • Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge
  • Island Bay National Wildlife Refuge

1 Wildlife Drive in Sanibel, Florida

The entire complex is approx. 8,000 acres. The majority of the lands in these refuges are nesting and roosting islands. The Refuge is located on the subtropical barrier island of Sanibel in the Gulf of Mexico. “The refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States.”

“Jay Norwood Darling was instrumental in the effort to block the sale of a parcel of environmentally valuable land to developers on Sanibel Island. At Darling’s urging, President Harry S. Truman signed an Executive Order creating the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge in 1945.”

Wildlife and Habitat

Teeming With Life! “The refuge contains some of the most nutritionally rich habitat for thousands of species of plants and animals in an intricate food web.”

ALL Animals in the Refuge are WILD!

  • Respect the animals. Can potentially cause harm.
  • To be safe, do not interact with or feed the wildlife (avoid dangerous situations).
  • Keep your distance. If you approach and the animals change their behavior then you are too close.

  • Birds – over 245 different species of birds that call the refuge home, especially its spectacular migratory bird populations. The “Big 5”:  American White Pelican, Mangrove Cuckoo, Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, and Yellow Crowned Night Heron. Wading Birds to Seabirds to Shorebirds to Raptors to Song Birds to Waterfowl to Marsh Birds
  • Mammals – Manatee to Bobcat to River Otter to Raccoon to Marsh Rabbitt to Sanibel Island Rice Rat.
  • Reptiles – Crocodilians to Lizards to Snakes to Turtles and Tortoises. Reptiles are great at camouflage and can be very sneaky too.
  • Amphibians – Frogs to Toads.
  • Fish – Seagrass beds and mangrove forests serve as shelter, nursery and feeding areas. Mullet to Red Drum (Redfish) to Sheepshead to Snook to Spotted Seatrout (Speckled Trout) to Tarpon.
  • Invertebrates – Arachnids to Butterflies to Crustaceans to Mollusks.
  • Endangered Species – protect endangered and threatened species. Loggerhead Sea Turtle to Smalltooth Sawfish to West Indian Manatee to Wood Stork.
  • Habitats – the refuge is located within an estuary. Freshwater Marsh to Mangrove Forests and Swamps to Open Water to Seagrass Beds to Tidal Flats and Mudflats to Tropical Hardwood Hammock.
  • Invasive and Non-Native Species – a plant or animal that is not native to an ecosystem (likely to cause harmful effects to the environment or even humans)

The Seasons

January to March

  • Adult Spoonbills leave the Refuge to head to nesting grounds in March.
  • Alligators can be seen basking in the sun on cold mornings.
  • One of the best times of the year for birding, especially migratory birds.
  • Osprey nesting peaks in March.

April to June

  • Adult Spoonbills return slowly in June.
  • Male alligators may be heard bellowing to attract a mate. Female alligators begin to lay eggs in June.
  • Manatees can be seen mating at area beaches in April and May.
  • Sea turtles nest on Sanibel beaches from May to October.
  • Wading bird nesting peaks in April.
  • Yellow Crowned Night Herons nest near the exit of Wildlife Drive from April to June.

July to September

  • Alligators present and often visible at dawn and dusk.
  • Early migrant birds arrive in August.
  • Sea turtle hatchlings start to emerge from the nests in August.

October to December

  • Annual Christmas Bird Count takes place.
  • Birding improves during December.
  • Migratory birds arrive in more numbers.
  • Shorebird migration in October.

Visitor and Education Center

Check Out the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Website!

Open Monday – Sunday. Jan. 1 – Apr. 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. May 1 – Dec. 31 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is FREE.

Holiday Closures:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Open:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • President’s Day

Wildlife Drive

Closed on ALL Fridays (Wildlife can have the refuge to themselves)! Open ALL Holidays unless the Holiday falls on a Friday.

Admission:

  • $5 per vehicle
  • $1 per pedestrian
  • $1 per bicycle

Open:

  • January – 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • February – 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • March – 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • April – 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • May – 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • June – 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • July – 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • August – 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • September – 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • October – 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • November – 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • December – 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Drove through five miles of mangrove tree forests and tidal flats. Saw the island’s native vegetation, but the wildlife was elusive.


(Photos by RSheridan)

Here’s to Exploring the Natural (at times WILD) Side!!!


Crescent Lake Park

A Community Green Space

Crescent Lake Park is located at 1320 5th Street North in St. Petersburg, FL. Opens 30 minutes before sunrise and closes 30 minutes after sunset.

  • 52.5 acres
  • Wilderness area
  • Playground and dog park

Crescent Lake

Green Spaces

Bird Life

The Water Tower

Bird Life Continued


(Photos by RSheridan)

Get Outside & Connect to the Natural!


The Islands

Sanibel Island

A city in Lee County on Sanibel Island. A barrier island. In late 2007, a new, higher bridge was completed with no drawbridge. There is a $6 toll. There needs to be that balance between preservation and development.

The easy causeway access makes Sanibel a popular tourist destination! Shell beaches and wildlife refuges. The largest wildlife refuge is J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

The main thoroughfare is Periwinkle Way (stores and restaurants). The Gulf Drives; East, Middle and West have most of the accommodations.

A short bridge over Blind Pass links Sanibel to the town of Captiva on Captiva Island. In 1926, a hurricane’s storm surge severed Captiva Island from Sanibel Island and created a new channel; Blind Pass.

Captiva & Captiva Island

Captiva is a barrier island to Pine Island. Captiva Island is north of Sanibel Island and located offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Roosevelt Channel on the east side of the island is named for Theodore Roosevelt who fished there.

Robert Rauschenberg was one of the largest landowners. His 35-acres with studio is intact on Captiva’s northern end.

Heading Over the Bridge

15 Miles of Beaches, 250 Kinds of Shells, 50 Kinds of Fish,

25 Miles of Bike Paths, 230 Kinds of Birds, & ZERO Traffic Lights.

Sanibel Lighthouse

aka the Sanibel Island Light or Point Ybel Light.

Located on the eastern end of the island and was built to mark the entrance to San Carlos Bay. The 98-foot tall lighthouse was first lit on August 20, 1884.

Interesting Fact: The ship bringing ironwork for the tower sank two miles from Sanibel Island. A crew of hard-hat divers from Key West recovered all but two of the pieces for the tower.

Punta Rassa became an important port in the 1830’s up to the Spanish-American War. The port was primarily used to ship cattle from Florida to Cuba.

 

Beautiful Blue Waters

Love This Sign

Can you imagine having to answer the phone throughout the day and state “She Sells Sea Shells” – ha! A true tongue twister and a great play on words!

The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum on Sanibel is the only museum in the world dedicated entirely to the study of shells.

  • Bivalves
  • Coquinas
  • Gastropods
  • Mollusks
  • Sand Dollars
  • Scallops
  • Whelks

The Gulf side beaches on both Sanibel and Captiva have a variety of seashells as well as large quantities of seashells. This is due to Sanibel being a barrier island, which is part of a large plateau that extends out into the Gulf of Mexico. This plateau acts like a shelf for seashells to gather.

There is the Sanibel Shell Fair in early March.

The “Sanibel Stoop” is people bending down as they look for seashells!

Here’s to Doing the “Sanibel Stoop” – Happy Seashell Hunting!


NEW! Page

Nature Abounds 

Down In the Southeast

Nature Abounds Page

The GREEN & The BLUE! From green spaces to nature to the wildness. From the bay to the gulf to the ocean. From park to waterfront. Urban meets the back country in minutes!

Green

Blue

The naturalness of nature to the wildness of the native! Fauna and flora. Birdlife and wildlife. Dry land to water. I get excited to explore, but I crave the solitude of becoming one with nature too!

Fauna & Flora

Birdlife & Wildlife

Nothing better than urban refuges! Hearing the wind in the trees, the bird songs and the water. Seeing the green, the light and the wildlife. Smelling the scents in the air from damp earth to sweet floral to briny salt. Slowing down the pace and connecting with the natural around me! 

Light

R&R


(Photos by RSheridan)

Check It Out!


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