May 31, 2011
I've always enjoyed finding little post offices in the U.S. This one is located in Pineland (population approximately 585) on Pine Island, a pleasant day trip south of Sarasota. The Pine Island Chamber of Commerce describes it as one of the smallest post offices in the world. The lobby, I discovered, is open 24 hours a day -- and it's a gem! There's a single window where stamps etc. are sold, and hundreds of classic gold plated post office boxes where residents pick up their mail. One well known resident here is author Randy Wayne White (try to say that name out loud three times fast without sounding like Elmer Fudd!) who writes novels based in the Sanibel area, just south of here. I'm finishing "Deep Shadow" right now and it's a page turner. Check out other itty bitty post offices I've discovered by clicking here.
May 30, 2011
I took this photo when I first visited the new Sarasota National Cemetery a couple of months ago, well before all the American flags were in place for the holiday. The cemetery has been open for two years, and is located on 295 acres in rural Sarasota County. With so much land, it's expected to meet the needs of military veterans for the next 50 years. And, that, perhaps is what makes this cemetery so much different than the other national cemeteries I've visited. It's quite empty...now. I can't help but wonder what it will look like 5, 10, 20 years down the road. Take a moment and thank a veteran for their service.
May 29, 2011
When I saw this message on St. Armands Key, it struck me as being spot on. Unfortunately, I didn't have camera with me, so I made a point to return and share it. Buckle up! It could be a bumpy ride...but enjoy the smooth landing. Happy Sunday!
May 28, 2011
You're looking at the best beach in the United States -- Siesta Key Beach! Every year, a researcher known as Dr. Beach, ranks beaches based on 50 criteria including water quality, amenities, weather, and crowds. Siesta Key Beach has ranked #2 the past couple of years, but this year it moved into the top spot beating out locations in California, Hawaii, North Carolina and elsewhere. Now that Siesta Key made it to #1, it will not be included in future rankings (which is kind of a drag, but it will always be promoted as a #1 beach). Read more about it here.
In other news...a tip of the hat to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Even though they lost in game #7 of the playoffs last night 1-0 and they're not advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals --- what a game! They left it all on the ice, including Steve Stamkos who left a bit of his face, after taking a puck directly to the nose --- and returned to finish the game. Amazing!
May 27, 2011
This cute beast was so curious about what was in that net! I spotted her (she seemed like a girl) on a small fishing boat with three young men off Anna Maria. Not only was she inquisitive, she had a good set of sea legs. Despite the boat going around in circles near the pier as the guys tried to catch bait fish, she didn't care. She just wanted to be the first one to sniff whatever was caught.
And, she was kind enough to smile for the camera. That's one happy beast in a boat!
May 26, 2011
These guys are so unusual looking...they're fascinating. Between those ridiculously long skinny legs and outlandishly long beak, the black-necked stilt seems like it belongs on Misfit Island rather than in the celery fields. This is the kind of bird I saw harassing several big sandhill cranes recently. With those legs and that beak, they must think they're much larger than they are. Either that or they have unresolved anger issues.
May 25, 2011
May 24, 2011
May 23, 2011
I heard there was a disc golf tournament over the weekend at Water Tower Park, where there's been a course for 10+ years, so I thought it would be fun to see what it was all about. I didn't know what to expect, but quickly discovered it was a serious tournament. This is 16-year-old Cameron Lincoln letting a disc fly. Does he look like a competitor or what?
Bryan Moore, here at the 17th basket, was kind enough to give me a brief tutorial on disc golf. It's similar in concept to golf, but rather than hitting a ball into a hole, you toss a disc (similar to a frisbee) into a basket. Like golf, the fewer the strokes, the better. Each basket has a par and there are course hazards. Actually, the entire course seemed like one big hazard to me, since it's cut through thick trees and palmettos. It was impressive to see the players navigate their way around. By the way, I believe Bryan was one of the top finishers.
And, this is David Montean III, who travelled down from Tallahassee for the tournament. It was part of a series with the Professional Disc Golf Association and about 70 players participated. I find niche sports like this so interesting. And, from what I'm told, disc golf is gaining in popularity.
May 22, 2011
Sometimes when I'm at the celery fields, I feel as though I've entered a different world where the birds are grappling with their own issues on how to get along with each other. For example, I'm convinced I captured this duck (after perusing my Birds of Florid field guide, I believe it's a mottled duck) as it was admonishing several sandhill cranes and a black-necked stilt to hush up. The stilt, a bird of rather small stature, was harassing the much larger cranes, which in turn were yelping, seemingly, for the stilt to stop pestering them. If you've never heard a sandhill crane, let me assure you, their call is extremely loud. At one point, with the three cranes and one stilt sounding off, it was nothing less than a cacophonous ornithological din. This duck was about 30 yards away, and the split second there was a pause in the commotion, it looked in that general direction and let out a few vociferous quacks, which I could only interpret as, "Hush! Puh-leeze! Is it too much to ask for peace and quiet at sunset? Sheeeesh."
May 21, 2011
May 20, 2011
May 19, 2011
(Click here to see what it looked like the night it was finished.) It was created by a German street artist named Edgar Mueller who is known around the world for creating 3-D pieces. This piece showed a beast bursting through the pavement. It's amazing how much of it you can still see. The artist must have applied some kind of sealer for it to last this long, don't you think?
May 18, 2011
This is my first time participating in Wednesday Doorway, which is a bit surprising since I do like a nice, eye catching doorway. While I was taking a stroll last night through the Burns Court neighborhood in Sarasota, this front door captured my attention. The neighborhood is full of adorable bungalows, many dating back to the 1920's when Owen Burns established the area. As you can imagine, there's probably a lot of upkeep with them. It was only after I downloaded this shot that I noticed the door is two-toned. Someone seems to be doing a nice job restoring it. I'll make a point to return this summer and see the final product.
May 17, 2011
I don't know what I like more about this osprey: those legs tucked high, tight and flat under that feathered tail, those outstretched wings riding a strong breeze or that golden eye scanning the bay below for dinner. Per the usual, I have a story behind this shot. After hanging out at the fishing piers at Ken Thompson Park for about 45 minutes, and being teased by an osprey way off in the distance that refused to come any closer, I decided to pack up and go home for dinner. As I was pulling out of my parking space (camera and long lens safely packed and stowed), an osprey materialized and soared within a few yards of the hood of my car. It was as though I was being taunted...and that was enough for me! I re-parked, unloaded and waited. And waited. Then, right when I was about to toss in the towel (again), the osprey magically reappeared -- and this time it soared straight at me. Bingo! Definitely worth the return trip.
May 16, 2011
May 15, 2011
I haven't posted a beast in a boat in awhile, so today I'm offering up a two'fer: two adorable little dogs in one kayak. I spotted them with their owners enjoying the afternoon in Robinson Preserve, which is just a smidge north of Sarasota. I just love their little life jackets -- and their interest in leading the way.
May 14, 2011
May 13, 2011
Better late than never with today's post. I hope the Blogger folks get everything fixed soon -- and SDP returns whole (yesterday's post is MIA).
There's a lot going on in this photo of downtown Sarasota, so let's begin with the building across the street. Although it's owned by the city, it's still referred to as the Federal Building. It opened as a U.S. Post Office in 1936 with a construction budget of.... **drum roll**.... $175,000. You probably can't tell from this photo, but the architecture is wonderful. Hop across Ringling Boulevard and you're under a portion of Ringling Square. While the architectural design is similar to the Federal Building, Ringling Square opened in...2006. Pretty neat! So neat, you might want to do a little happy dance like these two figures. This is a public art piece called "Standing Bow" by Matthew Mattox. Sarasota has an acitve public art program which requires public art for new developments. And that concludes today's tour of downtown.
May 11, 2011
I've been posting photos of gas prices from the same gas station taken at the same time each month. We've seen a 34 cent bump here over the past two months. In March, Sarsotans were paying $3.55 for regular unleaded...and in April it was $3.75. I hear it's National Ride Your Bike To Work Day on May 20th.
May 10, 2011
Picking up on yesterday's yarn...
This big gator had been splayed out sunbathing along the Myakka River. It wasn't moving. At all. Then, it lifted its sizeable head, and stretched its maw into what appeared to be a permanent menacing yawn. If that's not an imposing look in the animal kingdom, I don't know what is. So, imagine my surprise, when this scrawny little cattle egret wandered into the scene looking as though it intended to strut right by the gator. Apparently, it finally clued in to what was going on and did an abrupt about-face. If this were a cartoon the little bird would have been sputtering -- in a silly, fast voice -- 'Yah know, I really didn't want to go over there anyway. How's the sunbathing? Don't forget to apply lotion! You don't want your skin to get all scaly...er...uh....I'll just see how the fishing is over this way. (cartoon sound of bird feet slapping the ground as it scampers away)
In other news...while I was watching this scene play out, I met a guy from up north who, as it turns out, is a very talented photographer. He was on the boardwalk sans camera, just checking out the environs. He had been in the Everglades and shot some amazing bird-gator photos there. You can check out his photos here. He goes by Cool Kayaker 1 and he's also in the blogosphere.
May 9, 2011
We're back at Myakka State Park for today's post. This waterway is the Myakka River, which meanders for 58 miles through this part of the Sunshine State. It's a well known habitat for alligators....which leads me to this photo. See the gator? Usually, I don't see them in this part of the park. I spotted it instantly, but then lost it. Even though I was standing safely atop a boardwalk a good distance away, losing track of what had appeared to be a substantial alligator gave me the heebie-jeebies. So, I was a smidge relieved when I located him again. (Look for the brown lump in the lower third of the left side of the pic.) Tomorrow, I'll show you what he was up to a few minutes later.
May 8, 2011
I was 100% sure this was an anhinga, until a knowledgeable looking woman casually remarked from behind her binoculars, 'Ooh, the cormorants here are just wonderful!' That was a puzzling comment. I'm an amateur ornithologist but I know an anhinga when I see one. Or so I thought. Nonchalantly, I made my way to the bird identification sign located a few yards away at the Venice rookery. It indicated both cormorants and anhingas reside here and, much to my surprise, they look remarkably similar. So, after studying my Birds of Florida field guide, I can now say with 110% certainty this is a double-crested cormorant. From this view, the only distinguishing difference is that the cormorant has a hooked beak. And, this guy used that hook to nab three fish in less than ten minutes -- quite an impressive fisherman. My neighbor Ernie tipped me off to the rookery awhile ago, but I rarely find myself in that part of Sarasota County. So, after meeting a friend for lunch down there recently, I made a point to find the rookery. It's tucked off a main highway and packed with feathered creatures, including lots of juveniles right now. So, expect to see more birds pics. And, yes, I'll be using my trusty field guide to assist with the ID.
May 7, 2011
One year ago, when I launched Sarasota Daily Photo by posting this photo, I didn't know what I was getting myself into with the City Daily Photo community and the blogosphere. I've invested much more time in this project than I ever imagined and it's paying dividends. My goal was to post photos on a regular basis as a way to motivate myself with photography. Mission accomplished! In the past year, I've discovered I really enjoy shooting birds (with a camera, that is) and sporting events other than tennis. I've also discovered that those of you in the CDP community are amazing. You're pithy, funny, insightful and darn good photographers too. I look forward to seeing your daily posts and learning what's going on in your corner of the world...and showing you what's going on here in Sarasota. Here's to another year of SDP! Now, on to today's photo...
Last night was one of those gorgeous Sarasota nights (75 degrees with a light breeze blowing through the palm trees) that reminds me how great it is to live here. So, to commemorate SDP's one year anniversary, I made a special trip to the bayfront to snap this shot. (The things I do for this blog.)
May 6, 2011
This deer was so interested in me at Myakka State Park in Sarasota, it caught me a bit off guard. It watched me through a stand of trees for a couple of minutes, and when I turned my back for the briefest of moments, it meandered into the road, and craned its head to watch me. Once it was safely across the road and tucked into the brush again, it ducked down and played a little game of peek-a-boo with me. So sweet!
May 5, 2011
May 4, 2011
I understand this is a Cuban laurel fig (according to an arborist friend). What a nice looking tree...although, it didn't seem to create as much shade as you would expect. I love how the gentleman sitting next to it is color coordinated with the bright leaves.
May 3, 2011
This red shouldered hawk gets a gold star for its camouflage technique. See it? It was pretty far away, and I doubt I would have noticed it, except that I watched it land. It would perch motionless on this utility pole for awhile, before soaring over a field, where it would search and search unsuccessfully for its dinner entree. Eventually, it would return to this spot and roost for a few minutes before starting the process all over again. A picture like this makes me wonder how many times I walk right by a cool bit of wildlife without even knowing it.
May 2, 2011
Today's post is an encore for yesterday's City Daily Photo theme day:
mailboxes. How could I not post this cute seahorse?! Believe it or
not, it's just a few blocks away from the airplane mailbox, which I
featured yesterday. Gotta love that creative artistic flair in Sarasota!
May 1, 2011
It's the first day of the month and that means it's theme day in the City
Daily Photo community. Today's theme is mailboxes. I discovered
this one in the Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores neighborhood in Sarasota.
I really like how the nose of the airplane serves as the mailbox door. Very