Archives for category: Wildlife

shopping

We’ve just returned from a first visit as house guests at a beautiful friend’s circa-1923 lodge and garden in Gulfport, Florida. These few bits of advice helped us wise up and fit in fast:
1. For a few dollars, you can buy a pair of aqua shoes to wear in the water. They protect your feet from the sharp edges of broken shells, for example.
2. Sunny Florida is also often windy. It’s good to have a hat that ties underneath the chin, especially for boating. The Gulfport marina was celebrating its Funday, so we were invited on a private yacht cruise with hot dogs and iced tea afterwards. I learned this tip the hard way; my mauve hat with the wide brim is now bobbing up and down on its way back to China.
3. The way to swim in the ocean waves is to proceed sideways, parallel to the shore. It is much more exhausting if you try to let the tide push or carry you. Try it and you will be amazed!
4. Keep your eyes open for manatees bathing below the surface in a quiet stream while you are kayaking, pelicans fly overhead and an egret watches from shore.
5. Florida wild life often shares the same inner premises as people in a way not seen or tolerated in northern cities. A possum nonchalantly passed through the semi-open patio of a trattoria as we ate appetizers. The black non poisonous snake lurking around the mansion court’s garbage bin is regarded as a valuable guardian who keeps the rodent and beetle population down.

6. The northerner who moves in with cans of pesticide is looked at askance as someone needing to be educated. It is important to keep the delicate natural world in balance. Wasps and bees don’t just sting, they are also pollinators, some of them super and endangered. “If you don’t bother it, it won’t bother you,” is the motto to
follow.

7. Little gheckos, something like lizards, are everywhere so learn to love them! Fortunately they are cute, charm a lot of people and eat annoying small insects. It’s upsetting if they die from pesticides aimed at other targets.
We thoroughly enjoyed our first extended visit to Florida and look forward to returning some day soon.

Happy Reading from

http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com  www.margaretvirany.com http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

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moose61. If you desperately want to see a moose in the wild before you die, these biggest members of the deer family that grow to nearly seven feet tall and weigh almost a ton will co-operate 2. In the month of May, the water in roadside ditches is a treat for them because it contains the salt that was used to melt treacheorus highway snow and ice and is now running off 3. You should be able to plan your own safari as a day trip in your family car in any province of Canada along any road that traverses a wildlife reserve. We did it last Thursday along Highway 60 near Ottawa. 4. For example, consulting the website of the Algonquin Provincial Park will inform you about moose-watching strategies, precautions to take and rules to observe, and where you can eat and enjoy exhibits along the way 5. Here are the details of what we did: We left home at 10:40 a.m., ate lunch at noon in Eganville and drove on nibbling pears and green grapes bought in Barry’s Bay. We reached the West Gate of Algonquin Provincial Park at 1:30 p.m. The attendant sold us a day permit for $16, gave us a copy of their newspaper and told us some moose had been seen during the days but more in the early evenings. The way we would know if a moose was ahead was if we saw other cars stopped with their flashers on. We had time to look around by taking a detour along the trail to the Opeongo Lake supply center. Patches of snow and ice dotted the grassy, swampy roadside while kayakers plied their orange craft in the lake. Back on Hwy 60 we went on to the Visitor Center. It contains old canoes and artifacts, an exhibit of paintings and photographs, information about Spring wildflowers, a gift shop and ongoing educational activities such as talks, tours and films. Before leaving we sat in the restaurant, indulging in coffee and muffins we were invited to butter and warm up in their microwave. At 2:30 p.m. we started off on the serious part of our safari, scanning the open spaces, dried grasses, bushes, trees and lakes on both sides of the road. It would be very hard to see the brown animals against a background of denuded branches and twigs. The drive was pleasant, with a fair amount of traffic scurrying past us. We felt sure they didn’t know what they were missing but we also knew we were going to be very disappointed if no moose showed up. A measure of anxiety began to take hold as no movement stirred the landscape on either side. We could do nothing except advance cautiously and look, look and look. Suddenly, at 3:58 p.m., we reached the crest of a hill and could see a hollow far ahead where four cars were stopped with their flashers on. The occupants had abandoned them and were taking pictures. And there it was, off to the right before our very eyes, not more than 25 feet away! A statuesque, enormous, beautiful, humped moose, grazing, posing and all our own to photograph! My heart leapt as I got out of the car, fumbled with my ipad camera and stared in awe at this living icon of majestic strength and self confidence. Fortunately, my husband had long since started taking pictures steadily. Two photographers experienced at tracking moose and filming with huge zooming lenses were at the head of the line and had spotted the moose. She was a female, so of course did not have antlers. Her daughter, about a year old, was standing safely farther back behind a fringe of bushes. The photographers had been alerted by seeing wet footprints on the highway. The animals had taken a drink from the ditch on the other side of the road and then crossed over. The mother moose seemed quite happy to pose for us. She had an intelligent, proud face which she held high because she was not frightened and she knew who was boss. If we didn’t behave, she would simply take her daughter with her and leave without becoming aggressive. We lingered and walked parallel to them as they kept going into thicker and thicker bush. Finally, we could hear only the noise of a few cracking limbs so we gave up and left. This remarkable moment of a lifetime was elapsed but will be forever preserved in our hearts, memories, words and photographs.