Fossil Seashells: Hidden Beauty

Florida Fossil Seashells Under Normal Light

Florida Fossil Seashells Under Normal Light

Fossil Seashells Under UV Light

Fossil Seashells Under UV Light

Similar Shells Today

Similar Shells Today

A recent scientific article describes how hidden patterns can be revealed by viewing fossilized seashells under UV light. I had to try this myself! I dug out our box of Florida fossils and looked at the chalky white seashells under a UV blacklight. Like magic – the patterns appeared! Nature is truly amazing. The detailed article on glowing shells is at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0120924.

Space Station Flyover

Moonrise in Florida

Moonrise in Florida

Long Exposure of Space Station Flyover

Long Exposure of Space Station Flyover

Airplane Trails 1

Airplane Trails 1

Airplane Trails 2

Airplane Trails 2

View of Pacific Cyclone from Space Station (streamed by ISS Above to our TV - click for details)

View of Pacific Cyclone from Space Station (streamed by ISS Above to our TV – click for details)

We had an extra bright flyover of the International Space Station on Friday evening.  It was a gorgeous warm night with a full moon rising.  As I was taking the pictures, I could hear mama owl singing by the pond.  For better photography next time, I’m looking forward to a nice dark night so that I can take a longer exposure.  If you want to see the Space Station, check flyover times at: http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/ Remember that the Space Station emits a bright continuous light (the reflection from the solar panels), and airplanes emit flashing lights.

Screech Owls are Nesting!

Screech Owl in Nest Box

Screech Owl in Nest Box

Screech Owl with Erect Feather Tufts

Screech Owl with Erect Feather Tufts

Screech Owl's Round Yellow Eyes

Screech Owl’s Round Yellow Eyes

Screech Owl Wink

Screech Owl Wink

I did some gardening yesterday after work, and had a wonderful surprise.  I looked up and saw mama screech owl watching me!  She moved into her nest box right on schedule for spring.  Amazingly she continued to pose while I took pictures.  Lucky day!  Eastern screech owls pair up and remain together for life.  Other posts about screech owls are at: https://naturetime.wordpress.com/?s=screech+owl 

Bee Ball!

Flower Bed (butterfly bush with bees is on middle right)

Flower Bed (butterfly bush with bees is on middle right)

Football-Sized Cluster of Bees

Football-Sized Cluster of Bees

Close-up of Bee Ball (used telephoto lens)

Close-up of Bee Ball (used telephoto lens)

Collecting the Bees

Collecting the Bees

Original Bee Colony in Birdhouse

Original Bee Colony in Birdhouse

We were working in our flower garden on Sunday, and realized there was an unusual number of honeybees flying around our butterfly bush. We didn’t understand why, because the plant had no flowers. Then we saw what was going on – there was a ball of bees in the middle of the bush! They were clustered together protecting the queen, waiting for scout bees to find a new home. The bees had outgrown their original home in the birdhouse nearby. Some of the bees had left in a swarm to start a new colony. If you see a swarm, the bees will leave once they find a new place for a hive (usually within 3-4 days). An article about bees and swarming (which is normal this time of year) is at: http://www.beethinking.com/pages/how-to-catch-a-swarm 

 Luckily we have a beekeeper friend who offered to come collect the bees early this morning (Monday). Time was of the essence, and this morning’s cool, clear weather was perfect for the task. The process was interesting to watch, and it was fascinating to hear that every movement the bees make has meaning. Happily the bees are now sitting in their portable hive under a mango tree in his garden, awaiting transfer to another friend’s yard for her new beekeeping endeavor. The bees are already drinking the 1:1 sugar syrup he provided, and beginning to make wax comb. Bees are an extremely important part of the ecosystem, and critical for the food we eat. At the hive, bees even do a “dance” to tell other bees where nectar can be found. Maybe we’ll get to enjoy some fresh honey from those bees later on!

Florida: Sea Glass and Ocean Gems Symposium

Melbourne Beach

Melbourne Beach

Boardwalk at Barrier Island Center

Boardwalk at Barrier Island Center

Entrance at Barrier Island Center

Entrance at Barrier Island Center

Signpost

Signpost

White Bowl of Sea Glass

White Bowl of Sea Glass

Blue Bowl of Sea Glass

Blue Bowl of Sea Glass

Red Bowl of Sea Glass

Red Bowl of Sea Glass

Sea Glass on Table

Sea Glass on Table

Old Auto Headlight Sea Glass Fragment

Old Auto Headlight Sea Glass Fragment

Our Recent Sea Glass Find (5 inches long)

Our Recent Sea Glass Find (5 inches long)

On Saturday we attended the First Sea Glass and Ocean Gems Symposium at the Barrier Island Center in Melbourne Beach, Florida.  The Center is located in the heart of Archie Carr Refuge, a major nesting site for sea turtles. The festival celebrated not only sea glass, but also sea life and all treasures found at the beach.   There were educational displays, along with arts and crafts on the back deck overlooking the ocean.  The sea glass displayed was collected on local beaches over the past 40 years – some of it washed in from ancient shipwrecks! More info about the Center is at:  http://www.brevardcounty.us/EELProgram/Areas/BarrierIslandSanctuary/Home

Florida: Pretty Turkeys!

Turkey Pair

Turkey Pair

Turkey's Iridescent  Feathers

Turkey’s Iridescent Feathers

Male Turkey Walking

Male Turkey Walking

Wild turkeys are displaying now in Florida.  These pictures were taken in our backyard this past week.  Male turkeys puff up and fan their feathers to impress the females.  They also stamp their feet and turn around in circles.  Usually the females pretend to be unimpressed and pointedly ignore them.  Turkey feathers are beautiful and shimmer with colors in the sun (bronze, gold, purple, and green).  A turkey’s gobble can be heard over a mile away, and is unique to each one.  They are intelligent  social animals that form lasting bonds.  Baby turkeys flock with their mother all year.  I am always surprised by how fast they can run and fly.  What a treat to see them every day! 

 

McKee Gardens: Amazing LEGO Sculptures!

LEGO Hummingbird

LEGO Hummingbird

LEGO Almost 7 Foot Tall Rose

LEGO 7 Foot Tall Rose

LEGO Close-up of Rose Petals

LEGO Close-up of Rose Petals

LEGO Swallowtail Butterfly

LEGO Swallowtail Butterfly

LEGO Swallowtail Butterfly in Bamboo Grove

LEGO Swallowtail Butterfly in Bamboo Grove

LEGO Dragonfly on Pond

LEGO Dragonfly on Pond

LEGO Koi and Waterlily

LEGO Koi and Lilypad

LEGO Frog on Lilypad

LEGO Frog on Lilypad

LEGO Victoria Waterlily

LEGO Victoria Waterlily

Real Victoria Waterlily

Real Victoria Waterlily

LEGO Flying Bee

LEGO Flying Bee

LEGO Rabbit and Fox

LEGO Rabbit and Fox

LEGO Fox in Woods

LEGO Fox in Woods

LEGO Bison and Calf

LEGO Bison and Calf

LEGO Life Size Gardener

LEGO Life Size Gardener

LEGO Life Size Lawn Mower

LEGO Life Size Lawn Mower

LEGO Sprouting Acorn

LEGO Sprouting Acorn

LEGO Goldfinches at Feeder Filled with LEGO Birdseed

LEGO Goldfinches at Feeder Filled with LEGO Birdseed

There is a  special “Nature Connects, a LEGO Brick Exhibition” currently on display at McKee Gardens, Vero Beach, Florida, from January 16 – April 12, 2015.  The sculptures are incredible!  Artist Sean Kenney has transformed children’s toys into real works of art.  His pieces have been shown at galleries, museums, tourist attractions, and on television.  More info about Sean and his amazing LEGO art is at:  http://www.seankenney.com/  Info on visiting McKee Gardens is at:  http://www.mckeegarden.org/  Click on any of the pictures for more detailed information about each art piece.

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