Florida: Beautiful Beach Weather!

Waves at Sebastian Beach

Waves at Sebastian Beach

Green Sea Turtle

Green Sea Turtle

Manatee Snort

Manatee Snort

Spotted Ray

Spotted Ray

Snook Surrounded by Tiny Greenies

Snook Surrounded by Tiny Greenies

Needlefish

Needlefish

Orange Boring Sponge

Orange Boring Sponge

Sebastian Inlet Bridge

Sebastian Inlet Bridge

Beautiful Turquoise Water

Beautiful Turquoise Water

We make frequent trips to Sebastian Inlet State Park, Florida, to walk out on the fishing pier and stroll on the beach.  The water is especially pretty right now, and there is always lots to see!  You can view a live cam at:  http://www.sebastianinletcam.com/

Florida: Pink Baby Spoonbills!

Group of Birds Onshore

Group of Birds Onshore

Spoonbill Family

Spoonbill Family

Baby Spoonbill Front View

Baby Spoonbill Front View

Baby Spoonbill on Rock

Baby Spoonbill on Rock

Baby Spoonbill's Beautiful Feathers

Baby Spoonbill’s Beautiful Feathers

Roseate spoonbills are one of our favorite birds in Florida.  The babies are born with pink skin, which Is quickly covered with fluffy down.  We recently saw groups of the babies leaving their nests and feeding along the shore.  What a treat!

Big Fuzzy Anhinga Babies!

Three Fuzzy Anhinga Babies

Three Fuzzy Anhinga Babies

Feeding Time for Babies

Feeding Time for Babies

Nest of Anhinga Babies in Treetop

Nest of Anhinga Babies in Treetop

Female Anhinga

Female Anhinga

Male Anhinga in Beautiful Breeding Plumage

Male Anhinga in Beautiful Breeding Plumage

Anhinga babies are so fuzzy!  The birds are nesting in the treetops now at the Viera Wetlands, Florida.  Anhingas are also known as water turkeys or snake birds (because of the way they stick their long necks above water when hunting for fish).  The babies sleep by tucking their heads over their backs and down into their feathers.  Their parents have quite a time feeding them.  Neat birds! 

Florida in Winter

Sebastian Beach Ocean Waves

Sebastian Beach Ocean Waves

Black Skimmers Sunbathe Flat on Sand

Black Skimmers Sunbathe Flat on Sand

White Ibis at Lagoon

White Ibis at Lagoon

Laughing Gull with Mouth Open

Laughing Gull with Mouth Open

Pink Spoonbill and Blue Water

Pink Spoonbill and Blue Water

Lesser Scaup at Backyard Pond

Lesser Scaup at Backyard Pond

Tricolor Heron with Purple Eyes

Tricolor Heron with Purple Eyes

Great Blue Heron with Windblown Feathers

Great Blue Heron with Windblown Feathers

Bald Eagle and Black Vultures Near Home

Bald Eagle and Black Vultures Near Home

Alligator in Pond

Alligator in Pond

Double Rainbow Over Backyard

Double Rainbow Over Backyard

In Florida we enjoy an outdoor lifestyle year round.  Although it may get chilly from time to time when winter cold fronts blow through from the north, the weather usually warms back up to 70°F within a few days.  That means we go outside and enjoy the beach, gardens, and wildlife. 

Florida is home to over 500 species of birds, which makes it one of the top birdwatching destinations in the world.  Our local birding and wildlife festival is the largest in the nation!  Info about the festival is at:  http://www.spacecoastbirdingandwildlifefestival.org/   Come on down and enjoy nature in the Sunshine State!  

Florida: Holiday Boat Parade

Boat Parade Santa with Reindeer

Boat Parade Santa with Reindeer

Boat Parade Christmas Story Lamp

Boat Parade Christmas Story Lamp

Boat Parade Merry Christmas Penguin

Boat Parade Merry Christmas Penguin

Boat Parade Santa with Sunglasses

Boat Parade Santa with Sunglasses

Boat Parade Lights with Bell

Boat Parade Lights with Bell

Boat Parade Lights with Palm Tree

Boat Parade Lights with Palm Tree

Boat Parade Festive Decorations

Boat Parade Festive Decorations

Boat Parade Polar Bear

Boat Parade Polar Bear

Colorful Boat Parade in Canal

Colorful Boat Parade in Canal

Boat Parade Santa Fishing

Boat Parade Santa Fishing

Boat Parade Snoopy

Boat Parade Snoopy

Boat Parade Dolphins Pulling Sleigh

Boat Parade Dolphins Pulling Sleigh

Boat Parade Blue Light Reflections

Boat Parade Blue Light Reflections

Boat Parade Lights with Wreath

Boat Parade Lights with Wreath

Recently we enjoyed the annual Merritt Island Holiday Boat Parade on Sykes Creek, Florida.  We sat on the dock and watched over 70 Christmas-themed boats sail by.  Each one was covered with up to 1,000 colorful lights.  Some participants added to the fun by throwing candy.  The lights and reflections on the water were magic!  More info is at:  http://www.cffw.org/events/

Florida: Summer Clouds, Rain, and Frogs

Sunny Sky over Indian River

Sunny Sky over Indian River

Stormy Sky over Indian River

Stormy Sky over Indian River

Panorama of Isolated Storm over Sebastian Beach (click to enlarge)

Panorama of Isolated Storm over Sebastian Beach (click to enlarge)

Cuban Tree Frog in Grass

Cuban Tree Frog in Grass

Cuban Tree Frog Camouflage

Cuban Tree Frog Camouflage

Cuban Tree Frog's Golden Eye

Cuban Tree Frog’s Golden Eye

Native Southern Toad on Driveway

Native Southern Toad on Driveway

Green Tree Frog in Milkweed Flowers

Green Tree Frog in Milkweed Flowers

Squirrel Tree Frog in Bird-of-Paradise Flower

Squirrel Tree Frog in Bird-of-Paradise Flower

Tadpole

Tadpole

Cuban Tree Frog Transformation (still has tadpole's tail)

Cuban Tree Frog Transformation (still has tadpole’s tail)

In summer in Florida, heat buildup during the day leads to afternoon thundershowers and clearing in the evening. We love hearing the chorus of frogs singing after the rain ends. Later we see frog eggs and then tadpoles in the pond.  Florida has 33 species of frogs and toads.  A list is at: http://www.wec.ufl.edu/extension/wildlife_info/frogstoads/   

You can listen to calls at:  https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/Frogquiz/index.cfm?fuseaction=main.lookup&CFID=6699023&CFTOKEN=a2f85b2c81814818-693ABB52-FE37-1048-AA8EE1A8CE351F01

Our favorite smiling frog picture of all time is at:  https://naturetime.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/smiling-frog/

Florida: Artistic Sea Turtle Statues

“Ethel” at Environmental Learning Center

“Ethel” at Environmental Learning Center

“Stormy” at Orchid Fire Station

“Stormy” at Orchid Fire Station

“Ridley in the Garden” at Rock City Gardens

“Ridley in the Garden” at Rock City Gardens

“Reflections” at McKee Botanical Garden

“Reflections” at McKee Botanical Garden

Painted sea turtle statues can be found throughout the arts community of Vero Beach, Florida. The statues were auctioned off years ago by Turtle Trax to raise money for mental health awareness.  The theme was “Overcoming Hurdles with Turtles”.  I am impressed by the artistic talent and effort that goes into each one of these decorated statues!

The sea turtle nesting season is going very well here so far at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Sebastian, Florida. As of July 11, 2015, current local totals are 10,550 loggerhead nests, 5,561 green turtle nests, and 55 leatherback sea turtle nests.

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