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The Birds!

If ever our children resort to holding an estate sale of our belongings, they will surely get a chuckle, or so I hope, over all the bird related stuff I have around the house. Today I'm adding, or make that Bruce is adding, to my collection with a tiny anniversary gift; some little birdhouse salt and pepper shakers.
It's really not all my fault, although I do take some of the blame; it's just that whenever people buy me gifts they know I'll swoon over little birdie stuff, such as the other set of salt and pepper shakers given to us (!) by Nadav and Crystal, after we watched their dog a bit ago. I say, keep 'em coming! Watches, too, I'm a nut for watches.

This summer has been such fun going to the beach once a week. I swear, Bruce has been to the beach more times this summer, than for the last ten years put together, and I think I'm not exaggerating. That will happen to a person who works 24/7 for years on end. Just when you thought he WAS NOT working, he's been crazy busy doing handyman stuff for various people. So, needing to pick up two large pieces of stainless steel from a fabricator in Oviedo, determined our beach destination, allowing us to pick it up on the drive home.

When last we visited Playalinda, in early July, the waves were doing some crazy stuff, beating us up like mad. In case you missed that post, check out the link. In case you don't care--don't.

This visit could not have been more different, the water was so calm, you would have thought we were on the Gulf of Mexico!
Almost nothing!!
Leaving Orlando under gray and grim skies, I was so hoping our drive would be worthwhile, and indeed it was. We do our best to arrive early, hoping to avoid the sun's hottest rays. Then too, if it were any other beach, the crowds roll in around 11, however, it has been our experience that this stretch of the Atlantic is anything but crowded. At least with people, anyway!

Because the water was SO calm, immediately I could see the dolphins doing their thing away from shore! Plus, there were more shells than I generally find; I concentrated my efforts on finding the tiniest, perfectly formed shells, of which there were many.
So, there weren't so many folks, but by golly there sure were lots of dragonflies!
And loads and loads of turtles nests, marked with the yellow sticks, and crab holes. Goodness they were everywhere!
Snuck in a little birdie prints....

I only saw one of the sand crabs, and one of this kind of crab, which I think is a blue crab?
Just as I was crouching down for a better shot, the tiny wave came up, and off he went! Maybe it's the time of the year, I have no reference point on that, but I've seen fewer shore birds this summer than I was expecting. The ones we saw that day were just hanging out really close to us, and of course, this made me very happy.
I've just got to find out what kind of birds these are! So fashionable with their little red shoes, and black and white hat! Well, I have just discovered that it appears to be a Rudy Turnstone, not necessarily a name that rolls easily off the tongue! They seem to get along just fine with the sandpipers, and seagulls.
Seagulls! As if you've never seen any before!
Although, duh, I think this is the first that I've noticed their webbed feet. :)

The water temperature was slightly cooler than the last few weeks--super invigorating. While the waves were puny, the swimming and floating was nice, as was the body surfing! Imagine that. Do not ask me how that works because I have no answer for you. Some of my best rides came last Friday--a complete mystery because the above photo shows you the extent of them.

Mostly staying under his umbrella, Bruce has been captivated, when he has the time, by "The Game of Thrones" book he is reading. Many people love reading at the beach, and I would if I could, however, years ago I decided it seemed silly to be enjoying a new experience, at the same time as you are in another world from a book. Of course, some folks argue the same about a camera, however, it is with this notion that I must disagree.  And here he is, safely under the umbrella, glued to his book.
How about them clouds, not to mention the rain in the distance? Some of the beaches we've visited have super wide swaths of sand, not so much here, because most of the sand is in those giant dunes!

More exciting clouds....
Yes sir, it did get pretty dark, prompting even Mrs. Optimist to suggest we pack up, except, guess what? Nothing, at least in the way of rain, happened! However, something exciting happened on our drive home, and, you guessed it, a bird was involved.

It is quite a long drive, maybe 10 miles or so, off the mainland before you come to Playalinda Beach. Most of your time is spent passing through the Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve with occasional wildlife crossing signs beside the roadway. Coming in, I laughed with Bruce over the 25MPH sign for the Scrub Jay nesting area. Okay, I can drive 25 MPH, but really, are they worried the birds will fly into your car? I will say the above pictured dragonflies were really something on our drive home, swarming like mad over the road.

Well, guess what? We saw one of the Scrub Jays driving back through the slow as molasses portion of the road!! Pulling over, I was lucky enough to get a shot....
The link above will tell you all, and probably more then you'll ever need to know about Scrub Jays. I will say, however, that they are native to Florida only, AND the population is in danger, making our sighting all the more thrilling. Not that they are endangered but because it was so unexpected!

Lest you think these two lovebirds are not celebrating their anniversary, think again. No major gifts involved----details tomorrow.
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