Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Much Needed Field Trip

Not too dissimilar from how we spent January 2, 2018, we went on a field trip to see some birds.  Well, actually that is not entirely true as on that day, it was crazy cold, and instead of seeing Roseate Spoonbills, we saw hundreds of Snow Geese. Plus Bruce drove that day in keeping with my no driving while in BC policy.

Now, however, I am back to driving the baby car, and because this field trip was my idea, I offered to drive to Blackpoint Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island. Because the best time to see birds is just after daybreak, we took off at 6AM in the pitch dark, driving down Colonial Drive until we hit US1 in Titusville. I was a nervous wreck most of the way; at one point I said to Bruce, "I'm losing my nerve honey," however with encouragement, I made it, driving across the causeway at daybreak. I pulled over to not only catch my breath, but to witness this scene up close and personal.
We were rewarded with not only seeing the dim sunrise but also DOLPHINS swimming! Off to a good start, we found the entrance to the drive, and began the seven mile trip at 15mph, hoping to see, well, birds. The weather, while not technically pretty, was perfect for bird watching because it was so overcast and remained so until around noon. It is a marshy area with many ponds where birds gather. Whether or not alligators gather, I don't know, but we did see one.

Don't you just love seeing sun rays? I sure do.
I expected to see more cars than we did as we made our way slowly along the earthen roads.
Just as I was feeling a bit discouraged, oh my gosh, there they were--Roseate Spoonbills! Here's a caveat my friends, there are places all over the web with much better bird photographs than mine, but what I lack in skills, I make up for with unbridled enthusiasm. Pulling the car to the side of the road, I did my best.
With all the standing water, I am here to tell you there were mosquitos galore! One of the things I loved most about BC is the lack of biting bugs, although they have them there as well, just not in the city, or so it seemed. And although it never gets cold in Vancouver, like most all the rest of Canada, it seems to be enough to keep the bugs at bay.
I think it is their shocking pink color that is so appealing because it most certainly is not the beak, or that's how I see it. In all that grey, PINK!

Slowly we kept going without seeing anything else. Bruce understands perfectly how it is like fishing for him--some days are good, while others are not. I was just saying the same to him, when, holy cow (!), we came across a pond with a whole bunch of shore birds. Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Ibis, were all jumping on one another, and in general, raising a ruckus. A Spoonbill flew into the mix, and the birds just kept on coming.
The location was not ideal for photography, but it was super ideal if your idea of fun is seeing at least 50 shorebirds in the same little pond!
All good things must come to an end as the loop road joined back up with the main road back to either Cape Canaveral National Seashore, or Titusville. While the former is a grand place to visit on a sunny day, it was dreary so we chose the Titusville option where we walked a bit in the small downtown after enjoying a tasty and reasonably priced breakfast. Aside from our good food, the highlight was peeking into the Episcopal church that has stood on that corner since the later part of the 19th century. I would definitely attend there if I lived in Titusville!
The drive in broad daylight is a piece of cake, and before long we were in the outskirts of Orlando. Part two of our field trip was a trip to the business Costco which moved in after the regular Costco moved to the Millenia Mall area. Thank gosh, because the other one is SO far out! A month or so ago, while I was filling up my gas tank at our, now convenient, Costco, my card didn't work well in the machine. Calling the attendant over, she explained that my card was so old perhaps I should replace it and she knew just the place. Yup, the one on South Orange Blossom Trail which she explained was never busy. Let's do it, we decided, although it did mean some serious traffic. That said, everywhere in Orlando there is serious traffic, enough to make a person crazy!

Should this trip interest you, the hours there are different, as in they open very early and close around 5 or 6 PM. And yes, she was right, there is hardly any shoppers, which we later learned was because most businesses order online and either take delivery, or pick up. They carry all sorts of cool stuff including large restaurant equipment. There is a huge walk in freezer, and I do mean huge, with vacuum sealed meat among other things. We wandered through the whole store, only buying a few things. Should you need a very large can of Coleman's Mustard, I know just where you can get it.
So, that was fun, but what has not been fun is my continuing computer struggles. Too boring to describe, but I do now have a friend at Apple, Chris from North Carolina, who has given me his email address and when I'm ready to tear my hair out, I email him and he calls me!

Another thing that was not so fun was a trip to a Urologist last Friday. In early December I had one incident of blood in my urine (don't worry!) and our doctor insisted I make an appointment, although it has not happened since. I've done loads of kidney x-rays in my lifetime, and I know this happens more often than you can imagine. Nonetheless, while there, a crazy thing happened. While we were driving back from Titusville I told Bruce that every time I'm in that vicinity, I can't help but think of four of the worst days of my working life that occurred in a little office in Titusville. Because of our large family, oftentimes I would take either part time jobs, or work per diem, meaning I would get sent anywhere they were short a technologist. This was a long time ago, and I was trying to dredge up the woman's name who ran the company. Marsha? Well, yes that is her name, as I learned when I was called to have a renal ultrasound by Heather who I worked with at ORMC!! I no longer work, and she works for Marsha!!! Small world, right? While the ultrasound is painless, my palms were sweating because he wanted to do a Cystoscopy while I was there. I'm not a huge baby when it comes to medical procedures, having delivered three of our children with no drugs, however, the memory of a performed cystoscopy when I was thirteen has lingered all of these years. In the office with a metal probe and no anesthesia. Not a fun time for a thirteen year old girl. In the second instance of having to get up my nerve in one week, he used a tiny, flexible scope and thankfully, it was over before I knew it, with an absolutely clean bill of bladder health the result. Whew!

One result of all these computer problems, mostly with my photographs, is that it has me thinking of returning to Google. One thing about having a massive library, aside from it making your computer run slow as molasses, is the memories, many of which are shown below in the albums I already have with Google.
It does make me nostalgic and seeing the photo of Corrine and Herb makes me sad as we watched their health decline, both mentally, and physically. Corrine, as you may recall, passed away while we were in Vancouver. Speaking of which, before our time there, I doubt I would have recognized the Snow Drops, beautifully illustrated in a calendar Matt and Tom gave me for Christmas.

Apparently they are coming up early in London, and I've heard from Jackie that the daffodils are coming up along the seawall in Vancouver. The beauty of nature. :)

So, it turns out that Saturday was National Bird Day and what better day to go bird watching, especially when it is so close to home? While Mr. Peck was busy with this,
Mrs. Peck was walking around Lake Davis. I've seen two different types of migrating ducks there in the last week, which while exciting to me, probably would bore you. Or, maybe not? While I was lakeside, I heard this happening almost before I saw it.
Talk about walking on water! Then, it came in for a landing...
looking all the world as if it were water skiing! A nearby woman saw me with my camera, remarking that it had put on a show for me. Nice.

The post yesterday contained a small package from Dale, written weeks ago. The Canada Post strike is over but mail delivery from there remains slow. That said, how timely, right? Beautiful too.
Wouldn't I just love to see a Scarlet Tanager in person. Why, yes I would!

One final thing. Have you ever wondered about those scrubby things you use in the shower? As in, how they are made? Wonder no longer, my dear Camera Crazy readers, as I'm here to show you what happens when one falls apart. Literally in my hands!
Now there's a first!

your friend,

Gail

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