After The Storm

There are times, more and more frequently lately, I sound like an old person. Not the wise old person of biblical or vintage movie standards. More like the pessimistic curmudgeon we all encounter at some point and vow to never, ever become. Driving in darkness the other morning towards the salt water should have filled me with joy and anticipation. However, I heard myself declare, to no one in particular: “I really don’t like technology sometimes.” From the other side of the vehicle I heard a little sigh. Gini was pretty sure I would be following up with more information and knew she didn’t need to prod any further. That little sigh was enough encouragement for me to bemoan the invention of intermittent windshield wipers. “Used to” I continued, “you could just turn ’em on and hum any song you wanted and match the beat to the steady rhythm of the wipers.” “Now you not only have to fiddle with the things constantly, they never match any tune at all.” Newer cars even have moisture sensors and the blame things spring into life the moment a Hummingbird breathes on the car and the driver is so startled it’s a wonder there aren’t more single-car accidents at the sudden surprise.

The weatherman promised the thunderstorms would move inland shortly after sunrise. I kept seeing flashes of lightning to the west and the rain along our journey was light (resulting in the wipers having to be set on the slowest setting, not suitable for humming even a dirge). By the time we crossed the last major highway and eased onto the quiet stretch of backroad to the coast, the rain had stopped and the sky was beginning to lighten with the coming dawn. That weatherman is a genius.

This particular backroad is better than many. Its serpentine design won’t allow one to travel very fast and punishes those who try with a saltwater and mud car wash. Salt marsh on either side of the road for miles with an occasional hammock of oak and palm trees – all roads should be like this! Everything seemed fresh after the cleansing thunderstorms roared in from the Gulf of Mexico during the night. We had hoped to spot a Clapper Rail as we have previously but it was high tide and there was too much water for wading birds. We would return later in the day as we planned to enjoy Gini’s picnic lunch on the small beach at Pine Island at the end of this road. In the meantime, we savored the salt marsh and were treated to several rainbows celebrating the passing of the storms, delicious cloud formations, a Bald Eagle welcoming the rising sun, the salt air aroma and warm, moist breeze moving across the marsh.

We visited nearby Bayport Park and found a few warblers in the picnic area, Belted Kingfishers, more Bald Eagles, gulls, terns and an amazing variety of fungus. By the time we eventually hit the beach for our picnic, a few clouds gathered overhead and a small shower accompanied our lunch. As we relaxed under a covered table, the Laughing Gulls and Royal Terns treated us to a loud chorus while we ate and the rain and lunch were over at the same time. We explored a couple of parks we had not been to previously and as the sun headed to its resting place so did we. It was another Good Day!

I know you keep thinking if a picture is worth a thousand words why doesn’t he just skip all those unnecessary words?? A good question. As I ponder the answer, here are a few of those pictures.

 

As the clouds began to clear just at sunrise, the early morning light confirms the Bald Eagle is not a bad looking bird at all.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

 

The vast salt marsh, an island hammock, lingering storm clouds and a rainbow. What a way to start your day!

Morning On The Marsh

Morning On The Marsh

 

Salt Marsh

Salt Marsh

 

A fishing boat heads to port bathed in multi-colored light.

Rainbow Boat

Rainbow Boat

 

True to their name, these flowers declare: “Morning Glory”!

Morning Glory

Morning Glory

 

An immature Royal Tern begs for food. I think Mom flies away often not so much to search for food as to get a little relief from that incessant whining.

Laughing Gull, Royal Tern

Laughing Gull, Royal Tern

 

A Willet scans the edge of the tide for anything that looks like breakfast.

Willet

Willet

 

This Least Sandpiper appears to still be leaning against the wind of last night’s storm.

Least Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

 

Size, large bill, black and white plumage – all help to identify the Black-bellied Plover.

Black-bellied Plover

Black-bellied Plover

 

At Bayport Park, every few feet we found a new variety of fungus. (Please tell Gini that I completed this entry without any reference whatsoever to anything resembling a pun. She still won’t believe you, though.)

Fungus

Fungus

Fungus

Fungus

 

Fungus

Fungus

Fungus

Fungus

Fungus

Fungus

Fungus

Fungus

 

During our rainy lunch, a Laughing Gull dropped by in anticipation of a handout. He was quite disappointed to discover we were not the tourists he is used to hassling for a bit of hot dog bun.

Laughing Gull

Laughing Gull

 

After the rain, a Snowy Egret really stands out against the wet bright green foliage.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

 

As we departed Pine Island for home, we enjoyed a view of the Gulf of Mexico and a Great Blue Heron shopping for supper.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

 

Long ago we learned to not let the weather interfere with our exploration. We hope you will discover that some of the best memories occur after the storm. Just try to drive with your wipers set on one speed so they can keep up with your singing!

 

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

 

Additional Information

Bayport Park

Alfred McKethan/Pine Island Park

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

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30 thoughts on “After The Storm

  1. There never seems to be the perfect setting for intermittent wipers, at least, not for long. Great photos, and I don’t mind reading a thousand great descriptive words that draw me into the setting, hearing, smelling…a well-told story, not just photos. We got 5″ of snow last night, and a trip to Bayport Park was just what I needed. That’s a great shot of the Rainbow Boat! You found quite an array of fungus, interesting shapes and sizes.

  2. I also love the rainbow shot. Right place at the right time for that minute of time. I think you always have so many shorebirds. I look for weeks to find one. I do like the top eagle shot as well. I also like the egret, we had one come up north for a while. cheers.

    • Hello, Nora! Thank you for stopping in. It was a really lovely day and reminded us to never stay home because of weather. We would have missed a rainbow!
      Hope you’re feeling well today.

  3. Exquisite photos as always Wally! The landscapes are as breathtaking as your bird images. Morning on the Marsh is beautiful and so amazing is the golden-footed Snowy 😉 Have a healthy and prosperous New Year!

  4. That saying about a picture being worth a thousand words was made up by somebody who wished he could write like you can! Probably. I wish I could write and/or take pictures like you can!

    We learned a long time ago not to let the rain stop us. Because we lived in western Oregon and wouldn’t have gotten outdoors at all for months at a time otherwise.

    Your pictures do show beautifully the just-washed look of nature after a rainstorm.

  5. Hello Wally,
    I always enjoy the stories accompanying your photos and this one about windscreen wipers really made me laugh! And how brave to go out and take pictures under the rain!!
    That Bald eagle is magnificent, a photo that truly stands out here but my my favourite one is that of the rainbow and boat. WOW!!!
    I wish you a great new year and many exciting observation and photo opportunities!
    Hugs from France!

    • Hi, Noushka! Not so brave for us to go out in the rain here since we’re in a sub-tropical climate and it’s likely to be raining at any time! Thank you so much for your always generous remarks!

  6. Another accomplished post Wally, great early- morning landscapes with wonderful birds and wise words to accompany.

    I wonder if you are familiar with the crabby UK TV character Victor Meldrew of “One Foot in the Grave”? My alter ego apparently as Sue often calls me Victor. It must go with the bird mentality I think.

    About these hi-tec wipers. I actually like them because here in England where rain, rain storms and intermittent showers are the norm rather than the exception, they make good sense. That is until you’ve left them switched on overnight and then the windscreen freezes with icy rain and as the engine starts up at minus 3 or more, the flimsy rubber wipers are shredded by the solid ice. Sigh.

    That Black-bellied Plover is ours as you know (Grey Plover – named after the English weather) but your own certainly appears to have a stronger and more obvious area of white above the eye. Nice shot.

    What’s this with Gini becoming Editor in Chief? I’m sure she knows that as an essentially funguy you can be trusted to write a sensible piece without supervision.

    Be careful with those mushrooms though, another dangerous element to Florida living if you fry them up for breakfast with those fresh alligator eggs.

    Have fun guys and enjoy a Happy bird-filled New Year.

    • Thank you, Phil, for the kind comments! I actually am familiar with Mr. Meldrew and I don’t believe our similar personalities have anything to do with birding. We are happy to share our Plovers with you since you have been so kind to continue to share your tea, despite our mistreatment of the product early in our Country’s history by attempting to brew it in a harbor. Since then, we have learned to read the directions …..

      Gini has been Editor-in-Chief of my life for over 46 years – something to do with a contract she says I signed.

      No worries about dangerous mushrooms. If they don’t come from the market I won’t take a chance!

      Our New Year has already yielded some fun birding!

      Take care and we’ll talk again soon.

  7. All great shots! The rainbow is beautiful.

  8. One of your very best posts yet, Wally.

    A Wallace Jones post without the preamble before the images would, if you’ll excuse the comparison, be like sex without the foreplay (if I remember correctly!)! Your words are always delightful and leave us in eager anticipation of what is to follow and (this is where the comparison might be considered to break down!) the images never fail to deliver!

    I’ve just re-read what I’ve written, and fully understand if you erase my comment as being unsuitable for your readership.

    My best wishes to you and Gini for a happy and healthy 2015, filled with wildlife adventures. – – – – Richard

    • Well, you’ve certainly put a different perspective on our “birding” blog, Richard! Thank you so very much for your consistently kind remarks. We look forward to a year filled with adventures, both here as well as in “Little Owl” country!

      We continue to wish Peace, Love and Joy for you and your family.

  9. I’m glad the storms didn’t interfere too much with your day and the birds you saw – oh yes, the fungus too – but I still have to learn to appreciate that a bit more! The heat out here has been horrendous but there was a thunderstorm late afternoon and it is now delightfully cool. Your bird names had me checking with my books. Royal Terns look very like our Crested Terns but there are some differences. BUT Black-bellied Plovers are definitely the same as our Grey Plovers! Nothing compares with the Bald Eagle – a truly magnificent bird!

    • Thank you, Mick, for stopping in for a visit! Hope your heat doesn’t get too bad for you. I really like being out right after a storm. Seems like the wildlife is really active then.

      We hope your New Year’s holiday is filled with Peace!

  10. Hi Wally. Ponder no more. Because I have the answer. I love reading your writing and ramblings. It always makes me smile, even laugh sometime. I can just imagine you two singing along to the accompaniment of the 2 wipers! You certainly had a great day and another few places you had never visited. I love the adventure of exploring virgin grounds. Once again gorgeous shots and of course I think none of them to be found in the UK so for me that is very interesting. Fantastic photo of the Egret. Showing its lovely yellow feet. Great variety of fungi and great shot of the Bald Eagle. I hope you has more birding adventures in 2015

    • Margaret, thank you very much for your special thoughts and comments! We’ll be doing our best to find new places to explore in the coming year!

  11. The laughing gull was giggling at the fungus among us…I had to do it!
    I know the feeling about technology…me and my computer have had a terrible disagreement recently.

    • Good job, Dave! Thanks for dropping by and voicing what I longed to say but couldn’t due to contractual obligations (marriage contract, that is).

  12. Beautiful collection of photos. Who thought fungus could look so pretty?

  13. just beautiful. loved the rainbow, the heron reflection, the snowy, the cute shorebirds. and laughed at your ‘hummingbird breath’ reference. 🙂

  14. Love the marsh and great blue heron photos. They look like paintings!

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