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A day at Myakka River State Park

A day at Myakka River State Park

Myakka River State Park is one of the state’s oldest and largest parks at 37,000 acres. It has enough to do all day as the park features a tram ride, an airboat ride, a birdwalk, a weir and some picnic tables near Upper Myakka Lake where, on a cloudy March day, my wife, two friends and I watched a multitude of avian life.

April 27, 2012 | Posted in Key Life, Top Box | Read More »

Highlights from a birding class

Highlights from a birding class

This February I taught a birding class at the Longboat Key Education Center where we went on three field trips in and around LBK. As birds don’t have schedules, don’t phone, email or text where they’ll be in advance, you never know what you are going to see. Here are some highlights from those birding walks.

March 22, 2012 | Posted in Key Life, Top Box | Read More »

Cloudy mornings on the beach

Cloudy mornings on the beach

Cloudy mornings on LBK beaches have a pleasing two-fold effect. They allow me to see birds without the glare of water and sand that is found on bright sunny days. They also turn the landscape into a theatrical stage setting, thereby creating mood.

March 12, 2012 | Posted in Key Life, Top Box | Read More »

New Year’s Day on Whit-Can Beach

New Year’s Day on Whit-Can Beach

It’s New Year’s Day morning as my wife and I walk on Whitney Beach toward Beer Can Island. The blue sky looks vast and enormous, as there are a few long lines of clouds that stretch for miles. They accentuate the horizon’s curve as if they were deliberately drawn by an artist’s hand. I feel like a mere speck on a globe, which is slowly spinning in space. It’s a perspective I get only on the beach.

February 29, 2012 | Posted in Key Life, Top Box | Read More »

‘Snowbirders’ return to LBK, part 2

‘Snowbirders’ return to LBK, part 2

As my wife and I start the walk to Beer Can Island, my heart is noticeably beating and memories come flooding back. There’s the spot where I unearthed a large, almost undamaged lightning whelk that now sits on a bookshelf in our home in New York. There’s a partial makeshift path behind the mangroves where we sometimes walked when the tide was high. There are large mangroves jutting out near it, which we don’t remember, that make this spot look like a foreign country…

February 17, 2012 | Posted in Key Life, Top Box | Read More »

‘Snowbirders’ return to LBK, part I

‘Snowbirders’ return to LBK, part I

As the plane makes its descent into the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport, a long bridge with a yellow superstructure appears in the gulf waters below. Seemingly it goes on without end. “That’s the Sunshine Skyway Bridge,” I say excitedly to my wife, which is about 45 minutes by car from LBK. After a nine-month absence, we are returning there for the winter and I can’t wait to walk on Whitney Beach.

January 12, 2012 | Posted in Key Life, Top Box | Read More »

Birding all day

Birding all day

One day this past January, without planning it, I birded the whole day. Because of fog I didn’t get out until 10 a.m. On Whitney Beach there’s a white and black raptor flying under pebbly clouds. What is this mystery bird? It’s an osprey whose color is actually dark chocolate brown and white but looks black in dim light. Flap, flap, flap, glide; the raptor steadily wings its way down the beach. Higher and going in the opposite direction is another osprey. Trains on different tracks. Hey guys, you know each other?

January 6, 2012 | Posted in Key Life, Top Box | Read More »

Notes from the field, Part I

Notes from the field, Part I

I take notes when I bird. The notes, taken mostly on the spot, capture the moment. The following, which has been derived from those notes, shows some of what I observed during four days while walking Whitney Beach last March.

December 15, 2011 | Posted in Key Life, Top Box | Read More »

Late afternoon birding can be mellow

Late afternoon birding can be mellow

Lowering sun, hard shadows falling on white sand and gathering birds make late afternoon not only a very good time to bird on Whitney Beach but also a spiritual time. One afternoon at the end of January, the setting sun is laying a golden carpet on the water’s edge

October 15, 2011 | Posted in Key Life, Top Box | Read More »

Right time, right place

Right time, right place

Birding is often about being in the right place at the right time. Last winter on Whitney Beach, I had some memorable moments with birds and bottle-nosed dolphins because I was in the right place at the right time

September 29, 2011 | Posted in Key Life | Read More »