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A bit more learning curve

A bit more learning curve

The seminal work of this commission has now been completed. I must commend them all and the staff, which pulled this off for them, for their determination and singleness of purpose. These are formidable adversaries to be taken seriously by all.

July 1, 2012 | Posted in Opinion | Read More »

Is a picture really worth 1,000 words?

Is a picture really worth 1,000 words?

It’s the last full day on LBK for my wife and me this winter. Hoping for some last-minute bird pictures, I take my camera. On Whitney Beach there are a large number of black specks on the horizon coalescing into a straight horizontal line. The bills and wingspan readily identify them as brown pelicans. These gawky looking birds are really agile fliers and show it, as 30 of them veer to the right in a synchronized movement. Nice.

June 14, 2012 | Posted in Key Life, Top Box | Read More »

Some dumps cost more than others

Some dumps cost more than others

Ultimately, they will probably restore the special overlay district that no property owner in the putative district has publicly requested or seems to want.

June 11, 2012 | Posted in Opinion | 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 »

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 II

Notes from the field, Part II

The richness of birding is in the details of what is seen and in the observer’s subjective reaction to it. The passages below, derived from my notes, discuss those experiences on Whitney Beach and part of Anna Maria Island during five days last March.

December 31, 2011 | Posted in Key Life | 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 »