Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 99
Nothing but fun and sun so far here on Sanibel Island, with some rain in the forecast this week and that is needed, as most of the storms going across Florida have been just north of us. The ocean has been quite rough most days and one day it rolled right through our beach chairs and we had to move back to higher on the beach.
There is a Snowy Plover nest on the beach in a roped off enclosure with three eggs in the nest, and that day, the water came within three feet of her nest, but it survived that one. They sit on eggs for 28 days, so let’s hope she makes it through. Last year the first successful nest didn’t come off until early July, as they kept getting wiped out by wave action. We have a full moon coming up early next week, so we’ll see how high the water gets with the tides that go with that moon. We won’t be here, but should be home the night of the full moon.
Coming here for over twenty years now, we get to know several people that come here about this time. Some stay at Sandalfoot, others I meet while birding at the Lighthouse, and others I see when we visit Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Some of these folks live here and others just happen to visit at the same time we do. I keep in touch with some of these folks via e-mail year-round and some have even visited us in the Adirondacks.
A few years back now, I found a plant growing in front of one of the bookstores Karen used to visit right on the Main Street. I would wait outside while Karen went in and bought more books. There was this plant growing on a palm tree right behind the bike rack and one day I noticed it had several big flowers in bud and just about to bloom. I went back the next morning and all the flowers had bloomed and wilted down; now I had to solve this puzzle. I figured out it was a night blooming cereus. The next year, Karen was again at the bookstore and this plant again was covered with blooms about to pop open. I went up there in the car a couple times during the night and finally caught it in bloom. As we biked around the island, I found several more of these plants, some in yards and others growing on trees just along the bike paths. They are a type of cactus air plant and I took leaf cuttings off some of these plants and put them in trees near Sandalfoot and other places along the bike paths. Many of these plants took to their new locations and now there are several of these growing and producing blooms each year.
The first day we were here, I checked out some of these plants and some had already bloomed, earlier than normal, but some had buds that were going to bloom while we were here. One bloomed last night, 4/18, and two more are going to bloom tonight while I’m writing this. That one plant was one of the first ones I put on a rough bark palm tree about five years ago now. Two years ago when we were here, it put out over twenty blooms. This year, it had put out three before we got here and now it will have four this week, and with all the buds that just came out in the last couple days, it will have nine more in a couple weeks.
I brought a few pieces of this plant home and I think Bette Rintrona has one growing at her home. I don’t know if it has even bloomed for her. Mine at home has all kinds of arms and legs but hasn’t bloomed yet; maybe this year.
The birding has been slow with only a few birds stopping in each day, but no major fall out here so far. With the rain predicted this week, it may knock some of the birds that have been on the radar down. So far, they have been flying right on by and some have run into the snow you folks have been getting up north. Just this morning, I did get a few warblers and fly catchers that just came across the gulf last night.
Another week of fun in the sun and I can’t wait to see how my chestnut trees have grown while I’ve been gone, but that’s another story. See ya.
Photo Above: Gray Kingbird
Night blooming cereus