Monday, December 02, 2013

Florida Keys 1

We're renting a house in Marathon for our week in the Florida Keys. It's nice not to be in a hotel for a change. The place we're renting backs onto the water (common here). This is the view from our deck/dock:

view from the back deck of our rental house

This bird was waiting for us when we arrived. At first I thought it was a Great Egret, but since its legs aren't black I think it's a Great White Heron (a white colored variant of the Great Blue Heron)

great white heron

The weather is much improved - sunny and warm. We're planning to do a few more dives, but otherwise we're just relaxing and checking out the area. We visited Curry Hammock and Long Key State Parks, and Crane Point.

The most common pelicans down here are the brown ones. I took this shot through the car window as the pelican was flying along beside us on one of the Keys bridges.

brown pelican

But there are also the white pelicans that we have in Saskatchewan down here for the winter (smart birds!)

white pelicans

We're seeing green iguanas all over the place, although I don't remember them from our visit a number of years ago. They're not native here, but they certainly seem to have moved in. I like them, but apparently they can be a pest. I even saw an ad for an iguana exterminator! I got too close taking photos of one of the iguanas and it dived into the water and swam away. They can swim really well!

iguanas hanging out on the dock

There are lots of little lizards as well, not sure what kind(s?) they are.


Crane Point was nice. I liked the huge Golden silk orb-weaver spiders. In the photo below the big one is a female and the little one is a male. The body of the large female is about an inch long. Bigger orb spiders have been known to catch and eat small birds and snakes.

golden silk orb-weaver spider

We also enjoyed revisiting the Turtle Hospital. It's awesome to see the different kinds of turtles close up. And it always feels good to see people rescuing injured and sick animals. This is Zippy, a juvenile Loggerhead. Young turtles have such lovely patterns on their shells.

loggerhead turtle

I just finished reading Life in a Shell: A Physiologist's View of a Turtle, it was quite technical, but interesting. For example, I learnt that sea turtles plan the depth of their dives and spend most of their time at that depth since they can only adjust their buoyancy while they're on the surface. For some lighter local flavor I'm reading Under Cover of Daylight by James W. Hall.

View all 45 photos in this set as a slideshow or overview.

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