Tag Archives: Birds

Winter Has Arrived…and Departed

Last summer I wrote about the beauty of living on the beach. And in October I talked about the fall  – saying that, in my humble opinion, we actually have four seasons also here in Florida. So now I’m going to tell you a little bit about the winter on the beach.

winter beach edited

Last weekend and early this week, we had a few real winter days. No snow of course, the sky was mostly blue, but there was no mistaking that the elusive winter season was here. The day-time high temperature did not reach beyond 42F/6C and at night the temperature fell close to the freezing mark. Combine that with cold 20-30m/h northerly winds and 2-3 foot waves…and it’s winter!

winter beach 2

Last Sunday I took a walk on the beach in proper winter attire usually reserved for my travels in the north, but still couldn’t stay for long before I felt chilled to the bone. On these winter days, which admittedly are few and far between, the ocean takes on a more blue-grayish color. Winter-silvery, kind of.  The sun can come out but is not able to warm up the chilly air mass, and sand is often blowing around in the hard wind. The sand chips will sting you like small needles if you are not properly covered.

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The beach was almost deserted and for once I didn’t meet anyone jogging around bare foot wearing shorts and sleeveless t-shirt! I could only find one brave sea-gull who defied the chill looking for something to eat at the water’s edge, while the large variety of birds normally “living” on the beach were nowhere to be seen!

bird on the winter beach

I didn’t find any kids playing in the sand that day either, but there were still some reminders of art that had been created a few days earlier when the temperatures hovered around comfortable 63F/17C.

shell castle edited

This morning, however, the winter temperatures had left us for now and it was really comfortable again. The ocean had returned to its blue color, a sailing school class was gathering a bit out from the shore, hundreds of little white dots covering the horizon. One young person in each small sail boat, hopeful to soon master the wind on the water.

sailing school 4

And the birds were back in abundance, sea gulls, pelicans, blue heron, you name it! They had survived the cold days and were back in force, all kinds of meetings going on, high pitch discussions and lots of diving for fish. The beach was lively again.

This big fellow was carefully monitoring a fisherman’s luck, hoping to get his fair share of the catch. He may have learned that patience and persistence will be rewarded, sooner or later.

blue heron on winter beach 3

Walking home I noticed that the drier and cooler winter weather had produced some brilliant colors along our board walk back from the beach. Very little of that in the fall, much more now in the winter.

winter beach colors

And in our garden, the yellow hibiscus flowers spread their delightful cheer also in the winter season. From my tiny point of view, I would say that we do have fours seasons, although winter is very short and a bit touch and go. Which is just fine with me. Hope you enjoyed the relatively “wintry” beach walks.

winter beach hibiscus

Have a good weekend everyone whether you enjoy it in real winter conditions, in the heat of the summer in the Southern Hemisphere or somewhere in between, like me.

Time Flies

On the threshold of the new year, we all tend to look back to the year past. Today’s media are doing the same: famous people who left us, couples who married, split, got babies, worst and best dressed, tragedies and triumphs, the year in politics, the weather in 2012, surviving the end of the Mayan calendar…and the list goes on. Gossip blended with more serious stuff.

We all have a few things on the top of our minds when we think back to the year just ending. And similarly, we probably have a few visions for the new year. But most of us might agree that the year has passed very fast, where did it go? And we say: time flies! When I look back on my year, I thought that I could tell a short story using some of the pictures I’ve taken of birds.

Early last spring, our adult son had a very serious accident, which resulted in several surgeries and kept him on crutches for the rest of this year. In seeking balance, strength and peace of mind, I walked a lot in the nature reserve close by.

I observed the many birds that live there and every now and then snapped a picture. It was calming and soothing just to be in the nature. And these walks helped me to remain positive through some of the heaviest weeks “on record” for me.

Being on the water was also helpful to me. And there of course were the pelicans keeping us company.

Then came the hight of the summer. Mind much calmer now, things looking up slightly. And with the heat came tropical storm Debby.

The nature reserve and the beach flooded…the birds withdrew to dry land for a while. I guess there was enough food for them outside the flooded marsh, in the park and even in our yard.

The summer brought lots of joy and comfort in the form of visits by family and friends. On our regular walks on the beach we could observe the herons, pelicans and sea gulls.

In the middle of the summer, literally, I also started my blog. Its title was influenced by my own tough lessons playing out right at that time. Blogging has given me so much on many different levels: continuously learning from others, new friends and a new community, and an opportunity to write. I consider this one of the really positive “events” of this past year.

Of course there has been work too, but obviously of much lesser priority for me than previously. I’ve been traveling, mostly in Europe and here in the US. I see travel as a window to the world that widens our perspectives and look forward to doing a bit more of that in the new year, both for work and pleasure.

The late fall finally brought good health news and other positive developments to the family.  The best Christmas gifts one can wish for.

The rough ride has taught me many valuable life lessons this year. Maybe most importantly: live in the now, do not take anything for granted, and always remain grateful for who and what you have in your life.

So now it’s officially winter. Time to soak in the hot tub. Cleanse the soul and look forward to the new year with positive expectations and hope of being able to make a small difference, to bring a few rays of light to the world. That would be wonderful. Blessings and Happy New Year!

Sunday Morning Surprises

Our nature reserve

This morning my little poodle decided to take me for a walk in the neighboring nature reserve. The weather was gorgeous, crisp and sunny. We took the birding trail close to the marsh to see if we could spot any birds on our way to the beach.

bird trail

As my companion went about his business, I spotted a huge blue heron on a tiny “island” next to the trail.

blue heron

It was calmly inspecting the waters for something to eat for breakfast and did not care about us walking close by.

bird in the marsh

Soon we spotted a smaller crane bird in the water very close to the trail. And further back, on the other side of the marsh, there were two white herons enjoying themselves in the morning sun.

white cranes

The bird trail leads right onto the beach and there we spotted another blue heron seemingly contemplating a fishing trip in the ocean.

another blue heron on the beach

And of course we spotted many sea gulls and pelicans on the beach as well. They seemed to have found a shoal of small fish and were having a free Sunday brunch!

sea gulls and pelicans

This little Sunday morning stroll suddenly turned into a bird watching walk and I wished I would have taken my better camera gear instead of just carrying my iPhone, a bottle of water and a doggy bag.

walking home through the reserve

Life can be full of pleasant surprises, sometimes just a block away from home!