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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Florida's Sunshine Skyway Bridge

The Florida Sunshine Skyway Bridge underwent a transformation after 1980 when a barge veered into the old bridge and took out the pillons-- Friday May 9th, 1980.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtaBhDlFl60 The disaster

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY2dMoK7G5Y The demolition

Today, the new bridge carries millions of cars each year and has been renamed the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge. It is a gorgeous suspension bridge of great elegance. The remains of the old bridge are still to be seen on both sides of the new bridge. They have been transformed into fishing bridges much like what happened to "Old Seven" - the old 7 mile bridge in the Florida Keys.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64n97hX3Npw Today March 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Crystal River, Florida

The northwest coast of Florida along the Crystal River and Homosassa Springs is referred to as the "Nature Coast." While it certainly is less developed than the rest of the state, it is for good reason--- a nuke plant sitting at the mouth of the Crystal River along the gulf tidal salt flats. Miles and miles of transmission lines send energy to the central part of Florida which is choked with traffic and tract homes. There is nature to be found here but always under the shadow of the nuclear facility. I found a beautifal little beach nearby that harbors some very unusual shorebirds- rare ones. More than meets the eye here.

Ft. Island Gulf Beach - a man-made island of sand among the salt marshes.

Black Skimmers (shearwaters) grouped by species at the beach
A banded Royal Tern
Royal Terns
Black Headed Laughing Gulls
Laughing Gull Portrait
Ruddy Turnstone
Crystal River Nuclear Facility
Gulf Coast Salt Marsh
Road Sign in Crystal River
I'm working on it....... I really am.
March 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Boyd Hill State Preserve St. Pete, Florida

February 28th, 2013. Driving north from the Florida Keys I met a friend at Boyd Hill State Preserve in St. Pete, Florida. Strolling the preserve, we ran into a few things.

Roseate Spoonbill and Anhinga

Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill wing expanse
Bench Plate Marking Dedicated Bench for Lisa Salt's Father
Dedicated Bench for Annette Sanchez Baesel's Mother
View from Lisa Salt's Dedicated Bench to her father- Boyd Hill State Preserve
 Bench Plate

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Floridiana - Tropicals

Here is an assortment of sub tropical plants, trees and one sub tropical iguana. From the Middle Keys - Florida. February 2013.

Florida Bay aka The Back Country
Pink Hibiscus
Imperial Blue South African Hybrid
Florida Cactus in Bloom
Green Iguana (likes to swim in the pool)
Green Iguana - Watch Iguana (this little guy charged me if I got too close to it)
Coconut Palm

The Seven Mile Bridge on the Florida Overseas Highway

The Overseas Highway extends from the Florida mainland out into the Atlantic and the backcountry known as Florida Bay. One of the most interesting features of the overseas highway are the network of bridges. The most spectacular of the bridges is the 7 mile bridge between the Islands of Marathon and Bahia Honda.

The 7 Mile Bridge in the the Florida Keys


Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Aviation Museum of Marathon, Florida

Marathon, Florida has an impressive airport. There are jets flying overhead daily from Key West to the Mainland of Florida. Many of the retirees in the area have a connection to WWII aviation and as such have brought their collections to the Florida Keys. This is a sampling of two planes from the Aviation Museum here-- two vintage WWII transports- one is a Beechcraft Model 18 similar to what Amelia Earhart flew (a Lockheed Electra) this plane has 14 cylinders (7 on each side). The other plane you see here is a DC-3 formerly flown by Ozark Airlines prior to that airline having been absorbed into Frontier.

Beechcraft Model 18 -- WWII Vintage Transport
Beechcraft Model 18 rear view
Beechcraft Model 18 boarding door
DC3 Ozark Airlines formerly a WWII Transport plane
DC3 Ozark Airlines last in service for Frontier Airlines
DC3 Cockpit under plastic

The Florida Key Deer of Big Pine Key

There are only a few things that prevent development from overtaking the Florida Keys, one of them is the endangered Florida Key Deer on Big Pine Key, Florida. The other things are a wood rat, a cotton mouse and a bird. For years, Big Pine has been trying to figure out how to push the Key Deer off of the island in order to really develop low lying, buggy Big Pine. Having been unable to do so with the wildlife refuge for Key Deer firmly in place, the islanders (at least the residents) have embraced the tiny creatures. These deer are genetically related to Virginia white tailed deer and do have a separate genus of their own. They are constrained by the lack of graze on a scrub filled area full of poisonous trees. They grow to no larger than 2 1/2 feet in height (a deer in miniature). Fawns have little hooves the size of a quarter. These are the Key Deer of Big Pine.

Yearling Buck with 1st year antlers.
Adult Florida Key Deer Buck
Florida Key Deer Yearling Buck
Florida Key Deer Doe and Fawn
Florida Key Deer Buck, Doe, Fawn
Florida Key Deer Doe
Florida Key Deer Portrait (note strip around the muzzle)