My Dad winters in Florida. For several of the past years, my husband and I have trekked down from Boston, usually in March, to visit and enjoy the warmer weather. We planned no such trip for this year. Then, my neighbors, who recently bought a condo near my Dad’s, called. Were we planing a visit? We should get together in Naples, Florida. Well, you’d think we see enough of each other already, being neighbors here in New England. You’d be wrong. So, I booked a ticket for the end of February.
The day before I left, National Grid came to change the gas meter on our house. Evidently, this must be done every seven years. Why I said “yes” to scheduling anything the day before a trip is beyond me. To make a long story short, after it was done, the pilot on the furnace wouldn’t relight. I could’ve predicted it, since the thermocouple quits on us every few years, like clockwork. Anyway, that meant I had to get a heating guy here, in a hurry, to fix my furnace. All this while I’m trying to pack and leave instructions for what needed to be done in my absence. When I left for the airport the next morning, we had heat.
My Dad has been under the weather lately, to put it mildly, and has been pretty darned tired. Unlike the last time I visited, he wouldn’t be chauffeuring me around. Instead, he handed me his keys. I was on my own.
My favorite destination in Naples, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, was my first solo outing (after a visit with my neighbors, of course). The swamp is an amazing place to birdwatch. I spied several kinds of woodpeckers and warblers, many waders, a few hawks, plus raccoons, alligators, and snakes. Most of my photos are useful for bird identification, but not necessarily for publishing. Here are some of the better shots (click on any one of the photos to view them enlarged as a slideshow):
Some of these creatures were familiar to me, like the ibis, egret, anhinga, cardinal, raccoon and alligator. I’ve even seen pileated woodpeckers before, from a distance. But it was a thrill to catch them relatively close by and watch when one suddenly trounced on top of the other! (I should mention, that while I watched the woodpecker fight, a raccoon waddled through the swamp, climbed up next to me and proceeded down the boardwalk. A bit too close for my comfort!) Black and white warblers and yellow-rumps were new to me. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen the paler version of a red-shouldered hawk before. Beautiful! I’ve definitely never seen a painted bunting before! I actually visited the swamp two days in a row, arriving at 7:30am on the second day, to catch more bird activity. And I thoroughly enjoyed myself!
Check out my trips to the Naples Zoo and Naples Botanical Garden (and the ongoing furnace saga) in Part II…
Thanks for visiting. 🙂