Sunday, January 13, 2013

Making the most of record warm temperatures

January 9-13, Cortez, Florida

This past week has brought perfect weather to Southwestern Florida with daytime highs in the 80s and nighttime lows in the 60s and relatively low humidity of 65%-70%. Temps in the 80s are not typical for this time of year; the past three days have all broken records by 1 or 2 degrees.  Anyway, we are loving it and have taken advantage of these warm days by kayaking here on the northern edge of Sarasota Bay and spending time at our favorite beach on Longboat Key.

vic in kayak cortez bay

Our first kayaking trip here was one we took right from our campground.  There is a narrow channel that leads out to either Sarasota Bay or Palma Sola Bay. With a tip from a fellow kayaker in the park, we headed under the lift bridge to Sarasota Bay in search of a small island that is a bird sanctuary.

pelican island

pelican in mangroves

Sorry about the less than stellar photos. I was too nervous to bring my new camera along as I dunked my previous one in the water on our last kayak trip. My plan is to get an extended warranty plan on my new camera from Best Buy which will cover water damage. (I have two more weeks to get it.)

I was a little disappointed to only see pelicans on the islands, but as we rounded the island I spied a flash of pink hiding in the mangrove leaves. Yes, it was my first sighting of a Roseate Spoonbill.  This is the best shot I could get with my old point and shoot. At least for now it is evidence that I wasn’t dreaming.

roseated spoonbill2

The only other wildlife sighting on this trip was a large group of white pelicans which are special because, like us, they are called snowbirds, migrating to this area from the north during the months of October to March to enjoy the warmer winter. I learned from a little research that these birds search for food in groups. Instead of diving for food, they swim on the surface in a semicircle and herd the fish to shallower water near the shore. I also learned from observing that they do not get along at all with the brown pelicans. This situation may be strikingly analogous to the local residents' attitudes toward snowbirds!

white pelicans

Probably our favorite thing to do in this locale is spend our mornings on a quiet stretch of beach on the northernmost point of Longboat Key. I like to walk the beach looking for shells and sand dollars while Vic usually spends his time reading.

And then every evening around 5:30 I am looking out to the western sky to see if the clouds might provide the perfect backdrop for a stunning sunset. On this particular evening, Vic and I decided to walk the beach directly across from us where Cortez Road meets Gulf Shore Drive. With the sunset possibilities only a mile away, it is almost impossible to stay in the park at this time of night.  Like looking for the best seashell, I don’t think I can ever satisfy this quest for the sunset of my dreams, yet each one is perfect in its own way. Namaste.


  1. A really lovely day...Beautiful photos...know what you mean about not wanting to take a nice camera out on the water!

  2. The place you are staying sounds wonderful with so many choices if great things to do. Beautiful pictures including the sunset.

  3. Low humidity sounds good to me. Ours has been in the 90+ range; with 100% yesterday. Didn't stop us from going out to enjoy the day, but only because our temps didn't get above 75F. Love the sunset shot ... ours yesterday pales in comparison.

  4. Ahhhhhh....gotta love those temperatures. We mistakenly thought we'd have that kind of weather here in South Texas but folks here say this is the coldest winter in recent memory with lots of record lows (ugh). Loved the pics!


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