Ain't no Cardinals in Seattle

A friend of mine has informed me that there aren't any cardinals in Seattle. What? 

So I shall share some of mine.

A female cardinal, too.
(Maybe a young male, hard to tell.)

She also said there were no bluejays, so here you go.

I went back to doing what I do best and that's taking pictures at the bird feeder.
Cow birds are messy and sling the seed all over the place.

Lots of doves, pretty orange eyes.

The grackles always look mean and angry.

The mockingbirds don't come to the feeder but they do make a show of themselves.

Another cardinal.

Grackle high up in the tree, seems upset with someone.

And a woodpecker.

We had a group of storks visit the back pond picking off the fish in the shallow water.

Long legged and balanced on a limb.

So we've done the birds. 
That reminds me of a song.

"Let me tell you 'bout the birds..."

"and the bees..."

"and the flowers and the trees..."
Volunteer Iris

Plain old wild flowers.

"and the moon up above..."

And through the palm fronds.

"And a thing called love!"

That's it, guys. See you next time!

Everglades City Day Trip

Mike's day off, he looks over at me and says, "How about we drive to Everglades City and get some lunch?" I'm in!

It's pretty much a straight shot down Hwy 29. There are canals all along one side of the highway and we had our eye out for gators. We saw lots.

We drove all the way to the Everglades National Park. Just a tourist trap to get you to ride their boats through the bay waters. Pretty busy this time of year.

We did a little wandering around the area hoping to see something interesting. Found this dead sting ray. Ick!

Time for lunch so we stopped at a restaurant called City Seafood. It has outdoor seating facing the water and you can watch the air boats coming and going. 

Lunch was good. I had the shrimp basket and Mike had a burger and fries and this seagull watched us, patiently waiting for us to drop some food.

There's always a pelican around. 
Not much to see here so we headed back out Hwy 29 looking for a likely spot to see something a bit more "everglades-ish."

We found a dirt road leading into the Big Cypress National Preserve. As always there's a canal running along beside the road. We stopped at several likely spots and carefully took a peek behind the brush. Beautiful spot!

The birds are all over doing their fishing.

Mike found this big old painted turtle alongside the road. As soon as he picked it up it peed all over him. I mean, it gushed about a gallon of pee on him. LOL! 

We also stopped at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Rescue. They have hiking trails and it was beautiful. Here's a bromeliad in bloom. These were everywhere.

There are fences all along the highway in this area and we were trying to decide if that was to keep the panthers in or to keep the people out. But when we were walking along inside on this trail we kept hearing something rustling along beside us in the woods....
All we saw were lizards, though.

Back on the highway headed home we spotted this huge alligator by the road. We stopped because we had to get a closer look.

This guy had to be at least 12 to 13 feet long. Wow!

I should have counted the gators we saw on the way back. There had to be at least a hundred. We stopped here and there to take a look and I found these snail shells. 
That's some huge snails!

A nice lunch, a nice drive, beautiful weather, good gator hunting. 
What more could you ask for?