Not much time to write, sitting at Barnes and Noble to latch onto their wireless internet connection, but thought some of you might enjoy some of the photos we’ve taken of the wildlife here (around Naples, not at B & N!). It’s pretty much bird heaven here, even though it is colder here than since the ice age. Between fund raising events for The Brody Project (both smashing successes, thanks to the organizers and to the generous people of the area), Jim and I have soaked up some of the animals in the mangrove swamps and the beaches.
We’ve watched river otters playing in a mangrove swamp, dolphins arcing through the waves in the sea while we ate breakfast, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets (with feathery white plumes, black legs and yellow feet — they look like Dr. Suess animals), White Ibis, Wood Storks in the mangroves, Pelicans and Terns dive-bombing into the waves, Black Skimmer flocks swooping in like groupies at a rock concert, and leaving in one group just as fast, as if attached by invisible strings. The weather cleared (it’s raining hard right now) yesterday morning and we had a glorious morning of sun and bird watching on the beach. Granted, it’s cold, windy and rainy now, but hey, we got one glorious morning!
Here’s the Great Egret hunting in the swamp alongside our walkway to the beach. Such a gorgeous bird.
And here’s the flock of Black Skimmers swooping in for a group sit in on the sand right in front of us. Skimmers are amazing birds–their lower bill is longer than the upper one, and they feed by flying just above the water, lower bill drooping into the water. When it hits a fish, it snaps up and throws the fish down their gullet. This is a feeding style I can get behind… eating anything that hits my mouth. (The diet begins Monday….
Meanwhile, back at the farm, the wonderful farm sitter reports that it has snowed 6 inches since we left, it was 2 below this morning with a high of 9 today, that Lassie is peeing in the house every afternoon (too cold outside to empty her bladder? just old? bladder infection? liver troubles affecting her bladder? we’ll be back at the vet’s when I get back). But she’s also super playful, great appetite, and Will and sheep are all doing well. Thank you Lesanna for being such a great sitter! (Is there anything more important than a great pet sitter if you travel?)
I’ve loved reading your comments about Animal Assisted Activities and Animal Assisted Therapy (which is done as part of a medically approved, therapeutic treatment plan). The Brody Project does the latter, and is doing a fantastic job working with the staff at Moorings Park Retirement Community. The stories of how the therapeutic teams have changed people’s lives are oxytocin generators of the finest kind. The Brody Project is funded by Paula Brody, who saw how dogs profoundly improved the life of her mother, Sarah Brody, in her last years, and is, if I do say so myself, brilliantly directed by my friend Karen Lasker. She and some amazing volunteers have done a fantastic job getting this program off the ground, and it was a honor to be able to help raise funds for it.
Tomorrow we leave for home, back to the farm, the snow, the dogs (oh boy), and lots and lots of work. Will attempt to leave five pounds of holiday weight here with me….