Look Up: In flight

I took this photo from Anglins Fishing Pier in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida, on a very windy day.  I had ample time to capture the shot because the pelican was hovering, trying to fly into the wind.

This is a brown pelican.  He (or she) is looking a bit dark due to the lighting and the angle.  Here are a few photos that didn’t involve looking up:

The brown pelican is one of the smallest of the world’s seven species of pelicans.  It is unique in that it is the only dark pelican as well as the only pelican that dives from the air into the water to catch its food.  They sight their prey from up above and plunge into the water head first to capture the fish.  The water is drained out of the bill, and then the pelican swallows the fish.  While the pelican is draining the water, it is not uncommon for gulls to try to steal the catch from the pelican’s pouch.  Pelicans are not innocents, though.  They will gladly steal fish from other seabirds.

The brown pelican is a coastal bird that breeds primarily on islands, nesting in colonies with herons and other waterbirds.  They incubate their eggs with their feet rather than warming them against the skin of their breasts like other birds.  The eggs are held under the stretched webs of their feet, essentially making the parents stand on the eggs.  This made the eggs vulnerable to the effects of DDT which made the eggshells thin and easy to crack when the parents stood on them for incubation.  The use of DDT in the U.S. was discontinued in the 1970’s.

The brown pelican, as you may have all heard by now, is the state bird of Louisiana and is possibly in danger from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  So far two oil-covered birds have been rescued.  One was a brown pelican.  If interested, you can read a little about some of the wildlife at risk from the spill here.


Waiting for the sun

It was sunny this morning.  A little cool and breezy, but not so bad with the sun shining down on us.  M and I went for a nice long walk on the beach, enjoying the light and warmth of the sun.

After cleaning up a bit, we headed out for brunch.  We decided two meals a day might be more than enough given the amount of food we’ve been eating lately.  We went to Country Ham N’ Eggs Restaurant where we had omelets and mimosas to kick start our day.  The food and service were very good.  The mimosas were excellent.

When we came out, the skies were cloudy, the wind was really whipping, and it felt as though the temperature had dropped, so we meandered around the shops for a little while, mostly browsing.  We tried sitting out on the pool deck for a while, bundled up and with books to read, but it’s just too chilly for that right now.  The clouds are supposed to clear out by 4:oopm.  Hopefully we can get in some beach time then.

In the meantime, there is a sauna here at the resort.  Perhaps we’ll head over there to warm up.


Turtle season

As promised (see previous post), the front moved through and the skies have been partly cloudy to mostly clear for much of the afternoon.  It turned out to be a good day for swimming and body surfing.  M brought along a small canvas raft and rode more than a few waves into shore on that.

We came back from our afternoon on the beach and pool deck to find a notice from the management.  It’s turtle season (March 1st – September 30th).  At dusk sea turtles walk up to the sand to lay their eggs.  Bright lights (any bright lights, so says the notice) will disorient them.

Per state law, no bright lights can be visible from your room balcony.  Please keep all verticals closed and lights to a minimum after dusk.  The city takes this matter very serious and will enforce this law to anyone not following the guidelines.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE RULES

Thank you.

MGMT

(Mistakes are theirs.)  No problem, MGMT.  We have been pretty much keeping the lights off in the evenings while we sit out on the balcony watching the sky change colors as the sun sets and as we wait for the moon to rise.  I doubt we’ll be lucky enough to see the turtles, but it would be cool if we did.

Food issues

Yesterday we bought lunch at LaSpada’s.  Said lunch consisted of two Italian hoagies, chips, potato salad, and a large Kosher dill pickle.

It was a surprisingly and amazingly good hoagie.  Finding a hoagie that good this far from the Philadelphia area is, well, surprising and amazing.  We went what we considered late for lunch (around 1:30pm) and the place was hopping with a line out the door.  But they know what they’re doing in there and it was almost a work of art, watching them wait on people and put together the sandwiches.  There was also a slight bit of Philly attitude to go with the sandwich ordering and making.  They have a certain order in which they want to hear your order and, as far as I could tell, they won’t be swayed otherwise.  Reminded me of Pat’s, but you don’t have to go to the back of the line if you mess up.  (To be honest, I’ve never seen that happen at Pat’s.  Heard about it, never seen it or experienced it.)

They have a small counter there if you want to eat-in, but I’d suggest you get take-out unless you go when it’s slow.  There is not a lot of room between the counter area and the area where the lines form.

(This dude is always ready for rain.)

Today we had lunch at the Aruba Beach Cafe.  The food was good but typically overpriced the way it is at this resort kind of place.  We skipped the overpriced tropical drinks and beer (the draft beer selection wasn’t that great and it was $5.00 for Land Shark Lager, an Anheuser-Busch-Margaritaville Brewing Co. beer not worth five bucks a glass), and had iced tea.  M had the blackened grouper special and I had the fried shrimp.  My choice was not the healthiest thing on the menu (probably the unhealthiest), but I haven’t had fried shrimp in a very long time and had a yen for it today.  I’m glad I went with it even if it means more exercise later.  The outside breading was crispy and the shrimp were big and not overcooked.  The fries, corn on the cob, and coleslaw were all good too.  M’s grouper was tasty, but he didn’t care for the seasoning in the beans and rice.  One taste and I had to agree with him.  It was a little odd and overwhelming for the dish.  It didn’t taste bad.  It just wasn’t quite… right.  I’m guessing there are some people who love it.  It’s all a matter of personal taste.

Anglins Fishing Pier

We took a stroll on Anglins Fishing Pier earlier in the day, just before the storms rolled through.  It’s $2.00 per person for tourists ($7.00 if you’re there to fish).  Not a bad deal at all.  It was windy as heck out there so we’ll probably go out again when the winds calm down in a day or two.

There were quite a few people fishing.  There were also some pelicans just hanging around, looking none too thrilled with the gusty winds.

Or maybe it was the windblown woman with the camera that was displeasing to the birds.