04 de octubre de 2022

Hurricane Ian


(REUTERS/Marco Bello)

Recently, the SW coast of Florida was struck by the disastrous Hurricane Ian. As the death toll continues to rise (103 as I write this), more photos of the storm's aftermath are being released.

This post isn't very iNat related, but it's very personal. Thankfully my area in SE Florida was barely affected, with just tropical storm winds and about a foot of rainfall... besides 2 tornadoes that occurred within my county and an additional 4 in my neighboring county. Though just an hour west of where I live, roads I used to drive on are now gone (the Sanibel area in specific), and houses and restaurants I've visited (in Fort Myers specifically) have been claimed by the Gulf of Mexico. :(

My family business, which is in the industry of designing and manufacturing water pumps, has locations all over Florida from Jacksonville to Fort Myers. Here's an example of our pumps in use to drain New Orleans after Katrina in 2006: (NBC News)
Ian resulted in our Fort Myers location now missing garage doors and a roof. But...things couldn't have been better... not one pump was damaged, not one computer cracked, nothing. The facility already has power and a company from Georgia is already restoring the roof. Praise the Lord!

My friends, the Morgan family, have experienced dramatic destruction in the Punta Gorda/Fort Myers area. Thankfully they were evacuated beforehand because flooding reached all the way to the ceiling, so they've lost a lot. So please pray for them.

Now to make this iNat related, vagrants. Yes, vagrants. Totally different topic, I know. Whenever hurricanes or tropical storms tend to blow through the Sunshine State, many interesting tropical species come with them. Kinda like a package deal. Anyway, Hurricane Irma for example (the absolute worst hurricane I've ever been in) in 2017 brought many Caribbean birds into the southern part of the state. This Yellow-faced Grassquit a few days after the storm observed by joemdo is one of them:
Even though we never really know if these birds are exotic escapees, there's no doubt that we observe a large increase of them after storms.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read my post!

Ingresado el 04 de octubre de 2022 por gatorhawk gatorhawk | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

20 de marzo de 2022

Utah

Yesterday, I flew back to my home-state Florida after an unforgettable 5-day trip to Park City, Utah. This is my first journal post ever, but surely won't be my last!

Most of the time I had in Utah was spent skiing and snowboarding. But in my spare time, I had to take my camera out, I was able to pick up quite a few lifers and iNat firsts, mostly of plants and birds.

First let me just say, WOW, the Rocky Mountains are so different than the Appalachians that I've spent recent years visiting! The jagged peaks decorated with spruce, fir, juniper, and aspen trees make for a wonderful landscape. No, this wasn't the first time I've been in the Rockies or surrounding areas, but I was seven when I last visited the West, which was a Yosemite-Sequoia trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

I was so happy to find a pond, surrounded by an entirely new ecosystem to me, that was filled with wildlife just down the street from where I was staying. There I was able to see my first Wilson's Snipe, Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay, Black-billed Magpie, and Townsend's Solitaire. Each day the snow melted more, and more grasses and other plants became exposed.

One morning after walking around the pond, the slight movement of some grass caught my attention. I at first thought it was a small foraging bird. After staring for a few seconds, I became confused since there was no bird visible in the small, thin patch of grass. Just then, the most adorable face popped out of the ground. It was a ground squirrel, specifically a Uinta Ground Squirrel, which is endemic to the Utah/Wyoming area of the US. Soon I noticed a second individual in a snow-covered field near the pond.

Now, for my favorite part of the trip. I was sitting down attaching my snowboard to my foot at the edge of a slight drop-off preparing to snowboard down it, on a relatively warm (45 degrees) yet beautiful morning, surrounded by firs and spruces. As I buckled my foot onto my snowboard on the glimmering snow, a kid a few feet away from me screamed "EAGLE, EAGLE, EAGLE!". I looked up, and only about 25 ft above me slowly flew a magnificent, bronze-colored, beauty... the Golden Eagle! I didn't have my camera on me, but that only meant that I lived in that moment. Two seconds later, it flew beyond the tree line. It was surely I moment I will never forget.

Thanks for reading!

Ingresado el 20 de marzo de 2022 por gatorhawk gatorhawk | 9 observaciones | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

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