Chasing birds…(and pirates!)

Osprey in flight

I’ve been away from my blog for a bit, and let me tell you I’ve got some excuses. 😉  I’ve been in ‘book promotion land’ for about one month now, heavily promoting my books on Kindle as the three of them are on sale.  I’ve been writing, which means at any given time, I’m having a “conversation” with one to five extra voices in my head if you know what I mean.  But mainly, I’ve been keeping up with my darling pirate children.  (I am a chef’s wife, so keeping up with children is different for me than for some moms out there.  No offense intended for anyone.  If you need further clarification regarding this issue, simply Google the words ‘chef’s wife’ and a plethora of reading material with everything from the blog ‘Desperate Chefs’ Wives’ to  support groups for them will come up.  There is even the site called the ‘Chef’s Widow,’ which to clarify is not referring to a woman married to a man who has passed away.  You get the picture.   And our children…well, let’s just say you’ve got to keep an eye, or twenty, on them.

What are they like?  Do you remember that eighties flick, GREMLINS, where you can’t get them wet or feed them after midnight or they’ll turn from cute little fuzzy creatures into monsters?  😉  Yeah, the main difference is that mine ‘change’ earlier in the evening.  When we’re at the grocery store, strangers typically say something like:  “They sure have lots of energy.”  Yes.  Yes, they do.  And they hate the idea of their mother sleeping.  The eldest thinks she needs to stay up two hours past her bedtime with me every single night. “Sleep is the worst thing in the world!” she says as she turns cartwheels beside my desk.  The youngest thinks that between 2 and 4:30 a.m. is a grand time to wake-up.  “Mommy, it’s morning!” she says.  While technically, she is correct, I can’t handle that hour and oh so sweetly tell her to go back to bed.  But like clockwork, she’s there, between 2:30 and 4:30.

The youngest pirate’s three favorite items in our house are my black PERMANENT Sharpie marker, a roll of packing tape, and glue.  She also claims she is an artist, (at five I have to admire her for already having this figured out), and as you can imagine with the Sharpie, in particular being the first thing she finds in the morning, I never know what creation of hers I am going to discover.  Or how long it is going to take me to remove it from the wall.  Recently, she took empty paper towel rolls and decorated them as Santa Claus miniatures and hung them with glue and string to the bedroom wall.  I’m still trying to figure out where she got the string from or what shirt of mine is missing that could have produced said string.

My sister quite regularly asks me over the phone, “What is happening at your house?” because the noise is so loud.  The other day I had to lock myself in the closest so I could take a phone call.  I’m sorry, but I hadn’t talked to my friend who called me in over three months, and I wasn’t letting anything get in the way of our conversation.  A few days later, the youngest was chanting.  Yep, there really isn’t another way to describe it.  She was repeating some strange sound over and over as I combed her hair and though I asked her to quiet down a little, the louder she got until I exclaimed, “I feel like I’m in the crazy house!”  This was immediately followed by a voice, (my eldest- at least I’m hoping it was her) in the other room announcing, “You ARE in the crazy house!”

A few days ago my five-year-old called from behind me in the hallway, “Wow, Mommy your butt is SO big.”  If you ever visited my old blog site, you might realize these are the same words that my seven-year-old said to me when she was four, which prompted the launch of “My Name is Sarah,” my first blog.  As the words of my second born registered, a million thoughts flashed through my already heavily trafficked mind.  Now, the second one is saying this?  Thank the Lord we stopped at two.  I slowly turned around, calculating my response and how I was going to handle her latest observation only to discover she was peering at me through a magnifying glass.

Anywho, that’s what I’ve been doing…  Welcome to my life. 🙂

Do I have any other excuses for my extended absence?  What else have I been up to?  Oh, you want wildlife photos? No more glimpses into mommy world?  Okay, fine.  Thanks for listening. 😉  Well, this brings me to today’s photos…  Recently, I attended a Book Festival in Matlacha Park, in Matlacha, a tiny island on the way to Pine Island, Florida.  I told myself I would wait until the day was over before going after any wildlife photos, but…well…that just didn’t work out for me.  I was one of sixty Florida authors in attendance but probably the only one who abandoned my table over and over to take photographs of birds.  I’m cool like that.  A rebel without a cause.  Probably where the pirates get it from.  It was a windy, unusually chilly Florida day, but I sold some books, met some amazing authors and readers, Chef Charles took the morning off to watch the pirates, and I got to chase birds. (Finally, some photos for my lonely, ol’ neglected blog.)   🙂

Osprey

Osprey

Am I getting a dirty look? ;)
Am I getting a dirty look? 😉

Osprey

Osprey with fish

Osprey

Osprey

bird

Osprey

Book Festival

Thirty minutes to spare…

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My husband took us to the Naples Pier a couple of weeks ago, and though we didn’t stay long, it was one of the best mornings I’ve had in a while.  I had no idea about the spectacular display of beautiful wildlife awaiting me.

When we fist started down the pier, the water appeared deceptively calm.  The kids were impressed with the fishermen lining the pier on either side, the fish cleaning area was especially grotesque but interesting for them, and of course, their GPS trackers kicked in and they quickly spotted the ice cream stand.

After a minute or two, we spotted a dolphin swimming around the pier, but wait…not just one dolphin…lots of dolphins.

The kids immediately forgot about the ice cream, (okay, for about thirty minutes).  But what a time we had…

The kids ran back and forth, pointing to each dolphin that emerged and then disappeared into the water, shouting with excitement, “Look, another one!”  Charles kept up with them, oh so kindly I might add, making sure no one went over the edge trying to get a closer look.  And what did I do for those thirty minutes?  Well, I attempted to get a photo of one of the magnificent dolphins swimming around the pier.

As you can tell, I never got a head shot, but this amateur will take what I got.  We would have stayed longer, but after about thirty minutes, the kids remembered the ice cream stand, and well, if you’re a parent, or uncle, or aunt, or someone who takes care of kids, you know about the magical effect ice cream has on them…

Now, I don’t work in the tourism industry for Southwest Florida, but I simply have to encourage you, if you are ever in the area, a trip to the Naples Pier is worth your time…even if you’ve only got thirty minutes to spare.

 

It looked pretty calm when we first arrived…

pier

In the mood for a Fresh Seafood Dinner…

OspreyOspreyOspreyOspreyOsprey

Just last week, that Chef husband of mine opened our new restaurant, Mereday’s Fine Dining, at The Naples Bay Resort.  In a pre-opening family outing, he took us out for a fresh, seafood dinner.  What a treat to spend some family time together -during the launch of a restaurant, which I promise you can be intense, and what an even bigger treat, if you’re ‘a crazy bird lady’ like moi, to see two Osprey on our way home from dinner.  Turns out, we weren’t the only ones in the mood for fresh local fish.  😉  Check out the menu at our new place at, http://www.meredaysnaples.com or visit the Facebook page to see what sort of fresh food the chef is serving. 🙂

Guard on, Guardian…

Osprey

Osprey

The Osprey are such amazing creatures.  I see a dozen a day and never bore from watching them.  I jokingly call them the guardians of Sanibel Island because there are so many of them, and they are always watching.  I’m sure they are watching for their next opportunity to snag a fish from the water, which is truly a remarkable and exciting event, if you ask me.  But sometimes, I like to just observe them as they perch on a tree… 

This one looked like the guardian of something.  Guardians guard, watch over, or protect.  Maybe the Osprey here are just trying to protect their place of refuge.  Maybe, they want to remind the humans invading their refuge that this is their land.  If that is the case, I don’t need the reminder.  In the past week, I’ve seen a surplus of gators, scorpions, and snakes.  I know that this island belongs to the animals… 

I might not understand the Osprey here at all, but I do offer up my humble thanks to this beauty that posed for my camera.  Guard on, Guardian… You sure are a magnificent sight.  🙂

Lunchtime with Osprey

Osprey with fishOsprey

I don’t know what it is about spotting Opsrey with headless fish, but I act like a kid on Christmas morning. A grin spreads across my face, my heart jumps to full speed, and immediately I abandon my vehicle, bike, or veer from the path I’m walking to snap a photo.

I am a very exciting individual, I know. 😉

This Osprey was looking around, probably annoyed I was intruding on a fresh seafood lunch. Don’t worry, I didn’t hang around long…just long enough to take a photo, smile ‘like nobody was watching,’ and to enjoy the moment…And it was a really good moment. 🙂

Headless Fish & The Osprey

magnificent Osprey with dead fish clutched in it’s talon
Osprey having a snack
Osprey & the headless fish

I probably bore people to death with my stories of watching the Osprey hunt for fish.  That’s okay with me because I am telling you, I can’t get enough of watching this amazing bird of prey hunt!  I love to watch them dive into the spring or into the ocean or bay and resurface with a fish.  Though I have yet to capture a photo of this bird in action…actually catching a fish, I did get this, ‘after-the-hunt’ shot.  I got a few actually, before the Osprey started eyeing me, and I decided to let it enjoy it’s seafood snack in peace.  After all, I am not entirely certain about how protective Osprey are of their food.  I did offer my humble thanks to the Osprey for letting me get these photos before I got back on the road again.  Hope you enjoy!