Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Must See "Movie" on Sanibel Island

This is not a gripe, but it is a reality.  We come to Sanibel, fall in love with its beaches and swimming. Bike through the nature preserve, gather shells, explore the shops and feast on the delicacies of the Island. 

We all know Sanibel is a very unique place, but it is often disappointing to see photos and videos on the Island.  Many are nice, but really don't capture the charms of the island.

And while the newest depiction of Sanibel is not really a "movie" it is so in depth with images so vivid, it does a very good job of illustrating the many, many joys of Sanibel.

The video quality is excellent, and portrays the diverse charms of Sanibel life in a way no single video we have viewed to date has been able to do.

We are taken on island over the beautiful causeway, seeing the emerald bay spill out on either side of this architectural wonder.  The narrator talks about the causeway as being the bridge between the magic of the island and the reality of life on the main land.  The aerial shots over the causeway are stunning and aerial shots are one remarkable thread through out the video.

The segue from the causeway to the island is the blending of nature and beauty.  Lovely shots of various birds bring the viewer into Ding Darling and aware of the wild life all over the island.  And the appetite is whet, not just with birds, but with discussions of foods available in the various restaurants.

And perhaps in the most stunning images of all, the discussion of the dark skies and starry nights is awesomely enhanced with night photography we simple folks would not be able to capture on our "ordinary" cameras.  The footage is , indeed, extraordinary with timed photography and almost special effects like scenery.

In just 9 minutes of video, the wide range of subjects covered is quite impressive.  Reaching out to nature is portrayed in engaging images and narrative by the director of the Sanibel Sea School.  Seeing tiny sea creatures held in young hands and watching the wonder on their faces is an innocent kind of love, and one we familiar with Sanibel know and appreciate.

And the upbeat music moves the video from first glimpse to last chord.

But don't take our word for it.  Take a look here and tell us what you think:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How we see Pre-Christmas on Sanibel Island

Twas a week before Christmas and all through our paradise,
Children (and adults) are ever so wise.

They have chosen these islands for their holiday fun,
And fun they will have here--- each and every one.

From 3 days before Xmas and straight til New Year's Eve,
there will be something at Herb Strauss Theatre for all who believe.
 And close to the beaches, every creature is stirring from alligator to mouse, 
As beautiful sounds of music can be heard from our pretty lighthouse.

At this icon of Sanibel on Christmas eve early evening til late night,
songs we will sing and candles we'll light.

As majestic as Eagles stand our palm trees so tall.
And decorated with lights ---- for the pleasure of all.

Come dance with the sea,
Come discover our island mystery,
Come take a boat tour of our beauty,
Come and explore a pirate's booty.
Come eat in festive places,
Come and see our happy faces,
Come escape your winter woes,
Come to warm sands and wiggle your toes!

And if you do all we suggest, we are sure you will find the best of the best.
For no doubt you will see the highlight of the season, our Santa at rest.

He'll have a tanned face, and a little round belly
That will shake when he laughs, like a bowl full of jelly:
He'll be  chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And you'll laugh when you see him in spite of yourself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
He'll soon let you know there's no winter to dread.

He'll spring from his beach chair, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they'll all fly, like the down of a thistle:

But you'll  hear him exclaim, as he flies out of sight-
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


Monday, December 9, 2013

Some strange names on Sanibel Island

When we look at the sightings of wildlife on Sanibel, we are always amazed at the variety and quantity of critters.  Any given week on Island is a superb opportunity to observe all six classes of animals: mammals, birds, fishes, reptiles, amphibians,and invertebrates (primarily insects).  

In doing so, and taking a moment to do the research, you will find that some of our critters have unusual names.  And though you may be tempted to guess at why they have the proper and common names they do, you might be surprised to find out the real reasons.  They are all special!
For example, there is the ubiquitous pig frog.  The pig frog (Rana grylio) is a species  of aquatic frog found in the Southeastern United States from South Carolina to Texas. Some sources also refer to it as the lagoon frog or the southern bullfrog.  Almost entirely aquatic, they are found predominantly on the edges of lakes, or in cypress swamps and marshes that are heavy with vegetation. They are nocturnal.  Their name, however, has really nothing to do with their appearance.  Rather, they are called pig frogs because of their vocalization, not their adorable looks.   Their pig-like grunts can be heard during the warm months of the year.

And then there is the lovely cloudless sulphur butterfly. The cloudless sulphur, Phoebis sennae (Linnaeus), is one of our most common and attractive Florida butterflies and is particularly prominent during its fall southward migration. Its genus name is derived from Phoebe the sister of Apollo, a god of Greek and Roman mythology (Opler & Krizek 1984).

The upper surface of the male is lemon yellow with no markings. The female is yellow or white; outer edges of both wings with irregular black borders; upper fore wing with dark spot in cell. The lower surface of hind wing of both sexes with 2 pink-edged silver spots.

Not everyone realizes it, but there are two kinds of crows across much of the eastern United States.  The Fish Crow found on the Island is one of them.   Looking almost identical to the ubiquitous American Crow, Fish Crows are tough to identify until you learn their nasal calls. And they neither look nor sound like fish, but fish, indeed, is their dinner of choice.  Look for them around bodies of water, usually in flocks and sometimes with American Crows. It is worth nothing, however, that they are supreme generalists, eating just about anything they can find. Fish Crows have expanded their range inland and northward along major river systems in recent decades.

Which brings us to one of favorites on Island, the Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana), commonly known as the North American Opossum, is the only marsupial found in  North America north of Mexico A solitary and nocturnal animal about the size of a domestic cat, and thus the largest opossum, it is a successful opportunist. It is familiar to many North Americans as it is often seen near towns, rummaging through garbage cans, or sadly lying by the road, a victim of traffic.

The Virginia Opossum is the original animal named opossum. The word comes from Algonquian 'wapathemwa' meaning "white animal", not from Greek or Latin, so the plural is opossums. Colloquially, the Virginia Opossum is frequently called simply possum.

We would love to know what you consider to be Sanibel's most unusual critters!