So This is Wyoming

Day One Wyoming

Wyoming has certainly made a good first impression. I’ve arrived and settled in. Believe it or not that sandwich at Dornan’s was a long time ago. With no restaurant on premises it was time to figure out dinner. Time to test the concierge. I guess my question was easy. They had no hesitation recommending a nearby restaurant, Spurs. Located in Teton Mountain Lodge, next door, it was an easy walk, even for gimpy old me.

Beef, it’s what’s for DinnerSteak

I asked about a dress code and was assured it was “Resort Casual” and that I looked fine. A hostess greeted me immediately. There’s no waiting line in the “off season”. The menu was not extensive but it was varied. It was also on the pricey side, of course this is a high end resort. I don’t remember the day’s special. I only remember it was $51.00. Not quite ready to try elk meat I selected the SRF American Kobe Butcher Steak. I know what KOBE is but I had to ask about SRF. That stands for Snake River Farm, a local cattle ranch. I ordered rare but what I received was a strange looking lump of meat with an onion reduction. I cautiously took a taste. It was “like butta”. It melted. This was the most tender, flavorful steak I had ever eaten. 

Ruffed GrouseWhy Aren’t you Sleeping?

 It was a good thing I was walking after that meal. I startled a bird of some kind. It didn’t want to fly. It just ran ahead of me. I got a pretty good look. It reminded me of a chunky roadrunner with short legs. I made a guess that it was some kind of grouse. I later confirmed this with some of the locals. They said it sounded like a “Ruffed Grouse”. Doing a little internet search resulted in a picture. It sure looks like the same bird. I’m not sure why it was still awake after dark. Maybe it had a “big night out”?

 

Start Your Day with Sand Hill Cranes

The Endangered Sand Hill Crane

I’ve heard that Sand Hill Cranes are common in Florida. For some reason I’ve not been able to get a good look at them. Oh I’ve seen them at a distance but never close enough for a good look. After so many years looking, who would have thought that I’d finally get my chance after a major hurricane!

Sand Hill Cranes

The morning surprise

I had made plans to meet up with Joe but I stressed that I wanted to be able to sleep in so Don’t Call Early! Of course my body had other ideas and woke up at my normal time. Old habits die hard. With time on my hands I headed out to breakfast. I wasn’t thinking about Sand Hill Cranes or any other bird when a huge bird half flew, half ran right in front of the car! I recognized it right away. It was a Sand Hill Crane. It may have been the one to catch my attention but there were 3 more waiting for it on the side of the road. I quickly turned around and hurried back to my room to grab the camera. I didn’t really expect them to be there when I got back but I had to try.

Preening craneLost and Alone, Maybe

I grabbed the camera and raced back to the car. What did I see as I backed out? Another Sand Hill Crane. It was standing in the middle of the parking lot grooming! I rolled my window down and slowly rolled forward. Silly bird paid no attention to me. I got quite close. Then another car came along. It passed between me and the bird. The bird never flinched. It just kept preening! 

A Morning Tradition

Leaving my vain crane in the parking lot I went looking for the foursome I’d seen earlier. I spotted them way off in the distance. This was the start of a morning ritual. I’d head out to breakfast and the little flock of 4 would be next to the road. This happened every day while I was at the resort. After all this time looking for them, the Sand Hill Cranes paid me back for my persistence.

A Flock of Cranes

Air Boats and Alligators

Tom & Jerry’s Air Boat rides

The last part of the Florida Adventure tour is a 30 minute air boat ride. We had a 45 minute bus ride from Crystal River to Lake Panasoffkee for a 30 minute boat ride. I’ve been on air boats before but not on Lake Panasoffkee. Upon arrival the group was split in two. Only one air boat was operational. Or maybe it was because there was only one captain available.

Cruising the Lake

airboats and alligator

My group followed the Captain Jerry down the dock where we boarded a medium sized air boat. There were plenty of earmuffs on each bench seat. You really need to use them because the roar of the huge fan that drives the board is deafening. We started out slowly but soon Captain Jerry kicked up the speed. A great blue heron took off as we roared past. Captain Jerry slowed the boat and pointed it out. He said it was the first bird he’d seen since the hurricane. Usually the lake was teeming with birds.

Birds and Hurricanes Great Blue heron

Captain Jerry explained that the birds get into the eye of the storm and are carried far off their normal flight paths. It takes them awhile to get orientated and begin to return. He was very happy to see the Great Blue. A bit further on Captain Jerry again slowed the boat. This time so we could see a smaller bird. It was a heron too. This one was the tricolor Heron.

Where are all the Gators?

We finally spotted one alligator. Captain Jerry said he thought most of the gators were way back in the brush. The lake is usually about 6 ft deep at its deepest. With all the water from the hurricane it was more like 12 feet and still rising. It made for a beautiful blue lake but the marsh grass and Lilly pads were all underwater now. Alligators like to be able to hide. With the deeper water they felt exposed so were way back in the brushy area.

Want to hold the Alligator?

Baby Alligator

Back at the dock the 2nd half of our group headed out. One of the other employees brought out a small alligator to let us hold and take pictures. The really little gators were in an aquarium in the gift shop. Captain Jerry may have been disappointed that he couldn’t show us more gator’s but I didn’t hear any of us complaining. We had a great time all day!

 

 

 

 

Isn’t Nature Amazing?

Nature just keeps on amazing me.

Nature is continuing to WOW us on and around Cape Cod! I turned my back for one minute and we had “Air Jaws” stealing fish right off the fishermen’s lines! It was just a small Great White, a juvenile, but it came awful close to landing in the boat. As if that wasn’t enough a few days before that a big great white also stole fish off a line. He was just less showy. He snuck up and chomp, half the fish was gone in one bite!

http://www.necn.com/news/new-england/Great-White-Shark-Jumps-Out-of-Water-While-Crew-Fishes-Off-Cape-Coast-440153163.html

Great White Moose spotted in SwedenMeanwhile in Sweden

The Swedes aren’t dealing with great white sharks. No, they have the great white moose. Talk about amazing. I had trouble finding a regular old dark brown moose and here is a beautiful snow white Moose, with antlers no less!

 

 

 

Look What’s right in our own backyardBlue Jay with Peanut

While all of this nature news was making headlines here in Massachusetts, I was visiting my sister in New York. In her little suburban backyard we were entertained by all sorts of little critters. The Blue Jays were the first visitors when we came out. Sandy was prepared with peanuts to encourage them to visit. She’s such a good hostess. Did you know that Blue Jays love peanuts? The kind in the shells. They swoop in and snatch them, After they go back to the trees you can hear the shells cracking.

 

A Flash of Yellow

America Goldfinch

A little American Goldfinch ignored the fuss the jays were making to make a visit to the bird bath. He took his time getting a drink. No bath today! No time for a snack either. He had his drink and flitted away. 

Harry WoodpeckerThe Little Star of the visit

I knew Sandy had a bunch of little chipmunks living in the yard. I was anxious to take their pictures. They had other ideas. A Harry Woodpecker came along but no chipmunks.Squirrel in a tree

 

 

Then a squirrel stopped by to scold us and grab a peanut. But still no chipmunks.

 

 

 

Finally we had a visitor. The peanuts were just too much of a temptation. Only one came out to play but he was quite entertaining. 

Chipmunk with stuffed cheeks

 

All those Little Things

Those Things you almost forget to mention

I’ve got a few things to share with you. A little of this and a little of that. Things I forgot to mention and things that just didn’t seem to fit in any place else. So today’s post is a little bit of house keeping.

The “Sandcastles”

This post really seemed to hit the spot. So I want to share a couple more photos. The first one is The Sand with the Dragon Tattoo. Catchy

Sand sculpted like a dragon

Then there’s the sculpture named Wishful Thinking. Who among us haven’t indulged in wishful thinking at one time or another? Here’s a little I dream of Jeannie magic along with the winning lottery ticket. That’s really Wishful Thinking!

If you’d like to see more of my pictures from the Competition, you can stop by  http://dustyroadsphotos.zenfolio.com/p955600703. Be sure to sign the guest book and say Hi.

My Photo Page Has Gone to The BirdsFlamingos

Speaking of my photo page link, I had it in my menu but it disappeared. I’ve been trying to figure out what went wrong. You should be able to see it and click on it. Its really bumming me out. I will get it figured out but it might be awhile. Technology is not my friend, its my challenge. I put together a lovely slide show with music. The theme is Birds. So until I get the link fixed, you can find my Birds slide show at http://dustyroadsphotos.zenfolio.com/

 

 

Did I forget the Dessert?

Remember the Birthday Celebration at Woods Hole? I never told you where we ended up for dessert. A birthday celebration needs cake and ice cream so that’s what we had.  Leaving Woods Hole we made a stop in Falmouth, MA at Cupcake Charlie’s . What a great way to have Cake and Ice Cream. Everyone can choose their own flavors. Its easy to see why Cupcake Charlie’s is called “New England’s Best Cupcakes”.

Sift Ice Cream And a Cupcake

“Life is Short . . . Eat a Cupcake”