This week’s Florida This Week discusses Florida’s and Tampa Bay’s claim to have been at the forefront of desegregation. Apart from having seen with my own eyes ‘colored’ drinking fountains in a Miami bus depot in 1973, a friend tells me he knows the small window on the side of the well known Coney Island Grill of St. Petersburg was for transacting business with black people, who were not welcome inside. He says he himself bought food through the window and it continued to be used until the 1980′s.
One day my school arranged for the whole third grade to be bussed to the suburbs. The concern was that it was bad for us to spend all our time in the city, a popular notion at the time. There was even a social program called something like the ‘fresh air fund’ that brought city children to visit the country. Adults sometimes referred to me as a ‘fresh air fund kid’. Social programs did not reach me since my mother would never accept ‘welfare’.
Mr. Cole was our school’s principal and we loved him fiercely, I think because he always managed to convey warmth an love to us. His wife was the principal of another school in the suburbs where the buses took us that day. We spent the morning playing outdoor games on the school’s great lawn and after that we were paired with one of their third graders and went home for the afternoon.
I went home with none other than Mr. Cole’s little son and we played quietly in his room after a lunch made by his mom. They lived in a house! I remember the view from his bedroom (he had his own bedroom!) on the second floor was nothing but the sun streaming through the leaves of a great tree.
When the time came to walk back to his school, board our buses and go home something went wrong with me. I told Mrs Cole I could not go home. She was dutiful in asking me what was the matter and I told her if I went back I would only die. There was quite a stir, consultations with the representative from my school, etc. I was asked to elaborate on my statement and said something about how bad people would get me or I would die in the war (a reference to the Vietnam war. Word on the street was the selection was unfair and if you were selected you went there to die). I even told them about the foreboding I carried about how I was fated to die. I was sent home on the bus, of course.
One day when I was 34 years old and still a fresh air fund kid, I was enjoying a rare day out of the city with my new girlfriend who lived in Queens and had a car. Driving in Long Island I thought saw the school. The memory of that day returned and I was saddened to realize that in those times it was presupposed that survival was too much to hope for. I’d always imagined I held on the the possibilty of growing up, being bigger and stronger and maybe escaping the city and my fate.
I do not know what school I visited but in my memory it resembles this one in the town of Manhasset, NY.
I estimated 240, 000 Robins passed over me southbound from this small area of low woodlands. The estimate was conservative, though. A similar number of birds left heading southwest. These Robins are here for only a few days more before they will begin their northerly migration. The location is 28.213,-82.762.
Taken 1/5/11 at Anclote Gulf Park, Holiday, FL where the gull visited a tide-exposed area for several days.
Birders soon appeared from all around the state. It is cheaper to see him here than to pursue the gull in it’s native range: the shores of the South American continent. As of this writing the gull is still seen now and then on exposed flats.
I went to investigate the large number of Limpkins reported by Ken T at 28.1944,-82.503 and saw not a single bird. Still, there was plenty of evidence of Limpkin activity. My photos show areas strewn with empty snail shells and I could hear Limpkins calling from the woods on both sides of SR54. There are a series of ponds here that are drying out, revealing fish and snails to a large number of wading birds including two kinds of inland Sandpiper, seen in the embedded video. I evaluate the tiny birds as Least Sandpipers and the single tall bird as a Stilt Sandpiper. Please comment if you can recognize the bird. I was disappointed to see only the pink egg masses of the exotic Apple Snail.
The Blue-Winged Warbler, Curlytailed Lizard and now a Yellow-breasted Chat in this yard. It is only the third verified Chat in my county of Florida! We also saw three Robins today. First of season! And I discovered a colony of Red Headed Woodpeckers here in town. Local ornithological types already knew about the woodpeckers but it does not change the fact today was a banner day for my county’s bird history!
These are wallpaper-sized photos. Click to enlarge.
btw Rachel Robidoux is Jen’s mother.
Yeah maybe it is generous to call it art but I prefer to since the 727 is a normally creativity – free zone.
It was a bad idea to make an arrangeable sign that is so short you don’t need the pole - mounted - suction - cup tool to rearrange it.
The most clever part of this installation is the timing. The long labor day weekend gave it an extra day of life.
I look forward to future mischief.
I wonder if this installation was by the same artist: http://sicluceatlux.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/street-art-exists-in-the-big-34691/
Baby Sandhill Cranes are called colts, in case you did not know it. This pair of cranes is generally found in the area between the Holiday Rec Center and Gulf Trace Elementary. Often I link my friends directly to my films where they reside on youtube but in this case the ‘related videos’ were dominated by references to hunting of Sandhill Cranes and even Whooping Cranes. Here I can supress ‘related videos’. To browse films that are mine with a minimum of relating go to my youtube channel page: http://www.youtube.com/user/yourboypaulie
I think he’s called a Curlytail. I have seen these at Nassau, The Bahamas. This one turned up in my dooryard today. Funny, I think his tail unculs when he relaxes. The species is an exotic invader. Here’s what Fish & Wildlife says about him: http://myfwc.com/WILDLIFEHABITATs/Nonnative_NorthernCurlytailLizard.htm
After months of gradually drying up the heron’s waterhole filled in a few minutes with the first good rain of summer. The fact that it dries out so badly is hard on the fish but is what makes this a good frog pond and here and there you can see them busily amplexing on the surface. One of the calls you hear is the Bufo Marinus, whose trill is nearly indistinguishable fron the Screech Owl’s. The rule is if the call is coming from the ground it’s the toad. If it’s from a tree it’s the owl. Bufo Marinus, the Marine Toad is non-native, grows as big as a dinner plate, and secretes poison.
Actually, I know. But I won’t spoil your fun.
Dear BP and your friends in Washington (please forward to Sarah Palin and Republican Congressman Joe Barton). This is my favorite beach (link to video). It’s close to my house and I come here every few days to walk and to see what I can see. I usually have my small video camera with me and I done a lot of shooting there. I have a library of films of the species you might see, however inconspicuous. I have already posted some of my films to youtube.
You might think you’re over the hump with this oil spill but my anger is only just rising as the oil comes closer to me. If I can control myself I will translate my anger into action. I was thinking of re-shooting all of the same places and species once they are covered with oil.
Actually, I have three youtubes. And I have a wordpress, a digg, a technorati, a twitter, a buzz, a friendfeed, a facebook and a myspace. Yes, that is a lot of places to post but don’t worry it’s no trouble. They intersyndicate automatically.
I heard you had goons keeping people off the beach in Louisiana and Alabama. That wont work with me. I am a goon.
It seems my Palm Warbler has got underway. He is ‘mine’ because he comes to the place outside my window where I feed birds. He visits every day of his winter vacation, which he has spent entirely within my small back yard since at least 2006. Another Palm Warbler occupies my small front yard. Usually these birds do not appear at any kind of feeder but my small friend somehow learned to eat the bird chow that my domestic birds didn’t want. It’s how I know he is mine.
My hopes go with him as he flies through the night, probably for weeks, looking at the stars and sensing the Earth’s magnetic field to find the place in Canada where he will see his hen again if she has also survived.
I know his mission to make a new Palm Warbler is critical and much more important to him than risk to his own life but when November comes I will look for him every day. I wish I could tell him that if he can somehow get back to me I will be ready with chow and orange slices and we’ll enjoy the mild winter days together one more time.