Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yet Another Trip to Ocala

Well, we did it. We put in an offer for the house in Ocala at On Top of the World (OTOW) and it was accepted. The home inspection is scheduled next week and settlement will be in early March. OTOW is a very active retirement community, lots of clubs, sports - and an RC flying field.

Bill is excited about the RC club, 2-car garage and outdoor patio where he can grill. I'm excited about getting to decorate - new carpet, tile and furniture. We both will enjoy working in the yard which, at this point is an blank palette.

This is the view out back. That's one of the golf courses in the distance (there are three). We'll be adding gardens with flowers, bushes and trees along with bird feeders and some kind of water feature to attract the birds and other wildlife.

Our good friend, Mo was here all week and traveled with us to Ocala. He is an expert craftsman and offered some great advice. We hope he enjoyed his visit as much as we enjoyed having him. In spite of the much colder-than-normal weather, we were able to get in one day at the pool and another on the beach, a couple of birding trips and lots of visits to the grocery store. Both Bill and Mo like to cook so dinner was the highlight of the day.

Yesterday, Bill and I took our Toyota Camry Hybrid in to the local dealership to have the recall fixes done on the gas petal. The place was mobbed so we did not wait; instead, we decided to walk at Harns Marsh. One of the resident Snail Kites was close to the shore by the first set of ponds and I was able to get some decent pictures.

I was ready when he took to the air. In this shot you can see the distinctive white band on his tail.

He circled low before flying off in the chilly, gusty winds.

On the back side of the trail, we saw several Wood Stork. Notice the pink on their legs and bald heads. They look like a silly cross between a beautiful white heron and an ugly old buzzard.

But they are certainly all beauty in the air - graceful and light.

The marsh areas had the usual flocks of Coot swimming around and diving for small fish and insects.

We saw lots of heron, egret, limpkin and ducks, including a large group of Blue-winged Teal.

The Glossy Ibis are getting their spring colors.

Just a few of the many Coot we saw.

On one of our visits to Six-Mile Cypress Slough while Mo was here, this Red-shouldered Hawk was sitting on the boardwalk railing. He was eating what was left of a recent catch. The red on his talons is blood and raw meat.

Bill and I take frequent trips over to Fort Myers Beach to look for the illusive (and very rare) Scarlet Ibis. He was recently spotted on the bay side of the island so we had to check for ourselves. One of the residents told us he comes to the pond behind the Catholic Church every evening at 5:30 - so we will be heading back. On this trip we saw numerous Brown Pelicans.

I'm trying to get more action shots and this Pelican was putting on quite a show for the other birds - splashing in the water.

Wow - doesn't that look painful? He had just eaten a large fish - whole, of course - and was having trouble swallowing it.

After he finished his dinner, he flew off, trailing his feet in the water as he went - our cue to head on home for our own dinner.

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