Purple Martins

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Purple Martins (female).

Our new campground has 4 nest boxes set up by the water that have attracted more purple martins than the boxes can accommodate.  There is a lot of twittering, communicating, and bickering going on.  Regis saw two females fall out of the sky latched onto each other.  They parted when he went to get a closer look.  They are a constant source of entertainment.

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Purple martins (female).
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Female Purple Martin.

Our son and his friend are staying in Port Townsend only a few blocks from our campground.  We’ve had lunch and dinner with them the last few days.  It’s been wonderful.  We’ve had a lot of great food and many of the restaurants are right on the water.

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Flower at Point Hudson

Yesterday we went to Sirens for lunch.  It’s on the third floor of a building and we were seated on the outside deck.  While waiting for our drinks to show up, we noticed the crows catching small fish that were left behind in puddles after the tide went out.  They would take the fish and bring them up past the tide line and bury them.  The fish were still wiggling.  After they tucked the fish away in a suitable location, they would cover them with grasses and such and go get more fish.  We could have stayed all afternoon watching these guys.  I will definitely return later this week.  The food was delicious, so it will be easy to return.

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Flowers at Point Hudson

Our son and his friend took the kayaks out.  They kayaked on the shore next to town which happens to be next to the ferry terminal.  They were too busy sightseeing to pay attention to the ferry which had to toot at them to get out of the way because it was departing!

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Gull feeding.

The weather is warming up and it’s been very nice.  Since we are camped right next to the water, we get a cooling breeze that usually requires a jacket.  But, once you walk into town, it’s much warmer.

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We finally got a view of Mount Baker from our campsite.

On our return from dinner, we noticed a beautiful rainbow in the sky.  Today, they celebrated Pride in Port Townsend, so it was very fitting.  As the sun went down, it reflected nicely off the clouds.

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Evening view from our campsite.

Koreshan

It was time to move the motor home to keep every lubricated properly.  We took advantage of that need to head on a short adventure to southwest Florida.  We wanted to visit J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge again and chose Koreshan State Park in Estero as our campsite.  It was considerably less expensive than the local private campgrounds and it was very nice.  It is located on the Estero River, so we brought the kayaks.

The drive to Estero from St. Augustine was awful.  It’s rough getting through the Orlando area and Routes 95, 4, and 75 are always congested.  After we set up camp, we took the dog for a walk and I’m surprised that Dart didn’t wear out his sniffer on the walk.  It wasn’t long but Dart sniffed every square inch.  I was beginning to think we wouldn’t get back to the motorhome until nightfall.

The next morning we went on a hike through the historic site and found the biggest bamboo we have ever seen.  It sounded a little creepy with the wind blowing through the bamboo and causing them to make creaking noises.

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Linda and Dart with large bamboo in Koreshan State Historic Site.

After Dart’s walk, we put the kayaks in the Estero River at the campground and headed down river.  There are lots of houses along the river.  The river looks very dirty.  We only had to step in it to launch and then take the kayaks out of the water, but we hated stepping in it.

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Launching kayaks on the Estero River at Koreshan State Historic Site. That’s Linda checking out down river and Mango and Tango in the lower left corner.

It was an okay trip.  We saw someone paddle boarding with a beautiful husky.  We were hoping to kayak all the way to Estero Bay but it turned out to be further than we expected.  I was concerned about having the energy to return up river.  There isn’t much of a current, but you still have to paddle against whatever current there is.  We didn’t see many birds on the way downriver, but saw some on the way back.  The tide was lower on the way back, so it would have been easier for the birds to fish.

After we got back, we ate lunch and then headed to J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.  It is only 18 miles from our campsite but took an hour to get there.  It was worth it!!  There were lots of birds.  There were also lots of no-see-ums. Those are bugs you can’t see but when they bite you, you can feel it.  I find their bites itch more than mosquito bites.  Since we left the bug spray in the motorhome (of course!), we didn’t do any walking.  My favorite bird to watch was the Reddish Egret.  I love watching them fish.  I got some video (see here) of one fishing.  If you have never seen them fish, you should watch.  I was using my regular camera with the long lens when I saw the Egret and it is hard to handhold and video with that lens so it is a little shaky.  The tripod was with the bug spray back in the motorhome!!

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Birds at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
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Gull bathing at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
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Ibis at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
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White Pelicans at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
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Roseatte Spoonbill preening at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. A lot of people mistake them for Flamingos.
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Yellow-crowned Nigh-Heron at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

Rainy Day

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Atlantic ocean in the rain from Acadia National Park.

I was supposed to go whale watching today but the trip was canceled as a result of bad weather.  We decided to hike along the coast in the rain.  It wasn’t raining too hard, so I felt comfortable taking Dart.  If it was raining hard and he would get soaked, I wouldn’t take him.

Acadia National Park is a very dog friendly park.  You can take your dog on most trails and carriage paths.  There are two beaches that don’t allow dogs and a few very strenuous trails.  Dogs likely couldn’t go on the trails anyway because it requires going up iron rungs pounded into the cliff face and scrambling over rocks.  The Island Explorer, which is the local public transportation for the park, allows dogs.  I’ve never seen that before.  Unfortunately, they don’t start operations until next week so we didn’t get to take advantage of it.

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Enjoying the view in spite of the rain. These guys had the right idea!
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Two people enjoying Otter Point in Acadia National Park.

It is very pretty in the rain.  The world is much softer and the water droplets on the plants look amazing.

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Flower in the rain.
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Buds in the rain.
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Flowers growing in a tough spot on the Atlantic coast.

Regis saw a gull catch a crab.  To see some video click here.  If you are rooting for the crab, I don’t recommend watching the video.

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Gull with recently captured crab.
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This picture is for my mom. She loves rocks.

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