Five wood storks in the wild (our backyard). Ft. Myers, Fla. Paul Goldfinger photo. Click left to see Big Bird.
Hello, I must be going. Click left
By Eileen and Paul Goldfinger, editors @Blogfinger (original post Jan 2014)
Wood storks are on the endangered list. They are tropical and semitropical birds, but they can be found in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. These birds are huge, being about 3-4 feet tall, with a wing span of 5-6 feet. They have pink feet, black heads, long curved black bills and black under their white wings.
They like to feed in open wetlands and wade in shallow water to find fish, frogs and bugs. They like swamps, marshes and mangroves for that, but they breed and nest where there are tall trees, preferably cypress forests where there can be 25 nests in one tree. They are very sensitive to fluctuating water levels which occur wherever there is more development. They are known to fly long distances, up to 80 miles, to find sufficient fish for their babies which get large very quickly. The female usually lays 3-5 eggs.
The largest nesting area in the world is near us in the Corkscrew Sanctuary in Naples. We visited there yesterday (see photos below,) but weren’t allowed near the nesting areas. Nevertheless, the National Audubon Society maintains a beautiful refuge there where a variety of wild life can be seen, including still-frozen tourists from -30 degree Minnesota as well as those from New Jersey who are seeking good bagels. We saw baby alligators and a variety of birds. The gators were about 2 feet long–two lying on a log perfectly still.
We found 8 wood storks, see above, in our backyard a few days ago. They are in the wild and they like to hang out with a group of egrets. It looked like a Rotary meeting. Two of the storks did a brief mating dance. I was able to approach them, but when I got too close, they just walked slowly away in the other direction as if to say “Buzz off, pal!”
We went to the Barbara Mann to see the Book of Mormon. It had received many accolades, but we didn’t care for it very much. The subject matter was often pretty gross and unpleasant, plus it was anti-religious, especially towards the Mormons; as well as condescending and/or obnoxious towards a variety of groups including blacks, gays and women.
However, the musical song and dance numbers were often wonderful, such as “Hello” which opened the show (see below).
The show is about the pairs of young men who are sent on two year religious missions all over the world to try to gain converts to the Mormon Church. In the opening number, a group of missionaries dressed in their usual black pants, white shirts and ties, with name tags, perform this lively number called “Hello.” The song is about how they go from door to door, ringing doorbells, with their sacred texts of the Latter Day Saint movement.
They try to interest people in their religion with the ultimate goal of baptizing them. This show is set in a primitive village in Uganda, so the young Elders have their work cut out for them.
The Barbara Mann Theater has a high, grand entrance-way illuminated by the lights shown in the photograph above. The packed house seemed to love the show and gave it a standing ovation with whistles and cheers, although some folks around us left at intermission.
ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST OF BOOK OF MORMON with the opening number “Hello!”
There are many Hispanic families in southwest Florida, and they love to get together by the Gulf, set up tables, cook, eat, fish, play Spanish music, romp with the kids and have a great time. This is the causeway which separates the mainland from Sanibel Island, a privileged place mostly for those with money. There are few public beaches, and parking is difficult.
But the causeway is different because, for the price of a bridge toll, these families can enjoy the sun and breezes for free.
I passed a big muscular guy with tattoos up and down both arms; he was grilling for his group. He wore a sleeveless white T shirt, shorts and a pork pie hat. I loved the vibe and the Latin rhythms. I looked at him and wondered about him (I have always been a people watcher.) I didn’t dare take his picture. He looked grimly at me and my camera; then he flashed a big smile; I smiled back and walked on. It really was a good day.