Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Man and Nature

Burrowing Owl that lives in a subdivision across from a school in Cape Coral, Florida,
where around 1000 owls nest among houses and other buildings.
Birders roam the subdivision looking for the owls.
Same Burrowing Owl, different angle, on his burrow near the stop sign.
As I traveled around in Florida last week, I generally tried to take wildlife photos that omitted the overwhelming human presence everywhere I went. On the plane I was reading one of Carl Hiaasen's "Skink" books. These are essentially a series of revenge fantasies where the culprits are those responsible for destroying Florida's native wilderness. Corruption and greed drive the destruction of wetlands, coastal areas, beaches, and wildlife without government or other control in every one of the books and the only satisfaction is from the creatively violent way the culprits die -- which is wishful thinking. The bizarre life of the character Skink, who lives in the wilderness and eats roadkill, highlights the strangeness of Hiaasen's Florida vision.

While reading, I began to think about how every opportunity I had to see wildlife was essentially reconstructed, not at all in it's natural state. Even the Corkscrew Swamp native forest: one views it from a boardwalk! I had already been thinking that there's virtually nothing natural and untouched in Florida, though there are many birds, trees, animals, and beautiful wetlands. I decided to find and post the photos I took that captured this collision of man and nature.

Whistling ducks and an ibis with a chain link fence that
protects a sewage settling pond.
A painted bunting at a feeder in Corkscrew Swamp.
At the wildlife refuge on Sanibel Island ospreys nest on the
park floodlights. 
A raccoon scavenging people's trash on the beautiful white sand beach.
Airboat ride in the Everglades: cormorants roosting on a channel marker.
Very few Florida panthers survive. Sometimes I wondered
if there was one panther crossing sign for each of them. 
In Big Cypress preserve, one sees the unspoiled forest from the boardwalk.
Sign for another boardwalk near Flamingo in the Everglades.
The Celery Fields near Sarasota is a beautiful wetland,
restored for flood control and wildlife after many years as agricultural land.
At the famous Anhinga Trail: a crow waiting for crumbs from our lunch.
I previously wrote about Skink here: "Bad Monkey" and "Roadkill Chronicles." From his website: "Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a regular column, which at one time or another has pissed off just about everybody in South Florida, including his own bosses."


~~louise~~ said...

Oh Mae, how innovative of you to seek out such a novel prespective. I LOVE it!!!

We are under severe thundstorm warning right now, so I'm signing off...

Thanks for sharing....

Jeanie said...

I should think it pretty difficult to find as much wildlife as you did without the humans! You are tenacious and the results prove it! Nice!