Though you might think of Florida in terms of manufactured home parks, gated age 55+ communities, endless shopping malls, and Disney, once you get just a short distance away from all of that the state is also home to a tremendous variety of wildlife.
And I’m not just talking about mosquitoes and alligators. We have just about everything you can imagine. Hundreds of species of birds, more kinds of fish than you can count, sea turtles, tortoises, raccoons, armadillos, deer, a few panthers, and even a healthy black bear population. I did not believe that until I saw my first bear caution sign on the highway, then started seeing news reports of bears coming into suburban back yards to raid garbage cans and cool off in swimming pools. Neighbors have even reported seeing bears here in our little manufactured home community!
I’ve seen a lot of critters since we’ve been here; birds, armadillos, deer, and alligators, but no bears or panthers so far. And the other day I had a close encounter with a flying fish.
Now, I’m not talking about the fish with elongated fins that leap out of the water and seem to be flying. This was something entirely different. It was a flying mullet. If you are not familiar with mullet, they are very common fish in these waters and popular both as baitfish and as food. But they’re not usually known to have the ability to fly.
Our house is about 800 yards from the Indian River, which is part of the Intercoastal Waterway. Even a real flying fish couldn’t make it this far from the water. But the other day when I went out to get the mail, I heard something thump to the ground near me and looked over to see a twelve inch long mullet in our yard. I’ve been shot at by bullets, rockets, and mortars, but being bombed by fish was a first for me!
It didn’t take me long to figure out what was going on. There is a tree nearby across the street, and in that tree is an osprey nest. Every day we can hear the hatchlings yelling for food and see Mama Osprey bringing them lunch from the river. Apparently this time she didn’t quite make it back to the nest before she dropped the fish. I guess that’s Mother Nature’s version of having a shopping bag rip open on you. I got my mail and went back inside, then watched to see what would happen, and sure enough the bird came down, grabbed the mullet, and took off.
I’m not sure if there is a support group for survivors of flying mullet attacks or not, but there sure ought to be. Somebody call Jerry Lewis and see if we can arrange a telethon, will you?
Speaking of fish, when we were down at our dock the other night trying to dip some shrimp (and failing miserably, I might add), a couple who live near us came along and we chatted for a while. They had these nifty InnoGear 5000 lumen headlamps, and as soon as I saw them I knew I needed to get some, too. They will come in very handy when we’re shrimping or fishing at night, or any other time we need super bright light but also want to keep our hands free.
They arrived from Amazon and I went out to our garage at night and turned one of them on, and I was amazed. Between the incredibly bright central light and the two floodlights on either side of it, it was like daylight in there. It was also very comfortable to wear. They come with rechargeable batteries and have a 4.5 star rating out of over 1,300 reviews. I was so impressed that I’m going to order another pair to have in our motorhome in case we need one when we are traveling.
It’s Thursday, and time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Slow Falling, book six in my buddy George Weir’s excellent Bill Travis mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
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Thought For The Day – If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.