Knights Trail Landfill Awaits

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias, September 7, 2017

If someone would have told me that I could photograph "wildlife" at a landfill, I would have thought they must be talking about rats.  If someone would have told me that I could see some pretty landscape at a landfill, I would have wondered how many bottles they had to drink to have made that comment.   I stand corrected.  It never ceases to amaze me how ENJOYABLE a visit to Sarasota County's landfill on Knight's Trail in Venice can be.  You don't even need to haul trash to go there.  Sections of this landfill are so picturesque that you'll wish you had brought a camera or perhaps an easel, canvas, and some paints.  The pastoral setting just seems to invite a park bench or two....  

Bird watchers or those who belong to a local  RC airplane club are frequent visitors to this landfill.  The procedure is to stop at the visitor's center (located on the right) to sign in.  Here they will give you2 things:  a map that indicates which roads are available on that day and a pass code that opens the gate.   When we went, it was a busy day for hauling and we were only allowed to follow the yellow route.

The yellow route was a good one though because we saw 2 eagles resting atop a tall pine tree.  If this is their normal spot to hang out and survey their domain, look for them right before the 2nd pond on your right.  

Look carefully so you don't miss them.  The tree is not far off the road and the eagles will appear somewhat "hidden" among the tree's branches....

If you check out the fields on the left, you may also see a few deer grazing or playing in what appears to be a hayfield.  Here it can be tough to get their pictures because of how well they are camouflaged in the grasses....

The Sarasota landfill not only offers wildlife as picture opportunities, it also affords a rather picturesque view of the "working" aspects of a landfill.....  

I've never been to other Sarasota County landfills, but if they are as nice as this one, they are certainly worth a visit.  Kudos to Sarasota County for allowing its residents to visit a working and WELL-MANAGED landfill. 

Sleeping Turtles Need to Bed Down Elsewhere

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Sleeping Turtles Preserve North

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

September 2, 2017

 

Because I have been wondering where the alligators go when their stomping ground becomes too flooded to bask in the sunshine of Myakka River State Park,  I thought maybe they could have cruised southward...down to Sleeping Turtle Preserve in Venice.  "Would the alligators be languishing on the banks there?"  I wondered.   I also wanted to check out the flood gauge that I have seen in this park.   In the past, I had photographed this gauge and I wanted to find out if this is the gauge whose walkway will flood when the river reaches 10.6 feet....  The gauge shows the height of some past floods and it's impressive to consider that this gauge is erected back away from the river, already above the steep bank of the river.  Those would have been some floods....  "Would the flood of 2017 now be forever memorialized on this stake?" I wondered....

To prepare for my Sleeping Turtle excursion, I put on my water sandals, just in case the park might have some wet areas.  I also determined I was not going to get "lost" this time.  The park is well-marked but I am directionally challenged.  To keep from being "lost," I try to keep the river on my right when I am going out and then attempt to resist all the tantalizing intersecting trails that seem to always be calling my name....

I need not have worried about getting lost though.  As soon as I pulled into Sleeping Turtle Preserve, it became evident I was going no farther than the main gate.  The parking lot was closed off.  The waters of the Myakka lay claim to Sleeping Turtle Preserve as well....

As I looked at the non-existent parking lot, I could not fathom what the trail to the flood gauge must look like.... 

Although I could have waded into this lot to check out at least part of the park, my experience with the underwater ATTACKING ants at Myakka River State Park swayed me away from further contemplation of that idea.  I also didn't know if the alligators that might have found their way here would really be sleeping....

As it was, my Sleeping Turtle excursion was a bust.  I saw no vacationing alligators.  I did not see the flood gauge.  On the plus side, however, I did not get lost....AND I saw some pretty scenery!

Water Has Come Back to Shore and Trees are Being Smitten

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Hurricane Irma

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias 

September 11, 2017

Rivendell must have a lot of "go-getters" living and working here.  A tree that had fallen victim to Irma's wrath looked as though it would be a major problem to get rid of it but when I returned a few hours later, most of it had been already removed.

One of our neighbors, Bob Cronin, used his ingenuity to help rid Shadow Bay Way of a major blockage.  Bob's idea was to tug on one of the fronds and the tree would magically follow along.   It didn't work....

Instead, the Four Musketeers sawed and dragged off the parts of the tree blocking Shadow Bay Way.  They had hoped to remove the rest of the tree but it was way too heavy for that to happen.  I wondered if they could have chanted, "We think we can, We think we can, We think we can..."  if that might have worked, but they wanted nothing to do with my ideas.

Someone braced the tree on Mallard Marsh that was in danger of falling onto a neighbor's home.  Getting tree service companies to deal with all of the damages that the county has is going to be a test of one's patience....

Egret Pond's 3 or 4 uprooted trees are no longer interfering with traffic on Rivendell Blvd.  The tree has been trimmed and moved off to the side....

As to what is happening in the Gulf, the waters that had receded are now back in full force.  I went to the North Jetty on Casey Key and between the jetties was some mighty powerful currents of water.   In fact they were so strong that some of the rocks had been carried up onto the jetty.

The jetty also had experienced some damage to its top surface and when I saw the huge "potholes," I understood why it had been closed when the hurricane outer bands were arriving  

Out on the ends of the jetty, the waters were still pounding and no one risked a closer look....

It however didn't stop the young guys from body surfing in the relentless onslaught of waves, nor did it stop one man from making the acquaintance of some local shore birds nor the constant trickle of beach-goers seeking that elusive megladon sharks' teeth.

In the meantime we on Anna Hope Lane are still waiting for the power to be restored....  I've been told that those on the far side of Rivendell kept power because theirs came from Bay street.  The homes where Larry and I live get their power from the direction of Old Venice.  What's up with that???

Somebody Must Have Pulled the Plug

Guest post by Nancy Dobias, September 4, 2017

Parts of the main road at Myakka River State Park were already starting to dry out as of Friday but still other sections remained flooded....  When we were there, we didn't venture past the Canopy Walk....

The water on the road wasn't that deep but there was too much merging of the woods with the road for me to be comfortable.  This was the area where I used to see the ornery alligator and I was not interested in watching him performhis antics from a vantage point that was in the water....  

Many birds seemed to be out and about, striving to find any and all delicacies which the river had deposited on the road.  Some went food shopping in groups....

...and others enjoyed gathering their snacks with no one around to interrupt their concentration, while still others who had already found what they wanted, just sat and enjoyed a pleasant moment alone....

It seemed as though most birds were quite comfortable in their watery surroundings but I did notice one who preferred a higher and dry vantage point.  At times he seemed to be impatient for the water to go down.  Periodically he would check below to see how much the waters had receded, and when he didn't see what he had wanted, a stoic attitude permeated his every feather.

Personally I thought there had been much improvement in the park conditions and perhaps in a few more days, dry roads, trails and picnic areas will return to the park.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you're missing a pretty remarkable event and of course, lots of photo opps!

Have a happy Labor Day weekend!