Friday, December 19, 2014

Fort Myers

Thomas Edison was a large presence in Fort Myers, in many ways.  I think that we will keep running into that fact anytime we drive into the town.  John and I toured two historic homes the other evening, and in one of them there were many pictures of Edison with his friends.  In 1907, Thomas Edison proposed to  the city that he plant Royal Palm trees from his home all the way into town.  Eventually the city lined the street with additional trees and it earned the title of The City of Palms
We spent some time walking along First Street, which became the heart of a new town in 1885.  The town was built on the site of an old abandoned fort.  An historical marker, maybe it was the one pictured above, indicated that the first royal palms were planted back in 1897.   We wandered off the main street and down a side alley where we were drawn to some outdoor shops, and here I will digress to another subject.
While in the Keys we saw many palms loaded with coconuts.  People would pick them up out of their yard and place them out in their trash.  Others would load them on tables set them outside to sell them for 25 cents.  John and I had to chuckle at the cart filled with coconuts which we found at Fort Myers.  An enterprising man found something else to do with them - decorate with a sport team's logo and sell them for $25.00!  We were certainly drawn to the colorful display, but still had no use for the coconut.
Pictured above is the public beach at Fort Myers.  We drove with my sisters and Melissa over to Sanibel Island last Saturday looking for a beach to hang out on, maybe look for shells.  Sanibel failed us in that regard,  parking was costly for many of its beaches, and there was a lack of shells.  We ended up at the beach in Fort Myers and found some colorful shells as well as many birds which I did not identify until I got home and checked my bird book.  Pictured above are skimmers and at least one royal tern.  Skimmers are the black and white birds,  they have long orange and black bills.  They are the only bird that has a lower mandible longer than the upper.  A better picture of the royal tern is pictured below.
 Gulls, terns and skimmers are a "large diverse family with strong wings and powerful flight", according to my Birds of North America published by National Geographic.   Also hanging out on the beach while we were there was a large flock of willets, who did not seem at all bothered by our presence.  A stranger walking past us noted that one of those birds seemed lame because he was hopping about on one foot.  I, however, noticed that there was more than one of the birds hopping on one leg- just seemed to be something that the willet usually does!  They are in the sandpiper family.

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