A day at Ding Darling and more Irma cleanup!

The island is beginning to get busy again as the hot weather becomes a little less hot.  The snow birds will be returning soon, both the human and the migratory ones!  The vegetation removal trucks went through our neighborhood this week picking up all the huge piles, taking us one step closer to "normal" after Irma.  There is still lots of vegetation on the island to be removed, but they are definitely making progress. 

I found the process fascinating.  You can't really see it, but there is are electrical wires that the worker was avoiding as he picked up the limbs and maneuvered them into the truck.

This huge pile of vegetation below is about 7 feet high.  This was a combination from our yard and a couple of our neighbors.  Luckily, there is an empty lot next to our house, so we didn't have to kill our grass by piling it in our yard!

We were at Ding Darling Refuge today for the annual Amateur Ding Photo Contest.  One of my photos won "Honorable Mention".  You can see it if you click the Awards tab above and scroll to the bottom of the page.  The mural below is new at the center.  It is painted as if you are under the water.  The 3D manatees were really cool.  

The following photo is of the ceiling, so you are looking up at a 3D gator.  They did a great job on these!

After the awards were given out, we took a drive through the refuge.  The tide was coming back in, so there weren't many birds close up to take photos of.  The Roseate Spoonbills and the Cormorant below seem to be playing Simon Says - stand on one foot!

We got one glimpse of a good sized gator at Ding.

And this guy was on the porch rail at home to greet us!