The snow birds, both human and feathered, are in town.
The days are mild, sunny and blessedly humidity free.
Downtown hums with happy locals and tourists sitting in sidewalk cafes, strolling the waterfront, visiting the museums, and shopping in the shops.
Neighbors stop to chat on the sidewalks which are filled with walkers, runners, bicyclists, dog walkers, and kids being pushed in strollers.
Last Sunday Jerry and I went out for, as we like to say, an explore. First stop...our "manatee station".
This time of year, manatees often spend time near us in the shallow waters of Coffee Pot Bayou (a channel lined with homes, boat docks, and remnants of mangroves). They like the warmer water, vegetation (to eat) on the channel bottom, and the fresh water (to drink) that comes from storm drains that drain upstream ponds and lakes.
We walked out our front door and across a broad grassy center parkway. We walked under our neighbors gigantic pink flowering Tabebuia tree and across pink brick streets to the sidewalk and bulkhead of Coffee Pot Bayou. No more than 300 feet. And there they were: two adult manatees and a baby.
After getting our manatee fix for the day, we drove down to see the Tallship Lynx moored at the Harbourage Marina in Port of St Pete just south of downtown. The Lynx is an historically accurate re-creation of the Privateer Lynx that served in the War of 1812 for the United States.
For more information on the construction and history of the Lynx please check out: Privateer Lynx
The Lynx is visiting St Pete from Fort Myers, FL where she is staying for the winter. Tours and sailaways are available in Fort Myers through at least the end of March.
The Lynx was moored near the mouth of Salt Creek where it enters the waters of the Port in St Petersburg. Standing on a floating pier, was a stately Great Blue Heron taking a sun bath and preening before getting back to the business of channelside fishing.
We meandered back through town to our home in the Old Northeast. On our way, we spotted the newly named Samson, our neighbor's "pet" egret. He's taken to perching on their roof and keeping their lawn and bushes free of large bugs and small lizards. (I think there may also be little pieces of turkey involved in the bargain).