Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Wonderful Sanibel Wednesday

This afternoon, at access 1 off of West Gulf Drive, the beach was very deserted again. There is a cold front coming through that we thought might cause a little more wave action. But, that wasn't the case. The water was very calm and I couldn't see any shells coming in. There were some left at the high tide line, but not much of interest. It only got up to 87 degrees today and the humidity was much lower. It was quite comfortable out, and a welcome relief. The water temperature is also a little lower at 85 degrees. This is a great time of year, for those of us who don't own a business here.

As I was approaching the end of the path, leading to the beach, this Australian Pine (that's actually not a real pine or even related) tree got my attention because of the little spiny cones that had fallen all over the ground. They're very small, with none of them over an inch long. Considering the number of these, it's no wonder the trees had grown all over the island.

They are not native to the island and were brought here for use in erosion control along beaches, and as wind breakers. The Australian Pine Tree is now outlawed in many parts of Florida due to its invasive nature and rapid growth rate. They are a straight tree that can reach 70to 90 feet in height.

You may remember hearing a lot about these trees, after Hurricane Charley, five years ago. The Australian Pines, some nearly 60 feet tall, lined many of the streets. They did not do well in such strong wind and most of them fell, causing major damage to property and blocked nearly all of the streets. It took workers a long time to clear them all away. Many of the remaining Australian Pines were taken down to prevent future problems. Native trees have been planted in their place.

A beach nearly all to yourself. :-)

The tall trees you see, are Australian Pines.

OK shellers, do you see the one shell that I would have picked up?

That's right! You know me too well.

But, I know you will be shocked to find out that we found Jaws on the beach!

I got there too late to help crab guy. :-(

There was one nice auger laying all alone. It is among good company now.

As I was leaving, there was a very small sand pail laying near the access path. Some of you may have heard me say that I would prefer a Sanibel Sand Pail Funeral. So this made me wonder if ????? Do you think maybe someone else ??????

There were lots of these bushes with the red berries, along the path. I've been hunting for the name of it, but can't find anything that looks exactly like them. I'm sure it's a common one and one I should know. So I'll still be searching until I find out or someone tells me.

If you will notice, Bird left a comment saying that she thinks it is a coffee plant, and she's probably right.. I had found this article and thought I had found my answer, but because it mentioned the berries are round on one side and flat with a groove on the other, I decided I was might be wrong. Another question I have about the berries, is that the ones I saw were hanging in clusters and in the photos I found the coffee plants don't look like clusters of berries on a stem. They sure look alike otherwise. What do you think?


Bird said...

Hi Toots,

I came out of lurk-mode to say that your mystery shrub looks like a COFFEE PLANT. No kidding!

Caroline said...

I have two nice little horse conch shells on my South Dakota kitchen windowsill, souvenir of Sanibel, I'd have picked it up too.