February 28 – Rainbow – Circus Sarasota – White Pelicans Other Water Fowl at Cortez

Wednesday

With Nancy and family off to the beach … we've yet to get there yet this year … we ran a couple of errands but not much else.

On the off chance Nancy wanted to take in the circus this evening, Debbie prepared an early dinner … in retrospect a very wise move, as Nancy went on-line and purchased tickets for tonights performance.  Shortly before it was time to leave, we had a brief rain shower followed by a spectacular double rainbow.

Heading for circus site at University City, the western skies put on yet another colorful show.

While we'd driven by on many occasions, we'd never been to

where Nancy had purchsed six ring-side seats.

Nancy, Jason, Jake, Taylor and Debbie

Each year, Circus Sarasota boasts an impressive roster of international artists who test human boundaries and leave audiences awestruck. This year’s performance, titled Ovation , honors the 250th anniversary of the modern circus and those who have impacted the artform.

In 2017, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus shocked the circus world when it announced the closing of both traveling units of The Greatest Show on Earth after 146 years of entertaining the masses. But less than two months after Ringling’s closing, the Smithsonian Institution honored “Circus Arts” as the theme of its 50 th Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian Institution turned to The Circus Arts Conservatory (CAC), the country’s only combined professional circus, youth circus and training center, to anchor the 10-day event. The festival drew more than two million patrons and was a boon for American circus arts.

Now, The CAC and Circus Sarasota returns home with a renewed fervor for fearless entertainment, bringing the best circus artists in the world to their red and white Big Top, helping to guarantee a bright, innovative and prosperous future for circus arts for another 250 years!

The show was excellent and far more fun than we'd anticipated … although I had a very difficult time shooting due to unusual and changing lighting.

Ringmaster

Juggler from Russia

Balancing duo from Italy

The show actually didn't go to the dogs

A comic from Portugal

who then selected a random member of the audience

our son-in-law, Jason … son Jake laughing and loving it

where he had to copy the comic

and then face off in an OK Corral pantomine

Jason did such a great job, after the show severl members of the audience wondered if Jason was part of the show

A tremendous highwire act

Teeterboard acrobats from Sweden

An incredible lady with a hoop from Canada

An amazing pair of sister acrobats from France perfomring feats of balance and strength typically done only by men

In the finale, the ringmaster took center stage

Heading home, the lit roadside palm trees refelcted in the water.

Thursday

Today, Nancy and family headed for Busch Gardens in Tampa and its 335-acre African-themed animal theme park with rollercoaster and other rides which they love.

With the promise of lunch, Debbie joined me on our photo club's field trip to Cortez to photograph the white pelicans.

The obvious difference is the color of these large fishing eating birds but there are other differences too. American White Pelicans

are larger than Brown Pelicans with a wingspan of up to 108 inches and a weight of around 16.4 pounds.  The upper mandible is yellow to pinkish and the pouch is yellow with hints of orange near the base, the bare skin around the eyes is yellow and the legs and feet vary from yellowish green in Definitive Basic plumage to orange-red in Definitive Alternate plumage.

Brown Pelicans

have a wingspan of about 79 inches which is about 2½ feet less than American White Pelicans and Brown Pelicans are also about half the weight of American White Pelicans at approximately 8.2 pounds.  The pouch of Atlantic Brown Pelicans is a grayish and during breeding season Pacific Brown Pelicans have a reddish orange pouch closest to the face and grayish green towards the tip of the bill. The feet and legs of Brown Pelicans are gray to black depending on age and season.

American White Pelicans forage cooperatively and will often display synchronized movements while foraging.  They dip their bills into the water, scoop up the prey into their pouches and then raise their bills horizontally to swallow the prey.  They forage from the surface of the water

Brown Pelicans plunge dive for their prey

and it can look quite dramatic at times.  They fly over the prey, fold their wings and plunge head first into the water.  They then surface with their bills close to their bodies and allow the water to drain out of the pouch then they swallow their prey with a toss of their heads.

Other water birds we watch included Cormorants,

Franklin Gulls,

Glaucous Gulls,

Laughing Gulls,

and Yellow Feet Egrets.

As promised, we had lunch out at

As with most of Florida, Anoles are found everywhere … with restaurants being no exception!

 

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