Beach Rats & Mourning Doves

Beach rat

Beach rat

I spent most of the morning under the awning or inside surfing and cleaning the trailer trying to  hide from the sun.  I didn’t want my bad sunburn to get any worse.

Another view of the beach rat

Another view of the beach rat

By afternoon I couldn’t stand the inactivity any longer, so took off on the trail toward the Fort.  That part of the island is a lot prettier than the nature walk area, I think.  Also, I didn’t want to leave without seeing the beach on the Bay side.

I was underwhelmed with the Bay after seeing the spectacular turquoise Gulf.  There was a big oil slick (at least I think that’s what it was) that made the water look dirty.  So I didn’t stay there long.

Pensacola Bay from the picnic area

Pensacola Bay from the picnic area

On the trail I met a guy who was just finishing up a hike of the entire Florida Trail.  I was thrilled at his accomplishment, but I can’t say I didn’t feel a twinge of envy.  🙂

When I got back from my walk, I settled down in the shade and started working a crossword.  I looked up and saw two mourning doves strolling through our campsite.  After I had gotten several photos, I glimpsed something dark out of the corner of my eye.   When I turned to look,  I saw FOUR rat-like creatures just a few feet behind my chair.  I was too curious to be afraid.

Mourning dove

Mourning dove

Three of the rats disappeared into the underbrush, but one busied himself eating leaves a few feet from my chair.  Then the doves ambled over toward the same area.   They got within two or three feet of the rat, totally ignoring him… and the rat ignored them right back.

I wasn’t sure if they were really rats or not, so I showed a couple walking past our site the header photo and asked them if they knew what it was.  The guy said, “I think it’s a rat.”  Other campers had told us that since the rain the other day the rats had come out in force.  So Ron walked over to the camp host’s site and asked him what they were.

Another dove photo

Another dove photo

He said, “They’re beach rats.  They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.  But if you mess with them, they will bite.”

The armadillos are so brave, they will venture within a few feet of Sheba, and only run away when she starts barking at them.  None of the animals here show any fear at all.

I ended up cooking chicken tenders this evening.  Sorry, Wayne… we’ll have to catch Jo Patties next time!

Pair of doves

Pair of doves

We leave tomorrow for parts unknown.  Friday is a bad time to leave without reservations, but we’re not sure how far we’ll feel like going, so we’ll find someplace to stay.  If all else fails, there is always Walmart.  🙂

Rat and doves together

Rat and doves together

One of the ever-present armadillos rooting for food

One of the ever-present armadillos rooting for food

The Fort and Ghost Crab in a Hole

Ghost crab in a hole about 2 feet from our pad

Ghost crab in a hole about 2 feet from our pad

I had been watching this hole right by our trailer pad, but had not seen any movement around it.  Then last night while I was sitting outside, I looked over and saw a ghost crab

Ghost crab photo from Wiipedia

Ghost crab photo from Wiipedia

perched right beside the hole.  I moved to get my camera and he scuttled into the hole out of sight.  I tried several settings on my camera to try to photograph him in his hiding place, but none of them came out great.

So I went to Wikipedia and found a photo to show you what the one I saw looked like — only the one I saw looked grayer than this one.

We dropped Sheba off at the vet yesterday morning for her bath.  They told us they would call when she was ready to pick up.  So we headed out to tour Fort Pickens.

Damage from the gunpowder explosion.  The black building inside is the later "Fort within a fort."

Damage from the gunpowder explosion. The black building inside is the later “Fort within a fort.”

We arrived before the visitors’ center opened, and there were no brochures in the self guided tour display.  So we missed learning a lot of details about its history.

There have been several upgrades to the Fort, including updating part of it with reinforced concrete and adding a “Fort within a fort” when the original structure began to age and artillery was able to penetrate its brick walls.  But that part didn’t interest me so much.

Closeup of explosion damage on other wall

Closeup of explosion damage on other wall

I did learn that the reason the building is missing one of its corners was that a fire had broken out in a gunpowder storage chamber and blew out the northwest quadrant of the fort.

What really fascinated me was the original architecture, which was most noticeable in the rear area which had not had concrete floors added and showed more of what the original structure had looked like.

This amazing structure was painstakingly built by slaves.

This amazing structure was painstakingly built by slaves.

We were still wandering around the fort when the vet’s office called and said that Sheba was ready to pick up.  So much for Ron’s and my date without the kids!

When we got back to the trailer, I was met with another disappointment.  Sunny NEVER has accidents indoors.  What he does do when we leave him in the camper is pitch a mini fit and kick a pillow onto the floor.

This time, it was apparent that our rushing him through his morning pottie walk had been a mistake.  There was a big yellow puddle on the floor — and one of my pretty upholstered pillows had been kicked into the puddle.

The arches are double for maximum support.

The arches are double for maximum support.

Ron and I are unable to go anywhere in the truck during the day because we can’t leave the dogs in it unless it’s a cool, overcast day.  None of the shopping or attraction areas have shade trees.  And we can’t take dogs on the beach.  So we are pretty much having to take turns babysitting Sheba while the other explores the area.

It is wearing on us both.   We really did make a mistake adopting her, but I can’t

Ceiling detail.  The ceilings have a slit to allow for swinging the large guns around.

Ceiling detail. The ceilings have a slit to allow for swinging the large guns around.

see any way out of it.  She is too sweet for us to take chances on her not ending up in a good home somewhere else.  I have not heard back from the rescue people I contacted.

So, like any family, we do the best we can.  🙂

Interior in the front part of the building

Interior in the front part of the building

Another interior shot of the front section.  Note the brick floors.

Another interior shot of the front section. Note the brick floors.

Rear arches with sand floors

Rear arches with sand floors

Sand has been excavated to show the reverse arch in this rear section shot.

Sand has been excavated to show the reverse arch in this rear section shot.

Rear section view from base of tower

Rear section view from base of tower

%d bloggers like this: