Palm Island resident Jerry Case called last week to report his first sighting of a bobcat on the Key, although he has had a home on the island for four years.
Case and his wife, Jane, looked out about 7:30 a.m. Dec. 10, when they spied bobcats running across their front yard.
He counted three at one time, he added. One paused to look back at Case.
“He was a cool cat,” Case said.
One of his neighbors, Case told me, reported that another Palm Island resident — a woman who runs for exercise — had seen four of the cats at one time.
Case’s Labrador retriever, safely inside the pool cage, barked at one cat that walked within 4 feet of him, Case said. However, moments later, when a second bobcat walked by, the dog merely looked at it, Case said.
It seems pretty obvious that those kittens Tatiana Staats has photographed on the south end of the Key are growing up.
Speaking of critters …
Readers will recall that Staats and her husband, David, recently reported another sighting of a golden tegu near their home. David sent me an update on that situation a couple of weeks ago.
Following publication of my Nov. 17 article about that 3-foot, 9-inch golden tegu on south Siesta Key, he said, “area property owners began to work together to have the lizard removed. George Sera, the professional trapper who removed thousands of iguanas from Gasparilla Island, Turtle Beach and Casey Key, was consulted.”
David noted Cera is also the author of “The Iguana Cookbook: Save Florida, Eat an Iguana,” a highly entertaining book, I might add.
Cera visited the south Key Dec. 6 and surveyed the areas where the tegu sightings had been confirmed, as well as those spots where sightings had been reported but not confirmed. David added that Cera made the following observations:
“First, there appears to be at least three tegus, and possibly more, on the south end of the Key. Second, these tegus could constitute the nucleus of a breeding colony. Third, there is insufficient reliable data pointing to the exact location of the tegus’ primary burrows. Fourth, trapping these creatures during the winter months would be difficult because tegus hibernate when temperatures fall below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.”
As a result of the property owners’ discussions with Cera, they decided to work with him to gather additional information on the locations of the tegu burrows. Then, working from those data, he will wait until spring “to reassess the likelihood of a concerted Tegu hunt being successful.”
In the meantime, David suggested that anyone who spots a tegu call Sarasota County at 861-5000 to report it. The county staff member taking the information will need to know the exact time, date and location of the sighting.
David also suggested I take a look at a YouTube video he had discovered during his research. That video shows a baby tegu, about a foot long, attacking a dog. Fortunately, the dog was not injured. Nonetheless, David pointed out, a watcher easily could imagine a different scenario if the tegu were four times its size — in other words, the size of one of those tegus on the south Key.
The YouTube link for the video is www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lqxqVb7b8Q.
Remembering Capt. Ralph
I recently heard from Nick and Jean Maxwell Catsakis, of Nokomis, about a ceremony held Dec. 7, at the Capt. Ralph Styles Memorial, at the gazebo in Siesta Village. The group braved a surprise rainstorm, the couple wrote in an email, to pay tribute to the Navy veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor who retired on the Key.
Although the captain died three years ago, his memory is very much alive among those who routinely marked with him the lowering of the American flag at his Beach Road home. Sometimes on weekends and holidays, the crowd would spill all down the road, eager to participate in Styles’ sunset ceremony.
The Catsakises reminded me that Styles was only 16 when he was serving on a submarine at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese air attack in 1941.
Styles was 98 when he died in October 2008.
Local photographer and Key resident Jeffrey Weisman has an exhibition on display through this month at the Local Bean (formerly Local Coffee + Tea) at 5138 Ocean Blvd., in Davidson’s Plaza.
Pelican readers will recall Weisman’s wit from his occasional guest column and letters to the editor.
Weisman says he worked as a commercial photographer at the Cranbrook Photographic Studio in a Detroit suburb before pursuing a career in advertising and marketing in New York City. His photos capture a range of subject matter, from water and sunset shots to city scenes and people.
The Local Bean opens at 7 a.m. daily.
Pat and Bob Orlando are extending an invitation for folks to join them Dec. 28, as they celebrate their 17th anniversary of opening Used Book Heaven at 52160 Ocean Blvd.
They’ll offer refreshments and gift certificates, along with a 10% discount on every item people purchase.
“No minimum,” Bob said. And while they’re very happy about marking this occasion, Bob said they’re even more excited to tell people they will celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary Jan. 12.