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Healthy respect for local wildlife

by Roger Pettingell

Proper animal identification can be fun

Sarasota has many opportunities for creature watching

Shell on the beach
The early bird gets the shell - When searching for shells in the water you should be mindful that creatures may be living in them. In that case they should be returned to the sea.

One of the first things that may be a pleasant surprise when you move to Florida is that you will see an abundance of wildlife. Walk along the beach and you will see wading birds such as herons and egrets, in the water you will see dolphins, manatees and turtles. There are many animals that have their environment on land as well. Knowing how to interact with these magnificence creatures will create a more enjoyable experience.

It is also helpful to know the difference between many species that are often confused by new homeowners, and even native Floridians. There are many Osprey in the area that are confused with the American Bald Eagle. Osprey are plentiful, and spotting an Eagle will increase your pulse when identified properly. An Eagle to some is easily distinguishable even in silhouette by its larger size. Both are birds of prey with similar diets but the Osprey is distinguished with light feathers on the body rather than the dark body with white head feathers of the Bald Eagle. An Osprey will nest in populated areas on top of utility poles while an Eagle will seek more secluded nesting.

Another misidentified bird is the Flamingo. I was once told that if you see a Flamingo you are either in a zoo or are looking at a bird that escaped from a zoo. They are not native to Florida. There is a native bird with beautiful colors similar to the Flamingo, but looking at it closer will reveal its spoon-shaped bill, which gives it its name the Roseate Spoonbill. While on the subject, the Mockingbird is the state bird of Florida. A Mockingbird is easily identifiable by sight. Since it mimicks or mocks other birds, finding it by sound can be a little tricky so it can be misidentified.

Alligator, yikes!
Alligators are fun to watch, and will be found in fresh water lakes like this one at Myakka River.

You may have seen the news of the giant Alligator at the Myakka Pines Golf Course in Englewood, nicknamed Goliath. Some say the videos and images are fabricated and Goliath is estimated to be between 12 and 13 feet in length. Of course you should keep a safe distance and not approach one as Happy Gilmore did in the movies. I have heard locals talk of a Crocodile in their area, but it is unlikely that you would see one in the wild. They have their habitats along the southern coastal waterways where salt water is present.

Manatees and Dolphins are wonderful to watch, and are plentiful in the Sarasota waterways. The Manatee is the state marine mammal while the the Dolphin is the state saltwater mammal. These federally protected mammals are in their natural habitat and are not to be disturbed. They are also curious and may approach you, but don’t be alarmed. Their actions are natural. Prodding, poking and splashing may disturb them to the point that it may alter their habits in their environment. You have to wonder sometimes about people, such as in the Cocoa Beach criminal case where Manatees were lured to a dock with fresh water, then dumped on with a cannonball style dive. Or the woman who was caught on video riding a Manatee like a horse in Pinellas County. Both cases were prosecuted. It is unlawful to feed or even supply fresh water to Manatees.

Trio of Manatees in a local marina
Magnificent Manatee - Commonly called Sea Cows, the presence of which can be seen at a distance such as these three this past weekend.

Manatees can typically hold their breath for 20 minutes but are often seen surface breathing on a regular basis. Boaters should be careful in areas where Manatees are traveling. A Manatee can be seen from a good distance, boaters can pick up on their presence by looking for a large volume of swirling water. At times they do swim just below the surface or even feed on the bottom in shallow water, this is where great caution should be exercised by boaters. Dolphins are prevalent year-round but Manatees seek warmer water and will travel up rivers in the winter months to find more comfortable temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Tampa Electric has established Manatee viewing areas in Apollo Beach when they travel there for the warmer waters of the plant during the November to April period. Manatees also gather each year in the warmer springs of the Crystal River.

Fishing the waters of Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico can be a relaxing recreational endeavor. It is strongly urged that you have the proper licensing for inland waterways or open waters. Florida residents can receive license discounts and can get a shore fishing license at no cost. Knowing your species of fish, time of year and size limitations is important too. Fish and Game officers are typically very nice guys but are there to enforce the laws, which can produce stiff penalties.

White great egret
Birds can be fun to identify including this Egret.

Foraging animals lose their fear of humans if they are fed regularly at one location. Raccoons are highly susceptible to behavior alteration if they know when and where they can be fed on a regular basis. This can be dangerous. Laws are in place to prohibit this behavior even though it occurs on a regular basis. Raccoons and other species can become a nuisance so it is best to avoid feeding any wild animal.

Sarasota and Longboat Key attract plenty of wildlife, and humans that enjoy their beauty. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy. We have a good inventory building for a strong season. Check out our website often as we are adding new properties for sale each week. Here are three that we added last week. Enjoy your Halloween weekend and don't forget to set your clocks back an hour Saturday night.

530 Harbor Gate Way $3,995,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1281 Gulf of Mexico Dr., #508 $1,795,000 Video Photo Slideshow
555 S. Gulfstream Ave., #901/901A $999,000   Photo Slideshow


State Animals

  • Bird: Mockingbird
  • Mammal: Florida Panther
  • Marine Mammal: Manatee
  • Salt Water Mammal: Dolphin
  • Insect: Zebra longwing butterfly
  • Reptile: Alligator
  • Saltwater Fish: Sailfish
  • Freshwater Fish: Largemouth bass
  • Shell: Horse Conch

Raccoons should be respected Ducks begging for food

Almost any animal can learn to beg for food: Avoid feeding wild animals, it can be dangerous and often leads to unhealthy animal behavior. The Raccoon at left is seen approaching visitors on Lido Key and the Ducks are begging for food outside a restaurant on Cortez Road.

Beautiful Fall weather for many events

by Roger Pettingell

Ready for another great Sarasota season

Weather is cooling, local events are heating up

Southeastern Guide Dogs interview with CEO Titus Herman
Southeastern Guide Dogs - I spoke with Titus Herman, CEO of Southeastern Guide Dogs last week on REALTALK™. The program has announced its 2016 Walk-a-thon schedule.

Fall has set in and with it more activities to enjoy and more properties to fill our low inventory. The Ringling International Arts Festival finished this weekend and from the attendance it looked to be very successful. The Cambodian Circus, Phare, with the show Khmer Metal closed on Sunday to rave reviews. Their stop at the festival was the first show in the United States before moving on to Washington and Virginia. There were many performances at the festival and below there is a nice sunset panoramic of Sarasota Bay from bayshore gardens during the Jazz Sunsets on the Bay performance Friday night. The horizon was painted wonderfully all weekend.

The Southeastern Guide Dogs has been getting some very good press lately, including a nice article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on Sunday. I’ve been on the board of directors for the last 10 years and support this organization extensively. I really enjoyed my interview with CEO Titus Herman for REALTALK™ last week. It gave me an opportunity to catch up with Titus and to have some fun with the puppies.

This organization has expanded from pairing guide dogs with visually impaired individuals, to include a new program for those suffering from PTSD. They receive all their operating budget through private funds to run this operation with 1,000 dogs under their direct care and 1,100 volunteers, of which 400 are on the campus in Palmetto. The pairings occur over a 26-day training period on campus period in which these extraordinary dogs learn to work with their new partner.

The success of their program over the 33 years is known nationwide. They do need our help with volunteers and financial support for the upgrades to the campus. Southeastern Guide Dogs just announced their nine city walk-a-thon program for 2016, it is my hope one will be close to you and you can support this program. It kicks off February 20 at Rossi Park in Bradenton. Their Sarasota visit at Payne Park will be held March 19. If you live in Florida it is likely one of these walk-a-thons will be in your city, check the schedule here.

Great weather assisted the Taste of St. Armands for its success on Saturday, with 17 restaurants represented in the circle. Cannon’s Marina and the St. Armands Circle Association will present a boat show Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Also, the month-long celebration of architecture presented by the Center for Architecture Sarasota in partnership with the AIA FL Gulf Coast Chapter is wrapping up. Then our love of architecture continues the weekend of November 6 with SarasotaMOD presented by the Sarasota Architectural Foundation.

Our excitement is building for Halloween, including the events that are surrounding that holiday. This weekend the pumpkin festivals at Hunsader Farms in Bradenton, Fruitville Farms in Sarasota and De Soto Festival in Arcadia continue, along with the big Sarasota Pumpkin Festival in Payne Park this coming Friday through Sunday.

And now that I am seeing more car carriers and license plates on cars from northern states we can expect more festivals, operas, performances and symphonies in the months ahead. With the extra flow of vacationers and seasonal visitors now is a good time to list your property for sale. I had a number of new listings this past week and have made arrangements for more this week. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or wish to purchase.

1280 Hidden Harbor Way $4,495,000 Video Photo Slideshow
530 Harbor Gate Way $3,995,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1211 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #904 $1,495,000 Video Photo Slideshow
5055 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #115 $449,000 Video Photo Slideshow


Sunsets over the bay and the Gulf of Mexico

I have found that my iPhone 6s has an upgraded 12 MP camera and live picture capabilities. I encouraged the staff to take panoramas at sunset with some pretty good results, but the views were spectacular to start this weekend. Some people like a clear blue sky at sunset, I prefer the way the orange setting sunlight bounces off existing clouds.

Sarasota Jazz on the Bay
Sarasota Jazz on the Bay is displayed in all its brilliance Friday at the Ringling Museum of Art

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico
Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday was spectacular too

Hawks Harbor and Longboat Key at sunset
The bay with Hawks Harbor and Longboat Key in the background on Sunday


Arts festival at Ringling begins Thursday

by Roger Pettingell

Sarasota gets a glimpse of Asian art

Ringling International Arts Festival begins this Thursday

Ringling International Arts Festival (RIAF) opening night in the courtyard
Opening Night Bollywood gala - Prashant Kakad will serve as a DJ and dance instructor in the Ringling Museum of Art courtyard Thursday night.

Every series of events has a first: first date, first day of first grade. Even annual events have first, but it’s not grammatically correct to call the event the first annual golf tournament, for instance. The seventh annual Ringling International Arts Festival has its first too, it is the first time the festival will have a theme and it’s centered around Asian cultural arts.

Many cultures of Asia will be presented at RIAF starting with opening night performances on Thursday of an Indian Bollywood dance party with DJ Prashant Kakad to the Japanese puppetry of Shank’s Mare that starts on Friday. Taiwan is represented with Jen Shyu - Solo Rites: Seven Breaths and Cambodia with the circus Phare. Ronnarong Khampha offers a glimpse of Thailand culture while Indonesia song and dance is covered in Peni Candra Rini and the musical sounds of Orkes Sinten Remen. And of course it might not be Asian arts unless China was represented with the TAO Dance Theater of Beijing.

The Thursday through Sunday festival all begins with the champagne opening night at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m. your ticket gets you into any of these three performances: Phare, Shank's Mare or Ronnarong Khampha. Following these performances you will gather in the courtyard for the party of Bollywood dance and music with entertainer Prashant Kakad.

The next three days and nights are filled with dance, song, music, puppets and circus. If you didn’t catch Phare on opening night you can see the performance from the teachings of Phare Ponleu Selpak each day in its United States debut. Known as the Beacon for the Arts after the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1994, this circus group combines dance, song and some light acrobatics in the show Khmer Metal. Set in a Cambodian bar, Khmer Metal is Cirque du Soleil style with 2 p.m. performances on Friday and Sunday and an 8 p.m. show on Saturday in the Mertz Theatre.

The famous TAO Dance Theatre in the Mertz Theatre is at opposite times than Phare each day. This show is an expression for pushing the human form in extraordinary ways in a dance performance. This is a theatrical show that may be one of the best events of the festival.

Ringling International Arts Festival (RIAF)
RIAF Billboard - The art museum advertises the Ringling International Arts Festival that starts this Thursday with an Asian theme.

Most shows run Thursday through Friday. Shank’s Mare, by Korean born puppeteer Tom Lee, also combines video and live music to tell the story of two wanderers in an exploration of life and death predicaments. In the Historic Asolo Theatre, shows are at 8 p.m. Thursday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Orkes Sinten Remen will also be held all three days in the Historic Asolo Theatre, with two shows on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Orkes Sinten Remen is an expression of Indonesian music led by Djaduk Ferjanto.

Cook Theatre is the venue for three of the festival performances. Composer and singer Peni Candra Rini is a leader among modern Indonesian cultural musicians and is committed to sharing the musical heritage of her country. Shows are at 2 p.m. on Friday, 8 p.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The only show with a two-night run at 5 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Ronnarong Khampha is a display of traditional dance in Thailand. The solo performances should be captivating.

Born in Peoria, Illinois to American-East Timorese parents, Taiwanese style musician Jen Shyu combines acting, dance and songs in Solo Rites: Seven Breaths. This show is about her travels in Asia over the course of a year. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The theme this year establishes an Asian presence at the Ringling, which will be solidified with the opening of the Center of Asian Art next year in February.

With each ticket purchase, guests can participate in the Gatehouse Gatherings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day but opening night. In the tradition of the Ringling’s Art After 5 each Thursday, Jazz Sunsets on the Bay will coincide with the times for Gathering at the Gatehouse. Admission to the museum also gets you into this event on the Sarasota Bay campus gardens. During RIAF an additional Art After 5 is added on Friday with a different jazz band at sunset.

The Ringling Museum of Art is a great promoter of the cultural arts in Sarasota, one of the contributors that makes this a great destination for the arts. Selected as the number one destination for the arts by American Style for populations of 100,000 or less. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy. There is a good variety in my new listings this week. Enjoy the remainder of your Columbus Day.

3040 Grand Bay Blvd, #PH2101 $2,595,000   Photo Slideshow
1800 Benjamin Franklin Drive, #PHA02 $1,999,000 Video Photo Slideshow
469 E. Royal Flamingo Dr. $1,499,000 Video Photo Slideshow
571 Wedge Lane $1,195,000 Video Photo Slideshow
4330 Falmouth Dr, #102 $279,000 Video Photo Slideshow


World renown IMG Academy

by Roger Pettingell

A leader in student-athlete development

IMG Academy attracts young gifted athletes worldwide

IMG Academy entrance on 34th Street in Bradenton
IMG Academy entrance - Many professional athletes have their start at the training facility in Bradenton.

In one year 32 former tennis students from this academy were in the Wimbledon draw and 27 were competing in the U.S Open. You might think this academy is near New York city. Truth is, it’s right here. The year was 1987 and the prestigious IMG Academy was growing as the leader in sports training.

What started out in 1978 by famous tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, and then purchased by IMG Worldwide in 1987, the academy has grown to attract 12,000 student athletes from 80 countries each year. It has also grown in geographical size since its founding in Bradenton as the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, now occupying 450 acres.

The school transitioned to the IMG Pendleton School in 1999 before officially changing its name to IMG Academy in 2012. Currently the academy is a co-educational school that has training facilities in football, soccer, baseball, basketball, golf, lacrosse, track and cross country. Professional athletes in each of these sports owe their beginning as world class athletes to the training facilities and instructors here.

The tennis campus now consists of 35 hard courts, five indoor courts and 16 clay courts. Equally impressive are the fitness training and facilities in each of the sports they train. The high school football team travels eastern United States to compete against some the nation’s best high school teams. They are 5-0 and ranked second in the nation, and number one in the state of Florida.

To look at the serene setting can be deceiving, as from the road the golf course is in plain view with other facilities in the distance. You can visualize pro golfers from the street as you pass by the golf course where the training is at a premium. But behind the manned gates there is participation in a series of other sports training. Each year the campus comes alive on 34th Street as college football players can be seen interviewed by ESPN reporters as athletes prepare for the professional football combine that displays their skills each February in Indianapolis. Looking for a glimpse of what exists behind the manned gates? This Saturday a 5K run open to the public starts at the stadium, and the course is a tour of the campus.

The academy also teaches young athletes personal development. As a student, their academic schedule is individually created for them to exceed in sports and in life. Student athlete days begin with classroom work in the morning and sports training in the afternoon. There are mini camps in many of the sports and a summer wood bat league in baseball. The idea is to transition baseball athletes from amateur status where aluminum bats are primarily used to wooden bats used in professional baseball.

Year round soccer camps are conducted at the academy, highly respected by Major League Soccer. MLS did not have a system to train in a professional environment until 2009 when the academy took this on as a major promotion. The academy is now training the most talented soccer players for the Olympics and World Cup.

You can expect high quality events at the academy. Over 2,000 junior tennis players from 90 countries will visit for the Eddie Herr International Tennis Championship, November 25 through December 6. Players and scouts will be in attendance for the 2015 IMG Cup: Boys Invitational soccer tournament for four days starting December 18. Next year in March soccer clubs will be drawn worldwide to the IMG Cup and one of the nation’s premier prep baseball tournaments, the IMG National Classic.

On the campus there is a reputable restaurant, Clubhouse Dining Room, and lodging can be arranged at the Bollettieri Lodge & Villas. A spacious reception hall with views of Sarasota Bay is at the golf club for weddings and special events that can accommodate up to 300 guests.

IMG Academy is the profitable arm of IMG Worldwide Holdings Inc. Last year the holding company that owned the worldwide company, Forstmann Little & Co., sold it to William Morris Endeavor. Through the years there has been speculation that the academy will expand to include athlete agent representation. With this purchase they may include this as an optional service to their graduates, William Morris represents some of the biggest stars in the entertainment industry.

Home buyers search out Longboat Key for its proximity to IMG Academy. It gives them an opportunity to be on the water in a luxury lifestyle home, yet be close to their student athlete sons and daughters attending this prestigious private school. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4




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Roger Pettingell?


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About Roger Pettingell

Roger Pettingell of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is your Longboat Key, Florida Luxury Real Estate Specialist. Roger provides his real estate expertise to sellers, investors, developers, and buyers in the Sarasota area including Anna Maria, Bird Key, Bradenton Beach, Casey Key, Cortez, Grand Bay, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Marina Bay, Osprey and Siesta Key. Search for homes, luxury homes, condominiums, investment property, development property, and vacant land and lots on the Longboat Key, Florida and the surrounding area.