It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Marco’s newest theater troupe, the Island Players, hopes to become more than a traditional community theater.
Sure, the Island Players will be staging plays – the first opens Sept. 30 – but the organization’s founders have a lot more in store than what we’ve become accustomed to.
The group’s second effort will be a holiday production, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”
For that, the players are partners with St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.
Weekly rehearsals begin Sept. 21; the show runs Dec. 8, 9, and 10, at the Rose History Auditorium on South Heathwood.
The show is about troublemaker kids creating a stir at a Christmas pageant and, well, we won’t spoil the fun. For more on that, email Pattie Ziesig at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And don’t forget the Island Players first on-stage effort, the comedy “A Bad Year for Tomatoes. It runs for eight performances.
Tickets ($18) are available now online at theateronmarco.com, at Centennial Bank and at the Marco Island Historical Society Gift Shop.
Many snowbirds flock here, but some keep going
Those who say that September is the slowest month of the year here obviously are referring to humans, to the absence of the snowbirds who add so much to our economy and our traffic when they flock here just ahead of winter up north.
But there is a lot of action around here right now by the real snowbirds. We mean real birds, the ones with wings, beaks and an amazing ability to fly seemingly forever to get warm.
Just look skyward a few times each day and chances are you’ll see a flight or two heading south or stopping here to enjoy our mild winters.
As the Friends of Tigertail organization notes, “The sandy beaches and dunes (here) provide valuable nesting and resting grounds for more than 60 species of migratory birds and resident coastal birds throughout the year.”
We asked Nancy Richie, the city’s environmental specialist, for some tips on what birds are or soon will be making their flyovers.
Take songbirds for example. August, September and October are prime time for their migrations south. We’re talking about Palm Warblers, Flycatchers, Phoebes, Swallows, Wrens, Painted and Indigo Buntings, Gnatcatchers and others.
“Any good cold front from the north in October always is a perfect time to go bird watching,” Nancy.
Those birds have colorful names, don’t you think? It’s too bad they don’t know that their human-imposed names are so cool. Gnatcatcher has some swagger to it. And who knew that a songbird was named after our great aunt Phoebe?
Actually the Phoebe is a flycatcher, recognized by its unusual “phee-bee” call and by its tendency to wag its tail most of the time. We rather doubt that our Aunt Phoebe did that.
Some of our most visible airborne wildlife are the beautiful shorebirds that come here from northern climes and they too have names as colorful as their plumage or shape or both. For example there are Whimbrels, Godwits, Ruddy Turnstones, Dowitchers, Forsters and the ever-popular Sandwich.
The Sandwich is a tern, whose name probably refers to the town of Sandwich in southeast England, near Dover. Some assume the Sandwich Tern is so named because it populated the Sandwich Islands, the name given to the Hawaiian Islands by explorer James Cook.
Not true, however. These terns apparently don’t go to Hawaii.
The Ruddy Turnstone gets its name from its practice of overturning stones with its beak, looking for tasty tidbits along the shoreline. It’s descriptive, if not inspired.
Another bird with a good resume is the Red Knot, a large, bulky sandpiper, known for its migratory endurance. The red knot makes one of the longest yearly trips of any bird, traveling 9,300 miles from breeding grounds in the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America.
Now that’s a snowbird.
Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail email@example.com.
Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.