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and I mean that title literally! For some reason the birds were bossy today.  First, there were two blue jays coming to enjoy some seed and water.   A woodpecker came in and decided to partake.    and things got heated,    

The woodpecker bowed in a subservient  position.  He tried to calmly discuss his position But the jay chased him off.  Though they didn’t bother the doves. Nor the sandhill cranes,   Though the crow chased everyone off so he could stuff his mouth.

Sweet cardinals .  The mallard couple came too. Everyone was hungry for bird seed.

The cranes even decided to come and knock on my sliding glass doors.  When I answered they hurried outside the porch patiently waiting for rations.   
A storm threatened and a squealing osprey sat in the tree warning of lightning.  

I took photos of flowers,   

The common grackle took to bossing the other birds around. One jay came back   

challenging the grackle    face to face they each showed their attitudes.  

and then the jay flew off after a threatening jab of grackle beak.   The jay landed on the pot and looked down at the despicable grackle.
A back up grackle came in ,   as a squirrel ran up the tree and raided all the food in the birdfeeder,    peace at last…   Wonder where Ringo was? he slept through it all, silly boy.   

Ah, Tuesday has morphed into Wednesday – I am in a time warp again as another day squeaked by. Where oh where do these hours go?
Anyway, it was a hot one. Woke at 7am yesterday and the moon was still gleaming against the blue.  Aaron threw out the cast net and got a few shiners and he brought in a bass and a gar. 

Then he and Leila headed back to Tampa  with their Bella,     I  had so much fun being with all my kids this weekend, family is so important! Don’t forget to tell yours how you feel and often…

On Saturday I had run over to Sanford and was in Maya’s Bookstore and saw this,   an adorable baby sated in sleep. Yvette, the owner was keeping a very close eye on him as his mom, Wee Gauthier, an orchid vendor with “Orchids For All Occasions” put away her flowers as the Saturday Farmers Market was coming to a close. They were gorgeous orchids:  As you know, I have a black thumb.  But back to the sleeping baby, I am excited to have my own new grand baby this August! I hope I will be a big part of the babies life.  My daughter made sure to get a romper for the baby that expresses who I am,   The weekend with family was wonderful and went so fast, only wish Aaron and Leila lived here so we could all be together much more, what can I say, I’m selfish! But Tampa certainly is not California — get over it Abbe!
Andrea had come over with all kinds of baby madness shopping and had made an ADORABLE diaper cake, she’s such a talent:  
Back to Tuesday:  wildlife and the yard.
The cranes came this morning and Papa crane had quite a conversation with one of the babies:
I still have not heard any baby noises from the wood duck box, but she keeps an eye out for me and flies away as soon as she senses I am near. She is a very nervous duck.   I also bet the mallard couple have some eggs somewhere around here too, they are still hanging around.
The baby heron are so funny, one flew up in the tree after Papa crane chased him off, and he acted like he was going to kick some crane butt, but he was only making a spectacle of himself.  
The flowers too look beautiful:   the rains do make them bloom and die faster. The birds too have been busy and the cardinals are back again, it seems they were MIA for a while.   and of course the crows    common grackle.   and Mr. squirrel.
and of course my window view. Head on outside and enjoy something in nature.

As you know my water system was down – BUT, first thing this morning, Discount Water Supply was out and put in new pump tank and re-configured the pump motor and replaced my charcoal tank with a new one. Bill the owner said he would fix me up and I can say, he carries through! So if you have water needs call Bill or Bradley at 407-323-9010.
As that was going on, who should appear through my window? 
I have not seen the family in almost a month and so I was very happy when they appeared through the yard looking for bird seed.    I took a lot of photos, these babies are very leery of people, they are not comfortable as the last two that were exposed to humans at a young age.  But I tried to get some photos of their latest ‘stage’ – Here you go:
How fast they grow! Such long slender legs and bodies and I am happy to report, they looked close in size, but still the smaller one did sit down as the others
looked for more seeds and bugs   She didn’t sit for long.  As you can tell, I love these cranes, they have been a part of my life for 6 years now, the same parents, the colts, (kids) just change.  As for the herons, those babies should be testing those huge wings soon. 

Also, I still see the wood ducks, they come, look at that box and as soon as they notice a fragment of me, they are off.   And that was the morning before going to Deland…

All day the weather service has thrown out the “C” word, “cyclonic activity”.  Apparently there were swirling weather dervishes all over central Florida.  Brighthouse channel 13 kept an atmosphere of fear and doom and impending present natural forces waiting to pounce: straightline winds, tornados, lightening, blinding rain, floods, etc etc.
My weather radio   kept going off over and over with tornado and thunderstorm warnings, it gets to a point where it’s like ‘calling wolf” via a robotic voice calm as Hal in 20o1 Space Odyssey that tells you you are about to die if you ignore this radio command.  I called in The Cat in the Hat to soften the blow and point out the irony of a robot’s voice controlling the sheer panic of real people.
As soon as that blatant noise goes off warning of warnings, I look around and if I don’t see or hear anything, I figure ‘Hal’ must have meant the tornado was headed somewhere else and I don’t have to unload the linen closet and step in while concrete block falls around me.
The birds had been active all morning.   The clouds low and growling from the warm southeast. Marching like they had a mission to accomplish by fighting  the north with it’s cold front.  As I said the birds were  busy,  (squirrels too).

This grackle shook off the loose water.

The woodpeckers were tapping out their SOS to the other peckers to seek a deep hole and stay there.
Mama heron flew over for a visit.  

I looked across the lake and could see the father crane and grabbed Adam to go have a look, (yes, even tornadic activity can’t stop me from risking limb and life to see baby cranes .)  The mama had flown back over and we saw the babies,   one which had run under the wire fence and the other was soon to follow. When the parents noticed that they had a couple peewee escapees, they could not figure out how to get through that fence and kept banging into it.  Their bird brains did not compute metal as part of nature’s mesh.

Meanwhile the colts were bolting with their new found freedom and fear of the unknown.   So Adam chased the adult cranes out toward the water and they found they could get over to their offspring. We didn’t see the babies after that, they were on private property inside that fenced yard. I am hoping soon they will swim those babies over in a week or so so I can get close ups.
At 4:00pm was the ribbon cutting  by the Chamber of Commerce for Rhonda Richley’s new re-opening of Art Affair Gallery to a larger space at 301 East First Street in Sanford. I looked at the weather and decided to wait it out a bit. At 6pm I left and was glad I got to see the new space. Even with the weather alert many people were out attending Alive After 5 which had an Irish/ St. Patrick Day theme.
The gallery was packed with people, it was a wonderful turnout. I met artists and or photographers: Marie Decosta,  Mauricio Murillo, Ken Elliott and Gummy Bear
shown here with Mauricio who does wonderful satiric gummybear art.   Look at that, Mauricio and GB are the cover of In Progress urban arts Mag!  Mauricio’s work is quite humorous and he says he enjoys making people laugh. You can’t help enjoy his work.   
here’s a link  http://www.murilloarts.daportfolio.com/ Mauricio is also quite involved with the Icla Da Silva Foundation matching bone marrow donors to Leukemia patients.
Marie DeCosta had a room full of acrylic abstract paintings that were bold and full of imagery. She also had nature photography and her prices were very fair.

Ken Elliott a photographer from Ormond beach was gracious and gave me great tips on using the manual setting. His work was testament to his professional eye.  http://www.kenelliottphotography.com/ Ken does a lot of fine art and commercial work.  Thanks again Ken for all the tips and the stories. I enjoyed his sunset photo of a red sunset that he caught.  I had one of those nights a few weeks ago after a wonderful vertical rainbow and the sky rather tapered off into a rich sunset as I fished  – this was how it looked. And if you read my blog, you know I fish quite often!  Except not tonight.
There was a room that featured a student artist, Andrew Allen McCoy
The collage by Constance Payne was very telling. I was told she is a tattoo artist and takes in young artists and tries to help them focus on their lives and their art.    One piece is Payne’s and the others are students.  They learned well.  And on with the show, here is more of the Art Affair expanded Gallery. Rhonda does her own textured art and she is not shy with her colors and subjects.  There was artwork made out of soda cans, baskets out of paper, jewelry, very imaginative woodworking and much more, whatever the texture, whatever the medium, paper, rock, scissors, you will find something to suit you.  And it’s not a place where you can only look and can’t afford to buy.  Go take a look, you will enjoy what Rhonda has done for Sanford, she’s added a lot of class and fine art. Here’s more proof:

And here’s a few of my own “abb-strax” resulting from trying to take night photography of the surrounding events from outside. That included a group of Irish Bagpipe players.

This morning two otters were swimming quickly at the neighbors, I only caught them as they were almost gone into the canal for Lake Belaire. Sorry only able to give you glimpses. Here’s the tease.     I wish I could have caught them closer. But I was looking for the cranes as neither the male or female were on their nest. That meant there was at least one hatched egg. I did some gardening and then an hour later, I spotted the parents across the lake, they were away from the nest and when the parents are both away, that means the babies have hatched. I went to see  how many babies.
There were two, I bet they were born this morning. The adorable colts, (the technical name) were still rather wobbly, but the parents were very protective and feeding them well.  And here are some photos of the new family.
and here’s a little video   video.php?v=1362014540383&ref=mf hope that comes up.

I watched them for a half an hour and the babies were so adorable. The first one stayed very close to the parents and seemed to have a lot more energy. The second seemed more unsteady and would lag behind a bit. Finally after following and following the parents, the babies sat down and the smaller one just toppled over in exhaustion, oh I would have loved to hold it, but I know better, the parents are very protective.    Poor things little eyes closed and it fell asleep and woke a few minutes later to follow along again.  I left there with a huge smile to see young ones. That’s always a great sign.
Back at home I clipped all the dead passion flower off the fence and did a bit of pruning under a 70 degree sunshine and it felt wonderful.
Papa crane flew over for dinner, both herons came to fish and the night was a bit cloudy, but full of hungry heron baby sounds. I am able to see a bit of waving head up there.
But can’t get it on camera yet. Here’s my heron – tomorrow another adventure…

It’s almost 2am, the night is cold and clear and the moon is bright with a big ring. I still cannot figure how the days and weeks and months slip away this fast.
I’m sitting in a circle of potential paperwork for taxes and this is when I put away all the 2009 paperwork and start a 2010 file – YUK!  The world becomes black and white.
There is a new photography mag coming out soon, requesting 300 word stories and photos.  I thought about doing one on how I launched my love of photography because of the sandhill crane photo I took a few years ago.   I was given a camera and went out to shoot the cranes and discovered I had shot a self portrait smack dab in the middle of it’s orange pupil, that was way before I had photoshop.  Maybe I will write it and submit the picture.  Have more to tell.
But enough of me, how about a day for bees. It finally reached 70 today and the bees were humming like crazy. I kept switching macro lenses and cameras and still did not get a shot I was was really satisfied with, but here’s what I got.
Their bee butts were sticking out of the blooms as their little hind legs packed on the yellow pollen.  I was amazed I did not get stung as I was almost touching them.   The camellias are both blooming and dying and the various stages in between.   

– Ah, too tired to continue, will do so in am and finish post….Sweet dreams!
Rise and shine on a dreary morning. The rain so far has not been the huge washout that they predicted. Where’s the lightening and thunder?  I got out and took photos trying so hard to see the herons baby, but no luck. Last night the mother heron did fish with me, but we caught nothing.  Even Ringo looked bored.  

The heron looked so beautiful I had to take a few close ups
Late last night we had the most disgusting looking possum I ever saw. Clearly it had been in many fights as the wounds were atrocious and you could see in one wound to his muscle. The infection was oozing from it, from the head wound, the eyes and the back, but it had an appetite and finished off the cats leftovers. I decided that I will try and keep the cat food in a bowl and bring it in and out after seeing that nasty, (and smelly) critter. Nature is so cruel. I had pity for the poor thing.
The reality for this creature looks grime, something tore it up.

This morning I caught a few pics of birds, here they are
the grackle didn’t stay there long!  I am trying so hard to see the baby in the nest and I still can’t.    So back to taxes, ugh – one day my living room floor will be neat again, a few days before April 15th…

I  voided my own rule of only using straight photography on my site, but thought I would leave you with my Abb-Strax, and photos of things, some I hope to sell one day soon on a website.
Ringo  “in dreams”  

Knew that would get your attention, but it’s not about me, it’s about coming out at 7:30am to find 4 male herons trying for a chance with the female heron in the nest. No wonder she has been lazy up there, she didn’t have any incentive to get going.  But not today!  There was heron pillow talk going on in that tree this am.   One was very persistant to win her affection and kept bringing branches.  

She gladly accepted and worked on filling out the bare spots.  It does seem to be filling out.  Remember to click for larger viewing.
Right now after 10am, the nest is empty and all suitors are gone. BUT the sexy talk continues.
The cranes also came in.   The first thing they did was chase off the heron looking for branches.  After being successful bullies they ate then went to the lake for a drink. Suddenly, the female spread her wings after making a low growling noise, more action…

I thinks she’s blushing beneath that expansive wing.  Oh my, the birds are busy today, and things happen in 3s they say, so stay tuned, the days still young!

How do they do it? Communication that is —
I went down to the lake to cast a line and not a thing was biting, but that does not mean a loss of activity. The cranes were here, they were looking for their last birdseed meal before leaving. Both looked like they have been busy in the iron rich mud.   Earlier they had had a fun game of pine cone toss. The male is an amazing tosser.   The sky has been dark all day and the birds quite busy.  Saw an eagle over the lake this morning.   the smaller birds were all over too,  it must be due to a front going through with rain promised tonight. The rain gauge looked like this early in the day.   The blue jay came down to grab as much bread as it could hold in one beekful.     There were crows all over.     as were the cardinals and other smaller birds.
Ringo and I headed to the lake.   and watched many birds overhead, Ringo was ever so alert and hoping one might crash down for him.  But no such luck.  No fox sightings today.
The female heron was in her nest when the male came to greet her, and as soon as their beaks touched and they made their prehistoric chatter, the male was off.
He headed right for my cedar tree which always means he is looking for branches.  He landed,    and plucked a tiny branch and then ran it back to the female.

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He handed it to her and watched her take it and shape it into the nest and then he
took off again.   Back to the tree  
and got another and went back again.   They touch beaks and squawk  and then he left and flew to the ground.    He looked to the left and right and even up.  When I saw him next, he had a huge branch.   click on the numbers/letter below for video, you might have to also give a click when the preview box comes on, (click on the preview box and it should show the video, sorry for a bit of grainy-ness – there are two videos of herons, one further below)

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That branch was longer than he was.  It’s amazing how these birds know each other’s needs. The male has hardly even paid much attention to her lately, this is the most time I have seen him spend tending to her nesting needs.


He was gone a third time and brought one more branch and then it began to drizzle a bit and I had both cameras and decided I would like to be able to keep having two working cameras so I headed in while Ringo stayed at the shore watching more birds overhead dreamin for one to fall within range.  The
herons communicate their needs well, and even the other ‘lessor’ birds seem to know Ringo’s thoughts and aren’t going to fall for his innocuous pussycat act. Maybe birds are better communicators than I thought, maybe they’re psychic…

Frankie spent as much time watching birds from my desk as I spent watching the Haiti drama on tv.  Finally Frankie decided to go out and I did too. I took the camera and headed to my mailbox to see my mailbox mocking bird, that bird always gives me great face, “Strike a pose” and the little face turns profile and straight on looking at me. I so love it’s adorable bulk and wish I could cup it in my hands.  See if you agree.   

The ‘mbm’ tolerates me spending many minutes looking it over deciding when to snap.  I don’t take just bird shots, I must find something that expresses it’s personality, and yes, some birds have more personality than others.
The female heron is alone most of the day, ( about 23 hours and 40 minutes. The heron male comes in the morning for about ten minutes,   at night, it might be even shorter. the airplanes fly right over our heads.    ANd the late afternoon clouds had very nice hints of pastels.       A palette in the sky, thank you mother nature.   The grass is dead, as is much of the shrubbery, but it comes back.  

the passion flower is without passion.    The bird of paradise drained of it’s white bloom.  The banana looks like it’s over ripe.  Seeds are coming off the oleander.   The weather warmed up to about 70 which was wonderful, but I need 80 degrees to feel truly warm.
The fox came by after days of not seeing it. I am trying to figure if it is really old, or young and inexperienced.   He was passing close by the house trying to avoid the disdain of the cranes who constantly harass it when they see the fox.  The fox darted on my porch and said “yum, she feeds her cats out here!”  The fox enjoyed the food and ate like it was a starved cat,       Will have to put their food in bowl and take in and out.  The fox ran out when he saw me taking pics. Ringo was just on a chair about 3 feet away, I bet Ringo outweighs that svelte animal.   I just don’t want Ringo to tangle with him, though, I think Ringo would win.
The woodpecker was overlooking the stump, I have at least 3 of them around here, they chat to each other all the time. I hear the cardinals first in the morning, but the woodpeckers come for the birdseed first.
I tried fishing, but it didn’t take much brain power to see that I was not getting even a nibble in five minutes.
Today is Friday and my writing group comes in 12 hours, I have been very bad and have been taking too many photos and doing too many blogs and facebook entries to write something to give out for critiquing – I am in total writers block, so I better stop and try and will myself into a state of authorship.
I am back to where I begin except Frankie is now in her bed, the desk drawer,
and Ringo is in my bed,  and I am here staring,  looking at white space and trying to figure out how to devour it and spit out words…

Those are turtle eggs, freshly laid.  They came by the way of their mother turtle this morning around 8am.  I had gone out to take some photos of the crappy day. We had a good rain and it was so dark.  The cranes came in for breakfast,
and I had walked to the lake to take some photos of the ‘band of brothers’ who were frolicking in the water.   It was truly a day to be a duck!  It was drizzling a bit after a hard rain.  I started walking back toward the house when I saw a turtle making her way from the house to the lake. She was quite slow in fact, probably because she is a reptile and it was cold and she was tired from laying those eggs.

She ignored the cranes attempt to peck her, and could not even get the energy to run past me to get to the lake, usually the  turtles will crank on the speed when they see humans near them. I’m sure she was exhausted and cold.  I walked back to where she had come from and could see where she had buried the eggs, I gently extracted five eggs that were not buried too deep.  The raccoons would have easily gotten to them or the cold coming tonight would have killed them.  I have raised successfully a number of snake eggs, and did have luck with one clutch of  turtle eggs a couple summers ago.    They were the size of quarters, but it was always summer when we incubated the eggs so the heat naturally kept them warm enough to grow into full term turtles and snakes that broke open their shells and were ready for the world.  The turtles looked just like the ones we kept as kids in those little clear plastic turtle bowls we had in the 50’s before they scared us all with the “salmonella” stories.
The eggs I took I have placed within a small plastic fish tank that has a night light incorporated into the top of the tank. I also placed a thermometer inside and the temp is almost 80 degrees with a tiny 7 watt bulb — that’s perfect, so maybe on February 19th, there could be 5 little baby turtles hatching.  I must keep them moist without being too wet, and heated without getting hardboiled.  This should work perfectly:
Will keep you posted. They say you can’t “candle” them like duck eggs. We never did get one fertilized duck egg.
It was just a dreadful morning, I ran to Michaels and as I looked for a frame, it began pouring. I had to wait for it to settle down a bit before going back to the car.  As I drove from the parking lot in the pouring rain, I noticed two vultures up on a light post waiting out the burst of water.  They looked rather stunned.  Notice that it was so dark, the lights were on at 11am.
Even driving through the neighborhood looked blurred  —        Now comes the cold, and tonight, you can feel the temperature drop!  Ringo is inside on my bed, he hates the cold too.
My little brother is here and we took Adam and got all bloated eating Chinese at Lee’s Palace then topped it off with ice box cake, Judd’s favorite made of pure whipping cream and Nabisco chocolate wafers.
I finished framing and should be ready to drop off work on Sunday, will let you know if there is a reception and what the dates are for the Gateway Members Exhibit.

Those are the pics, though I think they are only using two per person.  The next pics below are some I took this am.

And that’s it for tonight, stay warm, have a fun weekend….   

It’s 10:oopm, I’m sitting here after trying to take pictures of the “blue” moon through the fast moving gray web of clouds. So here’s an abbesworld look at the moon:
The full moon didn’t show up as the heron and I fished tonight.  It was gloomy all New Years Eve day.  I looked up at the herons nest this morning and wondered how it could hold eggs as it seems so lacking in good structure.   It really is not like the nest there several years ago, the last one was huge and really thick.  This one was built by a young, very inexperienced first nestor.  The male flew by me this morning to bring the female one stick.     He walked briskly to give it to her and then left for the day.   I have no idea if eggs are in that nest, but somehow I doubt it.

As for the fox, he didn’t show. I called a trapper who wanted a bunch of money as if I was asking him to send a fox to Alaska in the first class section of a plane.
The day as I said was cloudy and there was no recognition of it being the last day of 2009.    It started beautifully – this morning the sunrise was ostentatiously orange!    Then it went downhill and stayed cloudy.  
I was supposed to be framing art for the Gateway show that has to be turned in on Sunday.  But I decided to try some macro photos.


There is just too much beauty out there. I played around way too long.
The cranes were lounging around. What is fun about the cranes is how they recognize other cranes flying over. When they see a fellow crane winging it on by, they open their mouths and give that big noisy scream.  They don’t do it for any other birds, the woodstorks flew by and not a peep, but one crane can spark their loud hello.   I am finally now at 11pm getting the frames worked on with the help of Frankie and Ringo.   
I must say this past year has brought me so many riches, my family and so many people who are genuinely encouraging — so many people who have been my friends for decades and excuse my quirks as just belonging to Abbe.  It’s wonderful to have found some lost childhood friends this year, and new friends and other bloggers who read me as I read them.  And where would I be without the beauty of the surrounding bounty of life surrounding me.  I am so lucky to have so much. I can only hope that the new year brings you all the wonderful pleasures you desire. For me, I hope to continue taking that photo that someone will appreciate as much as I do, for it to be a source of something comical, something healing, something just to take the edge off , or something to inspire one by.
Happy New Years to my children and family, to my writing and blogging buddies, to my artist friends and political arguing friends, to those I know and those I don’t, all I can say is, make this your best year yet, find your passion and go for it! Enjoy the things around you, find a cause and put yourself into it, and most of all love love love –
Peace and happiness and love – Abbe
some fireworks…

The fox was here a few minutes ago. Looked better, it’s fur thickening, it’s eyes a bit better.

Earlier there were a couple crows, but didn’t get really good close ups.

This morning the jet streama were all over the lake 

ANd of course the cranes were here. Papa crane really enjoys his sunbaths. It is only about 54 degrees, but should make it up to 70 – YEAAAA!    
The fox snuck in and looked for birdfood or anything to eat.   
he did not mess with the cranes, so thoughts about the fox possibly biting the crane and that’s why he might be limping have all gone away. The crane must have sprained his foot as he limps more and more when putting weight upon it. I don’t notice swelling in his toes or knee or even legs.

The video was shot early this afternoon, he came back and was checking an empty white
box that the raccoons had taken from the trash last night.  Poor guy seems so hungry, has to be if he eats bird food. I hope he would like to eat the ‘band of brother’ ducks, one of them would surely fatten the little guy up and put some meat on it’s bones!

I have been in and out most of the day. When I came home at 3pm, the Mama and Papa crane were lounging  on my yard. Mama was yawning as she sat, the male stood on one leg nearby,   nothing unusual about that — the baby was not with them.   BUT,  I noticed that when the male walked, he was noticeable limping, his right leg has been hurt. That has me worried. Wonder what happened?

In the video, the male was not doing his dance to full capacity, no jumping in the air, his is clearly hobbling on his right leg.
Have not seen the fox today, but did see my adorable mailbox mocking bird.

The weather is miserable cold for Florida, only 50’s today, that sucks!  But did manage to suffer through it by going to lunch with Leslie, my friend who is a film writer.  She’s always in the midst of publishing something.  We ate at Toojays – That’s me taking a pic – I like Toojay’s desserts, give me Napoleans or a black and white cookies – yum!
The herons were both on the tree when I went out to fish.   And my heron was down waiting for me at the lake.  There was nothing biting, too cold!  I stayed out there a half hour, but it grew too cold as the sun drifted away.  I have already seen raccoons out there tonight.  I am sitting in my house with 73 degree heat on and a t-shirt beneath my long sleeve sweater and my jacket draped over my shoulders, what a softie!
Will be wondering about my Papa heron, hope it is something that will heal itself quickly, stay posted. HEY, have you seen this?    

This morning we had quite a fog. The night before we had a clear look at the meteor shower and I saw a good amount of gorgeous mini looking comets, it was beautiful to watch. Stayed up till 3am, then woke up and the fog swallowed the lake.  The herons, both male and female were clanking their beaks together.
They seemed real lovey-dovey.   I found it to be a good time to try my hand at some macro photography. I tried with 4 different lenses and had a hard time, but looking through my lens at spider webs was just over-whelming, the webs looked like crystal beads.  Here’s some pics.
There were webs everywhere, and I had 4 different magnifications, so I was all over using different settings. I need a mentor standing beside me. 

The plants and a few bugs were on the plants. I tried to get them, but have no tripod to keep me steady, it is tedious trying to stay still and focus on the details.

The cranes were in full mating mode – they have totally ditched the baby and now only have each other and are enjoying each other. 
They were goofy and looking for trouble. They tried Ringo,   and even Frankie.   I tried to get close to the males silly face.   
It was a good morning and took all day till the sun came shining through.   I did a few abb-strax.  And came out to see the heron take off.

And that was it for the morning, then I left to run errands, get some shopping done and come back in time to fish with the heron and Ringo. It turned out to be in the 80’s and we had sunshine.  Fishing was not great, but that’s okay with me.
Hope your day went well, you can see, there’s hardly a dull animal moment around here…

I don’t get it, normally the nest should be finished by now. This heron has not progressed much at all. The male flies in for a bit in the morning, then flies off, have not seen him return when I leave my fishing post.  Yesterday they were both in the nest at 7:30am having a nice meeting, the nest looks a bit fuller, but I would have thought it would really be a thick tangle by now.
then the male left.
and was gone.  The cranes came minus their baby, I think they might have finally gotten rid of him.   That means in a few months, maybe Feb, or March, a new one or two will arrive.
The anhingas came in pairs yesterday, two males were hanging around drying off their wings.   The male on the metal was very bold and let me get quite close.   The wings are a gunmetal gray, very cool contrast.  

This morning while taking out the trash, I saw the male heron fly to the nest.
They did not get close, just stood and looked around. He did not even bring any branches.   When suddenly a third heron flew over and landed on a branch above the male .  
They all looked at each other and the one on the lower branch took off.
And off it went into the nest two yards over. So what is going on? Is the male serving two females?  Was the heron that took off the other female going back to her nest — was she just checking out the competition?  Maybe the male is trying to establish a heronry, of having a few nests that he can service?   The other nest is the one normally used each year by the herons. Having the one in my yard is a dream come true to have them so close, but looking at how flimsy it still is, the male needs to bring more branches.  This nest is looking amateur compared with what my herons built a few years ago.  The tree in the neighbors yard is higher up and much more secluded.   I will keep an eye on this. Did not fish last night, it’s too cold for me, only in the 60’s yesterday for a high and that is like being in the 30’s for my blood.
Last night I did stop by my daughters as she was working on a Pabst Blue Ribbon cake for her sweet boyfriend.  It was so cute. Her cats were so cute and their fur is growing back.  They were sleeping on their cat tree, but perked up to say hello.   I love their little flat faces and soft bodies. They will be getting a fourth cat as their cousin Sasha is coming to visit them near X-mas.  Oh Baa Humbug, time to get a move on for the day,
take care until tomorrow….
P/S, rat traps still empty, but waiting just in case…

It’s officially holiday season! The turkey was pardoned, and today is
“pre-thanksgiving- manic-rush-tostartcookcookcooking-wash-freshsheets-dusting-blowoff porch-and pretenditalwayslooksthisclean” day. Even though we are going to my nephews for turkey day, there will still be hungry hordes here looking for food all weekend.
Last night I fished as is usual, with the cast of usual suspects, both male and female herons flew over. The male left, the female stays with me and got rewarded with 2 fish. They have not made a nest in their usual tree, or I have not noticed any activity up there in days. instead they came from the north east, wonder where they are nesting?  (male)
female —  The turtles were obnoxious as usual.  There are three big soft shells and numerous small cooter types.  The night was cloudy – they said we would have a good rain today and we have had some nice showers. The water meter yesterday was
at  2.98 and falling fast, a foot below the summer peak of 4.17. Will read it tomorrow am to see if the rain gave it a boost. we have to have more before winter makes it fall much more.
The sky was full of clouds and crows flying off. The fishing was not great, but it’s always fun to absorb that quiet time.  The cranes had been by and were grooming as usual.  and I tried my hand at macro photography which takes a lot of patience, no wind, good light, a tripod and knowledge of aperture which I am learning
I tried frankie and Ringo  Ringo did not cooperate.  Then I tried flowers and tiny spiders  

.
This morning is totally gray and rainy, had to make pancakes for Adam, I have found that Hungry Jack wholewheat blueberry complete is AMAZING, you only need water, but I cheated and added Sugar cookie eggnog, (mybad!)   and of course, top it off with light whipping cream to counter act the egg nog.  I had to top off the whipping cream after eating my pancake –  YUM!
So better get cooking, have things to get done…now go, get outta here, quit reading, that’s it….
Ringo dreams he is a B. Kliban cat   http://www.eatmousies.com/

Up by 4:24am, ugh, wide awake and it is dark outside.  But watching the early sky after 6am was worth getting up for.   The sky was orange and blue, UF colors for you Gator fans.  From early on it changed into wonderful patterns with a “cold front” going through that really meant nothing cold for the weather here.  That’s at about 8-8:30am.  As it approached noon it was still fun to watch.   And yesterday I took a photo of my fence that is now covered because of one red passion flower vine. 
I also have notice an adorable mocking bird hanging out near the mailbox and discovered she has a nice hidden nest inside the carolina jasmine bush. 

4:30pm it was still a sight  and the pink came and took over fifteen minutes later.   The heron came to fish,   and the cranes are being meaner and meaner to the baby crane. They chase him off all the time now.
Here’s another afternoon pic  and finally
the sun started setting, which turned the sky gorgeous, but I didn’t feel like chasing the sunset tonight.  The trees are too thick to the west.
The heron and I fished  and he got fed.  It was another nice day, but with only 3 hours of sleep, I am worn down and know if I go to bed before midnight, I might be back up at 4am. Still debating trip to Tampa.   

Went out around 6:45am to feed birds, get a look at the day. The anhinga was drying it’s wings, flapping them like a sail in a brisk wind.   DSC04406res The BOBs, Band of brother mallard/mix, whom I am convinced are reincarnated vikings with their attitudes, were wandering through the yard and settled to groom by the water.   DSC04401bobA-1res I still wonder where Carbs the muscovy went to.
The cranes came flying over, you will notice the baby is keeping more of a distance from its’ folks as they are harassing him more often.  Poor guy gets picked on a lot.  DSC04411res DSC04413res baby still has a way to go before all his color fills out.
But the reason I am so excited is because the herons are building their nest!  The first thing I noticed when feeding the birds was the heron flying across the lake with a stick.
000_0506heronres I ran in for my other camera since the battery was running on empty.  And I saw it leave and waited.  And it came back again, another stick in beak.   DSC04393res It then circled the tree and positioned itself for flying into the branches.   DSC04397res
DSC04398re This means it is officially Fall and we will have some eggs, when the eggs come, it’s about 28 days later that they will hatch.
I am on my way to get set up for the art venue, but thought I’d share the start to my day – I hope yours is equally exciting….

100_6630-1re The day was dull, every photo I put in todays blog is colorized. I cheated!  Hurricane Ida hit up at the panhandle and the weather is affecting us. We are supposed to finally get rain tomorrow – will it actually happen?  All day it looked so dull. As I drove up to Sanford and stopped to take some pics, I kept thinking the sky would unload any minute, but not a drop. I took a few dashboard cams of things and places, and they all looked so boring I had to jazz them up a bit.  100_6634-1re The Gateway condos actually look like this  100_6634re and the corner of First Street near the Welcome Center looked much more festive like this –  100_6632-1re and even the bales of hay in the hay trucks looked more delicious with some color to the grain.   100_6637-1re

An abandoned building looked a little more appealing by deepening the color
100_6635-1re At the marina, there was nothing new, same old birds, had to emphasize the ibis.  100_6624-1rea
And when I got home, I had to blame what I thought was an eagle as an excuse for fishing in early afternoon. I could see it flying all over, but could not get a close photo. Finally it landed three houses over so I threw out the pixels on  the telephoto to capture it  way up in a tree. That’s an osprey.
100_6644re I caught a shiner and threw it back, caught a couple bream and they went back. The cranes were there, Ringo was with me too.
100_6654-are Then the heron flew into the tree and watched me cast out over and over.   100_6649heron2 100_6650re Finally I caught a nice sized bream and threw it on the ground, the heron flew down and nabbed it.  He swallowed and happily flew off.  Ringo and I came in as it was almost completely dark by 5:30pm!
My HP “refurbished” printer came in today so I can resume getting photos ready for this weekend art show. HP tells you to send the defective printer  back within three days or get charged a chunk of change on your credit card, but the return address label I needed to do that was  not included, they forgot to send it! I had to call them and stay on the line forever getting a case number from someone in Bangladesh so they could send me a label. I suggested they email it and they refused.  I could have flown to India in the same time it took to stay on hold for their techs.
Rat update:  G & H Pest Control in Sanford came out Monday to give me my last estimate for how they would address my rodent issue. Gene, who owns the company came out and walked around and looked in the attic and did a thorough search of the house just like Massey. Gene looked at me and told me “he would be taking my money if I hired him” because he would be doing the same exact things I have been doing. They would set the traps as I have and that is all they can do. He suggested I keep fresh peanut butter in the trap every week and keep doing it. He said he could find no fresh droppings and I had no roach or bug problem. He didn’t even give me a price for a yearly spray, so if you live around this area and want a really honest pest control company, call G & H Pest Control Inc. 407-323-6681 website http://ghpestcontrol.com/ Actually, it has been rather quiet, but I will keep listening for signs of life above my head…
As I finish this I can hear a light rain outside,that is good news, hope we are in for a night of the wetstuff!  In fact, I walked outside and immediately smelled the earthy scent of wet grass. The drops were light, but anything is better than nothing!   100_6659re After the art show, I can get back to looking for photo ops. Be patient, and come to the Gateway this weekend to see what 40 artists have for you…(nothing like more self promotion)

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