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It is wonderful waking up to go outside and hear all kinds of birdsong. Sometimes the cranes are in the yard and they scream in your ear, but most of the time, it’s always the cardinals who start things off first thing in the morning, then woodpeckers and other birds join in.
I used to have a chimney bird who sang haunting tunes down the chimney, and then there was a titmouse who would look into my desk window at me for months. As it is, I am just a lucky person to have an abundance of bird music and to be able to appreciate it.  here’s yesterdays mockingbird who was sitting on one my oleanders just singing away.
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Here’s the beauties that I have encountered the past few days – feel free to enjoy them as much as I do. I have not seen the baby cranes today, but Papa crane has been here several times being bossy as usual. Fishing was horrible, nothing for the heron, she had to catch her own…

(Does Avatar count?)

and of course, this last funny face thinks he can fly like a bird too, and I let him think it, but really, he eats like a bird — like a dozen birds. He needs to learn to dance at the end of a leash so he can make some money for all the birdseed he eats

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…

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”  

Last night went over to our very quaint Lake Mary Historical Museum, it has a doll show.  All dolls were on loan. They had wax dolls and others over 100 years old.  When I grew up, we had dolls like ‘Pitiful Pearl’, Shirley Temple, then on to Barbies, which were the most fun because of all the accessories. I remember having handmade clothes for my Barbies, I don’t know where my Mom bought them, only wish I still had them, I kept all my Barbie dolls and clothes and my mother gave them away while I was in college – bummer, I had wanted to save them for my Andrea. Oh well, that’s so almost 40 years ago – Never mind that psychological trauma, haha.
Here’s some pics.

That last one kind of looked ‘corpsey’.

This shows the bulk of the one room museum, it holds all the documentation for incorporating Lake Mary, Florida.  It was used as a social hall for many years.
Ever hear of Golliwogs? They were black, male dolls and it became acceptable around the 1930’2  for boys to have dolls, but now they are called Gollys because golliwog has become an unacceptable racial term. I never knew these things.  All I know is, little boys have little killing machines like GI Joe and metro sexual Ken to balance GI Joe’s aggressive behavior.  Though I don’t remember my brother having a Ken at all.  I know my young boys liked Stretch Armstrong so they could pull his arms and legs and punch him.     My boys were more into video games and outdoor sports.
They had a lot of Barbies, I didn’t even know they beamed Barbie up to be with Captain Kirk and Spock.   The exhibit is fun, the museum interesting, so go have a look if you are near Country Club and Lake Mary Blvd.  Call them for their hours, they have odd opening times.   These are really old.  

Now to wildlife, lots this morning, maybe because the storms are coming in later today. So many blackbirds, crows, cardinals. It sounds beautiful out there with the doors open.
Here’s a view:
The crow up on the branch was all alone until another joined it up there, they kissed   Then stood together looking south.   Then went to separate branches
then parted, hopefully on friendly terms.
The male heron was busy getting branches again, I enjoy watching his ability of manuvering them around the big branches up in the tree. He brings them to his wife and she shapes them in the nest.     He them moves upward again and again.   

He passes it off and she in true female genetic glue, makes the nest a home.   Look how large it has become.
So that’s it for the am, gotta go before it gets stormy. Kids are coming for weekend.
Here’s a few more pics.   
And this ballsy little grackle who walked right in the porch despite the cat and ate cat food as if to laugh right in Frankie’s face.
What a sense of humor these birds have!  That’s why I have to take their pictures…

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?    

It’s Sunday, the week flies by in nano-seconds anymore. The good thing is that hurricane season is coming closer to the end.
This morning had the cranes right outside mooching for the loose bird seed on the ground.
000_0305res They have gone and a soft rain is falling on the lake. The cardinals have taken the cranes place.  DSC01556res And as I write now, it is sunny again — that’s Florida!
Thank goodness we have had no pythons come crawling through here YET as yesterday they picked up an 18 foot Python about 20 miles away that was being kept in a risky enclosure. A snake like that when hungry could do some serious eating, like kids!  snakeres
The owner said the 300 plus pound, 18 foot snake gave his daughter rides – SAY WHAT? It was fed about 4 rabbits a day.  I noticed on Yahoo a story about a python that ate 11 guard dogs, that wasn’t in the US, but it could be the way pythons are showing up here in Florida these days. I’m sure people are letting them go because they can’t afford to feed them and they grow so large.
I can remember in the learly 90’s when we were involved in the Central Florida Herpetology Club, the people came to meetings with snakes around their necks and arms, (they had to be bagged and caged during the meeting.) There were lots of vendors selling ‘herps’ of all kinds; turtles, lizards and of course all types of non-poisonous snakes. We have had ball pythons, rat snakes, Texas longnose snakes, milk snakes and Brazilian Rainbow boas. We lost some of them in the house from time to time, (but never told any of our guests that when they visited.) And we let our boas swim in our pool once in a while, climb the banisters, but Aaron, the snake’s caretaker grew bored and we sold them.  Not once did we let any go, oh take that back, we did let our mean mean yellow rat snakes loose in the woods, (those were the snakes that bit me,) but they are native.
Today, we still have the same cats we did when we had the snakes, and the
prospect of seeing a 12 foot or longer snake in my yard would be a bit unsettling. So I will just focus and show some pictures of the more delicate flora and fauna.
The flowers are bright this morning, spider lilies were wet.  DSC01553res
The canna lilies bright red. DSC01554res DSC01552res The Meyers lemons are getting bigger and bigger, can’t wait till they ripen.  The water in the lake is still up nicely, though fishing is still bad. Last night I caught a turtle. The fish are not biting. The cranes were though, they did not realize Ringo the cat was so close and Papa crane almost got him.

So that’s how Abbesworld is going today so far. How’s your day?  DSC01562res

Today I walked out to feed the birds and Carbs was gone. I wondered if the BOBs had chased him away. The yard was busy, especially down by the lake where many many dragonflies and bees flew all over the yellow blooms down by the stump of my fallen oak. In fact so many bees were there pollinating, the air was humming.  DSC00669resbee
The fungi growing in the wet grass even looked happily like a cute couple. DSC00664res

The cranes flew over and the baby was quite intimidated by the step-father crane who kept bullying him. The baby would fluff all up and crouch with it’s head  down when it was near the male.  82709babycranefluff-4-1res It knows to try and stay away from that dominant beak.

A titmouse was continually banging itself against my window. DSC00680res I will go into that in a day or two. The butterflies were all over the place, DSC00692 copy 4 DSC00652res and the roses were young and tender.  DSC00687res
The brown thrasher was the bossy bird this morning. DSC00704res The bird was happily having fun splashing and cooling off.
82609thrasherinbathA-1res DSC00551res and then a dove decided it was it’s turn to get wet .  DSC00705res The thrasher was wildly twisting and jumping and I suppose the dove thought it looked like such fun, it decided to join the thrasher.  Except the thrasher wanted no part of sharing the bird bath and screamed at the dove and sent the dove flying off. The thrasher fly up on top of the feeder.
Finally it ate enough seed and flew off. DSC00504res
I ran out to my Free lunch at Don Pablos. I won the free lunch for 4 by putting my business card in a bowl about two weeks ago. 100_3688res I took my good artist friends who have been so helpful and nice to me, Pam, Judy and Leslie. The service was great and the conversation too. Judy, Pam, and Leslie are always inspiring to listen too, always have irons in the fire. Leslie is a published writer who should have another book out sometime soon. She writes about film, (movies) and does a very detailed and thorough job of research, she also writes poetry and reads it at local venues. Pam has been juried into many shows, I think she said 8 or 9 this year alone, her infrared photography is a standout. Judy has a super group, she started the Womens Caucus for Art branch here in Orlando and really took pains in getting it to a non profit status. So I am the slacker of the group, well, actually I have one piece, a photo I did of Jimmy Hendrix, to be put on display for a month as part of an interior design show downtown. Tomorrow I have to go pick up the work at RT Art. Just one email and Roger said he’d have it for me so I could get it framed this weekend, that’s service!  sales@RT-Art.com
On the 8th of September, I will have 3 pieces at the Gateway in Debary for a month. So things are not that bad for s struggling artist getting her feet wet just like that brown thrasher, enjoying the exposure, lost in her abandon of the arts and the wonderful natural view in front of her window…
P/S, carbs came back and is still here…

7309woodyscreamsatblackbird-1res I have very busy birds around here. In the morning, one very bossy woodpecker who thinks he owns the yard, comes to eat . He has a wife and a couple little “Woodys” up in the hole. The babies are demanding a lot of attention lately.

DSC05154res The woodpecker is the first at the stump in the morning when I put birdseed and old bread out. He doesn’t fool around, he doesn’t mind my close ups anymore, even poses for the camera.  The female comes after he gets his bites first.  52809redbelliedwpA-1res Last year they nested in one of the bird boxes, this year they have moved to one of the dead trees still standing.  They seem quite ambitious and move from hole to hole each time they lay eggs.  The babies are now loud and hungry and demanding. Their little heads are out peeping loudly for more food. DSC06283resDSC06298res

At one point they lived in another lower hole, now they have “moved on up” to the second from the top. Next year it might be the top.
DSC06143res The crow loves to harass the woodpecker, the mockingbirds and blue jays then harass the crows, it’s a vicious cycle all day long. When the other birds are chasing each, that’s when the doves and squirrels sneak in. DSC05921res

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It’s great seeing these birds perpetuate their generations inside my dead trees. They bring a three ring circus each day for my amusement, I train them well, don’t I…  7109mockingbirdchasescrow2res

DSC08718res This is the last time we saw the male, father crane. I told you that the mama and baby have been coming alone for 5 days. But today 3 of them came and I was very excited and had to go take some photos. DSC06201res But right away, I noticed that Papa crane was not acting the same as I knew. The other father crane would let me get very close, this one was skittish,  very worried about me and stayed back. He was also very weary of noise and was looking all over at each ‘whir-noise’ the camera made when taking a photo.  Upon noticing his head, I knew right away this was a different male.  Notice the shape of the head of the top photo and this new head shape of this male.
DSC06206res This male has a more rounded head shape. So I say, a new male has joined the newly widowed female and son. That’s a good thing as a baby should have a father’s influence. The mother seems fine with the male and he also seems fine with his new family. But wonder what happened to the other male? Especially since the male and female had been together the whole 5 years I have lived here. I wish the state would band these birds so I could study them further. It would be a great way to identify them.
I also observed that this male crane did not share the food and ‘snipped’ at the baby if he was getting a morsel that the new male wanted. That was not the case with the other male, who gladly fed his baby. I am pretty sure this is another male.
newmale-1resnew male
papacranefatherofbabiesresfather of baby
Umm, we need some DNA testing – what do you think? I think we have a new family unit combination.

Hope all had a happy 4th holiday, mine was filled with family and too much good food! Hope yours was the same!

017res The moorhens have chosen to nest in the weeds that sit about twenty feet from my seawall. The female built a nice nest and I reported a few weeks ago that she had 5 eggs.  res

Last Tuesday one hatched and the baby was swimming around and enjoying newly hatched life and an hour later, it was gone. Never saw it again. On Wednesday, a new moorhen chick was hatched. 100_1852res

100_1857res This baby is still alive, and it is a great ‘hider’. As soon as I approach the bank. The moorhens squeak and the baby hurries away to the reeds to hide. The Father gets upset and comes running in to either be near the chick or to cover the nest if the female has chosen to go swim near the baby. This again is a wonderful scope of nature. The moorhens are very protective parents.  The three other eggs have not shown any attempt to hatch, maybe with all this heat and a warm feathered behind sitting on them so much, maybe they have become hardboiled…
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Today the news said it would be 94 and feel like 104 degrees, that was no lie. It is hot and the sun seems like a deep fryer and it’s only June! The flowers are beautiful after a great thunderstorm last night. They were closed yesterday,
100_1700res but today they were full bloomed and smelled so wonderfully rosey! The roses had small bits of purple on them.  All around the yard, flowers looked happy. I do water them a bit in the morning and in the evening if there is no rain, otherwise they would fry under that hard light and heat. 61709rose-1_edited-1 DSC07969res

61609bluebpyrose-1_edited-1 The sandhill cranes sat under the camphor tree for a long time taking in the shade. The father was really panting a lot as was my old cat Frankie. I actually think she might have been experiencing heat prostration as she looked way too lethargic on the porch  and I could see her heart beating rather wildly. I brought her in and put her on the cool counter and she drank a lot of water.  I was kind of worried her heart might give out, but after a while, she did perk up.   So remember to keep lots of fresh water out there. I keep it, but poor Frankie looked like she was almost too tired to drink so watch your older animals. DSC08163crop_edited-1

The cranes stayed a long time down by the lake. The baby was first to buckle and sit down.  then when the parents finally sat down, he got up and went over to give his father a hard time. He would jab his father in the rear and then touch beaks. 61709father&babyC2_res 61709babycranegroomsfather-1res

DSC05777res Finally they all relaxed and then finally flew off. The Moorhen is also a pretty smart, she built her nest up high on the side so as to shade her from the sun as she nested.

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Tonight I tried fishing, but only got greedy turtles trying to find bread. One is so bold as to come up and take it out of my tackle box, so I keep it up on a plastic chair now as not only the turtles, but the ants swarm inside the plastic bags once they sense food. DSC05435res Ringo looks at the turtle with amusement, but does not bother them. Fishing sucked, maybe it’s too hot. If there was no breeze off the lake tonight, I would not have thrown out a line. No use standing down there sweating profusely and ending up like Frankie prostrate on the ground, no one would notice me!
Finally Ringo and I gave up and walked back to the house. I picked some small rose buds to put in a shot glass.
DSC08162res Ringo and I were glad to come inside and absorb that nice cool air. No thunderstorms tonight. All is quiet around here. I came in to blog, Ringo passed out and then was treated to a massage from my son. We all have our ways of dealing with the heat, that’s for sure! DSC05688res DSC05693res

First of all, the lake is up another inch and 1/2, 5280910am and I suppose it will continue to rise little by little as we are now having afternoon thunderstorms daily, the way it used to be in summer. It is very humid – like a steam bath today. I went to check the lake and saw the baby woodpecker sticking his face out of his hole, and of course I didn’t have a camera at that point. But I hear babies inside and there is also a Great crested flycatcher that has new babies. great-crested flycatcher-2 I have never noticed the  Flycrested  before.
There are lots of  woodpeckers lately, they are all over! As soon as I put seed out in the morning, my male woodpecker is right there always first! He does not seem that scared of me taking his photo anymore. Wpresize
And it’s not just the small red bellied woodpeckers, it’s the pileated too. 2pileatedwp-1_edited-1
The woodpeckers are all over jackhammering trees. pileatedontree-1_edited-1 The pileated are here in pairs, maybe looking for some real estate.
Another thing I noticed was a bee that had fat orange ‘barrels’ around it’s back legs. I have not seen a bee like that before and it is not bags of pollen, 52809bee I don’t think anyway.
Yesterday put a humming bird feeder out, but have only seen one hummer the whole time I have lived here, so maybe, maybe not – I promise, you will be the first to know!!!
UT OH —
How fifteen minutes makes a difference, take a look – weather52809noon_edited-1 AND,
we have our first tropical depression forming in the gulf, YA WANNA KNOW TROPICAL DEPRESSION — YOU CAN”T FISH CAUSE IT”S LIGHTNING! Here we go again, will post a daily water meter reading…

Where is it? They keep promising rain and once again in the same pattern for the third year, it seems to rain all around us, but not here.
51409waterlevel-1_editedIf you look at the photo with the water gauge, you can see we have lost all the inches of water since Fay last August. The top of the other small meter is showing. The level is down about 30 inches and each day that sun sucks away about an inch more. The sky will cloud up and look like impending doom above us. 51409stormclouds-1_edited It looks mean and ready to strike, but moves along, just drifts away to storm on someone else. I love a great thunderstorm, all that juice built up in the atmosphere brewing away with lightning to heat it and thunder to give it drama. I was eating lunch with my friend Leslie today in Lake Mary at Toojays where there is no recession.  It’s about 4 miles from my house and as I left the restaurant, droplets began to fall and about 2 miles from the house, it was raining very steadily until I get about two blocks from home and the look was there, but no rain. I went inside and framed a couple pics for an art show and no rain still.  Finally we got a few drops about 4pm, but not enough to even cover the driveway completely.  That meant of course I could go fishing since there was no lightening threat. Too bad the fish were as scare as the rain. All I had were the two pesky turtles that have been bugging me for this past week.    51409turtle&Ringo-1_edited They are bold and chase my bait all over the lake wherever I stand.  Ringo the cat was not sure if he should go after it or not, but decided the slimy shelled red-eared slider wasn’t worth the bother.
The birds too seemed on edge today, they were busy going after each other at the stump. Chasing each other off.  51409blackbird&woodpecker-1_edited 51409trioofbirds-1_edited It was entertaining.
Later, around 7pm, a young raccoon came to the porch. The cats did not care for him, infact, Frankie, the female tried to fight with him, the raccoon did not want to fight thank goodness.

51409Frank&raccoon-1_edited Then Church gave him the staredown  51409Church&raccoonB-1_edited and he finally left.  The night sky changed 51409sunset-1_edited and it looked like a very calming end to the evening. Cross your fingers for tomorrow and for my buddy Beda who just got a new rain barrel who anxiously awaits it filling up. And one last thing, here’s a sight I came across walking a couple days ago,  51409armadillo-1_edited-1 it was a three legged armadillo, he was walking faster than me!

Here it is at 7 weeks and it is going to be the biggest crane I can think of – it is growing like a corn stalk in July!
So I will let the photos speak for themselves
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The baby crane was left alone today, but only for a few minutes. The folks had come to the stump to eat some seed.
dsc02483cranefamily-1resize the baby found some crevices that it could stick it’s head into and find seed for itself. They are now coming very regularly as before. I so love when I see them coming.
And as the heron and I fished, the papa crane came and ran toward the heron charging at her and sending the heron flying off for a while.  The male crane also threatened Ringo the cat too, but Ringo knows better and gets out of the way.
The crane parents must have had some nostalgia to visit their old nest in the little marsh just off my property. The water was lower last year, low enough that they hatched a baby there over a year ago.
The Papa crane flew over first and began looking  at his ‘old digs’, then the Mama followed him.    dsc02528-1parentsresize

The parents left the baby standing on the seawall crying out. It was so upset and ran back and forth shades of that sad heron baby, and this baby is way too small to be able to  jump off the steep seawall to the water below. It was distressing to watch. It’s big black eyes were frantic as it looked at me and its’ little high voice was peeping away a mile a minute.

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That seawall has seen it’s share of bird trauma, guess I might as well refer to it as the “wailing wall” instead. The folks finally flew back and the baby’s demeanor changed in an instant.  I was rather surprised that the parents would fly off and leave the baby crane so close to Ringo, but I kept an eye on the cat, and Ringo was preoccupied with his eye on the fishing pole. The fishing was great, lots of small fish and even a couple small bass. The heron, the Pekin ducks, the anhinga and even some osprey were keeping me distracted tonight.  The water was flat, no turtles and the air was a calm 80 degrees. It did look like clouds were coming in and the strong odor of smoke was thick about an hour later. Again like last year there are some wildfires close by  and the wind was blowing smoke in this direction.   As it got darker, the cranes went back to their nests, the Pekin twins went to sleep on shore possibly dsc02556resizedreaming that Carbs would come back and be with them again. Meanwhile the female heron waited for me to leave the water first, she’s polite that way.  When I walk back to the house clutching my camera bag, tackle box and 2 rods, the heron will follow me sometimes, she seems to be upset when I am going inside, but then she turns around and flies back to her nest where those two big heron brats are. Tomorrow I will address the heron and their overgrown babies who refuse to leave home. Certainly in these times, the kids ARE coming back home to live with the folks, but these big big baby herons seem to know a good thing when they see it and don’t seem to have ambitions to take off. Again, these birds are all very smart and calculating.
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I think we might get rain tomorrow, I sure hope so, the lake is way down again, the little water gauge is still covered by the water, but should be visible in a week or so if no water comes. My lawn is still mostly
dead weeds, but that’s fine, I don’t have to water dead weeds. As long as the lake is there, the wildlife will be abundant. One problem is that our county just a permit to pump 5.5million gallons of water a day from the St. Johns River. it sounds like a quick fix that might in the long run ruin the upper part of the river and bring more sea water intrusion down the road and not only that, but it sounds like the next thing you know, other Florida counties will demand their share of the water. Our fresh water is a a precious commodity and our commissioners are very easily swayed like many politicians, by things that benefit them and their pockets. The suits should hold it up for a while I assume. It is great we have strong environmentalists who go out and protect our resources. People should be made to pay a higher amount for water, especially the golf courses and big estates who have way too much grass that demands too much water usuage! At some point during the decades to come, one wonders what will happen to our water supply. We take for granted we have water at our disposal. One day there might be serious rationing, thats the way things work, they never have the foresight to figure things to conserver, only when it gets critical!
There are ways to have gorgeous landscaping without so much grass. Too bad in Florida we do not strive for making that mandatory now, that subdivisions and their developers should be required to put in responsible landscaping that does not require constant watering. Also instant hot water in every house so people don’t have to waste a gallon before it is warm!  There must be ways we can do much more to conserve!

Article below just in case you would like to read:

Seminole gets OK to pump from St. Johns

PALATKA – Seminole County is ready to forge ahead with construction of a $90 million plant that will siphon 5.5 million gallons of water a day from the St. Johns River, having won the last permit needed Monday night.
The governing board of the St. Johns River Water Management District approved the controversial plant on a 5-4 vote over strong opposition from Jacksonville-area residents concerned that the withdrawal of water will harm the quality and quantity of water downstream. Hundreds of people packed a meeting in Palatka to oppose the project, and thousands more sent e-mails in opposition.  The Yankee Lake facility, to be built near Sanford, could be expanded to pump 50 million gallons of river water a day, potentially making it a major water source for Central Florida.
Joe Forte, Seminole’s deputy county manager, said several cities in Volusia and Seminole counties could take part in a future expansion. For now, the county will focus on getting the plant up and running. As early as Wednesday, the county will begin preparing the project for construction bids. Seminole’s plans for pumping from St. John’s:

“This is the big move, the big step,” Forte said of Monday’s approval. “And this now gives our partners more hope the project will be a reality and we can move forward.” Decision seen as difficult Susan Hughes, chairman of the St. Johns district board, said it was the most difficult decision she has had to make as a member of the nine-member board but said this won’t make it easier for other river projects to follow.  “I don’t think it’s a free-for-all or the river is open game. That is clearly not what the board said,” Hughes said. “Every project will have to be reviewed on its own merits.”
Water managers have long warned that the underground river known as the Floridan Aquifer cannot be the sole source of drinking water as Florida grows and that utilities must tap into other water supplies. Florida’s largest river, the slow, north-flowing St. Johns, is considered a key future source for Central Florida.
Seminole County now pumps 21.7 million gallons of water a day from the aquifer for 109,000 customers. The county requested a 20-year permit that includes the additional water to be pumped from the river, starting in 2013.

However, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, a nonprofit grass-roots organization, several environmental groups and Jacksonville and St. Johns County led a legal challenge to the water plant.  Reviewing the evidence and testimony from a long, trial-like hearing, an administrative-law judge earlier this year supported Seminole’s bid for the plant, finding that the county had given “reasonable assurances” that the quality of the river would not be harmed by the withdrawal.  At the point where Seminole County pipes into the river, the St. Johns flows at an average rate of 2 billion gallons a day.  Attorneys for Seminole County told district officials Monday that the board doesn’t have much leeway to veer from the administrative judge’s findings. Hundreds showed to oppose plan.  Still, hundreds of people packed Monday’s meeting, urging the board to reject the permit. Many opponents drove from Jacksonville and northeast Florida, complaining that if Seminole County can take water away, it will harm them downstream by reducing the river’s flow. Several people pointed out that the lower river flow allows more seawater to push through the mouth of the river at Jacksonville, harming the ecology of the river.
“The public interest of a large portion of this state is being trampled in order to provide water that is the easiest and cheapest for a small part of one county,” said Katherine Van Zant, whose husband, Charles Van Zant, is a Republican state legislator representing Palatka.  Many of the 100 people speaking out against the project also said approval of the plant will make it easier for future projects to tap into the river. However, the current permit would allow the withdrawal of only 5.5 million gallons a day.  The water district received thousands of e-mails, the vast majority of them in opposition. Because the project is tied up in litigation, district officials blocked the e-mails from voting board members but did announce during the meeting that more than 19,000 e-mails had been received.
Opponents may push the issue back into court with an appeal, said St. Johns Riverkeeper leader Neil Armingeon. His organization will be discussing legal options with its attorneys. “We have pledged to protect the river. We take our mission seriously,” he said.

okay, how is this scenerio? Last night I was fishing with the mother heron. I had not seen the baby all day, nor had my neighbor and the young heron usually only stays in a 4 yard radius near to it’s tree with the family nest and because it has not been able to use it’s wings yet, it nests in the Norfolk pine on my property, but last night and the night before, it did not climb up there at night, so…listen to this…Last night I had the mother heron standing in the weeds next to me and there was a huge racket that came out of the family nest. It was so loud and boisterous, the female flew back home and that is a first, usually nothing at all disturbs her when I fish. Last night she heard all the noise and flew up to the nest. I went inside and got my binoculars and saw that both babies were up there versus the one sibling that has remained. Could it be the baby has found flight and went back home? It sounded like a reunion last night as there was all kinds of noises going on. The mother was up there flapping her wings and the babies big heads were bobbing up and down with their wings spread out also. I did not think there were 3 babies originally, it seemed like two were in that nest to begin with. Can someone tell me if one baby did fly down out of the nest, could it possibly go back there if it found how to use its’ wings? Why couldn’t it?  The babies, which actually are almost as large as the mother, were bobbing and screaming and wings were expanding and contracting, it was much louder than the normal, “feed me” noise they make. Anyway, I would like to think the baby heron had learned to use his wings and flew back home.

The mother stayed up there for at least twenty minutes, then flew back down to the weeds in the water again. I asked her point blank if that was the baby that had ‘flown the coup’, but she didn’t say, she only stared at the water waiting for the sound of the fish slapping the water as I pull them in. I think there is a story to be told in that nest!

3heronsinnestresize-1

I got all excited late this morning as I was ready to run out, I noticed sandhill cranes walking up to the stump, walking as if they knew that bird seed was always there. I was so excited thinking finally the new baby is coming by for its first official visit. But upon looking at the pair, there was no baby and their color was not rusty and the male had a distinct shape to his head and a very crisp red top that was different from Papa crane.
4209newcranemale1a This males red head was ‘humpier’ than papa crane. Trust me on this, there is a difference.
The pair stayed here all afternoon, taking time to sit in the shade
of the camphor tree and then at around 5pm, they got up and began to play and toss weeds about as they did their silly dancing.

newheroncoupleb-1

They played for about fifteen minutes and then started their trumpeting. Loud and clear they trumpeted across the lake. I went inside and shortly after that my son told me we had 4 cranes in the yard. All the shouting had brought in the Mama and papa crane, without their baby. The new cranes looked unsure of what to do and the male moved away and left the female to deal with the locals.
4209mampapa-crane-and-visitor-female-1

My rusty cranes then chased off the new couple and when they knew the cranes were gone, they trumpeted their victory and took off and flew back to their nest where I suppose they left the baby.
4309heraldingcranes-1
Maybe they did not like the idea that another couple would try and move in during their absence. It
amazes me how territorial these birds become and yet, they still have not brought the new baby by. In fact
they did not even touch any of the bird seed on the stump, they came, kicked ass and left, all in a matter of about
ten minutes.  It makes me wonder if they think that since they have lived here so long, they can claim the whole
neighborhood as their own? Nothing bird brained about that!

This morning Elvis and Carbs were yakking it up and then the Pekin twins swam over . They get so excited one or both of them layed an egg as there was one on shore and one in the water. dsc00681 I brought them both up to see what happens in 3 days, the candle test to see if they are fertile.
dsc00691 I doubt they are. Somehow, Carbs and Elvis seem to like each other more than they like the girls.
On my way to check out the crane progress, I noted one of the baby heron’s folks way up in the nest. (I had binoculars with me). I wondered if they had found the baby.  So I hurried to look at the crane, and Mama crane was sitting on the nest and indulged me as she stood and rolled the egg and sat back down.
resizenestingcrane Back home I went and walked into the backyard and who did I see peering over the seawall at the neighbors but the baby heron. He looks well, but still confused.
resizebabyheron

Tonight I hope he is still there as his mother will come down and I hope she will spot him. You can see he wants to get down to the water, but there is a 4 foot drop to the shoreline. If only he would walk over to my yard it has a natural slope down to the waters edge.  The baby could catch minnows then like this small gray heron. resizesmallheron

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