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I think Ringo is cheating on me – I have had suspicions since he left a few weeks ago, casually strolling off and then I didn’t see him for two days – two very long and worried days.  In our years together, he has never done that. Why is it I am attracted to those bad boys with flashing blue eyes?  He IS fixed, (and then again, so was my ex-husband.) Somehow, both my ex and Ringo reached middle age and started exploring.  I could kick out a philandering husband,  but a cat – how do you tell a pet to go and not come back? Isn’t gonna happen.
Ringo left again last Thursday night after I came home from Tampa and didn’t show up till this morning, (Sunday) then he was all rubs and love. Typical ‘lost’ male syndrome, don’t admit to anything and try and smooth things over with an abundant show of love. 
He came in, ate, rested, then wanted back out. He’s snoozing on the porch for now. Wonder if he will go off again tonight? And for how long?  Maybe it’s because I was gone away for over a week, (though Adam is always here,) or because he’s not getting fresh fish, (I can’t help it that fishing has been terrible),  maybe some other family is spoiling Ringo with better food, I know they couldn’t love him any more than I do.  I don’t get it, I’m just not good at reading the male species anymore and I’m too old to play games,  but this is not normal Ringo behavior so what can I do? I love that crazy cat and do forgive him, but I hate when he disappears for so long.  I realize I can’t hang on to something still feral neither men nor cats. At least with Ringo, I don’t have
have any legal filings if he splits, a sign will do! 
Have been taking up the slack from being out of town. Guess reality means paying the bills and getting things back into order.
For two days it has been raining on and off, I love it, the oncoming dark clouds and penetrating thunder.  
The sky blackens and threatens and the rain comes down beautifully beating. When I returned everything was so dry, this rain has been just what was needed.         How about my new camera’s panorama view!  I am enjoying my new Sony Cybershot HX1. It has many wonderful features, but the viewfinder and macro modes are not one of them. It’s quite inferior to my Kodak and makes me miss that camera which suddenly went black, literally, you turn it on and there is nothing but a black screen, I have checked everything on it. I think it’s dead. I will have to contact Kodak and see who services them. And speaking of Kodak, I got the photo book I made, ‘Crow Tao‘  from their site. I was so disappointed, the cover was off center and the binding very cheap looking.
My Sony Alpha is still being repaired, so I am learning more and more about the Cybershot.
I am still lost in space regarding how to sell art. Are brains patterned to stick in neutral? Mine seems to want to just make art, take pictures and the thought of prepping the work, setting up the website, doing PayPal and all the detailed work freaks me out. I will do stupid stuff like tell myself each week, okay this is it, I am going to get things started, then I am lost again on a tangent of sameness, and getting nowhere.  Organization skills have never been bred into me! I might as well just buy a Lotto ticket each week instead of dreaming of selling my art, better odds with the Lotto!
The wildlife around here is minimal. The heat is turned up to broil, they say it is one of the hottest June and Julys on record in our state of Florida.  The sun stares you down as soon as it rises and there is only escape into stores and homes. Once you open the door on your vehicle, it’s like being submerged inside a La Brea Tar Pit – you feel drenched and exhausted when you shut the door and wait for the air to cool it back down. The only backyard sights  I see are redwing blackbirds, bluejays, a few squirrels, doves, dragonflies and grasshoppers. here’s the view:    Those grasshoppers are still everywhere.    The turtles are still looking for a handout at the lake
young redwing blackbirds.   Lily pad.

The cranes come to visit and go after old Miss Sealy   but
she escaped.
Papa crane makes his throaty noise.    Crow

And that’s the weekend, maybe by Tuesday or Wednesday I will be able to show more or tell you I have accomplished something. Right now it is Monday morning, the rains are supposed to continue, (a good thing) and I will leave you with a few views from inside and out my window at 8:14am :    The sun is literally a disk up there.   the red passion flowers finally back to taking over the fence
mocking bird on roof
AND, me cleaning off window to take a picture of the  inside – have a great week!  

This looks like a polished piece of porcelain with hairs sticking wayward, but it is a close up of an Alaskan King crab claw. That was dinner last night, (not mine, I ate shrimp and they were ‘shrimpy’ in comparison with the width of that leg!) But, when I saw the cracked claws, I had to take some close ups, the hair was just too bizarre! The orange was such a pretty color.
Outside it is like a blast furnace and everywhere I go, I notice the mockingbirds chasing everything out of their way. I did happen to get a few of the crow sitting on one of my cut off trees getting ‘buzzed’ at by the mockingbird. Here’s the story in pics:
the crow retreats to tree stump, he looks out at the oncoming vengeance of two mockingbirds.

They swoop down and fake attack that stubborn crow,  The crow took off,   heading
right in my direction and then veering off.  The crows and mockingbirds can be seen all over as the ‘mockers’ love to dive bomb the crows. The crows just go about their business looking overhead all the time.  Here’s some crow pics: 

My cranes were here on and off all afternoon, I witnessed the tender moments between parent and child by the lake. The babies do love to chase off the other birds, they have been taught well.    Here’s Mom grooming.   Baby watches to see how close the ducks get.     ah, the love!  It was so sweet how tenderly the mother would tap the baby’s beak.   My mallard pair are hanging around too. The foot that looked broken is up and running again I am glad to report. Birds must injure themselves from time to time. I have noticed my grackle since last year who has the mis-shapen toe,     notice that wayward toe on the right.
He hops on it, gets along well and makes up for the impediment by being very much of a bully.  

That grackle is a great example of  ‘making do’!
The flowers are looking good, but the heat is getting to them as there has been no rain for over a week and 90+ degree temps that actually feel like over 100!     It’s so hot even the doves

have become feisty!    Blue jay and dove eye to eye.   The dove was

“unflappable”  Stood its’ ground.     Then it actually moved forward at the jay and they both flew off.    The heat is making our tempers short. Confrontation isn’t limited to humans – I see well executed sparring right in my own yard!
P/S, now I am in possession of a dove that got pounced on by the neighbors cat.    I saw it out of the window and ran out. The poor dove was stunned and not flying. Right now it is sitting quietly inside the cat cage with food and drink, in a dark bedroom and later or in the morning I will let it loose…(When Ringo is in the house)

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.

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…

After I saw the birds this morning trying desperately to get water from the bird bath, I took a hammer and broke up the ice and poured really warm water in the bird bath. It is still freezing, it was 26degrees earlier, now it is about 30. The birds liked that better and gave me some good poses. I had fun colorizing and making poster pics out of them, thought you’s enjoy seeing the bevy of beauties that I get to look at off and on all day. My “blind” is right here behind the window so I don’t have to go outside except to keep the feeders filled.
I hope my friend Pat forgives me for not holding to my own words of doing all cardinals, but the poses these birds take just demand a photo. Have fun bird and art watching-

one last picture of a sleeping Frankie who won’t be bothering any birds, but Ringo,     now that’s another matter…

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?    

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…

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….

It’s been a little while, but really have been waiting for the heat to subside. The birds have been hardly coming, everything is just rather worn out by this heat. last night was supposed to be the beginning of a cold front touching down to bring some relief.  100_5643re The fishing is lousy because of the mooching turtles. The fish are not biting like they were over a year ago. The bass have retreated somewhere though Ringo and I relentless keep our eyes on all activity that stirs the surface.  100_5645-1re Today started sunny hot and humid, all week it has been high 90’s. The cranes flew in  DSC03487-1re to make their presence known
DSC03516-3re DSC03512-1re DSC03526re As usual they did
a rain dance

rain dance

The flowers seem tired too, we all need a change.  DSC03564re DSC03566re DSC03559re But they always manage to still color the yard.
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The day clouded up and got to a cool 87 degrees, so that was about 10 degrees cooler than it has been.  They said big rains were coming with this cold front, but only a short period of just droplets came and that was it. We ended up with a rainbow hardly visible.  But still nothing that remotely felt cool. So still waiting for our big Fall to fall.

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Last night ther heron came down and fished with Ringo and I. He stood in the water, I stood at various places on the lake, neither of us caught anything, but that didn’t matter, I was glad to have the heron back. Every morning I keep going out to see if it is on a branch in it’s nesting tree.
100_5388-1re 100_5392_edited-1re Earlier I had been out in the yard taking pictures

of dragonflies, they are everywhere and will stop close to me as if they are as curious about me as I am about them.  DSC02660re

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The butterflies too were all over.  DSC02583-1re DSC02498-1re

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We now have a small bunny that appears from time to time .   DSC02490re The little guy came when the cranes were here and Papa crane chased him off.  Baby crane is still changing color, his eyes are still lighter and he does not have the red crest yet, though it is coming in little by little.
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Ringo was busy under the bushes eating a long blade of grass.
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The band of brother mallards are still hanging around with the pekin ducks, but Carbs is nowhere to be found. Have not seen him in weeks.
Fishing is horrible for some reason, even with the harvest moon tonight, not one little tug on the bobber.  100_5429re 100_5421re 100_5453re

Tomorrow night I think I will go to the marina and take some pics of the moon coming up over Lake Monroe.  It’s just such a treat to see it so close and so big.  The anhinga sat up in the tree and watched from his vantage point.   100_5410-1re It was a good night for moon gazing and bird watching, just not for fishing, only for feeding turtles.
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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

72709babycraneA-1res Baby crane was here this morning with his family. They ate bird seed, groomed, wandered around yard poking the ground and then lined up and took off like paragliders sailing over the lake

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Yesterday it was storming off and on when they came. At around 11 am. it got really dark.  DSC06820res the sky blackened and let loose with a nice rain and lots of thunder. The cranes don’t like the noise, they were quite suspicious and kept looking around to see where the thunder was originating from.  It was raining hard for a while and I noticed even a softshell turtle came out of the lake and rested under my lemon tree.
DSC06832res The water was just dripping off the cranes.
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I enlarged to see the rain coming down. Even my waterbarrel was gushing from the excess.
Last week we had no real rain, it would cloud up and threaten and the lightning is getting to be way too lethal around here. A guy was gardening the other day and a bolt came from nowhere that hit near him and he said he passed out, and one of his legs didn’t work and he had to crawl back to his house and was hospitalized. That’s why I am paying more respect to the lightning gods lately as they get closer and seem to be picking out a lot of people to play their games with. I look at the sky and turn on local news before I fish to see what is moving where. But the sky is so amazing around Florida, that’s one of the assets is the constant movement of wind and clouds and rain. Sometimes it comes from the Atlantic, sometimes from the Gulf and when they collide – whammo, fireworks. Like I have said before, it will be sunshining in the front, and raining across the lake. Usually by the time it is almost dark, the sky makes peace and all is pink and quiet.
Today so far it is one of those voids where the sun is hiding, but the sky is gray/white! I need to go out and weed whack while the sun can’t fry me and the lightning is still asleep…
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7209res This is how the day began around 6am. The sky was beautifully lit with red clouds. It’s in the low 70’s, feels almost cool. I saw both moorhen parents swimming about, but not one baby sighting.  53109moorhenC-1res Yesterday my friends Christine and Richard came over to hang a duck box in hopes that the Black bellied whistling ducks might come back.  DSC08898res I showed Christine the moorhen nest and only an hour earlier there had been 3 eggs. As we stood there, all eggs were completely gone, not one broken shell in sight. Then we saw the culprit, a big black crow flew down and began pecking at the nest. Immediately we knew where the eggs had gone. I have not seen the baby in days, I hope it is hiding.   007res This is a picture on the day it hatched.
Now I am trying to figure why the baby and mama crane are coming without the father? For 5 days now they have come to eat birdseed and Papa crane is not with them which is very unusual. He has been a good daddy for the years I have lived here and NEVER left the baby and mother. This is highly suspect. Do you think maybe he flew to Argentina to find a soul-mate??? I am thinking the worst, that something has happened to him. The baby is taller than the mother. Last night he came and did his goofy dance before they fly across the lake for a good nights sleep.
100_2093res I am hoping the father will find his way back soon. As for me, I am going back to bed, only slept 3 hours so far, time to get some shut eye. I am living in a vampire time zone, the sun comes up, I go back to get a couple hours of sleep…

DSC05328res Woke up and the sandhill cranes had come for a visit. Keep in mind the baby is just about 12 weeks old and he is a monster!  (That’s him in the middle.)  His head is so funny as he is losing his baby fuzz. DSC05218a_edited-1 He’s going to tower over the father. The funny thing was how he loves the water.  The baby crane saw the ducks at the lake, DSC05244res and hurried in their direction to assert his machismo. He scattered them off and jumped in for a bath. I followed from behind and watched the baby as he had the best time waving his wings under the water and making the drops scatter. He would groom and then wave those wings and dunk his head. Then finally about ten minutes later he came ashore spreading his massive wings to dry.
For all the other babies we have had on the property over the years, not one would go in the water deeper than it’s knees if it did not have to. Usually just to drink and of course when they were too young to fly and would swim across the lake. but never have I seen one that spent time having fun like this. Plus he is already flying, it took the other baby cranes much longer to fly, a lot longer! But 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.

Of course I feel quite honored as the folks brought the baby by, hard to believe it is almost a month old. I don’t have to add much, will just show the photos:  But look to my nature photography blog to have many more today, link below

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For a much more in depth look, come to my photo blog:
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

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.

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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.
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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.
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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!

dsc01244 Finally today it rained nicely in the afternoon. It was how it’s supposed to be,
the thunder clouds developed, the lightning flashed and the rain came
sheeting down. It really feels so alive, so electric! We also had some tornado
warnings, but luckily, nothing happened. 4109bayheroninrain-1The baby heron was drenched having no protection.

After all the soaking, the sky cleared
and the hour struck;  fishing time!
The mother heron flew right in over my head 4109motherheronfliesoverhead-1_edited-1

and took her place at the lake to the side of me. Mama heron watched to see if I would toss her a fish.
The baby heron was walking over toward us and
saw his mother, he came alive: his wings extended, 4109babyseesmomc-1

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he hurried over to get as close as he could to her and flapped and flapped trying to get her attention.
He made his prehistoric plea, he jumped and ran to the edge of the sea wall. He was
ecstatic, overjoyed to see that familiar face who fed him. And in his little, baby
bird mind, I’m sure baby heron thought he was going back to the nest, that his dreams were going to come true, surely his mother would help him back to safety, back to where he would get a nice meal and spend time with the sibling who is still up there, but that was not to be. The mother would not even look at him. She ignored all his waving and sqwacking and his unbridled joy.  He continued for a few minutes more and then gave up, his head went down and he walked off in the opposite direction.
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Poor thing, so  depressed and rejected, so full of hope and then so full of sadness.
No one can tell me that animals don’t feel! That baby heron looked at
his mother with the need of any child waiting to go home again, wanting to be protected and fed.

I am still not sure if he is eating too well. I see him down by the water pulling at weeds and I even brought him a small plastic bucket with a dozen live goldfish and placed it under his tree where he sleeps only to find the damn ducks trying to splash out the water and the fish. I know the heron did not eat any.
Oh my heart hurts for the feathered baby, his spirit tonight was broken. He still cannot figure out what his wings do or how to catch a fish, he is lacking in so many skills. And there is no way I can catch him, he runs if I start to advance in its direction. All I hope is he toughens up and learns all the skills he needs to grow strong. It will be a wonderful day when I can tell you I saw his first flight, it will be with the excitement of a mother watching her babies first steps!

Another avian experience today: I was driving with a friend to show her the marina in Sanford and on the road that runs parallel with Lake Monroe, a damn duck flew right into my truck, BANG! Its’ thick flying body hit hard but luckily it didn’t get bashed too badly, I looked back and didn’t see it on the road or side, so I suppose it made it to where it was going. What’s with me and these crazy damn ducks???

33009elviswith2bandofbrothers-1 I am convinced Elvis is a double agent or the Mob boss of the lake.
I was fishing around 6pm and suddenly my neighbor Reyna and I were chatting about her school work when suddenly Carbs came swimming over with the Pekin twins in tow. He was glad to be home you could tell. Carbs and the girls made a lot of happy honks and I fed them all a few bread crumbs which they happily ate. When I looked up, there was Elvis flying straight across the lake and not a minute later, the BOB, (band of brothers) were flying after him. We expected to see a fight, but no, they all were swimming around one another when one of the BOB noticed Carbs at my house and took off in our direction. Reyna and I tried to block the mallard mix from Carbs. We made the bad duck go back to the water as Carbs hurried his fat body up toward my house, Carbs wings were going like a broken wind up toy while the mallard mix flew right over Reyna and I and right into Carbs! Carbs ran as fast as he could while Reyna and I tried to sidetrack the bad duck, but we just weren’t fast enough and Carbs was chased off the property by the other duck.
Elvis flew over with the other two mallard males and they cavorted around flirting with the Pekin twins. The twins swam away to the other side of the lake. The two band of brother ducks and Elvis swam around bickering among themselves near my shore. The mallards would get right in Elvis’ face arguing, but Elvis looked like he could care less!  33009bobmouthsofftoelvis-1_edited-1

I am thinking that Elvis might be the top dog, or top duck as it applies. How else does it make sense that the BOB don’t bother
Elvis and he can swim among them, but Carbs is totaly attacked?
Why does Elvis pretend to be Carbs good friend? Is it only to get at the Pekin twins? dsc01161

Somehow this is akin to Meerkat manor light.
The Pekin ducks also seem confused, they love
Carbs, but are not as chummy with the Mallard

band of brothers and are shy around Elvis too.
We felt so badly for Carbs. He obviously does not fly, and his wings are not fast enough to propel him away from the mean mallard. Elvis must be the mob king, the band of brothers are his cartel, and poor carbs is caught in a thug war!
As for the baby heron, it was here all afternoon. I caught some fish and threw it in his direction. the baby just did not get it. He did not even perk up when they flipped around onshore. When it started to get dark, it began it’s climb into the Norfolk pine while it’s mother who was fishing within 25 feet of him, flew up to the nest and when she got up there, the one baby still in the nest was making it’s pteradactyl noise. The baby heron on the ground did notice this familiar sound and looked up. You could tell that he wanted to be up there too! he squawked a low noise and looked in that direction. I still don’t know if the baby heron is eating, but he looks no worse for the wear. So much drama on the lake! I need a life or syndication…

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No photos of Carbs included, the muscovy pictured is Elvis so don’t get confused. the flying heron is the mother and that’s the baby heron in the last photo.

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