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Here it is another day of gray and rain threats, nothing I can do about it and I really don’t even mind it. Somehow it seems like a dreary day you would veg out and listen to Procal Harem or Led “Zep’ – oh I am so 40 years ago aren’t I?
But after three days of ice-cream cookies and junk food, I had to get out.  I ran some errands and did even stop by the marina.
There was nothing floating around in the water and only a few fisherman and very little wildlife, still no muscovy ducks. I did see a couple mallard duck mothers and their ducklings, one had almost a dozen ducklings,  52109mallardclan-3_edited-1 I thought her brood looked well disciplined.  The wind was not as brisk as it had been the past two days of driving rain. The marina waters were pretty calm
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There were a lot of homeless people sitting around the park which is always sad to see. Also saw some vultures
looking bored. vultureresize
I came home and attempted to go fishing, the wind was built up again and there was no use in bothering after several casts came floating back. There was a huge yellow rat snake that I saw and he saw me and he went right over the seawall and into the water. he swam out to the lily pads and did a big loop and came back to the other side of my property, back to dry land. ratsnakeedit The sky looked like it was trying to build some momentum, even Ringo didn’t bother coming out with me which is unusual. The heron family is long gone, the mama never comes to fish anymore, have not seen her since before going to Tampa almost two weeks ago. I do see one of her babies down near the channel that leads from our lake to the next. I have not seen the crane family in almost two weeks.
Tomorrow I take my two photos to the Gateway Center for The Arts for an upcoming show called “Abandoned Houses” – other than that, I am working on a dream series of work to go with some of my poetry and hoping to present that somewhere for an exhibition. Art is never quiet once it infects you, it squirms it’s way out of you and then you must find it a home just like you find a pet a home. Someone has to fall in love with it enough to buy and take home. The best part for the perspective art owner is that the artwork does not have eat, crap or have to be neutered, so there, now go buy some local artists’ pet project!

For some reason I was drawn to the marina yesterday to see what action was going on. I parked the truck and walked around by the boats. The gators were gone, but I saw weird patterns in the water
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then I saw this dsc03297resiz

and I knew I had found buried treasure! Manatees! 4 of them swirling around.  But, trying to catch their faces was another story.
These ‘baked potatoes’ of the sea would rarely put their whole face out of the water. I did manage a few and you can go to
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com or just type in offshoot2 in the search bar to take you there.
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I saw plenty of mallard type ducks – but not one muscovy.
I even asked a few city workers I saw if they had seen any muscovy ducks and they thought about it and said not recently.
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There were baby ducks, ibis, small herons and turtles, but no muscovy. Have not even seen Carbs or Elvis in about 5 days.
Haven’t seen baby crane either in over a week.

But seeing the manatees was a treat. There was one with a tatoo of A-5. Lots of scarring on the backs of those bodies.. I stayed over 2 hours watching them frolic from point A to point B and everywhere in between.  I wondered if it was mating season as there was a lot of manatee kissing going on, big wet ones… As Paris Hilton would say, “that’s hot”! (well it was about 87 in the shade)
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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.

The storm left us with an extra inch of water in the lake, a beautiful blue skyand temperatures in the upper 70’s.  So what does one do? Go fishing of course. By 6:00pm my heron waits to escort me down to the lake. We caught a few bream, but the turtles kept getting in the way as I cast. They follow the bread and it becomes such a pain avoiding them. But tonight none got hooked.
While I fished, who should come swimming up but Carbs!  I thought at first it was Elvis, but it was Carbs.  41509carbs-1resize

He saw the Pekin twins and all was exciting, the Pekins were so happyand it looked like they had all missed each other. I looked around the lake and the Band of Brothers were nowhere in sight. I gave up fishing and took a few pictures and left Carbs grooming and chatting it up with the Pekin twins. I came inside to blog about having him back. Then I heard a commotion and I see Carbs near the stump completely pinned down on the ground by one of the band of brothers, with the other two taking cheap shots by biting poor Carbs on the neck. I rushed over and chased the BOBs into the water and that gave Carbs time to run the other way. I got good exercise chasing the BOBs to the left and right off the property as they kept trying to come back up. Carbs was bee-lining through the neighbors yard and avoided further confrontation.

Once again Carbs is bullied off by the mallard/mix.  41509carbsreturns-1 Poor thing, he just wants to come back here and be my duck and the BOBs keep ruining it.  What is so amazing is how the BOBs respect Elvis. It makes no sense?  Why do they hate Carbs and dominate him?
duckselvisresizeElvis walks around the mallard/BOBs and the brothers do not make one aggressive move toward him.  They seem to know not to mess with ‘The King”. It sure is a strange society these ducks have. (Elvis in photo with BOBs – the other photos are of Carbs)

So for now Carbs at least escaped more harassing by the BOBs, I wish the BOBs would fly away and find another lake.  Anyone want three mallard mix ducks? I will gladly ship them to China if anyone there is hungry – though I bet their meat is tough!

Bye sweet Carbs, for now.  carbsy-1

Waiting to get pounded – under tornado warnings. All around us are straight line winds and maybe some hail. Outside it is as dark as night almost.   resize41409meter

We are now getting pounded, lots of rain and wind battering down. No thunder, no lightning. The aluminum roof over the porch is singing with the rain. The heron was here earlier as I had mowed and I’m sure she thought I was going to fish also. She sat in a tree for a half hour grooming.

41409heronb-1resize The woodpecker too is snug in his tree hole. earlier he was watching the sky. I fully expect to lose electricity anytime before I am through. I am hoping there is no tornado coming out of this, but maybe I should unpack the linen closet just in case, it’s our only safe room here that has no window or sky light.
Now the lightning has started. Ripples of competing thunder trailing close. The television news blaring reports.  Sounding like the war of the Gods out there! Lots of thunder in all directions, but rain has slacked off a bit.   Feel really bad for anyone in a car stuck in the middle of one of the cells they show on television. Funnel clouds have been sighted west of here. Will publish for now and hope to be back a little later, cause I’m not going anywhere unless I am blown away, literally…
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P/S — It’s almost 11:am, the storm seems to be fizzling out, but can feel a slight coolness to the air. The bulk of storms are now headed east. Still have storms around us, but weather nothing like what is headed toward the east coast! The rain is falling at a  perfect rate for absorption and boy do we need it. Will do a comparison meter at very end of blog tonight!
I should take a cue from the cats and go take a nap, they are not the least concerned, and are still on the porch, don’t seem to care about coming in. Sometimes I think the wisdom of cats is a better predictor than the weatherman.
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And of course, the damn Band of brothers is skirt chasing the Pekins at the lake.

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41009gatorb-1_edited-1 This morning went to marina hoping to find those weird cat fish. There in the water was a huge gator just looking
placid. In no hurry, the gator basically sat still letting the waves wash against it.  I bet it was about 10 feet long, it seemed so long from a distance.  Glad to see how low the water level was as I would not want to see that gator near a shore line.

41009gatorinmarinaa-1_edited-1 This was the second gator swimming around. It also looked quite long just measure it in relation to the boat!
It must be gator mating season, or they know it is Easter weekend and they have a sweet tooth for marshmallow peeps?!
41009fishfaces_edited-1 The catfish or carp type fish were there with their snouts up and sucking the air. If anyone knows what they are, email. They are most interesting to watch as they come up and down. Sometimes there is a fin that will slash through the water. 41009gapingmouth-1

There were very few birds around at all, hardly any ducks, wonder if that is in relation to having gators raoming the waters? I did find one female mallard with her buddy and she kept  bobbing ‘bottoms up finding something of interest at the bottom.
Who knows what it was, but it must have been good. I suppose the best way to bring this to an end is to say
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check out more photos       http://offshoot2.wordpress.com

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The female Pekin ducks have been hanging around
the males too long. Now they are emulating the same
behavior. This morning after the male mafia had been
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they all consorted with Elvis and followed the Pekin twins around, (no eggs so far this morning).
And after the males left, the girls were swimming and one  jumped on top of the other and
waterboarded her repeatedly for about a minute and then both came on shore and were BFF,
(best friends forever). This domination ‘game’ is crossing genders and I guess the females are
prone to acting out for showing who is boss of who just as the males do. I don’t know if Lily was
the boss or Daisy, but they have been corrupted by those mean mallard-mixes who use waterboarding
as normal domination we are discovering.
The baby heron was out this morning sitting on the trunk of my dead tree, I tried fishing a bit,
but he wandered off.
The day looks gloomy, supposed to make it to 90 degrees possibly. The humidity is already making my hair
frizz like the bride of Frankenstein, next thing I know there will be birds nesting in my hair as I fish!

Gotta go get ready to start the day….. Here’s a happy photo, a bee doing the right thing… not stinging me!
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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.

FINALLY – I tracked them down and got a few photos. The baby has been very well taught by the parents to be skeptical of all noise and older people with cameras. The baby darted out of view into the bushes and I would have to wait for it to feel safe enough to come out. I bet I was at least 75 feet from them, but the parents were fine, it was the baby who wanted my credentials before posing. I tried to hide behind a tree so it would come out, this was all I could get, but gives a sense of size of this 5 day old and he’s bigger than I remembered. The single child seems to thrive faster and grow bigger!
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P/S, so long to Carbs. Have not seen him since the band of brothers took over ruling the lake
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Elvis and Carbs March 2009

No Carbs sighting since last update, Carbs has been gone since around 2pm Saturday. This morning I went out at around 7am and only Elvis was swimming near the shoreline alone. He kept looking for his buddy, but finally swam away about ten minutes later. I could see the twins had left a morning deposit of two eggs near the edge of the lake.  Have wrapped up the eggs to keep them warm. The other two were clear when candled, so the birds can have them. Ahh, I miss my daffy muscovy Carbs, maybe he will come back later…
P/S – no baby heron yesterday either. As for the crane family, I am still waiting for them to make an appearance down here, every time I have gone to the nest, they are gone. This morning I am waiting for the big rain they are forecasting. It’s overcast and just a light rain has been falling at times, but lake is down a good three feet again since Fall!

This morning a fracas broke out in my yard! Carbs and Elvis and the twin Peking ducks were all socializing nicely and the ‘band of brother’ (BOBs) mallards that I had mentioned from yesterday showed up and they did not go after the girls! No, they singled out Carbs and took off chasing him around the yard and then into the water. The girls stayed on shore, but Elvis took off in the rear. The band leader mallard jumped on top Carbs and began unleashing a rape/mating stance. I’m confused… Was it an act of domination? The BOBs pursued Carbs with Elvis swimming in tow.  In fact, Elvis swam to Carbs side, but could do nothing until the mallard was through ravaging Carbs. bandofbrothersaftercarbs1

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(Carbs red head below lead duck)

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I think it is a property issue of domination. For the first year I lived here, the BOB’s (band of brothers) were here all the time. After that, I only saw them sporadically.  Now suddenly they come back to claim the place? And I have heard that ducks do NOT cross breed, but I have seen breeding between three different breeds of ducks.
As I was finishing this, Carbs and the twins have come back on shore. The band of brothers stayed off shore and bickered with each other. I went out side to snap some pics. Those BOBs are truly the bullies of the lake! When they tried to get back onshore, I chased them off so now they are next door and will probably be back again. And we as humans think we hold all the cards on emotions. I don’t know, I look outside and see another ducky version of TV/Land’s,  “The reunion Story”…

Today was a wonderful example of the kindness of nature with the birth of the new crane, and at the same time, the cruelty with the baby heron who must have fallen from that tall pine. Though at least I did see him make it to the water so I assume he at least had a drink of water and possibly ate some minnows. The baby heron remains quiet even when I hear one of the parents in the tree call out from the nest as I did tonight.  Though the mother still fished with me as if nothing was askew.  I noticed the baby heron both on the property where the tall pine is and hanging out next door, so he is sticking close to home, though I did not see him the whole time I was fishing.
Tonight for the third night he used his wings as arms climbing up the norfolk pine at the base. It pulls it self up to stay safe, at least it has good coping skills. Tomorrow I will fish and save a fish in a bucket for him. Ringo looked a bit too curious, but that heron is a lot taller than Ringo the cat!  The last I looked the heron looked tucked into the tree.
So here’s a good night from the babies of Loch Arbor in Sanford, Florida…
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good night from the baby heron…

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.
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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

It actually rained! (A little bit.) There was water falling down and things getting wet!  The air smelled earthy and clean and smoky too from all the burning acres about 15 miles away. In fact, the smoke really blew in heavily for a while on Sunday. It’s  dry and so much timber available to burn and if no humans were around, some of this would be a natural cycle and the land would just be clearing itself out. But when people and their dwellings are in the way, it gets to be scary.
The day was very gray when I woke up, a nice surprise. The birds were all over and Carbs and the sandhill came by to eat seed. I checked the nest twice today and no baby sandhill crane yet, maybe tomorrow.
After running errands I went to the marina in Sanford and took some pics of the sky and the birds and boats. Nothing exciting and new, but it is always fun to look out over the water and to enjoy a dramatic sky.
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I saw a bunch of snouts breaking the water, some at the same time and looked through my lens and saw they were cat fish all standing vertically and bobbing to get whiffs of air into their lungs. The wide mouths open and receiving the breeze. There were a lot of them all together. I had never seen catfish doing this before. Earlier I asked one of the fishermen if he had caught anything and then we proceeded to have a nice conversation about the variety of fish he caught there. We talked of catfish and I told them when they were caught they complained a lot and wanted to be let go. The guy laughed and said he didn’t care about any complaints, he just wanted them for dinner. So later, even though that guy was still fishing on the other side of the pier as I looked up, I did not disclose this treasure trove of a meal just about fifty feet from him. (He had a bucket of enough fish he had caught for dinner.)
Another thing that is outstanding are the gorgeous colors on the mallard ducks. They have the must beautiful blue/purple on a spot of their wings. the pigeons are also quite beautifully colored with pinks and purple hues and the males are always on parade. dsc00269

the sky was beautifully moody, the Florida sky is like that, clear, then full of clouds that change from one minute to the next.  dsc00350How lucky to
be able to enjoy it!

Watching the people fishing, the birds flying and swimming, the catfish gulping air, the water chronicling the moods of the sky was a wonderful way to clear out the cobwebs in the old brain. It is always sad to see the many homeless who wander about with all their lives contained within their pockets and grocery carts. How spoiled I am to be able to take those same moments in which they are trying to find something to sustain themselves for the day, and take my photographs without worrying about finding food or having a home. Life is sure an odd lottery — so far the numbers have been right for me and I have been lucky. But luck can always change, or maybe I have just seen way too many blackbirds today…
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dsc00016Woke up this morning and went out to feed critters and no Carbs. I didn’t see him anywhere around the lake. The girls came swimming up about fifteen minutes later, they did not see their man-duck and swam off. Yesterday Elvis had come to visit.
31809ducks-11 He and Carbs and the girls all yakked it up on the bank and then Elvis flew off and the girls left.

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Carbs has taken to jumping up on the stump and eating the bird seed, he doesn’t care a ducks ass about Ringo hiding to sabbotage the birds.

Will let you know if he comes back, maybe he is visiting Elvis??? It’s only 10:am – Do you know where Carbs is???

Now it’s 5pm, Carbs has a hiding place underneath the fallen tree, I called and called and finally went to the waters edge and saw a little red duck head peek out when he heard me.
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So he is still here, enjoying life in Abbesworld, and I’m
so happy he still likes it here, enough to hang out and be a duck model….

Okay, I think I told you I found two duck eggs the other day near the bank of the lake. One was already broken into, but the other was okay so I brought it in and padded it with a paper towel and put it on the porch. I found out that it can be “candled” on the third day and you will be able to see a beating heart or if it is clear, then it is not fertile. Tomorrow night I will let you know the results. And if it is fertile, then what? Do I raise a Pekin duck? Another duck? Am I quackers? I read that you are supposed to keep the egg warm and place under a ‘broody’ hen or muscovy if one is convenient. But since it’s mother is one of the Pekin ducks and neither has any interest in this egg, I guess this psuedo nest will have to do with the fake chicken sitting on top.  eggchurch

Maybe I can trick one of the old cats around here to share the warmth, they are old and sleep a lot and probably would not notice a lump beneath them, well Church, the one on my computer printer might, he’s a poor sleeper. And you can’t trust Ringo, we all know that!
As for the cranes, they seem to only have one egg now. (maybe I could sneak this Peking duck egg somehow under the crane and she could raise it?)  I looked back at the archives and saw that last year the ‘colt’ , sandhill crane baby was born on March 23, 2008.  Wow, that’s almost a year to the date of when this one should be born, (the 25th I am thinking). Those birds are quite the mathematicians! Who says all these birds are birdbrained???

frankie-egg As for cats being ‘broody’ surrogates, I’ll let you know ‘eggs-actly’ how long it took Frankie to notice she had an egg attached. From the looks of her, she’s ‘egg-statically’ asleep….

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First of all the clocks ‘sprung’ ahead last night, but I got up at normal time. Bella and Ringo the cat and I went out the back door, (actually Bella is about 3 feet behind Ringo being that Ringo is about twelve pounds heavier than Bella and sometimes looks at Bella as a nuisance animal and pounces.) The first thing I saw was the otter swim by so I turned and ran in for the camera and the otter was long gone. Missed that shot. But did see Elvis the duck was here visiting his buddy Carbs. They posed for me.

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My philosophical and wise neighbor Dee always says if you get one muscovy, a lot more will follow. I am hoping Carbs is keeping a low profile and only entertains once in a while. The worst thing is the duck dung, it is all over the bank and where I fish, I can no longer wear my shoes in the house after fishing, they have to be hosed off! Gross!                                             100_0065

The ducks were all at the lake and when we walked down there, I saw one duck egg on the bank. I walked over to go get it and a big black bird swooped it up in it’s mouth and took off! I am going to get out earlier to see if I can find duck eggs. I often see cracked ones so I assume Daisy and Lily the Pekin, Aflac ducks are on a roll, (ha ha ‘cheep’ humor.) I am going to try and hatch one if I find one whole. It just amazed me that crow could carry it off. I wish I had had time for that photo.

The mocking bird was singing away on the chimney as usual. His song fills the fireplace and living room with bird music in the early morning.  He is the reason I am not using the fireplace, too much nesting material up there!100_0072

The mama crane came over and gets more rusty looking all the time  – I looked in on her yesterday and she was sitting on nest so did not see if both eggs were present.100_0079And thats it for the morning at least. I missed two good photo opportunities. One day I will get that otter photo! Maybe it will show up tonight when I am fishing. Well, looks like a gorgeous Florida day with 80+ degree temp, I can dig it! The water level is dropping low, can’t see my small meter yet, but it will show soon if we don’t get any rain, it’s too dry.

One more close up of Elvis the muscovy to go- do you believe in reincarnation? This duck wiggles like Elvis too! Later…
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3609lilblueherona-1Had a little blue heron spend most of the afternoon around the lake. It sprinted from pad to pad and would stop to bend and catch some minnows and then be back on the run.

3609pekinduck-2_edited-1Pekin ducks came to call

3609heronintree-1 of course the heron was there as were both mama and papa cranes each taking their turn on the nest.

3609woodpeckerb-1The woodpecker too. No otter sighting and the
fishing was horrid, caught one fat catfish and he
complained the whole time till I freed it.
I have not check up on the cranes, but will do so tomorrow. I am once again babysitting for Bella the Chihuahua. She will keep me busy as her bladder seems to be a magnet to the carpet! But no worries, I won’t take pictures of the puddles…

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The otter was sooo close tonight! Under my fallen tree I heard a huge splash. I thought maybe it was a turtle, until I saw it’s face in the grass where the cranes had nested. I slowly put down my fishing rod, and got my camera, but the otter noticed and went under and I did not see it again until it was half way cross the lake. That’s his face surfacing from a good distance. I love watching them. They are so big and long. It’s more fun when there are two, they have quite a time playing.
Fishing was not the greatest, but look at this  3209gar-1_edited-1

This bad boy is a gar. The gars have a long mouth like a gator with long sharp teeth. This gar did not appreciate being caught and was like landing an enraged pit bull. I have no idea how it didn’t break the line. They are pure Hell to unhook, it is quite a manuver to keep the body still while a chomping mouth tries to take a good piece out of you.  This one was about 3 feet long and feisty. As soon as I unhooked it, it rolled right back into the water without any prodding.

The other thing tonight was the noisy baby heron. I tried to get as close as I could to take a picture, but that baby is way up high and he must have been hungry cause he was screaming his pterodactyl rampage in all directions for his folks. My small heron who had been with me must be its’ mother as she eventually got tired of all the screaming and flew up to calm her baby down. She didn’t stay too long as she knew I was near the lake. I stopped fishing to go try and get a photo of the screamer. I only saw one baby in the nest and it was a big one.  Look hard, the baby is standing to the side of the nest looking forward.
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The day was very cold, only in fifties, and when that sun left the shore, I could not stay out as it was way too cold for me in my 5 layers. But being out there for a while was fun. I encountered egrets, the heron, the ducks, a gar, the daddy crane, the baby heron and the antics of the otter. How can you have more fun in a matter of a couple hours…

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