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A cold front approaches. It’s another gray day, everything looks bland. 
The cranes came , did a rain dance. We are in need of moisture.  The heron was MIA in her nest for 4 hours, maybe she was fishing.   The nest is filling out slowly.
She did come back in early afternoon.  A pair of ibis came foraging for food.
and a pied-billed grebe came by and dove under the water when he saw me.   They are funny looking.

I tried my hand at macro, but wind was blowing and the focus was almost impossible. But did get a few pics in to show.  So here’s a few…

Someone told me that those are some sort of beetles mating and not lady bugs.
Ringo the heron and I fished,    but the wind was whipping and the drizzling rain was getting cold and miserable, so I had to come in.  The heron was in her nest and it was waving in the wind.   Ringo came to the back door and decided to come in and dry off.
Right now Frankie is in my lap and my legs have lost all circulation,    ugh, I must get up and move.   Oh, I was looking at my match holder and realized I must get a chimney sweep to clean out  the fireplace.   For now, that’s it, and I’m sending a rose to Tabbie to let her know I am thinking about her and hope she is feeling better.
And here’s a video from Tampa, a bit shaky, but hope you enjoy anyway…     

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On my second official nature walk where I am supposed to be exercising, I find myself walking on parts of Mayfair golf course which is full of mature live oaks.  mayfairgca-1_edited and sometimes

the hawks and other birds are within a good photo range. What I really want to see are more of what everyone says are fox squirrels.  Well what I thought they were fox squirrels, but according to wikipedia and other sources, fox squirrels are pretty common  gray squirrel looking squirrels.  foxsquirrel So now I had to go pull up squirrel mugs and see what I was really looking for.  The squirrels at the golf course are unique – the first time I saw them I thought they were either prarie dogs or ferrets jetting across the greens. They are larger than normal squirrels, and they have very interesting faces. When I finally got my first photo of one, it had a mushroom stem in it’s mouth and looked like it was smoking.  foxsquirreld-1Today I found two that were quite a distance and I tried to make my way over close to where they were and not get whacked in the head by some golfer, (I heard that more sandhill cranes down here are killed by golf balls than anything else. )  42809foxquirrelsstanding The fox squirrels just might be called Sherman’s fox squirrels, which technically makes them still fox squirrels. I will research further. They certainly were not wanting their faces photographed, one took off and one started climbing a pole that was not too close, so I did the best I could in capturing it’s image.  42809shermansfoxsquirrela-1resix It says they can get up to 27″ long and I believe it, they are big. The funny part is, I only live about a half mile away and they don’t seem to cross the road. They seem to like it on only one side of Country Club blvd. It would be so cool to see these animals in my yard. But then again, if I had all my wishes for wildlife in my yard, there would be a mini Africa around here and probably no room for me.

dsc02705 That’s him! The missing baby heron has grown a bit and now he   and his sibling have taken to regular flights back and forth to the nest. I am convinced that is the same one who was rejected. What’s fun is to watch the two babies fly awkwardly around the lake, they stop and eat at different spots then fly back to the nest to compare. They are always competing up there, YAK YAK YAK, their necks go up and down, their wings extend and it’s always competiton.

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I enjoy looking out and seeing their activity from my desk. Yesterday the one baby was here twice and that’s the one I think finally found his way back home.
It’s also quite evident the dragonflies are busy. At the lake they are all over. I also get them on the porch and have to take them outside. They do pinch too! dfAnd of course, the band of brothers and Pekins are here off and on as usual and even Carbs will show up during early evening then take off before the BOB’s pick on him.  carbsresize

Then last night I was flipping through the channels and came across the American network and another winged specimen  the  old Batman series with Adam West and he looked like a little kid!  bmresize

dsc06519dsc06531 The bat mobile looked so cheap, but it was fun watching the action scenes with POP, POW and cartoon effects when our imaginations were so much simpler. We had no bloodshed, only lame storylines and stupid acting that made it work in the 60’s.      I stuck around and saw The Hornet was next and watched about ten minutes and my son pointed out that Bruce Lee was the Hornets butler. How weird! The Hornet was really a great looking guy!

hornetreisix So it was a full day of wings and even Ringo the cat was exhausted and dreaming as his tail seemed to take flight. Was he dreaming of flying, or growing up to become a lion and catching all kinds of things? 42409ringolion

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BRRRR, it’s in the fifties and my fingers are so cold from being outside and taking heron pics. The heron is up in my pine tree. I only wish it were building its’ nest there like a couple years ago. I loved having baby herons making so much noise! The herons should be nesting now. But I have not seen them in their main tree they always nest in. Usually by now we notice herons grabbing branches for their nests. Once they begin building they are relentless in getting sticks and material to build the monster size homes. But I don’t notice this one doing anything except watching the water. With a cold front going through, I doubt the fishing would be good. Maybe it’s bad for the heron too and that is why she has come to call, hoping it will get me to bring out my pole and catch a bream to throw her. This heron is the smaller one, the other one is larger, that’s why I think it’s the female.
I don’t know, I came inside and am watching the stock market tank, the recession grow darker, maybe soon my portfolio will totally tank and I will be fishing for the both of us…

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There is some serious pupation going on here. Went out this morning to take photos of some cardinals, and as I looked up there was an odd shape dangling from almost the middle of my screen door frame. Upon inspection I found a monarch cocoon. This  small, exquisitely decorated ornament dangled proudly for the sun to catch the light on the tiny gold dots making it sparkle. How lucky to be able to watch it’s progress in plain view.
I have repeatedly told my friend Beda, ( http://anhinga.wordpress.com ) that she was so lucky to have monarch pupas. She gets a lot of them. I see the larval stage, but never the chrysalis. So now I get to watch firsthand, the progression of the pupa that should take two weeks.
good source for info: http://www.kidzone.ws/animals/monarch_butterfly.htm

So I am feeling a bit excited watching my proud dangler. And of course, the updates will be here… Oh, and here is my handsome cardinal!

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Ever get out the clippers and start trimming away at dead follage and suddenly, whamo, a sting here and there? Well, today I was out trimming the bird of paradise and bent over and there on the underside of the leaf was a good sized wasp nest inches from my head. Luckily I didn’t disturb them as the wind was blowing a lot and I think they mistook my motion for the breeze, It seems the wasps around here love the undersides of plants like this bird of paradise. I hate it when I’m gardening and get stung. Sometimes I don’t even think about it and get right under my plants and pull weeds only to find either the damn ants are attacking my feet and hands or bees are building some prime real estate. I did clip off that leaf and threw it in with the leaf trash as the wasps flew off. So the next generation on that particular leaf won’t be waking up to join the garden party of “let’s sting the the host”.  I see a few regular bees, but mostly these wasps who will make their nests on light fixtures outside or anywhere they just want to piss you off from. I had several near the front door where they would build and I would knock it down and they would rebuild and I would knock it down, and then I sprayed and that helped for a while. I guess you just have to accept that this is just about natures ‘natural selection’,  they seem to select places that I naturally appear…

  Gray, sunless morning. The morning of the impending cold front.
Right now it is very warm, (80’s) and very very muggy outside.
  Wings of gray have been fluttering among the humid mist.
The mockingbird always sings down my chimney to welcome in the morning.
The cranes have been down foraging in the sandy shoreline along the water. And,
the heron made a surprise appearance. It has to be about time for them to
mate and make their nests.  I am hoping to see more herons as it seems they have
been away and should be returning to keep their numbers going. I have not had a
heron standing close by as I fish for sometime now. But then again, fishing has been
quiet. Not even many turtles. Too much hydrilla and duckweed in water. The County is
trying to get us to add to our taxes by getting us to use a municipal bond to spray. 
Why can’t they offer a grant for windmills to stimulate the water, or grass carp and natural
cures without making it all about governmental add ons and pesticides? It is all about the
green and I don’t mean the trees and grasses. 
   The face of this small 13 acre lake changes each year. Three years ago there was an algae
bloom that looked like wooly clouds had fallen into the lake and were going to blot it all up.
And all the water creatures looked as if they were being starved of oxygen. Each day I would take
my rake and pull that thick sponge covering off to make sure the fish and turtles had a place to breathe. The thick glop would dry out and looked like cotton when dry. It was from all the run off by the gold course constantly fertilizing to keep it visually appetizing for the golfers. Plus many people use excessive fertilize, some have faulty septic tanks and it all adds up to lake pollution. That was the worst I have seen it.  Once the cold weather came through, the piles of algae sink to the bottom making it ‘nutrient dense’ which is another problem.
The winter of that thick algae bloom, the county got the owners of the culprit Lake next to us by
the golfcourse to take a municipal bond and they cleaned up the lake that feeds into ours.  It
made a big difference in the run off for us.  We have not had algae bloom like that in the past two years. But the non native plants are invasive and sink their roots in and grow with glee.
   This year I have a shoreline with lots of duckweed and spikey grass. Grass carp sure might fill the bill. But of course, we need permits and government okay. We do still have a few left over from
a time they introduced the sterile fish a few years ago. I heard the otters ate many. The County
has since told the owners of the lake with the municipal bond that they need more money for
spraying because it costs more. Of course that was going to happen, that’s government for you,
it’s always inflation and demand driving the price. I heard the spraying has been cut back a bit, wonder if they have watered it down even as compensation? There is still a film that seems to stain that lake near the canal that feeds downstream into our lake. It might be pollen, but sometimes it
looks like that familiar soft sheen of chemicals. We humans are awfully hard on our water sources.
   Isn’t it nice to escape the reality of human problems and the television drone of talk of politics, violence, and recession? All I have to do is look outside and something with wings or scales is busy gathering its’ creature needs. It seems so simple for them, just fend for yourself and your family. All species do this, but humans are much more dependent on everything around us. It is the complex simplicity that strikes me about nature, so easy and yet so complicated. How to eat and nest and survive the appetite of something else.  We do that too, but somehow our struggle seems almost egotistical driven, needs needs needs for the goods on demand. The creatures make it seem so unhindered: eat, shelter, reproduction, survival, they make it look like almost valiant as we humans sloppily struggle along. Ummm, sounds like a perfect excuse to go fishing, see ya later…

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