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Yesterday grabbed Adam and went to see Pirate Radio which had a nice vibe, good actors, great music, simple and fun, no thinking involved.  Then up to the Gateway for set up.
100_6777re Had baby clothes, T-shirts, cups, cards, all kinds of things to sell besides framed art.  A cute dog named Lucky was running around trying to help too. He was adorable.  100_6767re 100_6769-1re (don’t ask what setting I had on that last Lucky pic.)
We headed home and Adam took wonderful photo as we passed over the 17/92 bridge

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Diane Miller, head of the Photography club at Gateway who was in charge of getting everyone their placement and making things run smoothly, could not have been kinder or more accommodating.  There were potters, quilters, jewelry makers, fine artists, even an artists who painted on leather. The excitement was building.

This morning I was up at 6:15, at the Gateway by 7:30am. The weather could not have been more perfect for those having tables outdoors.  100_6835re They have a weekly farmers market each week. Outside they had very interesting booths.  A guy named Joe,  did woodcarving and had beautiful wooden mini houses.  100_6838re There was one man who made solar light holders.  100_6844re There was a quilter called Loving Stitches, a man selling things to benefit a border Collie Rescue, his dog Cali was a beaut!  100_6846re And very well behaved dog too.
Of course there were jewelry vendors,  and my good friend Judy Segall and her beau Rob came with the coolest assortment of Asian/African instruments of which Rob was giving  free demos making people smile.
http://www.judithsegall.com
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Inside was an impressive group of artists.  The inside quilter, Paula had gorgeous quilts, and hand dyed scarves and as is a weird 6 degrees of separation,
100_6828re she knows my cousin,  Sue, who quilts under the name of Grannie Suzannie   http://www.granniesuzannie.com/
There was a man who made wooden bowls,   100_6797re And gorgeous abstract art by Nestor Charneco.  100_6788re Next to me was Bob who had hundreds upon hundreds of wildlife photos taken from his many African trips.  100_6799re
100_6795re The giraffe by the lady opposite me was very clever – do not have her name.
Also saw an architect named Don E. Grannon who was new to art, but really had interesting work.  Linda Bishop had well thought out paintings, as did the watercolor artist from St. Augustine beside her.  No more names, I’m sure The Gateway site will have much better in depth photos. Ed Cogle was on the job taking photos, his wife Nan was selling jewelry and both are always smiling.  100_6831re
http://www.gatewaycenterforthearts.org/
The volunteers for the Gateway were so kind, they came to give us breaks by sitting at our booths so we could walk around, stretch out legs, eat some of the wonderful cooking, the tomato Bisque was so thick and full of flavor.  Diane had also organized a room where children could come and pick out donated items from the artists to buy very cheaply.  (My duck photo was rejected, is this the point you give up on trying to sell art when you can’t even give it away to kids????)
The drawback was the attendance was light!  There was no advertisement and this needs to be addressed for future events!  But I thank Sandra Wilson and Diane for their efforts and visions, and a million thanks to the ever ready volunteers!  Plus a big shout out to the bright lights that flash when you look in the room and see your neighbors and friends shining faces!  Thank you wonderful supporters for being there for me! I appreciate it more than you know! Sonja, Dee, Becky, Sandra, you all rock!
By 4pm, I was on the road home with all but two items. Swapped a lot of stories with many people about their sandhill crane sightings.  When I arrived home, I was ready to get everything out of the truck and put it away.  Adam came back from work after 5 and we decided to go grab some Outback food – the timing was perfect! We got right in and I heard about his great time at the midnight showing of Repo at the Enzian, he got home after 3am and was at work 5 hours later. I found out her had plans to return to the Enzian tonight featuring Jewish filmakers with the latest Coen brothers movie.  That kid is a walking movie fest!
I would say that as of tonight, I am not feeling like doing these venues anymore, they are actually depressing.  The one plus is certainly meeting new artists and people. I will try making an Etsy site when I get back from Tampa and see where that goes. At this point, the economy is not lending itself to art for sure. Most of the artists I talked with had sold next to nothing. The ones selling art were the jewelry makers.  One tries to look around and see what sells, how other booths are set up, but this hauling of stuff is really not something I am enjoying. Now it’s time to work on internet sales I suppose and if that goes nowhere, then what the Hell, I give away all this crap and only take photos for blogs, I mean what’s the difference? I am doing that now and it makes me happy, the money would just add a bit more happiness if ya know where I’m comin’ from!

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Frankie inspects the bounty, we are on a mission! Somewhere in my attic is a mouse, or worse, a rat or even worse, plural—EEK!
I hear the foot prints over my computer desk. I thought it was a squirrel for a while and figured it would leave, but then noticed that there was mouse crap in the garage. I took everything out of the garage Tuesday and uncovered a nest of some lose, torn plastic and inside was birdseed and nuts from the bird seed, a nice stash for a mouse wanting to eat at home. Then I pulled an old antique mirror away from the wall and saw a big field mouse or a young rat and she ran. I had the doors, both the door to the outside and the double garage door open, but it hid behind a desk. I found Ringo and brought him out with me, he sniffed around and stopped at that nest and sniffed and sat . I pulled it open and 8 baby pinkies were in the nest. Ringo baby sat  100_6092ringore and the mouse must have snuck out.  I pulled everything out and looked in all nook and cranies. Next strategy, put the squealing babies in a box and put them up in the attic with Ringo, I was hoping their distress would bring out a sympathetic rodent.  Ringo bounded up the ladder to the attic and I sat up there and watched him disappear, but it was hot up there, I came down after five minutes, Ringo stayed about fifteen minutes, he didn’t bring anything with him, but went inside and plopped down on the kitchen floor to cool off. It has to be 100 degrees up in the attic because it is mid nineties on the ground. I brought the babies down and left their box outside figuring maybe the mom would come back or maybe there was some nice snake who would be quick. Sorry, I do not want 8 more rodents around here.
I had my son put expanding caulk in the place where the air conditioner wiring goes through between garage and outside.  100_6132re And sealed up everything, EXCEPT, the roof long vents, that is where they had to have gotten in,  100_6134re – they are open and have plenty of room to welcome the weary animals who get tired from climbing the roof. I bought wiring to try and rig inside the vents, but not just yet!
What’s next? Strategy planning, first I called the critter removal places, it’s either a free inspection and $250 with no guarantees or even more depending on what they find and the services they deliver. I have found they clean up and repair damage. It’s $89 for some to come set the traps and then a few days later another $89 to retrieve and remove the dead animals. Everything is ala carte, one place says they have a 5 and 10 year guarantee, but who knows if they will be in business when you call them in a week to pick up the traps? That makes those mice worth their weight in gold. What I need is three hungry feral cats to go out and have a field day! But since that isn’t feasible and I don’t want Ringo up there around all that insulation anymore, THIS IS WAR!
I have employed neo-con thinking, screw the Geneva Comvention stance on these rodent terrorists, forget it PETA, unless they want to come save the animals. I am going to employ Abu Ghraib tactics — loud loud torturous music supplied by two boom boxes simultaneously blasting music at full blast from the two attic access doors.I am looking at music choices now and will load a DVD later with our special rodent removal songs. Right now I am researching the music our military used on terror suspects. AC/DC, Britney Speirs, Metallica, I am scrutinizing, but at this point, I am considering Hendrix, Judas priest and even a bit of William Hung, remember that guy, Keith Olberman was obsessed by him.  794a297b8143fa02 We will experiment a bit, and when we come up with the right mix, we will blast from the boom boxes and I will be standing by with my camera to see if there is any exodus. If it works, I will sell my rodent revenge mix for $19.99! That will save people a lot of dirty work, and a lot of financial pain!
If that does not work, we will switch to plan B — dehydrating/bloodthinner D-con biscuits and big traps. Plan C- is the default pet removal –   Stay tuned….
71c3916b4c9ab0c0 This rodent image caught my eye, what the Hell???

 

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

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

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The full moon is affecting the ducks. This morning I found Carbs on the porch! He never comes that close when I am outside. Frankie the cat sort of stared at him and hissed.

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Carbs ate the birdseed at the stump and settled under my budding, Myers lemon tree for a morning siesta, while the Pekins sat under the plastic fishing chair closer to the lake and one had layed an egg.
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And all seemed peaceful and hot as hell and humid, and the nice start to the morning, when all of a sudden, there they are — the damn band of brother mallard/mix. The bullies of the lake appear on shore. DSC05064bob1 There are 3 of them and one of me. I side track one away from Carbs while the Pekin ducks are chased in the water by the two others, of course they go right on top of one of the sisters and
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rape-mate. The other one chases Carbs and I ran and ran, finding Carbs being jumped on by my house first,
DSC05069cb-1 and I chased the mallard off and poor Carbs is not a fast enough runner, (and neither am I, and frankly I had pajama bottoms on and did not want to run through neighbors other than Kim who understands I sometimes have PJ’s on in the morning),  khrape-1
though the orange is Kim’s house where poor Carbs is getting dominated again. And then I chased them off and the last I saw was all three of the band of brothers being mean and trying to rape and dominate poor Carbs through the neighborhood. rc-1

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Poor Carbsy! That mallards would hop on top at every stop – (excuse the poetry pun.)  I hate those creepy mallard brothers!  They come out of nowhere, pillage and leave.  I have to figure out how to trap those damn bullies of the lake. I’d take them out to another lake in Orlando or somewhere one by one just to get rid of them and maybe when they are not together, they would not be so mean.  And it makes me so mad that I can’t even keep up with a duck, they are pretty fast, or maybe I am really out of shape and I think its the latter.  AND–what do I do with that nice fresh duck egg? It might be the spawn of Hell!

53009carbs-1 CARBS! Carbs the duck was by the stump this morning looking for seed. What a surprise! It was good to see him, he ate then waddled away not even waiting for the Pekins who were not far away. Hope he will come more often. I will have to go by the marina to see if there are more muscovy ducks up there now.
I had another surprise last night — a moorhen has built a nest in the cattails and tall grass about twenty feet from the bank. She used bent cat tail leaves as the base or kind of platform  and built it up with nesting material. 53009moorhennest-1 52908moorhenonnest_edited-1

It holds two ‘hen-size’ eggs that I can see, though they say usually there are 5 or more. I only see two. It takes about 27 days to hatch so I will keep an eye out.
Outside it is HOT and it is only morning. When I was out at 6:45am it was already humid and hot and when the sun breeched the homes across the lake, WHEW! That stare down was no competition, I got out of the suns way!
Today I might get the boat my neighbor does not want anymore. I am so hoping I get it, my son and I have big weeding projects for our area of lakefront.  And that’s today so far, got a long way to go yet and temperature is supposed to hit 93!!! I will be in most of the day!  And here’s a face that popped up last night while I was fishing – the mooch turtle face with feather – oh, that’s a duck feather stuck to its’ chin. then there is always Ringo and how he deals with the heat… ringotakessnooze

That was fun being among tanks of floating things. It constantly reminds one of how “grounded” humans really are.
The Tampa Aquarium was packed on Saturday and I got in free for being a mother,  that was a good deal! All around that place was glass with a vast world beyond it. Tanks and tanks of beautiful swimming life.  jellyresize Jelly fish, sharks, dragon fish, sea horses, alligators, otters and much more. Each floor is loaded with visual excitement.  I loved the large round tanks loaded with yellow trigger fish. Of course the salt water fish are so full of color and beauty and the freshwater seemed so dull in comparison.
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The shrimp were festive, the many sights prove to remind us there is much in this world to care about and try and preserve.  The world below sea level inspires one to think that we humans also started out in that gravity free, ‘floaty’, state moving about on an umbilical leash tethered inside the ‘womb tank’.  Then rudely enough, we are pushed out and dried off never to have that total aqua suspension again. Oh sure, we can swim and we can dive, but we visit the wet world as a foreigner. Nothing wrong with being a foreigner exploring new land, (or water or sky) — it sure gives us places to visit that normally we wouldn’t see, but then we must go home again.
An enormous aquarium like this gives us a view into the nooks and crannies of wet places many of us would not have an opportunity to experience.  We need places that educate us to what an extraordinary world we have.    My favorites were these big silver looking fish, 5909silverfish-1edit

they looked like they had been freshly plated, all shiny and sleek. Plus there were more than just fish, there were nesting birds up on the third level with the freshwater tanks and comedic turtles, both sea and fresh water.
Maybe the most interesting creature was the last one I saw as we were getting ready to leave,
the mermaid was wearing items I bet never touched anything but a dry cleaners…

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I eat too many of these dsc066281 – anyone that knows me, know I have a huge sweet tooth, I am a sugar addict for sure. You come to my house and I have serious candy and cookies! I am a carb freak. So this morning I went to Lake Mary Farmers Market and tried to get things to make me healthy.
First I stopped by the honey booth, honey-1 and bought honey with a honey comb in it.  Bill Frederickson owns Frederickson Apiaries, he’s a bee keeper and will even suit you up and show you what it takes to be a bee keeper.  I buy their local honey, it is wonderful! You can call him at 407-765-1048 to see his operation in Geneva Florida.
Then I looked around to see what was available. 100_1142

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I bought fresh tomatoes, broccoli, snap peas, and a few other veggies. There were booths with natural pet food, fresh coffee beans, homemade pies, hot sauces, barbeque, nuts. Lots of vendors under a canopy of trees with a singer belting out  pop tunes from a gazebo.  Saw a face painter and also a wildlife painter named Judy Troy who had beautiful note cards made from her paintings which were very reasonably priced. We chatted for a few minutes and I bought a couple cards to support the arts. Then I went back home again and opened the canvas bag to withdraw my treasures.
dsc06622 I tried the honey comb which the honey was excellent, and the bees comb is very waxy, but still seems interesting to look at in the jar.  I sliced a tomato

dsc06620and washed some snap peas and fresh broccoli and indulged in eating good
veggies for my health. I am now dying for a turkey bacon, tomato and lettuce sandwich and will run to the store for turkey bacon in a few.  After
I ate what was on my plate, I felt like I had been so good until I saw my bag and dipped in for a few dsc066282 cookies, you know you
have to balance the yin with the yang, the good with the evil, pink and green. That’s just the way it is in Abbesworld…

This morning began with a walk, if you call it that when one takes their camera. I decided I need to try and get some ‘legit’ exercise, (yawn). I used to walk at a good clip, but kept getting heal spurs and then of course, you don’t walk. But I thought today might be the day to start again so I put on the shoes and stopped about 200 feet away to take a photo of a tree hugging another tree 100_1113resizetree.  I stopped a few more times to take photos of wonderfully bucolic scenes.

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I saw a hawk preening, squirrels everywhere, and heard plenty of birds. It is good to go out and really look around as you walk taking in all the sights. (I am not sure if it is effective exercise, but it’s good for the heart and peace of mind).
The trees around here are old and stately. I saw a staghorn fern growing on an oak, it was gorgeous, but my friend Dee has a wonderful huge staghorn fern she artistically hung in her own back yard that is quite beautifully displayed.  42609staghornfernb-1resizefernontree_editedresize
After coming home and finding that my Adobe photoshop was not working, I was in a panic. It really put me in a bad mood. Then the band of brother ducks were here mooching
at the stump so I chased them and came to a quick stop when I saw a really long yellow rat snake.  It was a mean one too, you could tell by his expression. I felt like I was trespassing on my own property, I got as close as I dared as he was in full striking position. I will have more pics on  http://offshoot2.wordpress.com (later) .
The baby heron also visited twice. He shows off his flight techniques which are improving. The baby comes to the area where I fish at least twice a day now. He still has the baby coloring, but is larger than his father! What is in the water in this lake?
Also today the newer cranes came to eat seed off the stump, they were wandering around the yard when out of the blue, the old rusty couple came to claim their stake. They left the baby at home I suppose. I have not seen the baby in a while. After they chased the young couple away, they flew off.  dsc02944heronresize
My son and I finally got the Photoshop working so later I will add some pics to Offshoot.
The wind has been tough for 4 days now, it blows like a ‘noreaster’ at times off the lake, no fishing and the Mama
heron hasn’t bothered to come and see if I was going to fish or not lately. I tried tonight, but I threw the line out and it comes wobbling right back in a matter of seconds.
The point of the blog today is get your mind working as you walk, take in the surroundings like a dirty voyeur, take pleasure in hugging trees, bad ducks, mean snakes, birds that fly over head and squirrels on the ground. You are not alone out there, so turn off that ipod and listen to the birds sing, the wind blow and even the snakes hiss, their music is a reminder to yourself that sometimes you must slow down and hear what others are saying – it’s the universal language of love and renewal.
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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

Did you ever see the sun go down and you are convinced it was like no other night? Well last Thursday when I had to run an errand, it was 7:55pm and the sunset which I normally can’t see because of all the trees around the Loch Arbor area, was closing in over Interstate 4 and was one of the best sunsets I have ever seen! The peaches and dark pinks were astonishing, it had gift wrapped the sun in peach and was there to be photographed and I did not have my camera. I am lucky enough to have the sunrise right pop up right over the lake in my backyard, but I do miss the sun going down.
Last night as I was fishing, it was getting later and filtering through the trees I could see it might be another pink one. So I put down my rods and tackle box, said a rushed good night to my heron and the cats

catsandheron420-small who by now know I am wacky and accept it.  Though the heron does get a bit miffed when I leave early.  In fact, the cats stayed there sleeping while the heron escorted me in.heron420 But I had to see what was unveiling tonight. I grabbed my camera and truck keys and off I went toward I-4 heading west chasing the sunset. But I was just too late, it was after 8pm and the sun had about avoided me by pulling up most of her stakes and taking her light toward California. I pulled into Kohls parking lot and watched the absolutely stunning remnants of the sun pulling her light away and the clouds left by the cold front. The clouds seem to be folding their colors into the fabric of the night. And it was worth it, and though I didn’t have anyone to share it with, that’s the great thing about blogging, you can n see the totally unretouched pics I have. I do have to say, it is worth it to get a glimpse of something that takes your breath away. It is something that brings a lot of peace and a smile, but then again, I am afforded that each day with my wildlife too. So chase sunsets, it’s worth every minute!
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The heron family is rather perplexing. The babies are still living with the folks even though they are able to fly. The question is why? A few days ago they seemed to be gone and the parents were up there alone and were actively searching for them amongst the branches of their tree. There was no noise and when the babies are up there, there is plenty of prehistoric noise emanating from that nest. heronlookingforkidsresize

father in nest looking for kids

Normally the babies fledge, or learn to fly at 2 months, the two up in the nest have been there for  3 months and show no sign of wanting to leave. Why should they? They eat well and have good company and shelter. They are also huge.  dsc02363-resizwWay too big for the nest itself.

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Usually they herons breed in colonies. I have been here 5 years almost and the babies seem to leave and don’t come back. We are still lucky that we do have this couple that likes being here year after year. Maybe the new inhabitants will start a colony close by since they like it here. Maybe it’s because the mother feeds them so well? haha

dsc02607-resize But, why ponder? My female crane is walking up to go fishing – she will be near my door soon looking for me to get my rods. I’d ask her if she feels it a burden having the kids at home, but she doesn’t like to talk when we are fishing…

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

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

4609babycranec-1_edited-1 Finally, my neighbor called and said the cranes were visiting her. I drove over and there they were. The baby looks so big to me.
I took about 70 photos of the shy bird. The parents feed it well.
while I watched, it ate 5 worms!

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They still have not come to visit me, though the father crane
will fly in and eat seed from the stump and then fly back to the family.

Enjoy the family, I sure do!

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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???

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

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…

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