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babycraneinnest32609cropb-1 Ya gotta look hard, but it’s out!!! happy birthday baby crane. I hope to see it here in a couple days! Will keep you updated, will go back later tonight. Sorry pics aren’t clearer but there’s too many weeds between me and the nest!

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

I left this morning and the baby was still in the pine.
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I came home around 2pm and he was gone. I looked all over and did not see it anywhere. The only heron I saw up in the old nest was one of the parents, but there is one other sibling I think I hear.  So in a perfect case scenerio, it got hungry, jumped down and walked to the lake and ate lots of fish. Then went somewhere in private to figure out how to use it’s wings.  And how I can relate to that. I went to a camera group meeting tonight where they were learning about different lighting. I took a note pad and pen and my sony and was ready to write down the secrets of doing photography with studio lighting. When I got there (late I have to admit because I was fishing), all kinds of different lighting equipment was set up to take photos. The group members there were all in action mode – they are all quite professional with their cameras and knew what the heck to do and I felt like the heron, I wanted to climb a tree and sit and watch below because these people are serious and fast and furious and I could not keep up with their pace! Plus I didn’t know how the different ISO’s and f-stops worked and I kept fiddling around using different settings and I got my usual weird take  on a photo shoot.
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pictwo_edited-1 I hope I’m not in trouble for using the photos without getting model releases!  (And I apologize if anyone is offended and they can tell me and I will remove their images.) These people are all very nice and obviously dedicated to their craft.  I saw glimpses of their photos and all were done so well within the lighting parameters, I sucked and felt like heading for the tree, retreating to taking pictures of animals in daylight. So I did the next best thing. I got to be the model, that way I could cop out and not have to pretend I knew what I was doing – Yes that was a total cop out –like that baby heron, you run for the place of safety, (not that being a model has any safety, I saw some of the photos taken of me and wondered who the hell was that old person sitting there, in fact that lighting didn’t flatter me at all.) Now I will just have to get online and watch some videos about the cameras details. I know I could have asked anyone there to help, but they were all very into their shots I didn’t want to bother.
Back to the story, the baby heron is missing, no egg was hatched and I didn’t accomplish anything with my camera tonight. The best part was a woman who said she read my blog and liked it, that gave me some props up to come home and finish todays’  blog. Oh well,  good or bad with the camera I guess people can relate to my take on nature, be it baby herons who flap their wings and just fall down, or a silly human lady who tries to use a dslr camera under complicated lighting and makes funny faces on print literally! The heron and I are both just flesh, (and feathered), and blood and a little stunted in our flights of fancy…
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P/S – have called wildlife rehabilitator, if the heron makes it to the ground they suggested putting a sheet over him and then calling them. (they obviously will not go up in a tree for a bird) — The audubon only takes birds of prey. Fish and wildlife division gave me a number, but again, that’s if it makes it the ground, so my plan is, if it does not come down, I will go fishing as usual, and when it’s mom comes down, I will hopefully catch a fish and throw it under the tree where the baby is standing and maybe the baby will finally either make a noise, or the mom will notice him, will keep you posted, as for now, I see it from my desk as I
write, it’s in the norfolk pine looking aloof…

No baby sandhill crane yet, Papa crane is on the egg as of 8am. BUT, poor baby heron still sitting in norfolk pine. He’s got to be very hungry as he has not eaten

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in at least 24 hours. Meantime. his father it looked like was sitting ‘shiva’ in the tall pine waiting for a sign. The baby does not make a sound and they are both so ‘near and yet so far…
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This morning while I was watching for the new baby sandhill crane to hatch, the baby great heron decided to try his wings for the first time and came down to a camilla bush.

100_0561 The poor little guy stayed there from about 8am, until he figured out where the ground was at 5pm!

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He wandered around the ground, but didn’t have a clue how to get back up to his pine tree nest over 100 feet up! He has been trying to figure out his wings, how they took him down and yet, won’t lift him up.  dsc00452

The heron walked around for hours looking for the nest. It remained silent. Hasn’t made much noise. While I fished it was still looking and the funny thing was, his mother was down with me and never noticed her wandering bird.
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At 7:30pm, the baby heron climbed up into my norfolk pine. I suppose he knew it had to find a place to sleep.   dsc00511

I could hear a racket up in the nest when the parents noticed their baby gone. I saw one heron take off flying. I wish I could speak ‘heronese’ to tell them where the baby was. But last I saw tonight. He was in the safety of the norfolk pine. I know it will be a long scary night for it. It is old enough to fledge, but they also say being young and immature, have a 70% survivor rate. I hope this little one makes it!  I’ll let you know if I see it in the morning light. I hate thinking it is so very scared all alone….ahhhh

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….

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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This morning I took camera and even telephoto lens and saw only one egg. I will check later on
and let you know if the other egg was just hidden…. These are todays look so far….

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Morning brings the cranes flying over for breakfast and fast moving clouds. The southern winds are blowing the warm gulf moisture toward the north. This afternoon the north cold front will clash with this warm mass and BANG, we should hear some activity! I was gardening in front this morning and watched a big otter cross from little Lake Amory into the canal that leads to our lake. I rushed in and waited and waited to see it swimming, but not a sign of it. Oh well, I will shower and look for it later… you know there will be a photo if I see it! Stay tuned

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Smoke and mirrors…the other day it was so cold here in Florida, in the fifties, which to me seems like below zero. But in the late afternoon, off to the west someone was burning leaves and the smoke combined with the light from the setting sun and seemed to bounce off the still water of little lake Amory. It looked like some enchanted forest whose entrance was being guarded by light beams. Behind the light was a time and place removed, and had I followed the beams, I might have been taken to a land where dreams come true…how about this dream, my 401K has no Citibank or other stock, and somehow it has been replaced with gold bullion…

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Last month in October, I was one of the artists who agreed to do Alive After 5, a monthly food and art venue in Sanford Florida. On my way to go there, I saw the dangerous looking sky following me as I made my way in. I watched the clouds take over as I set my art work up on the sidewalk under the long canopy. At the beginning of the fest, around 5:30pm, a solid rain began to fall, very steady. The street vendors who handle the food were getting wet, but had a great attitude as we all thought it would rain, but then pass over quickly and Octoberfest would proceed as normal. But by a half hour later, the rain came down harder. The street vendors were beginning to move their wares off the streets and under the safety of the canopies lining the streets. The angry thunder banged all around us and then struck it’s lightening bolts so close they looked like they might hit us at anytime. The cooks were fleeing the streets and sidewalks with their food as the 4 forces of rain, thunder, lightening, and wind smacked us solid —  tents went sideways, large umbrellas flew down the street, lights crashed down. I had already packed up my goods under the protection of their plastic and had them against the building waiting out the rain as I looked up 1st street and saw the water washing itself right down the street in flash flood fashion. The people on the sidewalk under the canopies really had nowhere they could go unless they wanted to be totally vulnerable to nature. It was raining and lightening too hard to leave for our cars which were several blocks away. So we all stayed there and watched nature do her thing and do it quite well! Some of the vendors on the streets were soaked and shivering. But there was nothing to do except watch the water parade down the middle of the street and hope the rain would slow down which it finally did and most of us took off and went home.
So this month they replayed Octoberfest and it was a gorgeous night to make up for the horrible time last month! It was in the 80’s and people were thick through the streets. You could see the people lined up waiting in lines all over for the many different dishes brought in. Lots of drinking and lots of music by a polka band at one end and a contemporary band at the other end. Even the moon was full of de-light, and I mean every word of that literally! Even though I didn’t sell a thing, it was still nice to see people I knew and chat and enjoy the other artists and their work. Check out Sanford next month, save the 11th of December and come on down to Alive After 5, eat, drink, and if you are an artist, they give you the free table and don’t charge you a cent to display, it’s good marketing for getting your wares out to the public. All the way around, the event is a winner!

great nights to take pictures! So much drama in the sky this am before sunrise. Not glad the clock turned back, that means must go fishing an hour earlier or it will be dark by 6, bummer…

  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…

This morning at 8am I grabbed my rod and walked through the yard to fish. I spotted the cranes flying across. They stopped at the neighbors and foraged through the backyards and finally came to my stump to grab some birdseed.
There is still nothing biting at the lake so I came back. I noticed Frankie the cat watching from her angle of what those 3 giant creatures were doing. I wondered what she thought when they all look back at her… Is she thinking, “bring it on you feathered birdbrains”, or “Oh man, I better act really cool then turn and go inside the porch.” She might have been thinking the first thought, but she followed through on the second…

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