Thursday, August 21, 2014
August 21, 2014: a very special day today over at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.
It was the day that after 7 months of life-saving care, nuturing, and familiarization, the rescued, endangered, Florida Panther kitten, now named Yuma, was to be introduced to his new permanent habitat at the park.
Everyone was there.
Funny thing- I had been given the wrong location in the park for the event and when I entered and went there, there was not a soul in sight. I checked at the entrance building and it was deserted. I called the main office and got only an answering machine. There was no one! The place was deserted!
Everyone was over at the Animal Presentation Pavillion awaiting the big event.
I headed over.
Several brief introductions were made, a few words from each, many thanks were given to everyone involved in the rescue and care and future well being of Yuma.
Park Manager Kimberlee Tennille; Dawn Jennings, Panther Coordinator, USFWS; Clifton Maxwell, Florida Park Service, District 2, Bureau Chief; and Chris Wynn, Regional Director for Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Then the press, and then the guests, were directed over to the new enclosure, where after brief count-down the gate was lifted that gave access to Yuma into his new newly renovated and wide-open habitat.
At first he cautiously looked at this new opening, then stepped forward just enough to see what lay beyond; then a slow walk along the back fence, near to his familiar holding pen, where for the last several months, he had been brought for half an hour, twice a day, to acclimate him to his future home.
Gaining confidence, he moved further out into the open space and started exploring. He paced around the perimeter, being distracted occassionally by some plant or feature that called for a brush or a paw or a chew, and glanced at all the people up on the boardwalk watching his every move.
Suddenly, a large butterfly flew past him and, instincts taking over, he burst into chase mode and leapt after it. Seeing it fly away, too high, he just as quickly resumed his slow pace and exploration.
He came to the front to see what all the commotion was about, having no idea it was him, and he seemed to be looking for one of his ranger friends to come in and play with him.
At one point he stopped right in front of me, for he recognized the man next to me, Dr Ball, the veterinarian who had raised him from "Chilly Willie" to Yuma, Son of the Chief. He made two chirps, calling out to his friend.
Dr Ball, Veterinarian to the Lowry Park Zoo and the Homosassa Wildlife Park, raised Yuma.
I have video of that: and several other clips, interviews, sound recordings, and stills, but that will all be a few days in editing.
I returned later, after the crowds had dissipated, and found that Yuma had pretty much settled down into his new digs, finding a spot in some tall grass behind a tree, and keeping watch for anything that might move and give him reason to pounce; but otherwise, just relaxing on what was another very hot summer day in Florida at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Spring Wildlife Park, now the home of Yuma.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
LU GETS HOSED
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
WDW JAZZ BOAT
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
INTO THE BOAT BARN
Lightening strikes nearby cut short my runs last Saturday...
Friday, July 04, 2014
IT'S THE 4th OF JULY: LET'S BLOW UP THE SKY!
I celebrated the 4th of July 2009 on the beach at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort.
Started with a campfire and song and dance- both of varying quality, but a lot of fun!
Followed by toasting marshmallows, and general camaraderie.
At the end of that bit, our Cast Member Host gave each of the kids a patriotic tiny rubber duckie! Well, you all know me: I'm just a big kid...
Then on down to the shore for the movie, I forget what it was...
interrupted about half way in by some noise coming from behind us at Epcot!
This was the show that night at Epcot, as seen from the bridge over to the Swan and Dolphin Resorts.
Epcot Fireworks 4th of July 2009: http://youtu.be/6dG1oF8d3KA
And these are other shows from other times, the 4th at Walt Disney World.
Illuminations 4th of July Tag 2011: http://youtu.be/xgyVUk7_0oQ
Magic Kingdom 4th of July Fireworks Part 1: http://youtu.be/NRTzDRhWDMQ
Magic Kingdom 4th of July Fireworks Part 2: http://youtu.be/pwK45x4A7W4
And last year, a couple of very good presentations in my home town and the "big city" up the road!
Homosassa Fireworks 2013: http://youtu.be/aFeYYdq7hpo
Crystal River King's Bay 4th of July Fireworks 2013: http://youtu.be/r-1wQ56zXOI
Happy 4th of July!
Sunday, June 29, 2014
So... I'm driving my boat up and down Pepper Creek today, minding my own business, doing my job; hot, very hot, no air movement at all, no signs of life anywhere along the creek, only two or three turtles even, and suddenly this thing lands on my mic support. Like inches from my face. And hands. And just stays there. Like minutes. I finally pulled out the camera.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
BE THE BEE
On June 26, in the Children's Education Center building, that once was the main entrance to the Homosassa Springs, Master Bee Keeper Melody Tayler presented a fascinating and thorough introduction to the honey bee, and bee keeping. Her knowledge and enthusiasm animated her presentation and she handled the many questions with aplumb! I had a great time!
As I headed over to the site for the 1pm talk, I grabbed a shot of this wood duck. Appears to be a new one?
And up onto the overlook for a view out to the Homosassa River on this beautiful day!
At just before 1, I headed in for the show.
Melody started with the anatomy of the honey bee: four wings! With velcro! Makes it easier to fold them when grounded.
Melody also explained the various parts and functions and care of the parts of a hive as used by bee-keepers.
All in all, at the end of the hour, many of us were still getting more details, which she happily supplied. She knew her stuff! And... she had the shoes for it!
On the way out, I dropped by to see Lu, who was napping, and the gators...
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
During a period when I had to back off a bit on mowing my yard, a lot of wild growth overtook certain areas: I am now in the process of reclaiming some of that. It is a rather labor intensive process- and it's hot! Thank goodness for my pool! Here's a bit from this morning:
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Got up just in time to video sunrise on the summer solstice from my back porch. Will complete this video in 6 months...
And nine minutes of highlights from my 45 minute Osprey nest video:
Friday, June 20, 2014
Flowers and Bees
Saturday, June 07, 2014
The day started when I stepped out to my car and startled my yard bunny, 2014 edition. He ran off to the other side of the yard. When I pulled over there to load one of my van tires into my car, another story, he stopped in a little cleared section and sat there till I got these two shots, then moved on again.
[As always, left click and "open in new tab" for full size image.]
I had the 10 am boat and it was just beautiful out on Pepper Creek.
On the first run, a passenger spotted a wild gator just before the west dock. He lives under the dock and had come out for some sun about 20 yards up the creek from the dock.
On a later return trip, we spotted a great blue heron...
...and a white ibis.
After my driving duties were complete, I used the parks air compressor and was very pleased that my very distorted tire readily filled, regained its proper shape and held. I came home and quickly put it back on and jacked up the other side of the van and headed back to fill that one. Alas, it filled and shaped readily, but showed multiple pinhole leaks from the stressed sidewall.
I placed some blocking under the van and eased the jack off a bit.
I will see how it holds overnight and if it does, jack up the third and final bad tire and see how it fares, and if I will need to replace one or two tires at the used tire store to make the van movable. I need to move it from its present position to another location in the yard.
Thursday, June 05, 2014
OSPREY NEST AT WILDLIFE PARK
On Tuesday 27 May, 2014, with special permission, I spent two hours out on Pepper Creek at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa Florida. I recorded about two hours of video of the Osprey nest that sits atop a tall pine tree on its namesake island in that creek. This is edited from that video.
This is a 45 minute video: for impatient, or non-bird-watching folks, I suggest the first and final 5 minutes.
Sunday, June 01, 2014
YARD BUNNY 2014
Saturday, May 31, 2014
SATURDAY AT THE PARK
Of course, the "park" is Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, Florida, and I was driving a boat today up and down Pepper Creek. Got all my runs done before the skies opened up and soaked the place.
Had to grab a shot of this one passenger's T-shirt. If you aren't driving this, you are driving at best second best.
And after my runs when I was piloting the boat back to the boat house, I paused to grab a shot and a video of this beautiful Soft Shell Turtle on Waldo's raft just outside the dock.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
WILD WILD LIFE
Over at the boat dock of the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, lives Waldo, a wild gator who rules the raft. Here are a few clips of the old boy:
In my neighborhood, there have been a pair of Sandhill Cranes for several years. On April 28 I caught them with their new offspring...
And today, May 21, I saw them again, now in their "teen" years:
Friday, May 16, 2014
Made a swivel platform for my camera tripod last night to make doing panning shots smoother.
A 6" Lazy Susan base screwed to 3/4 ply with a threaded insert to match camera mounting bolts... and the top piece of 1/4 ply is simply glued to the other side of the hardware. This allows a bit smoother rotating of the camera when panning in video, but it is still dependent on a smooth operator.
Shown here on my tripod while I await the moment for my video shoot. The camera simply rests atop the platform on some rubber-like pads to clear the sun screen and to both minimize vibration and give a bit more grip to the mating.
While I waited for my video op, I grabbed a shot of the fountain with my other camera.
Oh ya! New yard bunny too! Saw him first thing this morning (My first thing, not anyone else's. Very unusual.) And striking appearance. Didn't go for the shot then cause I was sure he would just take off as he was right outside the door. Then this afternoon, he was back and far enough off that I dared to try for it. He spooked a little, but didn't bolt. Though he wouldn't look at me... Nice coloring.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
A BIT OF RAIN ON PEPPER CREEK
It was off and on rain here today in Homosassa. We ran the boats, but the riders on my first run out and first run back were but two.
My first trip out, I carried two ladies from Marseilles, France. One spoke a bit of English, the other, none, and alas, by knowledge of the language is limited to "How are you?" Still, I managed to share a few points of interest along the creek, including this, my favorite view, with the Red Cypress standing alone against the green in the center of the creek.
On the return trip, I passed slowly by the Weeping Bottle Brush tree and grabbed a shot.
The rain picked up a bit on the way back, and these two ladies took cover intermittently under a Pepsi-cola umbrella.
Back at the Visitors' Center dock, I grabbed a shot of the cast of an Alligator Snapping Turtle. There is a live one in the creek that is half again as large as this one. I have seen it once, beneath the surface as I neared the Fishbowl Dock. It is quite a thing! Look for the cast on the wall over the door as you enter the dock.
On my third run, as I stopped for the view of the Osprey nest, currently home to two off-spring, we were lucky enough in our timing to catch one of the adults sitting atop the nest, and if you look closely at the extreme crop, you can see another head, though whether it is the other adult or one of the chicks, I can't say. It has been long enough since I first saw the babies that it could be one of them.
Hope you enjoyed this little review of today's outing.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
IT'S NOT ALWAYS AS EASY AS IT MAY SEEM.