I heard buzzing after getting out of my car in our driveway, at first I thought it was our AC unit around the side, then maybe some fan in the car, until I noticed it was centered around the tree that shadows our driveway. Tiny flowers were in bloom and hundreds of bees were, well, busy collecting the pollen.
I was sweeping the leaves out of my garage this week when I noticed one of them ‘moved’. When I looked closely I notice it was actually a bug that looked like a leaf; a “Leaf Bug”! And a pretty good sized one at that! This Leaf Bug has an appreciation for art as he made his way toward a picture frame that was drying in the garage.
I often find myself looking through my pictures and see I have a lot of interesting ones I want to share. Since I moved to Florida, I have spent lots of time and have taken numerous pictures of neat critters, and sometimes neat clouds, that catch my fancy. So, to share these, I have started a picture of the week post.
This weeks’ photo is of a snakebird, also known as an Anhinga, who is on the back of a goose decoy drying his wings. I was riding my bike with my son to school one morning and saw this strange sight. The decoys are supposed to attract other birds, but I never saw a bird on the decoy before. This guy seems to say “I am King of the world”… or at least “I am King of this pond!”
The snakebird dives under water to catch fish, and gets it name from its long snake-like neck that will stick out of the water when the rest of it’s body is submerged. Since they do not have oil glands they are often seen with their wings spread out to dry them.
Yesterday we went to the Kennedy Space Center to see the Atlantis Space Shuttle on the launching pad. Here is a picture from the observation deck yesterday.
The scaffolding was still on and you can only see the nose of the orange fuel tanks and one of the booster rockets. The scaffolding is removed about 12 hour before launch. I did see online pictures with no scaffolding so I guess the launch is a go. I cropped this picture of Atlantis on the launch pad from William Harwood.
We were able to see the last Discovery flight in February. The Discovery was scheduled for November but was launched in February. It looks like Atlantis will be launched on it’s original launch date, today July 8th at 11:26, which is very rare for a Shuttle! And for good reason; everything has to be just right to send people into outer space. The only concern for this launch appears to be the weather, which doesn’t look to bad at the moment, just cloudy.
We all wish the crew the best in their last Shuttle mission.
Today I looked out the patio doors off our 3rd floor apartment and saw a bunch a birds fly by! As I got closer to the door I saw that there were thousands of birds flying around the apartment building. Here is a movie and a few pics. It was really incredible to be just feet from the rush of birds. I finally worked up the courage to open the door and go out on the balcony; and I was grateful no birds flew in the house.
The Sandhill Crane Family in my backyard is no longer staying close to their nest. A few days after the chicks hatched they have been wandering the marsh. Since the reeds are high and the chicks are small I hadn’t seen the chicks for over a week. Last week I took a shortcut that went around the edge of the marsh and I happened to look at the marsh, mainly to make sure there were no alligators in my way,and I spotted the Crane family. They were just about 15 feet away. The next day we spotted the family walking in the undeveloped portion of a neighborhood near their marsh. Below are the best pictures I could take with my Iphone, and I was trying to minimize my “gawking at them” time.
The Sandhill Crane Egg has hatched!! I’m not sure when it hatched, but sources indicate Sandhill Crane eggs hatch in 30 days, and today is exactly 30 days after we first noticed the egg. The chick is small, brown and blends with its nest very well, which is good for avoiding predators and the papparazzi. Both parents are at the nest protecting and feeding the chick. Here are the first pictures I’ve taken of the happy Family. One crane still sits on the nest, so there may be another egg. If there is another egg it should hatch a day or two after the first one hatches. I will keep you posted.
The Sandhill Cranes in our backyard should have their eggs hatch soon. We saw an egg in the nest on February 6th and Sandhill crane eggs take about 30 days to hatch. So we should expect to see a little crane any day now. There have been 2 other signs that the Crane family will be larger soon. 1) The cranes are always together. Everytime I look out my window I see the crane off the egg is almost always right near the crane on the nest. They even sleep standing up near the nest. 2) I saw the “Dad” Crane going through the “Drive-Through” at the bank, no doubt to make sure the family finances were in order for expected addition to the family. See photos; sorry pics are not best quality; I don’t want to get too close and upset the parents to be.
This week on “Sand Hill Crane” Update…
(This is an update to the original post on our Sandhill Cranes!
There are definitely at least 2 eggs!!! We can expect an egg to hatch the first week of March, and then the other should hatch the next day. My friend Lenore, mentioned getting a webcam for instant access to the cranes. I’m looking into this.
Not much other news. The swamp is getting greener as it gets warmer. Haven’t seen much of the Vultures. Perhaps Mister or Misses Crane taught them a lesson and they are keeping their distance. The pair of hawks that used to frequent this area are staying on the edges of the swamp, no where near the cranes, even though the cranes’ nest is right next to on of their favorite trees.
Below are pictures of the cranes near the nest and you can see 2 eggs. The other pic shows the whole swamp is getting greener. I am experimenting with photos; I like the “gallery” because you can write a description and then people can click on it and learn more, but the pictures are so small?! So I put them in the normal way, then gallery. Let me know which you like.