The two lizards..

     

     The Editor recently gave me a copy of Aesop’s fables.  I opened the pages and began to read these fables, stories as old and true as the dawn of mankind. Stories that began with their creation in a Garden, and of the living creatures that filled the earth, the sea, and the sky.  The Greek historian Herodotus mentioned in passing that "Aesop the fable writer" was a slave who lived in Ancient Greece during the 5th century BC. I too began writing fables of sorts a few years in the twenty first century AD following these ancient traditions. Here is my version of a tale of “The two lizards”.

 

     As two Lizards were basking under a tree near the Broward, “How contemptible,” said one of them, “is our condition! We exist, ’tis true, but that is all; for we hold no sort of rank in the creation, and are utterly unnoticed by the world and must feed on whatever crawling or flying insects we can find. Cursed obscurity! Why was I not rather born a gentle Morning Dove to fly on wings at large, the pride and glory of the skies and feast on the neighbors bountiful bird feeders?” It happened that, in the midst of these unfinished murmurs, the shadow of a Red Tailed Hawk was seen swooping out of the sun after the very creature he was envying, who, being unaware of the danger from above, was torn to pieces by the hawk in sight of the two Lizards. “And this is the lordly Dove whose place in the creation you wish to hold?” said the wiser Lizard to his complaining friend. “Let his sad fate teach you to bless Providence for placing you in that humble situation which secures you from the dangers of a more elevated rank.”

      So my dear friends, just why do I tell you this tale? Truth be told, my beloved camera and lens is back from the shop. But alas, my lens may still need some adjustments. And save for a juvenile Yellow Crowned Night Heron I captured ejecting a bolus (which is not a very pretty sight), there is just not much action on the Broward on these steamy summer days. So I sought the help of my friend Jim who is handy with a macro lens, and began chasing lizards and dragonflies instead.  Hope you enjoy my tale and photos.  And learn to be happy with just what and who you are. Be Blessed. Harry 

I just love these little flowers said the dragonfly! (test of a 400mm prime lens). 

The "voice of the marsh" a Red Winged Blackbird sings from his perch on the cyprus

As two Lizards were basking under a tree near the Broward “How contemptible,” said one of them, “is our condition! We exist, ’tis true, but that is all; for we hold no sort of rank in the creation..

and must feed on whatever crawling or flying insects we can find. Cursed obscurity! 

A winged damsel fly lands near the lizards..

Why was I not rather born a gentle Morning Dove to fly on wings at large, the pride and glory of the skies and feast on the neighbors bountiful bird feeders?”

in the midst of these unfinished murmurs, the shadow of a Red Tailed Hawk was seen swooping out of the sun after the very creature he was envying

Oh no….look out Mr Dove!

who, being unaware of the danger from above, was torn to pieces by the hawk in sight of the two Lizards. 

“And this is the lordly Dove whose place in the creation you wish to hold?” said the wiser Lizard to his complaining friend. 

I think I am going to be sick….said George Jr.

There it goes (George Jr. ejects a bolus, undigested crab remains from the gizzard). 

Scared out of his skin, 

“Let his sad fate teach you to bless Providence for placing you in that humble situation which secures you from the dangers of a more elevated rank.”

Tough Mudder...

One of the Hospice Nurses that cares for Mom is an avid runner and recently competed in a TOUGH MUDDER type competition. These events, based on British Special Forces training, are very popular athletic competitions in North America. Well I have news for all you Tough Mudders. You don’t have anything on my Broward Tough Mudders. George the Yellow Crowned Night has been training his young son to make it on his own. To do that you have to be one Tough Mudder too!

George has taught his young protégée by example. No matter how pretty you are or how high you can fly, if you want to eat on the Broward, you have to become a “Tough Mudder”.  And Pretty in Pink, the Roseate Spoonbills are not so pretty when they are foot and feather deep in the muck. No matter how good a photographer you are, it just isn’t a pretty picture in the mud. Mud is mud.

A large wake moves up the channel. A strange looking nostril breaks the surface. The manatees are back in the river munching on the marsh grass at high tide. I see clumps of loose grass floating down the river more often now so I know the manatees have been having a feast. The Broward is muddy brown so there are no pretty clear springs fed waters in which to get a clean photo. You only see them when their back or nose breaks the surface. How these thousand pound mammals glide through these shallow muddy channels so effortlessly is a mystery of nature to me.

For many of us, life is one "Tough Mudder” too! I bet even those “one per-centers” didn’t get where they are without getting a little muddy also. Very few of us are born with the proverbial silver spoon in the mouth. To get through this life for most of us you have to get a little dirty at times. But the rewards are worth it! Just ask George Junior. Till next week…get muddy and be blessed.

You have to be a real TOUGH MUDDER to make it on the Broward. George and this Roseate Spoonbill are not afraid to get down and dirty. IT just isn't pretty no matter how you take the picture though.

George, the Yellow Crowned Night Heron takes a perch and observes George Junior below in the mud. It is time to see if the young bird has learned to hunt in the mud.

Hundreds of fiddler crab dens are exposed at low tide but you have to be stealthy to catch them. They are quick.

George Junior, the juvenile Yellow Crowned Night Heron spots his prey.

He approaches with stealth and slow movements in the muddy river bottom.

The strike is swift. And so is the Crab.

Got it Dad!

I see ya son, well done. You are one TOUGH MUDDER now!I

I got another one! i got another one!

To the victor go the spoils they say...but you have to be one TOUGH Mudder to survive.

That's my boy, a real TOUGH Mudder like his Dad! My job is done here today!

An enormous manatee munches on the marsh grass.

The Clapper Rail, also known as a Mud Hen is really one TOUGH MUDDER too!

The tide is coming in.  Ahh…I can wash some of this MUD off of me now..!

Down on the farm..

Down on the farm…

The corn should be “knee high” by now and it is definitely hotter than a firecracker on the Fourth of July…This week’s edition is Beyond the Broward at the St Augustine Alligator “Farm” bird rookery.  They grow gators and shore birds on this farm. The four birds on the Broward got tired of me taking their photos so I thought I would visit the rookery.  The photographers’ “early entry” at the Alligator Farm ended this past week as the nesting season draws to a close. Got a few keepers to share with you.

The rookery has had a number of beautiful Roseate Spoonbills and Tricolored Herons that hatched recently. One particular Spoonbill nest was very close to the walkway and low enough to capture the hatchlings. Pretty in Pink is an apt description of these unique shore birds. The two parents were very busy feeding these three hungry “spoonies”.  Per NatureWorks website info, “The female spoonbill lays two to four eggs. Both the female and the male incubate the eggs. The chicks hatch in about three weeks and fledge (fly) in around 35 to 42 days. Both the male and female feed the chicks until they are about eight weeks old. Young roseate spoonbills have white feathers with a slight pink tinge on the wings. They don't reach maturity until they are three years old.”

 Nearly hunted to extinction for its feathers, this bird species was down to a few dozen nesting pairs in the United States in the early 1900s. Conservation measures saved this bird from extinction and now they are no longer a protected species. I was glad to see them return to the Broward also this year.  If I find where they are roosting I am going to get in the Kayak and try to capture that perfect “flight shot” this summer.

 I remember another kind of farm with fresh corn on the cob, home grown watermelons and various garden vegetables we grew and ate in the summer. We canned some of the vegetables and kept them in a cool cellar shelf. With my three siblings appetites we didn’t need to worry much about preservatives.  I remember the smell of fresh mowed hayfields. After a summer rain the earth had a warm rich damp smell. I am sure you city dwellers also had your own memories and sensory treasures you can still dig up in your mind. Take some time off this summer and go down on the farm (or back to the city), even if the journey is only in your mind..Be Blessed. Harry

Pink angel like wings flare for a landing. 

Translucent pink wings fill the sky.

Pretty in Pink, three hatchling spoonbills and their Mom pose for a photo. 

Oh yeah Dad..that's the spot..

Tea-Spoon the Roseate Spoonbill hatchling takes a stretch.

Recently hatched Tricolored Heron chick sports a spiked feather doo!

Oh my gosh…look at that! Tricolored Heron fledglings are shocked at what they see.

They have been "flashed" by the Woodstork trio in the tree next door who are cooling off!

Adult Woodstork glides in for a landing.

Hope you enjoyed this little visit down on the (gator) farm..till next week..gotta fly

 

Spirit of America

Two hundred and thirty eight years ago this nation declared its independence from the King of England. A new nation was born in the bloody conflict that followed. 

 The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

"When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security….(there follows a list of complaints against the King)

---We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."

 Hmmm..after reading this..and seeing the recent news it makes one wonder if such a time has come upon us again. Let us pray it isn’t so..

 Another declaration we probably don’t recall well was written on a Statue in New York Harbor.

 “"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she with silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

 The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.

After seeing our borders lately I think we have to remember there are rules and laws that apply to bringing in these huddled masses. We have more than we can afford ..enough is enough! Time for a new statue and declaration I think. On this fourth of July 2014 I hereby dedicate this new Statue of Libirdy to the United States "Bird Brains" of all the political parties who let this economic, moral, security and social collapse happen to this once Great Nation…(no slight to the birds intended, many are smarter than politicians). It is time to bring back the true SPIRIT OF AMERICA once more..time to clean house and start over in my humble opinion..Be blessed..Harry

Amen

Statue of Libirdy..dedicated to all the bird brain politicians who let this country down..Statue of Liberty portion of photo provided by Mr. Clifford Pugliese, additional photo editing support by Ray Dominey of Get Your Photos on Canvas.com of St Augustine Florida

Bring back the true SPIRIT OF AMERICA before it is too late..

Listen my children and you shall hear...

Of the midnight flight of "George" Revere

The Triclored heron said to his friend, “If the Pink Coats march By land or air from the Broward tonight,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch Of the North Jax Baptist tower as a signal light,–One if by land, and two if by air;

And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the dock, on the clete he turns, But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

So through the night flew George Revere; And so through the night he cried his alarm
To every Broward River home and farm,---A cry of defiance, and not of fear,

A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door, And a word that shall echo on the Broward for evermore!

The Pink Coats, those Roseate Spoonbills are once again here on our shore!

Through all our history, to the last, In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear The flurrying wing-beats of that bird,
And the midnight message of George Revere.

Welcome back to the Broward, the Pink Coat "Spoonies" are here!

"Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13 

Double Rainbow on the Broward 2 Jul 2014

 

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