Cold Weather, Eagles, Hard Work and Funnies

This is ridiculous as Daffy Duck would say…just ridiculous. Make sure you’ve engaged your lisp and cartoony voice and that sentence will sound just right😊. The low temperature Saturday night was 39 degrees here in Fort Myers…thirty freekin’ nine degrees and tomorrow it’s only going to be 37…that’s within 4 degrees of freezing and most excruciatingly definitely absolutely positively not what we signed up for. Neil had to scrape ice off the windshield of the car before we could go to Mass on Sunday…he had to dig all the way to the bottom of the trunk to find the ice scraper first. This is completely udderly insane and absolutely unacceptable…we are in Southern Florida for goodness sake…temperatures here ain’t never s’posed to start with the digit 3 or 4 ya know. We like it when it gets all the way down to a bone chilling 65 with highs up to a blistering 75…much beyond that and we ain’t happy campers.

Neil’s been working steadily on his maintenance list…over the weekend he got the A/C units cleaned up on the roof, lubricated a bunch of stuff, and today he cleaned out the furnace blowers (they were pretty clean since we don’t use the furnace much, but ya gotta check and make sure) and rotated the tires on the Mazda 6 front to rear. The rear ones are in better shape and we had a little slippage last week when it was pouring so he moved the better pair up to the front drive wheels. He doesn’t have any jack stands or a floor jack any more so he used the little crummy scissors jack that came with the Mazda on the front and backed it up with a cinder block and chunk of 2×8 lumber just in case it slipped off while he was changing the tires. Jacked up the rear end with the hydraulic jack that comes with BAT…it’s a lot more stable. He jacked up one side at a time and flipped the tires front/rear then lowered away and torqued them correctly. After doing the other side Connie drove the car around the block and he re-torqued them to make sure all were seated correctly; and he’ll have to do them once more after they drive 20 miles or so to dinner (sushi) and back.

Connie got her part time job up to 38 hours for the last 2 week period and it looks like she’ll be up in the at least 30 range this period as she’s scrambling like mad to get enough spots for all of her students.

Early this morning (well, relatively early…it was 0920 by the time he left…but that’s about all the early we have these days it seems) he did get down to the eagle nest and got some really great shots of both of the adults as well as e3 and e4…these are eaglet #3 and eaglet #4 (this year’s brood)…don’t know if they’ll get actual names or not. Before I get to those I thought I would share a couple of interesting shots that came across our twitter feed and daily blog read list.

An photographer named Alessandro Cancian posted this one on his 500px page; the url for it as well as the rest of his work is http://500px.com/photo/31817649. He’s apparently got a fence post outside of his house and here is a shot he entitled “The Standoff” with a bird and a chipmunk squaring off over a bit of food that Alessandro left on top of the post. Neil thought it was a pretty interesting shot. 

The Standoff
 
Next up…his friend Jodi Ettenberg (@legalnomads) put up this shot on her twitter feed with the caption “This isn’t how we transport propane gas in Canada.” Two guys in Vietnam I think…in flip-flops on a moto with a tank of propane duct taped to a dolly. At least they have helmets though…we would hate to see them doing anything unsafe!
 
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Finally…our buddy Nick Russell from http://gypsyjournalrv.com/category/nicksblog/ posted this shot of what happens to your SmartCar when you head home after having Mexican food. Lots of RVers have SmartCars and Nick as a professional journalist wanted to make sure that all of his readers were fully informed of the potential pitfalls of this sort of dining choice.
 
Smartcar Fart
 
Moving on into something a little (or a lot?) more interesting…as I said Neil headed off this morning to get some eagle photos. In addition to the photos…he got an invitation to the Greek Festival at the Greek Orthodox church up in Sarasota early next month as well as a recommendation for a trip to the Greek islands from a lady who was watching the eagles with him and his buddies…she’s the choir director there and is Greek so goes back and forth frequently. Here’s a shot of the group who were watching this morning…this is actually a pretty small turnout compared to most days he’s been down there.
 
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Shortly after he arrived Harriet flew off of the nest…you can see the direction that Neil’s camera is pointing in the above shot (it’s the farthest tripod to the left and is focused on the nest which is about 40 or 50 yards away…and landed just in front of the tree you can see on the left side of the photo. Here’s a sequence of her gathering up some grass from the ground and then taking off with it in her talons…the adults use the grass to line the nest bowl which gets yucked up with fish guts and eaglet poop. He got a nice sequence of her taking off and then after a 5 or 6 second flight landing on the nest where Ozzie and the two eaglets e3 and e4 are waiting.
 
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She dropped off the grass for Ozzie to spread out then flew/hopped over to the adjacent branch to make him room to do that.
 
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Next up both of the adults flew off to the Northwest…back and to the right from this viewpoint which is looking almost due west). While they were gone both e3 and e4 were visible in the nest so Neil was able to get a shot of them…this is the only shot he got this morning of e3 which was the first born…e3 is the larger one on the left.
 
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You can see from this shot how much larger e3 is than his later hatched sibling…the adults basically were not feeding the second born eaglet for about 10 days as they were only getting enough food for themselves and the larger eaglet. The local birding community was afraid that we would lose the smaller e4 but on Saturday he latched onto momma’s beak and essentially forced her to feed him…they’re continuing to do since Saturday so hopefully the little guy will make it. He’s certainly not giving up at any rate.
 
After about 5 minutes the two adults returned to the next and Neil got some nice sequences of them coming in for a landing. You can easily see the size difference between the two adults in these sequences…all were cropped identically to make the comparison easy to see. 
 
First…the larger Harriet coming back.
 
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and then the significantly smaller Ozzie.
 
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They must have been off hunting together as they came in from almost the same direction except that Harriet went behind the large branch and landed lower on the tree just above the nest.
 
He panned to the right and up into the sky from here to capture a Wood Stork that was soaring overhead…again, beautiful bird in the air but with a face only a mother could love.
 
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And finally e4 popping up looking for some food…this was taken about 30 or so seconds after the two landing sequences above and he’s clearly hungry. E3 seems to be moving much more lively about the nest and coming up to get food…I have no idea whether this is just because he’s hungrier since he wasn’t getting fed for 10 days or whether he’s just more aggressive than his larger sibling is or whether e3 has some sort of health problem…time will tell I guess. In this shot Harriet is sitting right above the next in the same position she is in the last of Ozzie’s landing sequence.
 
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We’re headed out for dinner in a bit and I think I’ll have Neil take along the camera to see if he can get any late afternoon shots. By this time of day the sun is back around the back side of the nest as seen from this perspective and is visible from another road on the other side of the nest looking almost in a reciprocal direction compared to these shots. If he gets anything decent I’ll post it tomorrow or the next day.
 
Cyas.
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About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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3 Responses to Cold Weather, Eagles, Hard Work and Funnies

  1. ronlaubenthal says:

    26 right now, wind chill is 18 – gonna be worse Thursday… guess sis is sayin’ it’s less than 3 in Knoxville… fingers mus’ be froze… anybody for the warm balmy Bahamas ?
    ps – I want that car…
    yall be careful.
    me

    • Gunther says:

      S’posed to be 30something tonight; but is mid 60s right now and after tonight the weather guessers are calling for it to warm up to our normal wintertime temps down here.

      I wonder what kind of car that really is though.

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