When last we left our heroes…they had successfully arrived at the Hampton Inn in Apopka FL Northwest of downtown Orlando for the afternoon and evening. They were tired and it was still only 1400 with no king bed rooms fully ready for the night so they sat in the lobby for 20 or 30 minutes after checking in until the hotel folks brought them a key. The got to the room and had a quick nap followed by a discussion about dinner. Connie had brought Date Nite clothes for the 2 dinners we figured on having out but both of them were still pretty full from lunch so they decided to skip the second Date Nite and just run a mile up the road to this Irish Pub she found. They had a beer each and. Split a potato skins appetizer. The pub wasn’t too Irish at all…they had Guinness on tap but no other Irish brews and whiled they did have corned beef and sourkraut potato skins that was about the only Irish thing on the menu…the rest of it was just bar food. They went with normal bacon and cheddar skins instead…they were OK but not outstanding…the only reason they ate at all was because despite still being pretty fun from lunch it was a long time until breakfast.
After that it was black to the room, charge camera batteries, and TV until bedtime. They were up early and had breakfast in the lobby at 0600 then left for the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive about 0630, arriving there a few minutes before its scheduled opening at 0700.
Right on schedule the gates rolled open…there’s apparently a control booth for them up at the dam on the other end of the lake…and they rolled onto the drive along with a dozen or so cars of their early morning friends.
Let’s see…what’s in the news this morning. Sarah Palin’s libel case against the NYT will get tossed by the judge because she failed to show that the NYT had acted out of malice which is required for libel cases involving public figures under NY law. The jury is going to continue to deliberate anyway so that…according to the judge…there will still be a verdict just in case his tossing it out gets overturned on appeal. Sounds like a pretty smart judge to me making sure there doesn’t need to be a new trial.
The former President’s accounting firm has announced it is cutting ties with his business organization…dunno whether it is due to the ongoing political crap he is generating or because they want to distance themselves…but it’s happening.
The President and his spokesman claim that the current inflation…the highest in a decade or more according to the news…has nothing to do with all the unfunded spending the Democrats have passed and everything to do with the covid. Now I’m not an economist…but deficit spending has historically caused inflation as far as I know so this seems like a specious claim at best.
Senator Manchin…said yesterday that he would be opposed to confirming another SCOTUS justice…not Breyer’s replacement but another one perhaps…if the opening comes immediately before the 2024 election because he thinks we should wait until we see who wins the Presidential election first. This is the reason that Senator McConnell didn’t confirm Merrick Garland in 2016…and the Democrats have been howling about it ever since…but now one of their own agrees with that philosophy. Personally…I think Senator Manchin would be much more at home in the other party since his state is firmly in the other party’s camp. He’s left of center but mostly believes in doing what he thinks is right and what benefits his constituents rather than what the progressives and other party bosses want him to do. The progressives are running some out there liberal against him in the primary…which is another stupid decision because nobody to the left of him can possibly bring home a Democratic Senate seat in WV…it just ain’t happening.
On the other side of the political spectrum…they’re now censuring Republicans who are participating in the Jan 6 investigation because the former President told them to. Me…I think they ought to leave the former President behind and move the party back a little closer to center right than the getting too far right for me they’ve taken the past few years…especially if they’re planning on winning the election in 2024.
Apparently in Alabama…in Tuscaloosa some sort of food delivery person left a delivery Taco Bell order on the front steps of the courthouse but before the person that ordered it got outside somebody called the bomb squad and their burritos were tossed.
Out in AZ…a catholic priest has resigned as the pastor at St. Gregory parish in Phoenix has resigned as pastor. Now before you jump to any conclusions about some sort of sexual scandal…that’s got nothing to do with it. Apparently he has been saying “We baptize you…” instead of the officially prescribed “I baptize you…” when administering the sacrament of baptism for over 20 years and at least according to the local bishop that means that none of those baptisms were valid and every single one of them needs to be done over. While the bishop is technically correct when he says that…apparently it was honest mistake…and the rules do specify I instead of we…but this seems like a solution in search of a problem. Way back when Neil was growing up…we were taught that unbaptized infants that died went to purgatory and would never ascend to heaven. That might not seem right to your mind but it was the rules. So…we were taught that even a lay person could baptize an infant who was in danger of death to prevent that outcome even through the rules specifically said that baptism must be administered by a priest. Seems like the church hierarchy had a little more common sense back then…or at least the ability to determine that this was a no fault accidental violation of the rules and rule the baptisms valid. Many of those folks who were baptized are now 20 years old and may not have any idea who baptized them…so do we need to re-baptize every single baby in Phoenix for the past 20something years to fix it? Just like the prohibition on female priests and vow of celibacy…maybe those traditions can be modernized a bit. In fact…the celibacy thing didn’t happen until around the year 300 or 400…before that priests could be and were apparently routinely married. This poor priest has also served in parishes in San Diego and in Brazil…so that makes the issue even more difficult to fix other than by retroactively un-cancelling those baptisms. And…this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Back in 2020…a priest in Detroit was watching an old family movie of his baptism and realized that the deacon who baptized him had also used the wrong word. This in turn caused him to decide to be re-baptized…which then required re-confirmation…and re-ordination to the priesthood. So apparently he wasn’t a priest so every marriage, baptism, consecration, Mass, confession and every other sacrament he performed over his career are likewise invalid since all of those sacraments are required to be administered by a priest…and he wasn’t one.
Ok, let’s get on to the pictures from Lake Apopka since really none of the news this morning amounted to much…although I do sorta like the conundrum caused by the invalid baptism thing.
Black Crowned Night Heron.
Connie’s shot of the same individual.
Blue Winged Teal.
Connie got another shot of the Night Heron after it went into and out of the reeds.
A couple of nice reflection and sunrise shots.
This one was actually taken after the two above at about 180 degrees around. Connie took 3 or 4 frames since she had a shorter lens on her body and liked this one with the branches partially over the sun the best…and Neil agreed with her.
Red Winged Blackbird.
Peregrine Falcon. This is the fastest bird in the world and eats almost exclusively other birds…and always takes them in flight. The Falcon climbs pretty high and then stoops (dives) at speeds of 20 mph before hitting the prey from behind with its talons then taking the now dead prey to the ground then over to a tree/pole/whatever to eat. It’s a pretty rare catch down here in SW FL…so we stopped and watched it awhile hoping it would fly for us.
The aforementioned huge and sharp talons.
He/she eventually took off but just went to another more distant perch than this pole right next to the road. Too bad…would have been nice to get a hunt sequence shot.
Heading down the road we spotted this GBH in a tree.
And some flowers.
As well as a Kingfisher. It was a way out so Neil had to crop in quite a bit but amazingly enough…and pretty unusual for this species…it sat there for quite awhile so we could actually get some shots.
Connie also got a few shots…and this is one of the few instances (major cropping) where the extra megapixels in Neil’s body proved to make a difference in final image detail…but hers is smaller and lighter.
Neil doubled back from the car a couple hundred yards for this shot. When he spotted it it was completely backlit…and it’s a one way road…so he hoofed back to get a side light shot of the bird formerly known as a Marsh Hawk but now known as a Northern Harrier. Don’t know why Northern is in the name since they’re pretty much everywhere in the USA.
We spotted this GBH and stopped for a shot…then noticed the gator slowly moving by a few feet in front of the bird…don’t know whether it was silently trying to stalk the bird for breakfast and was eventually going to snap to the left and lunge or whether the gator realizes it has essentially no chance of snaring the bird and is ignoring it.
Spotted this Osprey and breakfast in a tree but couldn’t get a good shot as it was branch obscured. It took off and flew around then landed in the tree again…some herons were bothering it so after repeating this circle twice it eventually left and Neil got a shot out the window as it was flying away.
This gator was right on the side of the road…probably 12 feet long.
Another GBH…in the same drying the wings pose (at least that’s what it appears to be doing) that we spotted a couple weeks back of the lanai…we’ve been observing GBHs for going on 50 years now and have seen precisely 2 of them in this pose.
Little Blue Heron.
Another Snowy Egret…this one was literally 10 feet away and Neil shot out the car window…beautiful plumage.
Yellow rumped warbler…there are at least a dozen different species of warblers we see in the marshes ‘round here and can only reliably identify 2 of them.
Mr. and Mrs. Red Shouldered Hawk. She’s on the left.
Which we know because she flew over to the nest to check on the young’ins.
Meanwhile, Dad fluffed up his feathers.
And flew off to hunt but we didn’t get a decent shot of him departing.
Finally…as we left the drive…we spotted a couple of immature White Ibis individuals…the whither one is older than the brownish one.
The last couple of miles of the drive you’re no longer really near the lake or actually anywhere in the wildlife portion of the drive…it sort of ends out in the middle of a bunch of agricultural fields and you make your way 3 or 4 miles through them to get back to the paved road.
We headed south but had to figure out our own route. The GPS wanted to route us down I-4…which we refuse to drive on since the traffic is always, always, always terrible…and right past the Disney/Universal section of town…which we declined to do because 1000 on Saturday morning is a terrible time to go anywhere near the parks. Instead we took our own slightly longer in miles but shorter in time route around the south side of Lake Apopka and over to Lakeland to get on US-17 back home. We passed the turnoff where Neil left 17 to go to Circle Bar B Reserve on this route so next time we do it we’ll add a third stop.
We have a trip to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary down in Immokalee planned for this week and one to Fort Desoto State Park next week up near St. Petersburg. The latter will likely be overnight since Connie doesn’t want to have to drive 100+ miles before dawn. Neil thinks she’s just taking advantage of the situation to get another Date Night…but hey, he gets her to dress up and wear heels so that’s not a bad thing.
No interesting stuff found on the net this week today…as in the last post it’s already picture intensive.
‘Cept this one…it seems appropriate since Connie is a grandma. Don’t know if she had go go boots…but she did drive a Mustang.