I Finally Got Him To Do His Job

…that would be processing the photos from their visit to the Venice Rookery back on Feb 2…but in his defense he has been sorta busy with Connie’s surgery prey, surgery, ER visit, hospitalizations, and assorted goings on ‘bout all of that so I’ll cut him a break.

Speaking of Connie…she’s continuing to improve…albeit not as fast as she would like it. She’s still sore some and taking her antibiotics and Tylenol for the soreness and she’s getting tired of hurting. From the outside though…Neil can easily see the day to day improvement…so this is good. She’s got follow up appointments with both her primary care doctor and surgeon early next week so should be released to drive and full activity to do as much as she’s comfortable with then…and full recovery expected in another 3-4 weeks back to normal. That’s good because Neil needs to make the plane reservations for their trip to the UK in the summer…I haven’t talked much about that yet because he was waiting until we are sure that the surgery had no complications and recovery was progressing nicely…but he needs to get the tickets by the first week in March to make the tour people happy.

As sort of an adjunct to her work in the Fort Myers Symphonic Mastersingers…she’s signed up with a tour to London headed up by the fellow who used to direct the Mastersingers. They’ll sing 2 concerts in London including one with John Rutter in Bath Abbe who’s a big deal in the international chorus world and a second one in St. Pauls in London. The tour along with rehearsals and some touristy stuff takes about 10 days and then they’ll spend another almost 2 weeks touring up in the Lakes and Yorkshire Dales districts…if you’ve watched the BBC series “All Creatures Great and Small” it’s set in and filmed in those areas with all the cool stone arch bridges and narrow roads. Both are among the most popular of UK vacation destinations and while we’l see some wildlife there it’s mostly landscapes, buildings and the like…but Neil’s good with that from a photo standpoint. They had originally talked about doing Scotland in addition and then about doing Wales in addition instead of Scotland…Connie especially wanted the two districts and either Scotland or Wales would have extended the trip longer than they wanted for their first international trip in awhile and also turned it more into a vacation speed thing…so instead they’re spending 4 or 5 days in each district to do things more leisurely and then a couple days in Oxford to see some of the sights there.

They did have Date Nite on Tuesday after choir practice…she was amazed that after the hour singing she actually felt better than when she started so they went to Applebee’s down the road…they’ve got a nice outside bar and the food there is actually pretty good. Our bartender was terrible though…surly and screwed up both cocktail and wine orders so her tip properly reflected her performance. They had sat at a high top with a waitress the last time and she was excellent…and had not seen this bartender before so hopefully it’s just her and not a trend.

Ok…on to our photo trip early in the month…but before that a little sad news to report.

As you know…we’ve been following the eagles locally at their nest for years…first with Ozzie and his mate Harriet and then after Ozzie was killed her mating with M15 and raising several subsequent sets of eaglets. As of today…their current brood of 2 is about 50 days old, but Harriet flew off 2 weeks ago today hunting and has not returned to the nest. She hasn’t been seen and no reports of finding her body have been made…but a mother eagle being gone for that long means she’s not returning. She was at least 25 years old and either had an accident or medical issue or fight that killed her it looks like. M15 is doing so far a great job of still providing for his offspring…he’s been joined by another eagle number R23-3 for rogue eagle, third one of 2023. It is not sexually mature yet and since M15 has accepted it to his nest site the eagle folk believe it’s one of his earlier female offspring. At this point…it’s stealing food that M15 brings to the nest and he is allowing it although the eaglets are now big enough that they’re taking pieces of the food from her despite warnings not to do so from her. She’s not old enough to mate and it is likely that M15 will re-mate once this nesting season is over…but whether he and his new mate continue to use this nest is unknown…but if not it is likely that another eagle pair will take possession of the nest next fall. Here’s a screen shot of the eaglets and M15 Neil got yesterday…as you can see they’re almost as big as he is and should fledge in the next month or so. It seems really strange that M15 hasn’t driven R23-3 off…but maybe he’s too busy getting enough food to the nest for himself and the two eaglets so is prioritizing that over defending the nest…or maybe she is helping keep predators and other eagles from the nest as well.

No one has reported any sign of Harriet…so the likelihood of her passing is getting pretty close to 100% at the point…but it is strange that no trace of her has been found…but since eagles can hunt up to a dozen miles or more from the nest that’s a pretty big area to look in and a lot of it is pastureland or otherwise undeveloped. She could have had an accident that rendered her unable to fly but if so she’s likely close to starving to death at this point…but there’s zero information on what might have happened. Eagles mate for life and she is a mother…so obviously something catastrophic happened to keep her from the nest…and so far M15 seems to be defying the odds in successfully raising the eaglets alone…luckily they were old enough when she disappeared that he could safely leave them unattended while he hunts and then again perhaps R23-3 is helping keep them safe as well. I will let you know if any further info on her comes up.


They got up early on Feb 2 and headed for the Venice Rookery. This is strangely enough located pretty much in the middle of downtown Venice…it’s a pond with an island in the middle so the nesting areas are safe from predators…we’ve always been amazed both at how many birds nest there as well as that they would nest in such a crowded urban location. The goal is to get there right at sunrise…which they accomplished…then Neil put the bird lens on the tripod and did his thing while Connie walked around the pond taking shots both of the general environmental sort and some closeups as they presented themselves.

Great Blue Heron with an Anhinga in the background and a Great Egret barely visible on the other side of the island…the pond is. About 300 yards across and the island maybe 30 or 40 yards in diameter.

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Great Blue and Great Egret disagreeing over landing rights.

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Great Egret in breeding plumage…they’re really a white bird but at that hour with the sun just barely over the horizon they end up looking more orange due to the light.

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Great Blue Heron family and chicks…mom and dad are having a little PDA here.

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Dang those chicks are ugly at this age.

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Great Egret coming in for a landing.

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Green Heron.This first one was down in the water fishing and Connie got a better picture than he did…he was too close to the bird and looking right down on it with too much lens installed while she was a little over on the side for a better angle.

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This is actually the same individual but he flew over their heads and was up in the sun. The shot above she had the sun at her back and the bird flew about 20 feet towards them an over their heads and about 20 feet to the right based on the picture above. This is a nice illustration of what us photographers call Golden Hour because of the character of the light.

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Male Anhinga.

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Black Crowned Night Heron…again in mating plumage which for him is just the couple of white feathers extending backward behind his head. He flew around a bit and Neil got a couple of shots before he landed.

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Incoming Great Egret.

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And he landed with some unhappiness by the Anhinga in the background.

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Another Great Blue brining in some nesting material.

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Meanwhile…Connie was on her walkabout and came back to show Neil this Red Winged Blackbird she had snapped…while he really liked it he did ask her to find him one with a better looking perch than a chain link fence.

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She also got this Mockingbird.

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And some very strange looking birdhouses ‘round the far side of the pond.

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I told you the island was crowded…this is probably about 10% of the total island mass and the entire thing is this full of birds.

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Then the Black Crowned took off on another circle around the pond but landed on the other side afterwards.

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Great Egret breeding plumage again…but different individual.

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Male Anhinga bringing in some nesting material for his mate.

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Really excellent flight shot Connie got of one of the Great Egrets…caught the pose just perfectly for feather and wing detail.

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Black Bellied Whistling Ducks…Connie caught this flock of them as they went by.

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She was kinda smug when he brought him this second Red Winged Blackbird…said how is this for a better perch? He agreed that it was quite excellent.

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And finally…another male Anhinga drying his wings out after fishing…we saw a bunch of males but no females, guess they were all brooding eggs or babies I guess, and none were on the side of the island towards us.

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By this time they were getting a bit tired from standing…gotta bring beach chairs next time I guess…so they headed home.

Interesting things found on the net.






This kid understands politicians very well at an early age.





And finally…words of wisdom from Confucius.



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.
This entry was posted in Critters, Medical, Nature, Photography, Travel, WIldlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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