Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

July 30, 2012

Have You Met The Grasshopper Sparrow?

Probably not, because this tiny bird that is found
nowhere else on earth, except the Everglades,   
A Florida Grasshopper Sparrow
A Grasshopper Sparrow
is having a really hard time, just stayin' alive!
The usual factors contributing to the demise
of the Grasshopper Sparrow, are loss of habitat
and intrusion by humans, in addition to fire ants and
flooding from the water pouring into the Everglades.
This sweet song of this very tiny, most common species
of bird, is what makes it so unique in the bird world.
Its song imitates the grasshopper's sound and so bring
females to it by deception.
So, if it wasn't bad enough with all that this bird in distress has going against it,
now people are complaining that the Everglades is having its water source "wasted"
because some of it is being diverted out to sea by FWS, to keep the nests of the birds
ancestral homes from being flooded out.
The bird did not ask for any of this, but it is being blamed none the less.
Can we at least be fair here?
The amount of water being "wasted" on this critically Endangered bird,
can not begin to compare with the amount that is being "truly wasted"
by some of the greedy humans of South Florida!

July 27, 2012

Why Can't The Everglades Ever Get A Break?

Just about the time you think,
well maybe things are getting better,
some very disturbing news just arrived
Florida's Everglades National Park
The Florida Everglades
from Audubon of Florida.
In Miami today, Audubon of Florida will
take on the bullies who want to pour
the nastiest, most polluted, chemical laden
water in this state into the Everglades.
The three worst farms in the Everglades Habitat area,
want to dump their toxic waste into the pristine waters
of the Everglades and few people even knew this was
about to take place.
The phosphorus in discharged farm water, is by Florida law,
required to be reduced by 25%, but these three farms are not playing by the
rules and neither, it seems, is the South Florida Water Management District.
Like the St. John's Water group, SFWMD may have become too big
and too powerful, and in ever more increasing fashion, both are
behaving like they are not only above the law, but can make or change
the rules at will, with no repercussions from the public, or anyone else either.
While some farms are doing the right thing for all of Florida's waterways,
the ones who cheat and those people who are supposed to be watching them,
are making it nearly impossible to ever bring this Paradise known as the Everglades,
back from the brink of the disastrous onslaught of pollution from chemicals and toxins.
The Everglades really does need to get a break!
Any Questions?
A PDF is here:
Or write to Jonathon Webber,
Conservation Campaign Manager
Or call: 850 222-2473

July 24, 2012

The Wood Stork May Get Room To Stretch Its Wings~

A pond or small lake with an island in it,
A Florida Wood Stork
A Florida Wood Stork
within the Perico Preserve will soon become
a new nesting habitat for some of Florida's
most Threatened or Endangered birds, like little
blue herons, snowy egrets and white ibis and the
most eagerly anticipated member, who may
hopefully join this list, is also one of Florida's most
Endangered birds, the Wood Stork.
The new Manatee County Rookery, which should be finished by July 2013, will have the island in the middle, to deter the rats and raccoons who would pose a significant threat in the rearing of little ones, for parent birds.
Construction on this new home for Florida's winged ones in trouble,
will begin in about two months.
Stay tuned for updates~

July 21, 2012

Friends In Need, Are Friends Indeed

 Just one of many places of Florida's Natural Beauty, the Everglades.
       A Florida Natural Place
Here in Florida, we are very fortunate to have many Environmental groups who
work diligently and tirelessly to preserve and protect the beauty that is Florida.
One of these groups, the Audubon Society, has a great News Blog Page and
if you are in need of an issue, place, or animal to get involved with,
you will probably find it listed here.
Come meet Audubon of Florida and offer to lend a hand, if you can:

July 18, 2012

Right Whales Are About To Become Extinct For Oil Gluttony

Very soon, in the birthing/calving grounds
of the North Atlantic Right Whale, which
Right Whale Mother and Calf
The Right Whale
just happens to be the most Endangered Whale on
the planet, loud explosions may drive away the last
few of the species that remain in the waters along
the Florida-Georgia Coastline.
The Right Whale had very, very poor birthing numbers this year,
due to a complete lack of food up North and now they want
to do seismic blasting in the very place where they are born.
Are you kidding me?
How much more oil do we need? This is greed, not need!
These animals are hanging onto their very existence by a thread and they want to finish them off by looking for more oil?
Why? We need less oil, not more.
We need to walk, no run, away from this archaic, non renewable energy and
demand new sources of energy, so that in the future, we can all live in a place
where you can actually breathe the clean air, not see it.

July 15, 2012

I Do Believe

 A Florida Panther
                   A Florida Panther

A few days ago something happened that made me believe in the Wildlife Fairy,
or perhaps an even higher being~
A Florida Federal Judge said, "I don't think so," to ORV's running amuck
in the pristine Big Cypress Preserve.
This will be a lifeline for the most critically Endangered mammal in Florida,
maybe in the entire Country, the Florida Panther.
The National Park Service lost this battle to a powerful group of Wildlife Advocates,
who were fiercely determined to win this one for both the Panther and the Preserve.
Throughout this long, drawn out ordeal, however, there was much talk about who or
what would be disturbed, saved, lost, injured or damaged, but did anyone remember
what should have been the single most important reason for of doing all of this,
for the Panther and the Preserve?
When Wildlife are disturbed, as with the Panther in Florida or the Bison in Yellowstone,
by loud, intrusive machines running helter-skelter all through their natural habitats,
they are diverted and/or driven away from their number one priority,
which is eating to stay alive.
Once they have been interrupted by these intruders, it may take hours
or even days for the animals to find their food again.
These noisy, disturbing machines don't belong in Yellowstone Park,
and they don't belong in the Big Cypress Preserve either, ever!
Wild Animals cannot just reorder lunch.

July 12, 2012

The Precious Gift Of Life Is Not Always An Organ

Two American women who passed on in the 1990's,
left behind a great deal of their money to make sure
that the Whooping Cranes in this Country will have
A Whooping Crane
A Whooping Crane
a better life.
The generous financial gifts from Lurae Brinkerhoff of
Wyoming and Elizabeth Overton of Colorado, were used
to secure more land for the critically Endangered Whooping Crane,
whose American living spaces have been disappearing for years.
As a "Designated Organ Donor" all of my life, I feel that each of us, in whatever way we are able, has a personal responsibility or moral obligation, to protect and care for those who cannot do it for themselves.
Human and/or Animal.
So, in lieu of any great financial bequest, my donation, for as much time as I have here, will always be to speak for those with no voice.

July 9, 2012

The Snail Kite Returns to Lake Okeechobee

This story brings hope for the most abused
A male Florida Snail Kite
A male Snail Kite
Bird in our state, the Everglades Snail Kite. 
You notice that I said Everglades, because just
a few short years ago, the Snail Kite was driven
out of its ancestral home on Lake Okeechobee,
north up to Lake Toho, where it was just beginning
to get a break and then bam.....
Whining, complaining, boaters forced FWS to clear Lake Toho of the fast growing and now most abundant Hydrilla plant because it clogged up their boat propellers.
Unfortunately, Hydrilla is the primary food of the Snail,
which is the only food that this Endangered Bird can eat,
so, no more Snails, no more Kites.
But joy untold, it would seem that for some reason the Snail Kite has returned
to Lake Okeechobee in numbers, that make even the most doubting of all Thomas's,
that would be me, believe that there just might be hope yet for the Snail Kite.
A great story, hope the news will continue to be so positive for the Everglades Snail Kite.

July 6, 2012

Wonderful Rain, You Bring Life Back To Us Again

  White Pelicans at Pelican Island NWR, Florida  
               Photo credit: USFWS/George Gentry
We here in Central Florida have been dealing with drought conditions for
many months now, something we don't normally have to contend with,
unlike our neighbors out in the West.
It is usually very tropical around here and rains just about everyday.
In fact, where we live, is just about dead center in the middle of the state,
where the two tropical sea breezes collide each summer day,
bringing thunder storms and lots and lots of rain.
This is what is normal.
But nothing has been normal here for a while and we got behind to the point where
most of Lake County's lakes had dried up and animals and people were desperate for rain.
Just recently, we started getting back to our normal and have been blessed with downpours
that have filled up our lakes, rivers and ponds and the pay off can be seen everywhere.
Florida's vast array of Tropical Birds can once again be seen everywhere,
enjoying the plentiful return to the "wet season" as all around us has finally,
turned to a deep, bright Irish green.
We are thankful for small blessings.
It is all good~

July 3, 2012

Today Is Another Three-fer

   A Florida Black Bear  Right Whale Mother and Calf  A Whooping Crane with Juvenile

Three things have happened recently that affect Endangered Wildlife.
First, the Black Bear has been taken off of Florida's Endangered Species List.
Do not even get me started on this disaster.......
I have talked to those at the very top of the food chain in Florida about this
and there is no changing their minds, period.
And second, a lawsuit has been filed to try to prevent the numbers of deadly ship
strikes on the most Endangered Whale on our planet, the Right Whale.
And third, the state of Nebraska has very foolishly extended something that never
should have been started in the first place for this exact reason.
Hunting Sandhill Cranes is beyond a really stupid idea and here is why:
At half a mile, more or less, away, do you really think that most hunters
can tell the difference between the Sandhill Crane and the critically
Endangered Whooping Crane, before he pulls the trigger?
What were these people in Nebraska thinking or smoking?