Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pale Male and Octavia Update, Sandhill Cranes Part 2, and Audubon Advocates Wins a Big One!

Photo courtesy of http://www.palemale.com/

Just in from hawkwatcher Laurie Nelson,

 When I got to the hawk area today,  I couldn't tell if a hawk was on the nest.  The egg cup is deep enough  that the brooding hawk could not be seen.  After a little while Octavia came flying from the north on Fifth Avenue but flew past the nest and then came back and landed on the south end.  She stood there for a few moments and looked around.  She then walked over and looked down into the cup.  She waited several more minutes then put her head down and appeared to do something.  Pale Male then appeared and got out and she got in.  Why didn't Pale Male come out when she got there?

Well, that is a good question Laurie, and we'll never know for sure, but it is our best guess that Pale Male, and we hear from  watchers of other nests as well (Tristan up at the Cathedral was the same) that other hawk dads with long experience absolutely positively love to sit on eggs.  As long as I've watched Pale, he periodically has to be prodded a little to give up the bowl.  It has occurred to me that perhaps he might be taking a little nap as well during nest sitting if he knew his mate was up to watching the territory if he closed his eyes for a few minutes. 

Thanks for the update!  Keep them coming, Laurie.

When last we saw our two Sandhill Cranes, Female had turned and  was giving someone a piece of her mind.  And as when I went back over my photographs I found no one besides the nearby goose in that area, so I'm assuming that Goose did something untoward and is getting blasted, (this is a Sandhill Crane after all, the loudest bird in North America), for  whatever it was.  Standing too close? 

 I've no idea what a Sandhill's idea of personal space is.

Supposedly the female in a pair of Sandhills starts a courtship
dance with her mate by a vocalization but evidentally that wasn't what was happening as no dance ensued.

I can't exactly tell where this move is coming from or is being done for the geese or the mate either.  Perhaps there is just something interesting in the grass.  ???

Forgive my indecisiveness, but I just went to utube to watch a Sandhill courtship dance again as it has been years since I saw my first and last one live and now I am completely flummoxed.

Okay note how similar the pairs positions are complete with beak direction and all the rest.   Except the female is turned away slightly.  In the dance I witnessed and photographed they would have been in exactly the same position.  More like this...

 And every move they made would have had the same precision as synchronized swimmers.

 And in the dance  I saw, both birds would have come forward completely in unison down to which leg started first and opened their wings.

But just now when I went to watch a video there was a whole lot of the male hopping around and jumping and looking rather erratic.  Perhaps a difference in hormonal levels?

According to what I've read, Sandhills "dance" at the drop of a hat. They will dance for just about anything...Hello to the flock.  Introducing the colts.  Helping all the colts in the flock learn to dance.  Private lessons for  their own colts.  You name it they dance it....   But I saw nothing comparable to what I'd seen in...maybe 2006?   I'm going to dig out the pics before I begin to think I've gone round the bend.

In the meantime, below is a link in which adults attempt to teach the colts of a flock to dance.  Some young do appear somewhat startled by all the hopping around.   


Big Win for Florida's Conservation Lands

Public outcry causes DEP to shelve controversial land surplus program. 

Limpkin with Dinner by Charles Lee
 Limpkin with dinner. Photo by Charles Lee.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has ended its controversial program to sell tracts of conservation land. Instead, DEP will now focus on selling surplus state lands developed for state offices and other constructed facilities.

One example is the A.G. Holley Hospital tract in West Palm Beach, where the agency has a $15+ million offer on the table. The Governor’s budget proposes that these non-conservation land sales will help add funds to the Florida Forever Program for new conservation land purchases.

The cancellation of DEP's Conservation Land Surplus program is a big win for Audubon Advocates.
Your incredible outpouring of written and public comments convinced the Governor and DEP to drop the program. Almost every organization concerned about the “special places” of Florida went to work to organize its members to comment on surplus land proposals to DEP. Florida’s major newspapers published many editorials which opposed the surplus land program and urged the Governor and DEP to abandon it.

Many Florida political figures were outspoken in defense of Florida's conservation lands. The list includes current Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) and former Senator Paula Dockery, as well as the Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC), led by former Department of Environmental Regulation Secretary Victoria Tschinkel and former Governor Bob Graham.

The original, computer-generated proposals list of 167 properties included significant areas of wetland, open water, and quality upland habitat. Included were sites noted for protecting species such as the Florida Scrub-Jay. As comments poured in from all over the state, properties were gradually dropped from the list. Yet, after months of public hearings, over 2,000 acres of the Hilochee Wildlife Management Area in the Green Swamp still remained.   

 There was a universal plea to drop the Green Swamp properties. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, who manages the site, and the Polk County Commission both opposed the Area's inclusion on the surplus list. However, removing the property would have dropped the list to only about 1,000 acres. Selling this remaining land would not even generate $5 million, let alone the $50 million in revenues projectedDEP’s decision to drop the list in its entirety was the best thing to do.

While Audubon has criticized DEP for these Surplus Conservation Land mistakes, it’s now time to say thank you. Please click here to send an email to the Governor and DEP.

In the end, the Governor’s office and DEP listened to the people and responded by doing the right thing. In today’s political atmosphere, stepping back from a mistake is a seldom seen quality and it’s very good to see it happen here.

The new surplus land list, consisting of non-conservation properties, mostly built and developed or purchased for non-conservation purposes can be seen by clicking here.

 If the links above are not working click below..

1 comment:

Karen Anne said...

Whooping cranes dancing:

whooping cranes dancing

There are something like 100 on the East coast (400-500 worldwide), and about five on the East coast have been shot in the last year. There is a $20,000 reward for helping catch the people who shot two in Louisiana: