Juvenile Bald Eagle Followed by a Rainbow – Busy Day on the Lake!


Looked out and there was a rather bedraggled juvenile Bald Eagle sitting in the rain on my dock. Molting into adult plumage must be the equivalent of a teenager with acne. Not fun…



About and hour later the clouds parted and we were presented with this spectacular sky!

Rainbow Over Little Lake Santa Fe

The panorama above covers almost 180° and was stitched together from ten overlapping vertical shots. Click on the photo for a hi-res view.

Juvenile Mississippi Kite – With Surprise Appearance by Mom

Mama Shows Up

We had a juvenile Mississippi Kite who sat in the same tree for several weeks. While I was taking pictures an adult bird flew in, gave him a snack, and flew off. The entire exchange took about fifteen seconds!

mama leaves

Looks like a dragonfly? Mmm good!

junior has a snack

  More photos in the Gallery.

More Evidence Against Daylight Saving Time

Nice summary in the WSJ of recent research on the purported  energy savings from DST. The government sponsored study suggested savings, but there was no control, no way to eliminate other possible causes. One of the participating experts concludes…

We don’t know how the U.S. would have behaved without the daylight saving time extension. — Hendrik Wolff (Commenting on the 2008 Study)

The second study is from Australia where a natural experiment occurred due to changes made for the 2000 Olympics. While energy use declined during evening hours, it rose the same amount during the morning. There were no net savings! [graphic]

The third and most recent study takes advantage of another natural experiment in the State of Indiana. The authors point out that in this age of electric air conditioning and super-efficient LED lightbulbs, the percent of energy used for lighting is becoming less significant over time.

We’re fooling ourselves to continue calling it an energy policy given the studies that show it doesn’t save energy. — Matthew J. Kotchen (Commenting on his 2011 DST Study)

Abstract—We take advantage of a natural experiment in the state of Indiana to estimate the effect of daylight saving time (DST) on residential electricity consumption. Our main finding is that, contrary to the policy’s intent, DST increases electricity demand. The findings are consistent with simulation results that identify a trade-off between reducing demand for lighting and increasing demand for heating and cooling. We estimate a cost to Indiana households of $9 million per year in increased electricity bills. We also estimate social costs of increased pollution emissions between $1.7 to $5.5 million per year. (The Review of Economics and Statistics, November 2011, 93(4): 1172–1185)

More indications that DST has outlived its utility and is now just a historic anachronism (see my prior posts).

Update Nov 10

Found two humorous (but true!) DST-related items today…

Wise Old Indian on Daylight Savings Time

Ten Swallow-Tailed Kites on a Communal Roost


Out on the lake a little after dawn this morning, looked over and there they were…  Swallow-Tailed Kites!  [gallery] I rushed back to get my camera thinking they’d fly away. More than an hour later I left them still preening and relaxing. I took photos until my arms got tired from holding the camera. I was surprised to see so many together, but apparently they can be quite social, sharing communal roosts near areas with lots of food.

My Two Cents on Net Neutrality

Comment Sent to the FCC

I strongly object to splitting the Internet into fast and slow
lanes. The current near monopoly power of a handful of companies
(Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, etc.) has led to our current
situation (supply of bandwidth lagging well behind demand). We the
people are already paying too much for too little. The fact that
Netflix must pay to have Comcast deliver its product is damning. If
Netflix is in such high demand, why doesn’t Comcast increase its
capacity? The public has already paid for it!! In a normal
marketplace this would be automatic. The FCC has been asleep at the
switch on this one.

The simple solution is to correctly label and regulate ALL
Internet Service Providers as Common Carriers! Please do this soon!!

Send your comments to: fcc.gov/comments

Painfully slow submission process; confusing, redundant web forms; when I first tried to submit I got a “can’t find the server” error. Had to come back an hour later to complete the process. Oy Vay!

It’s almost as if they don’t want to hear from us?

November 10 Update

President Obama comes out strong for Net Neutrality, including the most important bit… I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. In other words, regulate ISPs as common carriers. Yes!

Lucid, Engaging Explanation of Net Neutrality by Vi Hart

This is the best exposition I’ve seen of the recent about face by the FCC and what’s at stake if it should become reality. Major take home…

ISPs Are Common Carriers!

They should be regulated as such. She also answers the question why we in the US pay so much for so little? Directly out of my Econ 101 textbook… Monopolies are bad for everyone except the monopolists. Vi puts traditional media outlets to shame. Kudos!

June 1 Update: Humorous take on the same topic by John Oliver! [profanity]

More Swallow-Tailed Kites!!


While driving back from St. Pete, I came across this pair of Swallow-Tailed Kites soaring between large oak trees. [gallery] It’s hard to describe their graceful maneuvers as they searched for their insect prey. They looked more like butterflies than birds! Just as I was leaving two small birds (Cardinals?) finally got fed up and mobbed the larger birds to make them leave.

Short clip, but I got the pair flying together between the trees. <smile>


You may see these birds from spring to fall all over the State of Florida. It’s hard to miss them if you know what to look for! I frequently see them along I-75 anywhere the trees come up to the road. I’ve also seen them soaring over shopping malls in suburban areas?! Unlike other predatory birds (such as Red-Shouldered Hawks), which sit on a perch and suddenly pounce on their prey—these Kites glide over and between large trees. Unlike other soaring birds (such as Turkey Vultures), they fly near the ground where they are easy to see. Online references place their numbers at 2000-4000. This species adorns birding trail signs throughout the state.

Here is what I wrote in 2009 about the Ultimate Bird

Every Spring I look forward to the return of Swallow-Tailed Kites (Elanoides forficatus) from their South American sojourn. I’ve seen two so far this year. In the US this bird is almost unique to Florida, where it comes to breed. I can still remember the first time I saw one driving along a rural highway—I looked up and “Wow!” I was hooked. After giving it some thought I’ve concluded that in addition to the striking forked tail and elegance in the air, the white on black plumage creates a dazzle camouflage effect. The smaller white bird on a dark background looks dove-like or even angelic in the morning light. Always a remarkable sight!

Daylight Saving Time Nonsense Again!

It’s that time of the year! Spring is always worse than the fall because we all lose an hour of sleep… Poof!… It’s just gone. When will the insanity end?!

Here are a view nuggets I discovered today…

Proposed Florida “Sunshine Protection Act” (HB 701, SB 74)

If this bill became law, the Florida would remain on DST all year long. That might be better than the current situation because our time reference would not change twice a year. At least our biological clocks would be spared, but remaining on Standard Time would be even better!

A Spring Forward or a Step Back?

This piece by David Dickinson brings up an issue I hadn’t thought of before… Astronomers don’t like DST. I find this ironic. If you go back a hundred years all time keeping relied on astronomers! For example there is an observatory where I went to college that was used to “set time for all the major railroads from Chicago to Seattle” up until the 1940′s.

Daylight Saving Time Explained

Finally there is this excellent video by CGP Grey…

iPhone Panoramic Photography

I finally finished my Disquisition on this topic, see the full article or go directly to the gallery.




Everglades Sail Kayak Trip 2014


There were many firsts on this trip: First time we drove all the way from North Florida to Flamingo and started the trip in one day. First time we’ve spent a significant amount of time traveling at night. First time we got lost. First time we sailed on Whitewater Bay. First time we declared a weather emergency and did not camp at our designated site. First time we got skunked on more than one campsite. Oyster Bay was closed for repairs and Shark and Watson River Chickees were booked solid. We were so busy I didn’t have much time for photography, but I got a few good shots and panoramas. [gallery]


Larry and I started at the Hells Bay Trailhead just as the sun was setting. It was a full moon and the temperature quickly dropped into the 40′s. This is the one part of the park that has trail markers so navigation was no big deal. We got to Lard Can around 10:30pm only to find an extra party camped there (they were novices who didn’t make it to Pearl Bay). We found the last bit of dry flat ground, put up the tent and went to sleep.

The next day we made it to the Hells Bay Chickee before I realized I had left my sail at the last stop. I pedaled back to retrieve it and this wasted an hour or two complicating our late start. (As a conciliation I did see a Manatee as I crossed Pearl Bay!) We got down to Whitewater Bay late in the afternoon and headed north. My goal was to get into one of the two branches of the North River before it was completely dark. Sadly this was not to be, and it was very dark with no moon by the time we got up there. The compass and map weren’t much use as we poked around in the mangroves. Then we got the idea to turn on Larry’s iPhone. (The GPS part works even when there is no phone service.) I thought I could get longitude and latitude and locate us on the map. It turned out to be easier than I thought it would be, a low-resolution map of the area was still cached in the phone’s memory. There was just enough detail to allow us to see that the river was just around the corner. (What a relief!) After that we pedaled along without incident up to the North River Chickee. Again it was after 10:30 and we went to bed without bothering to cook dinner. (Note: Thinking about it the next day I realized my camera also has GPS, so we could have gotten long/lat from there as well.)


We got up late on the third day to try and synchronize with the tides later in the day. Once we were back in open water we sailed about eight miles across upper Whitewater Bay. This was great of course. We had a rest and ate an impromptu meal on the Oyster Bay Chickee, which had a tent and gear on it from a fishing party. (Little did we know we would see them again!) We then headed down the Shark River with the outgoing tide. This was a good plan, until we came around the last bend and faced a stiff breeze and three foot waves on the Gulf. I had intended to pedal the mile or so across Ponce de León Bay to our campsite near Graveyard Creek, but the water was so rough we did not think it wise to proceed. So we turned around and retraced our route back up the river in the dark. We decided to return to the Oyster Bay Chickee and see if the fishermen would take pity on us.

The current was not as fast as I had feared and the pedal kayaks helped us make good time. At one point we were surrounded by a pod of Dolphins feeding. We could hear them splashing and breathing all around us. I saw a dorsal fin cross three feet in front my bow at one point. Everything turned out well when we finally got there. It was the first day the double chickee was back in service and they were the only party. They helped us get organized and even gave me a beer. We pitched our tent and for the third night we went to bed about 11pm without cooking dinner.

The next day we headed back across the bay. We decided that the opportunity for more sailing and an early arrival outweighed exploration of the small creeks and ponds to the north of Whitewater Bay. (It had been my intention to travel up the northern branches of the Shark River if we had camped at Graveyard Creek.) It was calm when we set out, but a light breeze rose before we got to the halfway point. By the time we got to the other side we had plenty of wind. We kept the sails up as we maneuvered into the mouth of the Northern Fork of the North River (not as easy as it sounds) and proceeded to sail all the way up to the Chickee. We cooked our first hot meal and Larry even had some time to fish.


The fifth day was a breeze. We continued north to the Roberts River Cut Off. (This is one of several lateral connections between rivers in the Everglades, which can be very convenient!) We proceeded down the Roberts River and passed several huge houseboats pulled up at the next Chickee. Seemed a bit unfair since they could throw out an anchor almost anywhere and legally spend the night. The Roberts shares its mouth with the Lane River, so as we rounded the corner we again sailed up river almost to the Lane Bay Chickee by about 2pm. After lunch I took some time to read while Larry went out on the bay to fish. They weren’t biting. After dinner and just at dusk larry took a few casts off the chickee and almost immediately hooked a Ladyfish. Apparently this species is not very good to eat, but lots of fun to catch and release, which he proceeded to do for the next twenty minutes or so. One of them even jumped in his kayak!


On the final day we got up early and headed back down to Hells Bay. On the way we passed what must have been a group of Outward Bound campers who were bivouacked on top of their canoes back in the mangrove. We got back to our car about noon and just as we were tying the kayaks down, it started to rain. We changed into dry clothes in a fast food restroom before heading up the turnpike and home. I was destined to repeat the journey the next day for a second trip with my cousins.