Friday, February 29, 2008

Northern Right Whale Sighting Update 2/29/2008

I know, it’s been 15 days since my last update, but I promise you there is good reason for this.

No one has spotted a Northern Right Whale since February 12th.

This isn’t completely unusual to my friends Joy and Jim as they had one year where they went 17 days without a sighting, but as of today they can make that 2 years. As of February 17th, there were still sightings in the Jacksonville and Brunswick area.

According to the Marineland Right Whale Project, due to our warmer then usual weather and water temperatures the whales may have actually began their long trip back north. The good news is so far 16 distinct mother/calf pairs have been “tentatively identified”!

If you are in the area on vacation, or just an avid animal lover/whale watcher like me do not give up hope on seeing whales, just because the northern right whales may have gone home doesn’t mean we don’t have any in the area….

Monday, February 25th a beautiful humpback whale was spotted in Beverly Beach. I did not know we had a humpback whale season here, I thought they were here year round. Apparently when it is time for the northern right whales to go home that signals the time for the humpbacks to arrive. (I have some new research to do!)

The folks at The Marineland Right Whale Project ask that you continue with your phone calls with all whale sightings to them as any sightings assist in their research in both species of whales. One way to tell the difference in the two species, the humpback whale has a small fin on its back and the right whale does not. Also a right whale has a V Spout when it surfaces and a humpback does not, it has a single spout.

I’ve also seen a dwarf sperm whale playing just off shore so you just never know what you may see!

If you spot a whale off the Florida Coastline,

You can find contact info for Joy Hammp or Jim Hain here

Also, if you are in a boat, it is illegal to come within
500 yds of Northern Right Whales.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pre-Register For Bikes & Blues 08 At Bike Week With Big Mike Griffin

A good friend of mine, Big Mike Griffin will be rolling into Ormond Beach, FL for Bike Week this year!

He will be playing at both The Broken Spoke and The Iron Horse Saloon beginning with his first show on Sunday, March 2 at 1PM at the Broken Spoke Saloon.

The rest of his Bike Week schedule looks like this:

Monday, March 3rd Mike will be at the Iron Horse Saloon from 11PM until 2AM

Wednesday, March 5th back Big Mike and his band return to the Broken Spoke Saloon and play from 1PM til 7PM

Thursday, still at the Broken Spoke Saloon on stage at 7PM until midnight

And as of right now their last show, also at the Broken Spoke Saloon on Saturday from 1PM to 7Pm.

Bike Mike will be debuting his new DVD of his award winning documentary, Iron City Blues while here too and you will be able to purchase advanced copies of the DVD at his shows.

Just a little tease about Iron City Blues:

"Urban legends tell of an isolated Southern town where the residents ran-off their police department and outsiders fear to tread. To blues musician Big Mike Griffin, it seemed like great material for a song."

Some of you know that I am a committee member for the Bikes And Blues With Mickey Jones events that benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Big Mike is also one of our members!

Being on the Bikes and Blues committee is how I got to meet Big Mike and his lady Miss Emilie last year. I then got to spend a little time with them last Biketoberfest, but not near enough as I would have liked because they were in South Daytona. I’m so excited that they will be in the northern part of the county this year!

This year we are trying something new with our bike event, we are pre-registering riders.

I will be at Big Mike’s merchandise table on Sunday, March 2nd pre-registering anyone that prefers to pay in person. (I will also be assisting with Big Mike’s merchandise sales)

The first two riders to show up together and tell me that you read about pre-registering for the Bikes and Blues Bike Event in this post will ride for free in the event.

Can't wait to see all of you Bike Week 08 at the Broken Spoke Saloon!

Remember! Together, We Can Make A Difference!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Life After Living With Addiction ~ Part 1

Contined from my Living With Addiction Series.

I guess from reading other posts in this blog you can tell I've been a pretty happy & busy girl the past couple three years.

I can't begin to imagine staying in that marriage with the way things were.

I look around at some people I know now who have family members with the same type of addiction, I don't know if they have the luxury I did. The luxury of turning their backs and walking away.

How does a brother, sister, mother or father tell their child or sibling to straighten up or get out, then when they don't, kick them out of their lives? Permanently? Turn their back on them and walk away?

As you know if you've read my series, it took a lot for me to turn my back and walk. It was the best thing I ever did for myself though. The freedom it offered me felt incredible. I knew my ex's problems were not my fault. These issues were around long before I was.

We, as the spouse or family member of the addict are not the cause of the addiction, please always remember that, no matter what you have been told.

The first thing I had to do was to learn how to be happy with me before anything else. I feel that if we are not happy with who we are we will never be happy in any type of relationship.

I had to discover who I was, what I was about. Life was now about ME.

Honestly, I had the best time discovering myself. I would walk the beach after work, rent any movie I wanted, and I found a new passion..

My new love was my camera. I found it so easy to find something to photograph no matter where I went. I would photograph ghost crabs on the beach, jelly fish, surfers, bike week events, you name it I took photos of it.

My camera was and still is with me 99% of the time.

I would be silly with my friends, go out and have fun with them. Work on my house, I actually painted the whole outside of my rental duplex for extra money. I had a good time doing it too.
I soon figured out I missed riding, I even thought about taking a motorcycle class and possibly getting my own bike one day. However I have severe arthritus and that just won't happen with hands the way they are.

My friends husband would take me out if she had to work, we were/are friends with Blackfoot and he and I rode to Sanford to see them Biketoberfest of 05. It was a blast.

Then one day I opened the Pennysaver and saw Mickey Jones would be in town for a St Jude benefit ride. I loved Mickey in Home Improvement, how cool! As for St. Jude? What better charity event is there? Lucky for me, my friend had to work and her husband said he would be my escort..

To Be Continued....

Monday, February 11, 2008

Northern Right Whale Sighting Update 2/5 ~ 2/12/2008

I was sure hoping to have a new photo of my own to share with you today, but no such luck.

Once again we had the perfect weather to watch for the whales, a slight chilly wind, but other then that, nice seas and sunny for the most part.

I started out later then usual, hit the beach around noon. I did get some great pelican photos, this one on the top of what's left of the Ormond Pier.

And this one that was waiting for a fisherman to reel in something so he could beg for it.

Then this juggler showed up and kept me occupied for a bit.. He was quite good actually!

I slowly made my way north after making my call to see if there had been any sightings yet and once again nothing.. I got to the Flagler Pier and hung out there for about 30 minutes before making my way back south to Ormond where I waiting a little while longer before calling it a day.

At least I got to see some kind of wildlife though!
On to Joy's email updates..

I received one on February 5th stating they were very active that weekend before starting on Friday the 1st with the sighting of #1622.

#1622 was first spotted in New Smyrna Beach by the Marine Resources Council who said that the whales (mom and calf) were headed north.

Saturday, the 2nd, #1622 and baby were spotted in Daytona Beach, confirmed by the Projects Sector 4 "mobile team leader". The whales were confirmed while swimming north by the aerial and ground teams.

On Sunday the 3rd, The Projects Aircam took off after the fog lifted and spotted a mother and calf north of the St Augustine Inlet. Introducing right whale #3292 and her 1st calf! This is moms first visit to our area, she is a young mother, only 6. Joy tells us right whales usually wait to become a mom when they are around 10 years old or so.

A hour later in Ormond By The Sea #1622 and baby were spotted at Highbridge Road and A1A (on of my stops on Saturday). According to Joy they "put on quite a show". I wonder if that means a lot of breaching and tail slapping? Apparently quite a crowd gathered and parking at that particular area is slim (about 10 spots) which brought out the Sheriffs deputies to keep the traffic flow moving.

#1622 and calf were last seen at the Matanzas Inlet still headed north, spotted by one of the Projects ground teams on their way to conduct surveys.

Wednesday, the 6th @ 8:830 am Arpeggio (AKA right whale #2753) and calf showed back up again at Crescent Beach headed slowly south but they were still north of Matanzas around noon. Apparently it was at that time that the seas and winds kicked up and our spotter teams had a hard time seeing the whales so they headed on out. At 4:40PM The staff at Marineland spotted a mother calf pair who were quickly ID'd as Arpeggio and baby. The pair literally hung out near the Dolphin Conservation Center until 6PM until the evening skies made it hard to see them any longer.

Thursday, the 7th, 7:50AM
, a call came in stating a camper at the Beverly Camptown RV Park had spotted a whale, the mobile response team arrived confirming 2 whales, mother and calf. The ground response team caught up to the whales in Flagler Beach and found Arpeggio and her calf who spent most of the day there.

My girlfriend called me at 5:30pm that day to tell me she was in Flagler Beach and she was watching a whale also that she had her camera. I wasn't sure which whale she she was watching since she didn't see a baby. She called back a half hour later to tell me there were about 20 dolphins playing around the whale and this whale was huge. I told her if there are dolphins there must be a baby. She spotted the baby while we were talking. She was watching Arpeggio and calf. I'm very happy for her as she is moving to Denver soon, she won't be seeing many whales there.

Tuesday, 2/12, The Projects Sector 2 Mobile Team spotted a SAG (Surface Active Group) of 5 whales heading north from the Hammock area of Flagler County.

A half hour later the staff from The Marineland staff called in with a sighting of a right whales to the east. The responder verified a mother and calf headed south. The gang followed the mother calf duo south trying to catch glimpses of them through windy choppy seas and every now and then seeing a white chin and belly on the calf they believe the pair to be Arpeggio and baby.

The SAG spotted earlier broke up but seemed to reform later in the day near the Flagler By The Sea RV Park. Joy hopes to see them again and ID individuals in the group.

I hope she and the gang succeed! The weather is finally nice today, a bit chilly with light winds, and this weekends highs back in the mid 70s along the coast. Not sure about the winds though.

If I hit the beach again, I wonder if I'll have a chance at seeing Arpeggio and her beautiful baby. It's almost like a quest for me at this point.

Have A Happy Valentines Day!
And Remember!
If you spot a whale off the Florida Coastline,
You can find contact info for Joy Hammp or Jim Hain here
Also, if you are in a boat, it is illegal to come within
500 yds of Northern Right Whales.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

I'm Taking Good Care Of Your Robins While They Are Here!

I had quite the surprise yesterday morning, a yard full of robins! This is the second group to come by this winter. They only stay a day or so.

These little guys really enjoyed the bird bath and backyard though, they enjoyed it so much they came back yesterday evening too.

I put together a photo and video movie of them for you so you can see that they will be just fine while on their winter vacation here in Florida. In the afternoon footage of the video, if you listen carefully, you will hear the cars practicing at the Daytona International Speedway for the 500. Hope you enjoy! (Keep watching after Bye Bye, I couldn't edit that out..)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Life Is Funny Sometimes

I know I need to catch up on some posts, I've really fallen behind.

Our "snowbirds", the Northern Right Whales have been very active and I have to get that in here, and hopefully find one or two myself.

I also want to finish my Addiction series.

I hope the words I chose to explain to you just how lucky I do feel can make you feel it too.

It seems my birds have taken my attention away from the other two posts!

I get some good video of them and want to share the video with you.

The interaction I have with some wild animals, it makes me feel all the luckier. I honestly know that if I didn't go through the things I went through in my past I wouldn't have that interaction I do.

I wouldn't know the people I know, have the job that I have or the life I have now or more importantly I wouldn't have Steve in my life.

I'll write more about that in another post though.. Lets get back to my feathered friends shall we?

The other day I posted Bird Antics At Pelican Bay about my buddies a Anahinga and a Great Blue Heron that visit me for their breakfast or lunch at my office.

The Anahinga can be very territorial at times even chasing me away... In this video, I started the video a little late, he is coming out of the water with his "catch of the day" right at my feet...


Monday, February 4, 2008

Bird Antics At Pelican Bay

I have made friends with a Great Blue Heron at my office. He figured out that I feed the fish and he (or she) gets an easy meal.

When the heron is paying attention or hungry and sees me come outside, it will glide across the water right to me to hunt its prey.

This bird stands about 4 to 4.5 feet tall when fully stretched out, a pretty tall and graceful animal.

This isn't the only water foul that has me figured out though.

This bird pictured to the left is a Anahinga also known as the Snake Bird.

This is a male bird, and he swims through the water to hunt or stalk his prey, then brings it out of the water to dine on it.

When I took this photo, he had come out of the water so close to me I could smell him.. like he was showing off his prize.
However, he has become very territorial of this feeding area.

He has on many occasions chased the Great Blue Heron out of the water and even come after me! No, I'm not telling you a fish tale.. This 2 foot tall bird has no fear of anything.

Have a look at the video, you'll see what I mean. Oh, and yes, that is me backpeddling while shooting the video...