On the Town: Osprey check — Is there a nest in one of your trees?

DON FARMER
Do you have osprey like these in your neighborhood? If so, let Osprey-Lover Chris Curle know by email at chris@chriscurle.com.

Photo by CHRIS CURLE // Buy this photo

Do you have osprey like these in your neighborhood? If so, let Osprey-Lover Chris Curle know by email at chris@chriscurle.com.

People here who care about our osprey neighbors in and around Marco want your help in locating these birds.

Do you have osprey like these in your neighborhood? If so, let Osprey-Lover Chris Curle know by email at chris@chriscurle.com.

Photo by CHRIS CURLE // Buy this photo

Do you have osprey like these in your neighborhood? If so, let Osprey-Lover Chris Curle know by email at chris@chriscurle.com.

Some of Florida’s specialty license plates through the years. We currently have more than 100 different plate types, something for virtually all interests.

Submitted photo

Some of Florida’s specialty license plates through the years. We currently have more than 100 different plate types, something for virtually all interests.

It’s not just their interest in osprey for a hobby. As explained by Beverly Anderson, a research biologist for Rookery Bay National Estuarine Reserve: “Osprey are indicator species. If osprey are getting enough food, that’s a good indication that the fish population for that size of fish is stable.

“On water, we have about 50 nests, built mostly on pilings and navigational signs. Those are easily monitored by boat.”

The experts are focusing now on gathering information for osprey nesting on land, in the Norfolk pine trees, for example. So if you have nesting osprey in our neighborhood, please let Chris Curle know and she’ll pass on the information to the experts.

They in turn will load the addresses on their GPS system to map the osprey nest locations. That way they don’t have to go on the properties. Chris’s email: chris@chriscurle.com.

“Basically our osprey population is doing well, holding steady, maybe a slight increase,” says biologist Anderson. “It’s not like the pelicans, where we see their numbers going steadily downhill.

Flashing light, sweaty palms — What to do?

One of the tense moments of daily life in peacetime is seeing a police car with lights flashing behind you as you’re driving. You wonder what you did wrong, or maybe you know you were speeding or ran a light or whatever.

Whatever the reason, the cop wants you to stop. So what do you do?

You pull over, of course, but then what? Do you get out, smile at the officer and reach for your wallet? Raise your hands? Pray? Swear? What?

Marco police have a brochure that makes it perfectly clear what to do and not do on the page headlined, “What To Do When An Officer Stops You?”

As a public service and for my own good, here are the highlights:

– When you see the lights or hear the siren, slow down and pull over off the roadway.

– Keep your hands on the steering wheel so the officer can see them.

– Inform the officer of any weapons in your vehicle and their location. Do not reach or point to the location.

– Avoid sudden movements, especially toward the floorboard, rear seat or passenger side.

– Comply with the request to see your drivers’ license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration.

– If the documents are out of reach, tell the officer where they are before you reach for them.

– Tell your passengers, if any, to stay quiet and cooperate with instructions.

– Don’t argue with the officer. It won’t change his/her mind. If you contest the violation you can address that in court.

– Answer questions truthfully.

– lf you get a ticket and don’t understand why, ask the officer politely for details.

– If asked to sign a citation, do it. Refusal could result in your arrest.

– You have the right to deny politely a request by police to search your car. If probable cause is present, however, officers have the right to search without our consent.

That’s a lot to remember if you’re already so nervous you can’t remember your name. I may clip this list and tape it to my dashboard. You can get the brochure at Marco Police headquarters.

Wearing our hearts on our license tags

Speaking of law enforcement officers, they must have a tough time identifying at a glance some of the more than 100 specialty license plates issued to Florida drivers.

We have 30 different “vanity” or specialty plates that carry names of colleges and universities in the state, from Barry University to Warner Southern College (alphabetically). The University of Florida is the third most sold specialty plate overall.

Florida State University was sixth most popular of all the special tags.

We have 18 tags that celebrate environmental and wildlife causes, including protecting panthers, large mouth bass, whales, dolphins, manatees, turtles and more. Panther plates were the most sold of any specialty plates in 2005.

Nine professional sports teams are shown on Florida tags. Among them the most popular is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Miami Dolphins trailing far behind.

The latest figures I have, for 2005, show that the least popular specialty license plate in Florida was for the Tampa Bay Storm, an arena football team.

P.S.: The most common specialty license plate is the wheelchair tag, obtainable by request at the local county tax collector’s office.

You must already have been approved for a disabled parking permit to get the plates.

‘I’m Just Sayin’ ’

Our state lottery is making some changes. I’ll have observations on that in my new I’m Just Sayin’ column in the new local Sunday newspaper, etc, this Sunday.

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Email: don@donfarmer.com.

© 2008 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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