A Short Walk in Search of Fall

Earlier this week, I decided to go look for signs of fall here in my neighborhood.  Even in nature that’s mostly evergreen, there should be some signs of the seasons changing. Other than somewhat cooler temperatures with occasional cold fronts, shorter days and migrating birds.

When I looked carefully, I found some seasonal colors in our garden, on the beach, around the bay and the salt marsh in the park. We don’t see the type of stunning color palettes you have up north, but I found a few small spots of eye-popping color. I hope you like the Florida fall colors I picked up on my walk.

Sending warm thoughts and prayers to those blogging friends who experienced the epic snow storm this week, and are now expecting flooding. Please stay safe. You can read about their struggle on Amy’s blog.

Love always, Tiny

Fall colors in our garden...
Fall colors in our garden…
Fall flowers on the beach...
Fall flowers on the beach…
Changing colors on the beach...
Changing colors on the beach…
Colorful leaves in the salt marsh...
Colorful leaves in the salt marsh…
Wild flowers in the salt marsh
Wild flowers in the salt marsh
Late bloomers...White Bird of Paradise next to the bay...
Late bloomers…White Bird of Paradise next to the bay…
Blooming grass on the bay side...
Blooming grass on the bay side…
A blooming tree in the park...
A blooming tree in the park…
Color popping seed pods in the park...
Eye-popping seed pods in the park…
...and a head popping Muscovy Duck in the salt mash :)
…and a head-bopping Muscovy Duck in the salt mash :)

 

Papa Osprey and His Friends. Important Introductions.

This past weekend was a delight. The weather was gorgeous between two cold fronts, but even more importantly our son popped in for a short visit. After all the good eating, I took him on a walk to enjoy the beach and to introduce him to my winged friends in the salt marsh.  I hoped they would behave. Or at least not go into hiding.

blue ocean nov 16
A sailing boat on the calm, blue Gulf…

The ocean was sky blue and calm. Sailing school students were gathering for a class little further out.

sailing school nov 16
Sailing school students gather for a class…

Pelicans were flying back and forth close to the water, tiny Sanderlings were running around on the sand picking food, and to my surprise a Snowy Egret was fishing in the calm waves rolling in. A welcome committee already on the beach.

pelican flying low 2
A Pelican flies close to the calm waters…
sanderling
A little Sanderling picks for food…
A Snowy Egret fishing on the ocean shore...
A Snowy Egret fishing on the ocean shore…

When we reached the north end of the beach, Mister Blue Heron had courteously come to welcome us to the park and the salt marsh. I made introductions and we got some nice pictures.

mister blue heron on the beach
Mister Blue Heron shows off his welcome pose…

As we walked through the park, we spotted a beautiful Mourning Dove in the grass. And reaching the salt marsh we observed a Tricolored Heron fishing in the shallow waters. I was happy to see we still had some visitors. A team of Wood Storks was guarding a sleeping Spoonbill. He was taking an after lunch nap, I assumed.

mourning dove
A graceful Mourning Dove…
wood storks and roseate spoonbill
Visiting Wood Stork team and a Roseate Spoonbill…
tricolored heron
A Tricolored Heron patrols the marsh…

I made some quick introductions again, but was in a hurry to see if I could introduce my most cherished friend, Papa Osprey. And he didn’t disappoint.

papa osprey with a fish
Papa Osprey says hi to Tiny & son…

He was having lunch. He saw I had someone important to introduce so he interrupted his eating for a while to say hi. So very thoughtful of him. After saying our goodbyes to him we walked back home. And saw a new guy on the block circling high above the beach, a Turkey Vulture. I have no idea whether he’s moved in or was just visiting over the weekend.

Turkey vulture in flight
A Turkey Vulture circles high up…

It was a great weekend, but now we’re all back to work. Mine being to finish the first draft of my second book before the end of the month. I’ll need to catch up on my word count as writing was not a priority over this particular weekend. I’ll try to catch up on your blogs as well this week.

Have a great week, my friends.

 

Migration Conference. At the Salt Marsh Resort.

Earlier this week, I went out for my usual greet-papa-osprey run around the salt marsh, and landed in the middle of a migration conference with over 100 participants! The place resembled a luxury resort, with guests sprawling around every table at the lunch buffet.

migratory birds in Sand Key Park Salt Marsh
A small fraction of the conference guests

I’ve never seen so many birds in this salt marsh! Dozens of migrating Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Wood Storks were visiting. I was delighted, but the permanent residents didn’t quite share my enthusiasm. The crowd was a bit unruly at times. Tempers flared, voices – and hairs - were raised.

angry snowy egret in Sand Key Park salt marsh
A Snowy Egret gets upset…
A snowy egret is angry at the salt marsh of Sand Key Park
…very upset!

There were a few really loud exchanges. Followed by rearrangements at the tables. Or maybe I should say, adjustments in the pecking order.

Great Egret flying in to the salt marsh of Sand Key Park, FL
An upset Great Egret makes a loud entrance…
great egret chases another away Sand Key Park FL
… and turns the tables.

But for the most part, the conference luncheon went smoothly. Everyone got their pickings, big or small.

great egret hunting in Sand Key Park FL
A Great Egret begins the hunt…
great egret fishing in Sand Key Park FL
…and there he dives…
great egret fishing in Sand Key Park clearwater FL
…for something delicious, I hope.
tricolored heron hunting in Sand Key Park Clearwater FL
A Tricolored Heron takes a small bite…
B little blue heron with a fish
A Little Blue Heron catches a tiny fish…

After lunch some quests embarked on their exercise routines, while others chatted with their peers. Exchanging the latest. Some paraded the calm waters, showing off their beautiful gowns.

A great egret doing the doggy shake sand key park clearwater fl
Shake, baby shake!
wood storks and egrets in Sand key Park Clearwater FL
One of the Wood Stork teams hangs out…
great egrets in Sand Key Park Clearwater FL
And Great Egrets parade…

I noticed that some permanent residents tried to keep away from the hubbub, seeking calm corners to hide in until the conference would be over. Some stayed out of sight altogether, like the Night Herons.

Roseate spoon bill in sand key park clearwater fl
A Roseate Spoonbill avoids the crowd…
muscovy duck in sand key park clearwater fl
Even the curious and normally social Muscovy Duck keeps to himself…
Little blue heron in sand key park clearwater fl
A Little Blue Heron hides his head in the grass…

A few elected to let it all pass, and moved to the relative calm of the bay side.

great egret flying sand key park clearwater fl
A Great Egret flies to the bay side
snowy egret fishing on the bayside Sand key clearwater fl
A Snowy Egret enjoys the rich fishing waters on the bay side…

That included the “Mayor of the Marsh”, Mister Blue Heron. I assumed he got tired of policing the crowd.

egret and  blue heron and wood stork in sand key park clearwater FL
Mister Blue Heron, a Great Egret and a Wood Stork in the salt marsh…
blue heron policing the crowd
Enough is enough…Mister Blue Heron flies to the bay side.

But Papa Osprey wouldn’t be moved. He’d been there, done that. He knew peace would return in a couple of days.

male osprey in sand key park clearwater FL
Papa Osprey enjoys his peace up in the nest…

And it did. This morning the marsh was calm again, and the twenty odd residents were able to enjoy their home in peace, like the Great Egret does in the featured image.

I hope your weekend is peaceful and calm. <3 Tiny

 

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