Mobile. With Security. 

Tired drizzle. London fog. Coffee. Traffic congestion. Rain. Bacon rolls. Meeting. More tired. 

Hiking 2.6 miles. At airports. In winter gear. With security. More coffee and automatic weapons. Birds, man made. 

 Sunset over Berlin. Touching down. More uniforms. Machine guns and Christmas carols. Taittinger Brut Reserve. Late flight. Turbulence. Espresso. Triple shot night cap.   And landing. At night. Windy. Cold. Warm hugs. Real sleep. Finally. 

Morning, already. At the lake. Quiet. Familiar.   

      Hiking with the rising sun. Rest for the soul.  Nature. Peace. 

Annual Migration Conference. Birds Fly In. I Fly Out.

The Mayor was busy. He patrolled the waters between the small islets that served as conference rooms for the annual Migration Conference at the salt marsh.

older great blue heron older great blue heron The crowd was generally well behaved. Apart from the young Great Blue Heron. He was acting up, pretending he’d been promoted to Deputy Mayor. Which of course wasn’t the case. His provoking behavior raised a few eye brows among the guests.

young blue heron and a wood storkwood stork blue heron and roseate spponbill Finally the Mayor decided he had to be managed. And sent him away from the premises amid loud protests.

The oldest Wood Stork started everyone off with a long speech. Some listened intently, others preferred to hold their own side meetings. Or started lining up for the smorgasbord.

papa wood stork wood storks and a snowy egretgreat egrets and wood storks And yet others preferred to explore the marsh during the proceedings, like the Reddish Egret, the Tri-colored Heron and the Snowy Egret. But everyone’s eyes turned to Miss Rosa when she entered the stage in her hot pink dress.

reddish egret tri-colored heron snowy egret She was nothing short of stunning. No competition there.

roseate spoonbill Actually, almost everyone turned to look at her. The Yellow-crowned Night Heron found it difficult to keep his eyes open at all during the meeting. He’d probably been up late. Or just found it plain boring.

yellow-crowned night heronThe little Pied-billed Grebe enjoyed the relative calm at the deep end of the marsh, where also the Moorhens and their friend, the Muscovy Duck, had fled the hubbub.

pied-billed grebe 2 muscovy duck and moorhen Unlike last year, Mama Sandy had declined to participate in the conference. She had gone fishing with Papa Stanley, and they were enjoying an early lunch away from the crowds. Stanley at his resort and Sandy 60 feet away on a lamp post. Both checking on each other, and on me, between the bites.

male osprey eating fish female osprey eats fishI am happy I was invited again this year to document the Migration Conference. But it was completely out of question to get everybody lined up for a group photo. This was the best I could get.

migration conference Now that all these birds have arrived south, it’s my turn to fly north. I’ll see you in about ten days. While away I’ll be very busy, and also won’t have internet connection for several days. But I just might try posting a short greeting from my iPhone. Now that the new editor is so mobile friendly ;)

pelican taking off I’ll catch up with you all on my return.  And Happy Thanksgiving to  friends and visitors celebrating this wonderful holiday on Thursday! I trust you spotted the turkey among the conference participants :) Much love, Tiny

The Peace That Passeth Understanding

When we recognise the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection, love is born.  -Thich Nhat Hanh

Butterfly tree BXI only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out until sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. –John Muir

sunset BForget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. – Khalil Gibran

wild flowers on my path BXpalm in the wind BXIt was in the forest that I found “the peace that passeth understanding”    – Jane Goodall

nature reserve path in the forest BXdroplets in the forest BXHave a wonderful week ahead. Peace.

Little Beauty on a Gloomy Day. From Our Friends at the Salt Marsh.

Fall has finally arrived here in Florida too. Breezy days with moderate chop on the ocean and on the bay. Many days have been bright and gorgeous, others grey and gloomy. Like today when I took my only “proper” walk this week to check on the residents at the salt marsh.

gull flying over waves ud32At the first glance the marsh looked empty. Most birds had already taken shelter in anticipation of storms in the afternoon.  But Mama Sandy was perching at the nest. She was turned towards the bay looking intently at something I couldn’t see from the ground.

mama osprey checks on papa ud32She greeted me, of course, and I spent some time with her. Then I walked around the marsh to see if anybody else would be at home.

First I spotted the Reddish Egret. He was hunching on one of the little islets, and looked very serious. Like waiting for the rain to arrive. And not in the mood for any entertainment.

reddish egret 2 ud32Looking carefully into the bushes and trees I saw the Yellow-crowned Night Heron hiding in a tree next to the deep water.

yellow-crowned night heron ud32In nearby tree I found a juvenile, maybe his offspring. Another juvenile, a Black-crowned Night Heron, was hunkered down in the shallow water not too far away. After all, there was lots of life at the marsh, but everybody seemed prepared for the rains to come.

juvenile night heron ud32

juvenile black=crowned night heron ud32The young Muscovy Duck was there too. He had now fully recovered after losing a bunch of feathers a couple of weeks back.

muscovy duck 2 ud32I spotted some egrets and the Moorhen family too, but decided to go search for Papa Stanley. Wanted to make sure he was somewhere nearby and had not taken another vacation. So I walked towards his resort to accompaniment provided by a Northern Mockingbird.

northern mocking bird ud32The resort was empty. I crossed the street and walked towards the Sailing Center on the bay side. From afar I could see an Osprey perched on the mast of a sailing boat.

papa osprey ud32It proved to be Stanley. He was looking towards the salt marsh, and I realized he could see Sandy.

papa osprey looks at mama ud32papa osprey sees mama at the nest ud32And I understood that Sandy had been looking at him. After what happened last week, he might be under strict instructions not to disappear from sight. Mama Sandy knows what she wants. Her hubby nearby.

Even on a somber day, like today, Mother Nature has the ability to elevate my mood and refresh my spirit.  I wish you all a wonderful weekend and hope you too will have the opportunity to spend some time in nature. Peace.

Fall Glory at the Salt Marsh. But Where Is Papa Osprey?

She’s been looking worried, Mama Sandy. She hasn’t stayed much at the nest since before the storms last weekend. And when she’s been there, she’s been calling and looking around in all directions.

mama osprey at the nest portrait ud31I had not seen Papa Stanley since before the weekend, not even with my binoculars. And Sandy’s behavior at mid-week told me she hadn’t either. She was restless. She  flew around a lot and stayed away from the salt marsh and her bay side hangouts much more than she normally does.

mama osprey at the nest UD31She looked at me and I looked at her. I was starting to get worried as well. Five days no see. Did something happen to Stanley? Or did he just take a few days of vacation time before the nesting season starts late December/early January? Sandy and I had no answers. But we could both enjoy the fall glory of the salt marsh.

yellow flowers closeup ud31Lots of  trees and bushes are in full bloom. And in absence of “traditional” fall foliage, colorful berries bring a sense of autumn.

salt marsh flower tree ud31berries 2 at salt marsh ud31salt marsh berries ud31flowers at the salt marsh ud31At mid-week, I spotted a bird that I’ve not seen at the salt marsh before, a Belted Kingfisher. His rattling calls draw my attention, and hovering high up above the water he was quite entertaining.  His”helicopter” flight was spectacular.

belted kingfisher hovers over the salt marsh ud31kingfisher 3 ud31I also saw a small bird I had not seen there for a long time, a Yellow-Green Vireo. This little bird moves a lot so it took time before I could get a clear shot. I hope he stays around the salt marsh for the winter.

yellow-gree vireo ud31

On my first walk this week, I didn’t stay at the salt marsh very long,  instead I took a long walk searching for Papa Stanley. I got great exercise, but saw no sign of him.

fall beach ud31So yesterday, I had to go out again. I started at the beach. The weather was beautiful, but breezy. I spotted a Snowy Egret contemplating a fishing trip.

snowy egret ud31

Royal Tern “clan” was there too. And they still have many juveniles who give a hard time to their parents. They want to be fed although they have already fledged. Like this little one.

Little Sanderlings were diligently at work, as usual. And a lone gull drew my attention as he was standing on a sand bank looking out on the ocean. Deeply in his thoughts for a long time.

sanderling ud31gull and shells ud31From there I walked to the salt marsh. No Sandy at the nest. But a few other birds were at home, like the young Great Blue Heron and the Tri-colored Heron. Both were taking shelter from the wind behind the bushes close to the Osprey nest.

young blue heron ud31tricolored heron ud31I was hoping Sandy had not disappeared on me too, and started walking towards the bay side. Soon I spotted an Osprey perching on a lamp-post opposite Papa Stanley’s resort. When I got closer I saw it was Sandy. She was sleeping. With a half-eaten fish in her talons. Maybe she’d had a few sleepless nights worrying about Stanley?

mama osprey sleeping ud31

When I reached her, she woke up. And started talking. And that’s when I saw Stanley. He was at his resort with a spotted fish.

papa osprey UD31He’d been fishing in the ocean, maybe far away, and finally come back home. He interrupted his meal to say hi, and listened to Sandy’s talk. He didn’t say a word. I wonder if she told him how worried she’d been. Or maybe she told him this was not a time to take a vacation when he should be planning his proposal gift for her. Whatever it was, I have to say it was great so see him.

With those good news, I wish you all a great weekend. I am looking forward to a family visit this weekend :)

Dogs, Birds and Mysteries. Or What Blogging Can Do to You.

After a few years of sitting at your computer during all kinds of odd hours, you finally become a blogger who doesn’t hesitate for days to press the scary Publish button. And you are comfortable whether or not someone reads your scribbles before they fly out into the cyber space.

Bumble at laptop

Your pile of edits for a post now averages 15 instead of preciously 50. And your images may actually pass for photographs. You enjoy the interactions within the friendly community of fellow bloggers. You make some really good friends. Then what?


I know it’s different for all of us. The professional bloggers, authors, photographers, etc. probably get better and better at their trade in the niche they have developed, and attract a huge, ever-growing following. But those of us who haven’t really decided what we want to become when we grow up, will probably be inspired to try various new things.  That’s what blogging does to us. We dare to experiment. Some pick up the brush, start painting and get really good at it. Some will become authors and publish several books. Others will become good story-tellers, photographers or graphic artists. A few will dip their toes into various creative pots. The Indecisives. I would be one of those. But then, I predicted that when I started blogging three years ago. I said my blog would be multifaceted. That sounds a whole lot better.

So after writing countless professional articles, reports and a few boring books to bring home the bacon, I tried my hand as a novelist.  Last year I published “Confessions of a Rescue Dog”, a fictional story based on Bumble’s life as a rescue dog. I’m happy to say it got fairly good reviews, even editorial ones, and has brought in a few $$$ to help homeless dogs, cats, birds and rabbits to find forever homes.

One day last summer, my good friend Jackie asked me to design book covers for her new mystery series “DeeDee Watson, PI Series”.  That was another first, but since I’ve been dabbling with digital art occasionally, I bravely said I would try.

Jackie published “The Canine Caper” in August! It is a delightful short story available on Amazon as a Kindle e-book. It introduces the mystery series and its main characters: Dee, a Private Investigator and Tee, her canine sidekick, among others. A quick, fun read!

the canine caper picture

At the end of October Jackie published the second story in the series. “A Case of Deceit” is a full length murder mystery, and is available on Amazon as a Kindle e-book, and as a paperback. This novel takes the reader on a wild ride on Dee’s Harley and by other means, in pursuit of the killer. You’ll love the many twists and turns, and the cast of quirky characters!

a case of deceit picture

And then, inspired by many encouraging comments on the salt marsh series, I wanted to experiment with children’s books. I have just published two small photo books for kids on Blurb. This type of publishing is very expensive, so these books are for sale in softcover at production price. I feel it’s important to spark kids’ interest in the many small miracles in the natural world early on in life.

The first book is written for small kids, up to KG age, and introduces baby birds and juveniles with beautiful photos and a simple narrative. A nice bedtime read.

The second book is little more elaborate, intended for kids from KG through Elementary School. It presents bird families and their adventures at the salt marsh with a fun and educative narrative and almost 50 full color photographs.

AdventuresoftheSaltMarshBirds cover

I am now working on transforming these photo books to Amazon kids books. The Kindle versions will be interactive photobooks, but due to the paper quality, the paperback editions will need to have cheerful illustrations. Both books/editions will be much more affordable, and hopefully bring joy and learning to more kids.

Please check the Firdemonte Press page for more information on these books and on all the other stuff that’s cooking. Or click on the book covers to buy now :-D

mercat 2

What an ongoing adventure blogging is! I had no idea. I just wish I had more time to dedicate to all these creative facets of life, and to enjoy the great variety of inspirational reads I always find on your blogs. Thank you for being here. Much love.

Pre-dawn Glory. And Morning Gymnastics. Mama Osprey Style.

Summer came back. And so did work. But this morning I pretended to be an early bird, and got up before sunrise. I had to go out for a walk, at least once this week. So there I was having coffee on my terrace when the first light showed up at the horizon. The bay was calm. And the sky was on fire. Quite a reward for getting up early.

before sunset on the bay ud30The salt marsh was still in darkness, but with my light-sensitive birding binoculars, I could see Mama Sandy’s white head at the nest. Last night when I checked on her just when it was getting dark, I saw her there too. I wonder if she has started to sleep at the nest already. Claiming it so nobody else gets any foolish ideas.

A little later, when I approached the salt marsh from the beach, it was already basking in the morning light. And Sandy was still sitting there. The little prick in the right corner of the nest.

salt marsh after sunriseOn my way over to greet her, I spotted Mr. Mayor, the older Great Blue Heron. He was inspecting the marsh, and handsome as always.

old great blue heron The youngster had also arrived. Presumably for breakfast. But he didn’t like to meet me. He is right in thinking I’m a bit biased about his escapades at the Osprey nest last spring. So he took flight when I approached.

young great blue heron young great blue heron in flight Then I spotted the Reddish Egret. He was scanning the marsh, but wasn’t up to any tricks. Too early, I guess. He hadn’t even gotten his feet wet.

reddish egret I was looking for Miss Rosa. She is usually an early bird. And there she was! Shuffling water with her “spoon” to locate the right breakfast items. She lifted her head and nodded a greeting. Such a good mannered bird, and very photogenic.

roseate spoonbill at sunrise When I arrived at Sandy’s nest, she was keeping a keen eye on the skies and sounding a few alarms. I didn’t see anything alarming. But then I also didn’t have her vantage point. Or her assignment to guard the nest.

female osprey at sunrise I think she was yet to fetch her breakfast. She flexed her wings and did some morning gymnastics. But she didn’t fly away while I was there. I made a short gif image of her routine. Just in case you’d like to try it. I’m sure it will strengthen your wings.

female osprey gif

I didn’t have the time to see if Papa Stanley was at his resort. But I’m sure he’s okay too. Hopefully I can find some more time to spend outdoors over the weekend. With that I wish you all a wonderful weekend. Keep moving!


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