Birthday Birds and Engine Roar.

Last Sunday was my birthday. Not that I need to be reminded of the years piling up, but it was a great day. A balanced affair of spectacle and peace. The spectacle was provided by the annual Clearwater Speed Boat Race, and the peace by the birds … and other good friends and family.

After a night of torrential rains, the morning was beautiful.

Willet shore bird
A little Willet patrolling the beach…
rock pigeon
A Rock Pigeon, a rare sight on the beach…
royal tern flying
A Royal Tern returning from a swing on the ocean…

I took a long walk on the beach, where the birds were getting breakfast and people of all ages were preparing to watch the boating event of the year.

little boy on the beach
A little boy exploring the beach…

Some were more interested in other explorations, of course.

treasure hunter
A treasure hunter…

On the ocean, thousands of boats were lining up along the 2.5 miles long race track. And helicopters were circling overhead. Quite a spectacle!

speed boat race an overview
Boats lining up along the race route where boats are already practicing…

I decided to seek my peace in the nature reserve. On my way there I saw something remarkable. Papa Osprey was flying in after a swim in the ocean. When he approached the nest, he shook himself in mid-air, almost like a dog would do, to get rid of excess water. I had read that ospreys do this, but never seen it before.  Unfortunately my camera was in its bag as I tried to negotiate a path to the park that wouldn’t require a swim suit.

wet papa osprey
Wet Papa Osprey saying birthday greetings…

When I reached the nest, Papa Osprey was there. All spread out under the natural hair dryer. He was still wet and held his wings up to dry his underpants. He gave me a friendly birthday nod, but it’s difficult to say if he smiled.

great egret
A Great Egret…

I also spotted a Great Egret perched on a tree near the osprey nest. After posing politely for a photo, she flew away over the water.

great egret flying
…flying away.

It was getting hot and the Great Blue Heron, whom I’ve named the Mayor of the Marsh,  was seeking shade hunched down in the bushes.

great blue heron enjoying shadow
The Mayor, Mr. Blue Heron…

I stayed in the park for a while receiving calls from family abroad, and snapped another picture of him little later.

great blue heron 2 920
…all tall and handsome.

Herons were out in force that morning. I saw a Yellow Crowned Night Heron and a Green Heron too. While the latter is most often perched on a tree looking like he’s dreaming of some faraway place, now he was hunting and all stretched out.

yellow crowned night heron closeup 2
A Yellow Crowned Night Heron…
green heron 2
A Green Heron hunting…

And what would a birthday be without a Tri-colored Heron showing off his beautiful colors. This time I saw him hunting, diving right into the water.

tricolored heron diving
A Tri-colored Heron diving…
tricolored heron after a dive
…and then shaking off the water.

And then shaking his feathers. The gracious little bird was all buffed up.

So after getting my peace in the morning, I came home and we watched the speed boat race from our terrace. Luckily they raced at some distance. No water spray on our lunch, but the engine roar was clearly audible. I’ll put a few pictures here for the boat enthusiasts in the readership.

speed boat 4 3
A speed boat and spectators in thousands of boats…
speed boat 8
A racing speed boat…
speed boat 6
Another racing speed boat…
speed boat and spactators
A speed boat almost flying on water…spectators on Pier 60

The rest of the day was lots of fun, culminating in a sumptuous seafood dinner with friends and family. Bang Bang Shrimp, Rainbow Trout, and chocolate… I could do it again. Any day.

I will probably be posting/reading a little less than usual in October as I’ve a few travels planned before NaNoWriMo hits in November. I hope your week is going well.

42 thoughts on “Birthday Birds and Engine Roar.”

  1. Beautiful photos!! It really captures the two different perspectives on life at the shore. I’m happy you found respite in nature as well as the thrill of the race. I think the noise would have done me in!
    Belated birthday wishes 🙂
    Val x

    1. Thank you Val! Luckily we have this race only once a year on our otherwise quiet beach. We are more than half mile away from the closest point of the race track so the roar was not as bad as it would’ve been up close. It took hours before all the boats watching the race had gone home…bumper to bumper through the narrow strait going to their home marinas on the intracoastal waters.

  2. The Clearwater Speed Boat Race is definitely a contrast to the Nature Reserve. On a given day, I must admit I could enjoy either one, so I enjoyed all of your photos. 😉 Even if you didn’t snap a photo of Papa Osprey shaking dry, I’m glad you got to see it. That’s a priceless birthday gift! And just like Papa, I’m nodding birthday well wishes your way…

    1. Thanks Cyndi! I indeed felt like Papa Osprey gave me a birthday gift. It was so marvelous to see him do his mid-air water shake. Some time ago when I read about it, I thought it would be lovely to see how they do it, I think he heard my wish 😀

  3. Numbers? What numbers? We don’t do numbers anymore my friend! lol
    I love the pictures of the birds and papa is looking mighty handsome. Have a wonderful week! ❤

    1. You’re right, there are no numbers! Papa was really handsome. I’m always so delighted to see him. Now only 3 months to the nesting season…I hope his wife is on time early January 🙂 Have a wonderful week you too ❤

    1. Thanks Christine! This year I’ll work on my Africa Memoirs, a project that I’ve been trying to get off the ground, but since I didn’t free the time, made very little progress 😦 But I’m hoping that being part of the community – and dedicating the time for it – will get me to a full draft in November. It’s good to live in hope.

  4. Good of PO to convey birthday greetings, even if they were wet. 🙂 I suspect many of the others you photographed and shared here wished you well, as well. Belated Happy Birthday from a fellow blogger. And thanks for the continuous flow of your beautiful images and words.

    1. Thank you Eric! PO had just passed me, and I had seen him flying towards the nest, when he gave his special greeting. I could see water flying in all directions 🙂

  5. Belated but sincere Happy Birthday, Helen.. 🙂
    What a great day you had. I love your Mayor of the Marsh. He certainly is a gorgeous creature. And lovely to see Papa Osprey looking so well.

    1. Thanks Carolyn! Yes, it was a great day. Papa Osprey is still guarding the nest on a daily basis…waiting for Mama to come back in late December/early January to start a new nesting season 🙂

        1. It’s very interesting indeed! The ospreys are such good parents and their home life is somehow so “human-like”. I’m hoping to capture more of their life in the next nesting season 🙂

    1. Thank you Tish. The Egret is so bright white that in strong sunshine she challenges my white balance and the pictures tend to be too much “all white”. But it was partly cloudy and she came out better 🙂

  6. I hope you enjoyed your birthday–the evidence suggests that was the case, so that’s good. Your idea of a birthday agrees nicely with mine. I don’t enjoy the fanfare–it makes me uncomfortably self-conscious. instead I like to do as you did–take a good walk about and honestly reflect on the past few years and maybe even think about what the next ones should bring.
    So–here’s to the next few years. May they bring you all the best!

  7. Thank you for your nice wishes Maurice. It was a very pleasant day indeed, no fanfare, just alone time combined with some together time and excellent seafood with a good wine 🙂

  8. Belated Happy Birthday wishes sweet Tiny. So sorry I am late. Hope you had a wonderful day. All those pictures are just amazing. The header picture is breathtaking…so gorgeous! Hugs

    1. Thanks Maggie! My birthday and my “birthday trip” to see my grandkids was wonderful! I hope you’re enjoying the fall colors there in AR.

  9. Oh my goodness! Happiest wishes for a belated birthday congratulations. Looks like your day was spent celebrating the great outdoors…something you seem to relish…and who wouldn’t, given where you live. tons of hugs!!!

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