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…
Tri-colored Heron in sand key park clearwater fl
A Tri-colored 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 Mama Osprey wouldn’t be moved. She’d been there, done that. She knew peace would return in a couple of days.

male osprey in sand key park clearwater FL
Mama 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. ❤ Tiny

52 thoughts on “Migration Conference. At the Salt Marsh Resort.”

    1. It’s the birds’ paradise, popular pit stop for the migrating birds as well. And not to talk about a photographer’s paradise, particularly on days like this one. So much action 🙂

  1. I am just in awe of all these beautiful birds, what fun it must be to get to photograph them. Those white birds…oh, my they are so pretty and so very white. Hugs

    1. Yes, they are truly beautiful, and I’m so grateful to have this park close by, but white birds are quite difficult to photograph in bright sunlight. They tend to become one big white blip when one doesn’t have much time to get a shot 🙂 I’ve gotten little better, but still have a lot to learn.

  2. Wonderful treat! It’s been like that on our lagoon this week. Throngs of birds congregating on the shores and wading in the water.

    But YOU are much better at capturing the scenes on film. Thanks!

    1. Thanks! I hope there’ll be a new wave of migrants here soon too! I’m very much in the learning mode on both bird photography and my camera too. Oh, boy, how much good stuff I missed even that day just because I made mistakes, it’s humbling.

    1. I think most of them stayed for about two days. I can see the east end of the marsh from my terrace and I’d seen “increased traffic” one day before I actually got out there. The day after I took these pics, it seemed much calmer already.

  3. Don’t give them any such business ideas, Nancy! The thing about supply and demand might get them confused…and then I’d have no conferences to shoot 😀

  4. That looks much fun (and productive) than some conferences I have attended. Lovely photos, Helen. And I am not surprised that PO was simply taking it all in. Here’s to the restored calm. 🙂

    1. You said it, Eric!! So true 🙂 PO has been nesting there for a few years now and took it easy, like saying “this too shall pass”.

    1. Thanks Kathy! I’m truly lucky for having these guys close by. And now waiting for the nesting season to start…I can feel it in the air already 🙂

  5. What a treat Tiny!! I love how Papa Osprey takes everything in his stride.
    Swans migrate in a field in front of my Mother’s house in Scotland. It takes your breath away to see so many beautiful creatures in one place. (The farmer isn’t so happy though …)
    Val x

    1. Yes, Papa Osprey is always so cool headed….and I understand if some people are not quite delighted with these migrants if they select a conference venue without first asking for permission 🙂

    1. Thanks H.J.! This little marsh is truly a great habitat for these types of birds, but there are also other birds in the park. I have heard owls and woodpeckers too, but have not spotted them as yet, and of course a variety of small “song birds”.

  6. A marvellous story by pics, Helen. And so it is that all creatures great and small share life’s ups and downs.. Though I believe PO’s quarters, high above the bedlam, is possibly the best position to be had.
    And yes, the weekend was peaceful and calm. No migrating ‘anything’ to ruffle my feathers.. 😉 😉

    1. Your weekend sounds great! I think (or feel rather) that PO is now waiting for his spouse to arrive and will not be ruffled by anything else 🙂 Yesterday when writing my book I observed an osprey circling past my office window…I rushed on to terrace with my camera and got a poor shot…it could, possibly, be Mama Osprey, but I can’t be sure.

    1. I’ll welcome them all here! A couple of days in the salt marsh will do wonders to tired wings and offers a great buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner! We take good care of our guests 🙂 I hope your fall will last a bit longer and the winter will wait patiently.

    1. That was a nice surprise to find all these (mostly big) guys there! Today I found some small guys I had not captured before…’til later 🙂

  7. Just sent you an e-mail (at your tinylessons e-mail address) with links to the 2016 Nature Conservancy Photo Contest. Your photos are stellar!

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