Paintings.

The path was winding through varied landscapes. Sunny days of happiness and joy, and darker days of pain and frustration. You know life works that way.

HMI great egret 1

The canvas of the year has been painted. It is complete, and there is no going back. You may now hang it in your gallery of experience, learning and growth.

HMI park Great egret 4

And you look forward. A new canvas on the easel is waiting for its first stroke of paint.  Your mind sees bright colors and lots of light. For health and happiness, and peace on earth.

HMI park great egret grooming 2

And right now, in this moment, you are here. On the threshold of a brand new year. In the flow of life.

May your new year become a wonderful painting! ❤ Tiny

Peeking into the Salt Marsh. While My Turkey Was Cooking.

I just had to go to the salt marsh on Christmas Eve while my turkey was cooking. Needed to wish Happy Holidays to all my feathered friends, and deliver the greetings many of you sent to the “team”.

Holidays at salt marsh

Upon arrival I was greeted by a dragonfly in full holiday attire. She was busy, just posed quickly for the photo shoot and then flew away.

A Great Egret was playing Santa and delivering Christmas gifts. No reindeer needed. He left a small package in the grass, not far from the osprey nest. Maybe a treat for Papa Osprey?

gift delivery by egret

In a tree next to the deep water, a Green Heron was happily guarding his stocking. It had already been filled by Santa, and was now hanging securely next to him.

Xmas green heron and his stocking

Then I heard music! An Ibis was singing carols, accompanied by bells in a nearby tree. His deep baritone entertained everyone in the salt marsh for quite a while. Including me.

singing ibis

When I arrived at Mama Osprey’s nest nobody was home. I sat for a while on my usual bench admiring her decorations.  Suddenly I saw her fly in with a huge branch! She has started restoring the nest on her own! She worked hard before she was happy with the placement of this large beam. I was impressed. Again.

papa osprey decorating his nest for xmas

After wishing them all Happy Holidays, I hurried back home to check on my turkey. It was a nice little walk before all that eating  🙂 Many more walks are needed, however, in the next few days.

PO, Bumble and I say thanks for the many beautiful cards received from blogging friends thanks to Jackie’s Great Christmas Card Exchange! And we thank you all for being such an inspiring part of our year. ❤ Tiny

Ps. This post has been edited after publishing when I discovered that Papa Osprey (PO) actually was Mama Osprey.

Musing Monday: Quiet Eye

With an eye made quiet

by the power of harmony,

and the deep power of joy,

we see into the life of things.

– William Wordsworth

I like the sentiment of a quiet eye. An eye that not only sees the blessings we have, but also the blessings we can give to others. An eye that appreciates the message and the joy of the Season. And sees into the life of all things, much beyond the hubbub going on around us.

Holiday Travel. And All Its Trials.

Make no mistake, the holiday travel rush has started. At the busy airport on the ocean side, those wanting to land there had to wait for their turn to hit the runways.

congested landing strip
Terns lining up for landing…

Some were put into a holding pattern and had to circle the airport.

trio of flying pelicans
Pelicans in a holding pattern…

Others became a bit desperate and decided to make an emergency descent to a lower altitude. Just in case.

pelican diving 2 (2)
A Pelican diving…

Luckily everyone attempting to land got their gear down on time. No accidents reported, but there definitely were some close calls.

royal tern coming in for landing tm
A Royal Tern asking for permission to land…
pelican landing and tern flying
A Pelican landing…

Some of the departing flights demonstrated excellent on-time performance, some not. But that’s to be expected.

pelican taking off
A Pelican taking off…

Those who had landed were happy to reach their destinations. A few showed signs of exhaustion, particularly those travelling with children.

royal tern mom and child
A Royal Tern kid complaining to his mom…

But most took it in stride. And a few even took advantage of the showers in the arrival lounge.

sandwich tern bathing 2
A Sandwich Tern taking a shower…

That’s what holiday travel is at busy airports. But at smaller airports, like the salt marsh, it was much more laid back. One takeoff or landing every now and then.

great egret flying_tm
A Great Egret taking off…
anhinga 2
An Anhinga just landed…

And even the personnel in the tower could take a nap in between flights. With a half eaten lunch still on the table.

papa osprey sleeping w a fish in his talons_tm
Papa Osprey taking a nap with full crop…and a fish tail still in his talons…

There was some through traffic though above the salt marsh. And some cargo traffic too.

great egret flying
A Great Egret passing over salt marsh…
another osprey with half fish flying
Another Osprey, probably Stanley, flying over the salt marsh with a fish…

The control tower was certainly alert when needed. Some landing permissions were not granted.

papa osprey following the traffic
Papa Osprey scanning the skies…

Particularly for big “birds” like these.  They didn’t have feathered wings.

flying moped boat_tm
A manmade bird flying over the salt marsh…
flying moped_tm
…and another one…

All holiday travelers were not going by air, of course. There was some boat traffic too on the lakes in the salt marsh.  Very relaxing cruises, suitable for those who have all the time in the world.

muscovyduck and moorhen
A Muscovy Duck and a Moorhen cruising in the salt marsh…

May your holiday travels be pleasant and safe. ❤ Tiny

Changing Horizons. Literally.

The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. – Christopher McCandless

Last night was gorgeous, clear skies and calm waters all around us.  The lights from the beach establishments reflected beautifully on the strait between the ocean and the bay at the north end of the nature reserve.

clearwater beach at night
The strait beyond the nature reserve as seen from our terrace

And the bay side did not disappoint either. With the lights from the city dressing up its calm waters, the bay looked somewhat more grown-up and sophisticated than the laid back birds’ paradise I’ve often pictured.

Clearwater fl bay at night
The bay side at night as seen from our terrace

Approaching home in the cool night after a walk with Bumble, the lighted palm trees brought a warm feel of the approaching holidays.

xmas lights Sand key fl
Lighted palms bring holiday cheer

That was last night. This morning was a different story. We woke up to an eerie landscape.  Only a builder’s crane stuck up from the fog on the beach side of the strait.

crane in the fog
A crane sticks up from the fog

Then, gradually, we could see the tallest buildings, the nature reserve and the ocean emerge from the fog.

nature reserve  Sand key park in fog
The nature reserve emerges from the fog

I was on my second cup of coffee, when the fog finally drifted on to the ocean like a long snake on the water.

fog on the ocean gulf coast sand key clearwater
The “fog snake” swims out to the ocean

As the salt marsh was clearing from the fog, I had to check on Papa Osprey. He was in the nest, perched on his favorite spot enjoying the first rays coming though the fog. But he had no breakfast. I was happy the visibility was rapidly increasing, PO could finally go fishing.

osprey in the morning fog
Papa Osprey (as seen from our terrace) soaks up the first rays when the fog is lifting

I hope you enjoy your fishing today, wherever it might take you. May your horizons be pleasant and your suns bright.