That Was a Blast. Right Next to the Salt Marsh.

Yesterday, on New Year’s Eve, we watched fabulous fireworks right here on the beach. I mean they were truly fabulous, but the thick fog over the ocean prevented us from seeing all of it.  I didn’t mind. But while I watched whatever we could see, I was getting worried. The loud blasts were coming from the north end of the beach, right next to the salt marsh where the birds live.

fireworks 4
A low “sparkler”…

While taking a few photos of the foggy fires from my terrace, I was hoping all of my feathery friends would be safely tucked in for the night in their sleeping quarters. With ear plugs. And not flying around in the area.

fireworks 3
All we could see below the fog…

So this morning when the sun half-heartedly peeked out, I took a walk to check on them. The first one I spotted was a Snowy Egret. She was cleaning her white dress. I assumed it had gotten dirty at last night’s swing about.

snowy egret grooming Jan 1 2015
A Snowy Egret dry cleaning her dress…

Why do I think there was a swing about? That was quite obvious when I spotted a male Snowy Egret doing exactly the same thing in a nearby tree.

male snowy heron grooming on new year
A Snowy Egret dry cleaning his traditional dress…

Just when I could see Mama Osprey’s empty nest from afar, she flew in.  Phew! You see, a couple of years ago an osprey was killed by fireworks in a nearby town, so I was relieved and happy to see her alive and well.

papa osprey lands in the nest new year 2015
Mama Osprey arrives just when I was getting worried…

I got a charming nod for Happy New Year, and also noticed she had continued to work on the nest in anticipation of Papa Osprey’s return. Many more heavy branches and twigs were sticking out of the nest now.

papa osprey says happy new year
Mama Osprey says Happy New Year…

After a while I continued my walk. And spotted a very sleepy Yellow-crowned Night Heron. He opened one eye when I approached. Just like hubs did this morning.

night heron sleeping one eye open on new year
A sleepy Yellow-crowned Night Heron shows little interest…

On a little island nearby, the always curious Muscovy Duck was sound asleep. I found a feather in his iridescent green color on the ground, it must have been a wild night for him.

muscovy duck sleeping on new year
Mister Muscovy Duck is sound asleep…

Then something interesting happened. I heard Mama Osprey sing. And sing. And sing. It was a beautiful tune! My tired head finally realized he didn’t sing just for my enjoyment, and I looked up. An osprey was flying high up above the nest.  It could have been Papa Osprey!

Last year I spotted them in full nest restoration mode on January 16th. And ospreys tend to keep their timetable from year to year. So please stay tuned for breaking good news 🙂

Happy New Year to all of you from all of us in the salt marsh!

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


36 thoughts on “That Was a Blast. Right Next to the Salt Marsh.”

  1. How fabulous to have such beautiful birds so close to where you live! Great photos (those egrets are so lovely), and I’m relieved to hear that they all appear to have got through Party Night OK 🙂

    1. I am so lucky and grateful to have the protected park and salt marsh almost next door. Last year, I spotted almost 50 species of birds between the marsh, beach and the bay on my walks and runs. They’ve become like a village where I know almost everyone 😀

  2. Glad everyone is safe and sound. How exciting that Mama Osprey is in the vicinity. I didn’t see the osprey near my sister’s place in Cairns but I know it is there. All its dropped food morsels are providing my sister’s cat with extra treats. The cat is getting rather tubby.

    1. I’m almost sure it was Mama osprey! Papa was clearly putting forward his best foot in that performance. I hope PO does his “proposal dance”, preferably with a fish, soon so they can start rebuilding the nest. Oh, I am smiling about your sister’s cat. I’m sure the treats amount to quite a bit of fish on a daily basis. She would need to exercise more…

  3. Yay! Glad all seem right in the marsh this morning.

    Interesting about the nesting dates here. On the Chesapeake Bay, the Osprey showed up as a pair on Valentine’s Day each year ~ I always felt sorry for them when snow swirled around their perch as they protected their eggs.

    1. The nesting times are quite different. Here in our area most nests become active in late December – early February. On my trip to Honeymoon Island last Sunday, I saw more than 10 osprey nests but none were active as yet, so PO & MO are not late as yet. Valentines Day sounds early…brrr…for Chesapeake Bay.

        1. Last year, the only chick in this nest fledged mid May, and was the last one to leave the nest at end June, although PO stayed nearby to keep an eye on her. But I know of another nest in Dunedin just north of us (they have a cam) where the chicks fledged in June. So even here it varies a bit from nest to nest although most of them don’t travel far.

  4. It is! But I guess they have gotten used to this people madness once a year. I could see them putting their wings over their eyes and ears…and sighing…

    1. Actually, when MO arrives to the nest, they will start a period of a few weeks to restore the nest. Mama is the designer while PO hauls in materials…I had some good laughs last year when she gave loud instructions to her hubby. She is very meticulous about her interior design. I guess PO wants to get an early start to impress her.

  5. I am much relieved to know the birds are all safe in their salt marsh, Tiny. And how exciting to think maybe Mama Osprey is back!! Your photos are all breathtaking and I really really thank you for them. Happy New Year, my friend! (((HUGS))) Amy

    1. Thank you dear Amy! I was very happy to see all of them were fine. I will bring you all new developments re. the osprey family 🙂 Happy your dad is better – a very happy new year to you & yours too, Amy. Hugs!!

    1. Yes they are. The fireworks were beautiful as well, but the fog was really on the top of them so all we could see higher up was brightly colored fog…

  6. Wow Tiny, you have so many interesting friends! I love your images and observations! I saw my first Osprey while walking along a beach last September, what a beautiful bird and such a thrill to see.

    1. Thanks Susan! Ospreys are such magnificent birds, not only to look at, but also how they are: they are master fishermen, have a life time bond with their partner, and they really care for their family. Happy New Year to you & your family also!

  7. What a magical place you live, Tiny! Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures and weaving such a lovely corresponding story! Glad all were safe without too many ruffled feathers, or ear damage… 😉 Wishing you the Happiest New Year!! 💞, LL

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