This morning I woke up to a glorious pre-dawn glow. I felt I needed exercise and decided to head out for a walk. While it was still cool. That’s a relative term here in Florida, of course.
This first morning after the July 4th weekend, I wanted to check on the birds after all the fireworks on the beach and around the bay on Saturday, and even on Sunday. I was hoping my feathered friends had been huddling in the salt marsh during the festivities, and not flying in the path of any of the hundreds of “rockets” reaching for the skies.
The salt marsh was quiet and serene. Just me and a few birds. And the sun trying to peek over the horizon, while the moon was still hanging on high up in the sky.
Many of the residents were sleeping in their hidden night quarters, but the Great Blue Heron was already patrolling the shallow waters.
And so were the Florida Mottled Ducks. I think these might’ve been juveniles from the brood I spotted in April.
I also spotted a bird that I couldn’t identify. My friend H.J. thinks it might be a Mississippi Kite – thank you!
Seeing the empty nest reminded me that I thought I’d seen Mama and Papa Osprey flying together on Saturday afternoon. I’d had my binoculars and made a positive ID on both.
I decided to walk onto the bayside to see if I could find them. I walked past the Sailing Center where Papa Stanley used to have his feeding perch when Sindile was still in the nest. He was not there.
I admired the bay basking in newly acquired sunlight, when I spotted Mama Sandy on a lamp-post close to the sea wall! She’d gone away when the two older chicks left the nest, about three weeks ago. I’d been right when I saw the two of them. She was back!
She was turned towards the rising sun, drying her still wet feathers, and eating a big fish with great appetite. And she didn’t look like she’d been on vacation. Her crop looked empty, and she had lost even more weight from the time I last saw her. She may have followed the chicks and been teaching them how to fish…getting very little food for herself.
Now she was back to keep an eye on the nest, exactly like last year. I left her eating breakfast and walked across the marsh back to the beach.
In addition to many gulls, I spotted a Ruddy Turnstone, and a Willet. Both were running back and forth at the water’s edge, busy getting breakfast.
But I also found something left behind by much bigger, and supposedly wiser, bipeds.
TNT Dark Revenge. Very close to a clearly marked Sea Turtle nest. Frustrating, and dark indeed. I’m just hoping the bangs didn’t disturb the 100+ eggs recently laid there by Mama Sea Turtle.
Mother Nature is amazing, but her caretakers not always so. Luckily She is quite resilient. Constantly producing new life for us to enjoy. Like this blue-eyed juvenile Ibis and these fluffy Moorhen babies, both spotted over the weekend.
Thanks for coming along. Have a great rest of the week.