There is so much water everywhere. But I promise you’ll not get soaked if you join me for a quick inspection of the lay of the
land water at the salt marsh. And you can wear nice shoes too. Or like me, no shoes at all.
On Sunday afternoon we got a small break from the relentless storms that have stayed with us for the last couple of weeks. The sun even peeked through the clouds occasionally. A good time to get in some exercise, both for the past and the coming week. All in one walk.
I waded ankle-deep, at times almost knee-deep, through the new rainwater “lake” that had formed on the beach. And walked right into a lively shorebird conference at the beach side of the “lake”. Hundreds of participants.
Some were bathing, others had passionate conversations, and a few just enjoyed the brief spell of sunshine. Like the Black Skimmer who’d fallen asleep on the beach. His pal flew in to check on him. Calling loudly for him to wake up already.
He woke up eventually, and they joined the others at the “lake”. A baby Black Skimmer, the first I’ve ever seen, was wading tummy deep in the water while his sleep deprived mother was nodding off nearby. But there wasn’t much to skim, yet, for anyone. Just plenty of fresh water.
From there I walked through a flooded path towards the salt marsh to check on the residents. I felt like an oversized wading bird, but without the ability to fly over the puddles.
Once at the marsh, I found the water level was much higher than I’d ever seen. Many small islets and all my favorite photo spots were now under water.
Only a few birds were out and about. The young Great Blue Heron was trying to peek over the tall grass, and a Tri-colored Heron was out fishing. Successfully.
I also spotted a small heron hiding in the partly submerged grass. My first thought was American Bittern, but after checking all my pictures of him, I now believe he was a juvenile Green Heron.
Some birds didn’t trust the weather man. They had stayed in their rain-shelters close to the Osprey nest. Like this Snowy Egret and the juvenile Night Heron with baby hairs.
No sign of Mama or Papa Osprey. With all the lightning we’ve had, I wanted to see for myself they were okay. I decided to stretch my luck and go searching for them. Ignoring the fact that the next storm was already brewing in the skies. I walked towards Papa Stanley’s resort, and the minute I could see it, he flew in from the bay side.
He was soaking wet, but had no fish. I was happy to see him safe and sound. And sure he’d catch a fish on his next dive.
As soon as Stanley had settled down, he turned his head and stared back towards the bay. That’s when I heard Mama Sandy. She was singing “I caught a fish, fish, fish”. I stepped back to the road side, and saw Sandy had landed on a lamp-post nearby. With a good-sized fish. They had been fishing together on the bay, but only Sandy had been lucky. I’ve long considered her a somewhat better fisher(wo)man than Stanley. Stanley is very good, but she’s master class.
Sandy started eating her fish, and I wondered whether she would share some with Stanley. It was highly unlikely. And he didn’t ask for any either. In the Osprey world everyone fishes for themselves. Papa brings fish to Mama only when proposing to her, and when she’s incubating and raising small chicks. And both parents can bring fish to the chicks until they’re ready to start their independent lives.
It was great to see both of them. I had to hurry home as it started raining gain. A few big drops at first, then buckets. And that pattern has continued. There’s no risk the salt marsh, or its stories, will dry up any time soon. Although it’s finally been sunny today. The first thunderstorm appeared only at dinner time.
Thanks for coming along. Have a great rest of the week.
72 thoughts on “Water. Everywhere. And an Oversized Wading Bird at the Salt Marsh.”
I enjoy somewhat damp and bedraggled stories from the marsh Tiny! When the environment is tough I guess we all hunker down with what’s most important in that moment.
Thanks for this insight into life in the damp! xo
Thanks Val! We got almost no rain during the first part of the summer, but in the least two weeks we’ve gotten more than during tropical storm Debby in 2012. And the stormy pattern is supposed to continue until mid next week. We’re all fine here, including the birds, but I feel for people who live close to rivers and creeks, many have been flooded out of their homes. The west coast of the sunshine state needs some sunshine now 🙂
I was wondering how you were doing. Didn’t send an email as I didn’t know how your computer was holding up. 🙂
We’re fine! I have tried to do repairs on the hard disk through many diagnostic tools and it’s gotten little better, hasn’t frozen in the last three days and now only fails two tests 🙂 So I’m waiting with replacing it, it’s such a big undertaking…everything with email/internet works fine. Hugs!
then I will send you an email tomorrow. hugs!
I am astonished at the amount of rain you have gotten, Tiny! OMG! I have been so wrapped up in saving Molly I have been so out of things, and when I saw your post, I was shocked. I hope for everyone’s sake the rain stops so that the waters can recede a bit. A new lake? Unbelievable!!! Please stay safe yourself!!! Love, Amy ❤
Thanks Amy! Despite the flooding on the beach and in the park, we in our area are doing fine. But people living close to rivers and creeks are not doing good, many have been flooded out of their homes or are about to. It’s the “rainy season” here but I don’t remember seeing so many storms and so much rain, ever. I’m hoping for sun…but the changes for drying up are better only after mid next week. I’m so happy Molly is doing better!! ❤ Much love, Tiny
What an enjoyable read, with excellent photos. That baby Black Skimmer is the first one I’ve ever seen. Thank you for sharing, Tiny!
Thank you Hien! I thought the baby Black Skimmer was beautiful. I had never seen one before either, but there was no mistaking whose baby she was 🙂
Beautiful captures Tiny! Love the Black Skimmer, a most unusual looking bird. Your Osprey family certainly look worse for wear after the storm. Is the Snowy egret in breeding plumage?
Thank you! The Black Skimmer is an unusual looking bird with the lower bill being longer than the upper one. And they really speed when they fly 🙂 The Ospreys take lots of beating now as they have to fish in the rain and wind, but they seem to manage it well. Yes, that Snowy Egret seems to be in breeding plumage, but I’ve also seen many that are not right now.
Thanks Tiny, I think if I were living there the Black Skimmer would be a bird I would like to study. Thanks for you helpful info:-)
You seem to be having quite a bit more rain than we are. Glad you were able to get out and about for awhile. We’re spoiled. We’d really miss your stories and photos. 😉
It seems our region here in central west FL has gotten the most rain. Every single day for hours…we’re ready to come back to the sunshine state 🙂
I totally understand!
You’ve certainly had way more rain than we’ve had here. Thanks for the update on the salt marsh ‘s bedraggled inhabitants. The Black Skimmers are stunning, especially the sweet baby, and the juvenile Green Heron is really gorgeous. It’s always good to see Papa Stanley and Mama Sandy. 🙂
Oh yes, all the storms have been circling around here for the last two weeks…dumping sometimes 6 inches a day. We’re fine here in our area despite some flooding on the beach and the park, but the coastal areas north of us have bad flooding on roads and in residential areas. We’re ready for some sun now 😀 I thought the baby Black Skimmer was beautiful too. And seeing Sandy and Stanley is always reassuring. If they don’t complain, we shouldn’t either 🙂
What a beautiful walk you had – stunning captures!
Thanks Joanne! It was a beautiful walk, but a little bit on the wet side.
What a deluge you’ve had! Great photos, Tiny, really great. I really like the skimmer close-ups, and must say I have never seen a sleeping skimmer, so this was quite amazing. Also happy to know Mama and Papa are fine. Loved the last photo a lot. 🙂
Thank you Jet! At first I thought that skimmer was dead, I have never seen them sleeping like that. But he was very much alive! Later I saw another one sleeping like that too. Mama and Papa have had to go fish even in heavy rain (we had a couple of days with almost no breaks) so it’s a bit tough for them, but they seem to manage it well 🙂
That’s some rain you received! I wondered if the birds like the fresh water over the salt water? Super photos as always Helen – a highlight in my week!
Thanks Kathy! I think these birds like both, but the fresh water is better to drink 🙂 It’s interesting that the salt marsh has a much lower salt level than the sea surrounding it, and I’ve seen many birds drinking there too. Have a wonderful weekend!
Interesting! Have a good weekend Helen!
So glad to know you are doing OK in spite of the rainfall. I’m glad to see the wildlife is doing OK too 🙂
Hi Takami! We’re doing okay, and the wildlife is so adaptable. While the rain has been more than enough, we all enjoy the lower summer temperatures brought in by the thunderstorms 🙂
Very beautiful shot. Love your post.
Thank you Sherry.
Thank you for a wonderful wet walk round the salt marsh, the pictures were amazing.
Happy you enjoyed the walk and the wading exercise, Susan. I’m hoping to be able to go out there this weekend too, but this time I might walk there along the road. Have a beautiful weekend.
That was a lovely outing in the salt marshes with you, Tiny. Excellent captures of the marshscapes and our feathered friends.
Happy you came along on this wet outing! I find that little salt marsh quite fascinating with so many different birds residing an visiting there, right under my nose.
The birds seem to be coping well with all that excess water. I did smile at the sleeping skimmer. What a funny way to sleep. Glad you were able to get out and update on the marsh for us. Intrepid Tiny. 😉
That’s what “embedded reporting” means 😉 How the skimmer was sleeping looked really funny, more like he was in eternal sleep. But no, he scrubbed his eyes, got his coffee and went walking a way with his friend. And I saw another one sleeping like that too. Nature is full of wonders.
Happy weekend 🙂
The same to you dear. 🙂
Great shots, Tiny. Glad you had a chance to see your favorite fishers!
Thanks Nancy. Yes, I got wet, but I got out. Hoping for more breaks this weekend. How’s the rain in your area?
No flooding right around us but lots and lots of puddles.
How wonderful that you’ve had so much rain on the west coast of Florida! What a treat to visit your new “lake” and its inhabitants. We keep getting short stormy, rainy bursts, but the water levels everywhere are still very low. The papa osprey looks like he really got soaked :-).
Forgot to ask about the sleeping Skimmer …. I’ve never seen a bird award to be lying down sleeping like this 😳. Do they actually sleep in the beach in the open like this??
Our water levels are above normal now…and everything is “atomic” green 🙂 I had never seen a skimmer, or any other bird, sleep laying flat on the beach like that before. Now saw this skimmer and another one sleep like this. First I thought they were in “eternal sleep”, but they both got up after a while and went about their business as usual.
So interesting !
The bird asleep on the beach has me laughing. My first thought was hangover LOL
Yes, it was Sunday after all…maybe he’d had a long night 🙂
I must admit I have been learning a lot about these birds from you. Remarkable, Tiny. 🙂
I’m happy to hear that, Celestine!
I have never heard of a black skimmer, let alone seen a picture of one before. I am delighted to be educated by such good shots.
They are very fast fliers and skim the surface of water with their lower bill, which is longer. They are very difficult to “shoot” when they are skimming, but I have one good picture here: https://tinylessonsblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/black-skimmer-skimming-ud121.jpg
Another wonderful nature walk to kick off my Saturday Morning. Thank you Helen.
Happy you enjoyed the walk, David. I was going to take a walk this morning, but yet another storm pushed on shore from the Gulf. Raining sideways over the marsh right now.
I can’t believe how much it is raining by you, and they were saying my east coast is in a drought! We are getting afternoon storms just about every day…usual summer weather…but we always know the sun will be out in the morning…reminds me of a song!! Hope you are well, Tiny! ♡
I’m doing well, just missing my daily walks as the storms keep rolling in from the ocean. The normal summer weather pattern with afternoon showers is only going to return mid next week. Looking forward to that 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend, Lorrie ❤
Lots of water here too, but no sea – hawks. I figure they all went down your way to escape the cold 🙂
The sea hawks may have stopped somewhere between us as we do not see any migratory birds here as yet. Just our own familiar faces. But that will change starting late this month. I’m still trying to send some warmth your way 🙂
Lol weather guy says it arrives tomorrow. Two or three days worth apparently. Thanks for the loan.
Oh dear, so sorry about all the drenching rain! I hope you start to see sunny skies again and that all the birds can dry out. That baby skimmer was adorable! So good to see all the regular residents of the salt marsh, even if they do look a bit bedraggled and put out by the weather! 🙂 Fabulous photos, all, Tiny!
Thanks Amy! I loved the baby skimmer too, never seen one before. Everyone is a bit drenched now…the wet weather has continued. Salt marsh is brimming with water – had a short walk today between rain showers. We’re expecting a bit dried weather from mid week…hello sunshine! Have a wonderful week ahead, greetings from the sunshine state 😀
I hope the forecast holds true and you get that nice span of drier weather! We’ve actually had a hot week here in the north and are supposed to be back down to the high 70’s, which I am anxiously awaiting! 🙂 I have a love/hate relationship with a/c. 🙂
I hope so too…the birds need a break now 🙂 I hope your weather cools down a bit too!
Well, I had the Weather Channel on this morning and saw what the Tampa area is being hit with. 😦 Are you building an ark for all the birds of the marsh yet? Praying for clear skies, sun and dry weather for all of you!
It seems (looking out of my office window) that the birds are gathering on the grass now. The marsh is too deep for them to wade – more like a small lake, and the flooding is prevalent in low lying areas of the park. The rains started again last night and have been going ever since. We’re all praying for dry weather!
Even the fish Mama Sandy was chewing is lovely in your photos! I also loved the look of the new beach lake. Boy, what we would do on the west coast for some of your rain.
I love this post, Tiny! Almost missed it, I had visitors last week. 🙂
So wonderful to see Stanley and Sandy again. They both look great. 🙂
These are stunning captures Tiny. What a wonderful collection of birds you have around you, and you’re such a wonderful writer. Love the ruffled Osprey.
Thank you! The salt marsh became so deserted at the end of last week when the rains just pounded us relentlessly. Luckily the birds have now returned after a couple of sunny days.
Haha vilket fint underbett den där skimmern hade, vad har evolutionen haft för skäl att gynna utvecklingen av det, tro? En effektiv fiskhållare eller?
Den skimmar pa vattenytan for sma kryp. Titta pa lanken som jag har I kommentaren lite hogre up sa ser du hur den far mat.
The baby black skimmer looks so curious! I’m late joining you for this walk but have so enjoyed your wonderful pictures. I hope your weather is back to normal and that you have resumed your regular walking routine.
The baby black skimmers are now learning to fly and they are so cute! The weather returned to its normal summer pattern with sun and intermittent thunderstorms last week. The beach and the park have now almost dried up, but the salt marsh will sport high water levels for quite a time. I’m trying to get in my walks, but now busy with work too…which is actually a good thing for a consultant 🙂