Vroom, Bang and Upside Down. Under the Rainbow at the Salt Marsh.

It was that time of the year again. Super boat championship races on the Gulf. Practice runs on Friday and Saturday and the races on Sunday. Tens of thousands of spectators, parties everywhere, and fireworks on Saturday night. Engine roar and fireworks bangs just a stone throw from the salt marsh, and my terrace.

I guess the permanent residents at the salt marsh are by now used to the volume and the colorful night time lights generated by this annual three day event. Mama Sandy certainly took it all in stride. She was focusing on her fascinating gardening project. There’s even more green in the nest now than three weeks ago when she started planting. It is, indeed, an impressive looking garden.

mama osprey's garden ud25 b

mama osprey proud gardener ud25 b

I’m thinking she might want to create the look and feel of Papa Stanley’s resort. It’s certainly starting to look like that. I have no idea how she does it. But she looks proud of her achievement, don’t you think?

Despite all the hubbub, the marsh has been lively with birds. Lots of white sprinkled with pink, blue and brown.

salt marsh birds ud25 b

The water levels are up again after recent rains that have also given us multiple beautiful rainbows over the bay in the last few days.

rainbow over clearwater bay ud25 b panorama double rainbow ud25 bRosa, the Roseate Spoonbill, and her friends ibis, egrets and herons have enjoyed foraging in the previously dry spots.

roseate spoonbill B ud25 byoungr Great Blue Heron ud25 bblackcrowned night heron juvenile ud25 b

This juvenile Pied-billed Grebe is a newcomer at the salt marsh. I’ve not seen any other family members so I’m thinking this little one must have migrated on its own from up north.

juvenile pied-billed Grebe ud25 b

This past week, I also spotted the Red-bellied Woodpecker again. He has returned from his summer adventures. He was hanging upside down and his red head was moving fast in search of breakfast.  Every now and then he’d interrupt his work to scan for any dangers.

redbellied woodpecker ud25 bHis sweetheart was with him too. She was too shy for a photo shoot, but he posed gladly for a second one.

redbellied woodpecker 2 ud25 bI wondered what they might have thought discovering their old home, the “condo building”, was gone.

Close to the woodpeckers, I spotted a Loggerhead Shrike and a Northern Mockingbird. Both are permanent residents in the forests next to the marsh.

loggerhead shrike ud25 bnorthern mockingbird 3 ud25 b

I had not seen Papa Stanley for days so I decided to walk to his resort, hoping he would be at home. I was lucky. He had just returned after taking a bath.  He shook his wings to get rid of the water, and then spread them out to dry. I was happy to note he seemed to be in great shape.

papa osprey lands at his resort ud25 b

So everybody in the extended salt marsh family is accounted for, and we all wish you a great and safe weekend.

73 thoughts on “Vroom, Bang and Upside Down. Under the Rainbow at the Salt Marsh.”

    1. Thanks Jackie! Everybody is well. I’m hoping the little Grebe will find some friends 😀 Have a beautiful weekend, you & yours ❤

    1. Glad you came along for the tour, Brad! Yes, we are on a barrier island on the Gulf coast. The salt marsh has my favorite walking trails and houses my favorite photo models.

  1. So glad all your local avian residents survived the boat race celebrations, Tiny. Your photos here are really wonderful. The rainbow shot is fantastic, and I really like the close-up of the spoonbill. Always nice to see a loggerhead shrike too. Great post! 🙂

    1. Thanks Jet! These boats are among the fastest in the world, so you can imagine the engine roar when they “fly” over 100 m/h on the water. But the birds didn’t seem to mind. I’m always grateful to you for the identification of the loggerhead shrike 🙂

    1. I’m amazed about the fact that all Sandy’s plants stand upright, don’t fly away in the wind and don’t seem to wilt in the sun. The whole rainbow was truly gorgeous, the first I remember seeing over the bay in five years. Happy you liked them!

    1. Thank you! I was sitting and working in my office when I looked up and saw the bright left side of the rainbow, ran out to our terrace …and saw the whole thing. It was mesmerizing! Lasted about five minutes before the right side faded away.

    1. Thank you, Val! I think the salt marsh residents are becoming experts in managing the vroom bangs. And I’m hoping for another gorgeous rainbow, asking Mother Nature to make it a double 🙂

    1. That was excitement enough for one weekend! I’m also amazed at the osprey garden…looked at the nest through my binoculars this morning, and it looks like she’s added to her garden. Now something green hangs out over the edge too. She sat there enjoying it all.

    1. Sandy keeps adding to it. This morning there was even more (seen from our terrace). The plants are in the middle of the nest so they are exactly where the nest cup will be…maybe she wants some dried soft materials embedded in the middle before they build the nest higher again in January. That would be very clever. In any case, it’s fascinating.

    1. Thanks Julie. Mama Sandy’s nest just keeps getting greener. I’ve seen her do this before, but never more than one plant at the time, now there are at least three different ones.

  2. Another wonderfully told story Tiny, and it is great to see your neighbours all doing well, and all looking to beautiful in the salt marsh. Wow that Osprey garden is looking really great, who would have thought??. An interesting fact we have noticed about Grebes is that you seem to always see them alone, unless breeding, this is the only time I have ever seen Grebes together. It is often that we find one lonely little Grebe in the centre of a pond or lake. Have a great weekend from the Aussie birds and birder!

    1. The garden is truly green now, and I can no longer see with naked eye if Sandy is in the nest or not, have to look through binoculars to see her amongst the plants 🙂 Thanks for the facts about Grebes. This little one has been there alone for a few days now. We all wish you all a beautiful birding weekend with many gifts!

  3. Fantastic rainbow captures! Mama Sandy’s garden is so gorgeous. It’s incredible what green ‘fingers’ she has. 🙂 The Spoonbill image is perfect and what a cute Mr. Woodpecker. 🙂

    1. Happy you liked the rainbows, Sylvia! Mama Sandy must have “cut” those plants herself as they look completely fresh…she’s prepared to work hard to beautify the nest that she’s babysitting on daily basis now 🙂

    1. I hope that too, Nancy. There was another dead palm trunk not too far from their former condo. I have to check whether it’s still there…and put up a little sign for Mr. Woodpecker 🙂

    1. You’re welcome here, plenty of space, and a nice welcome committee 🙂 That rainbow was amazing, it only lasted about 5 minutes until the right side faded away.

  4. It’s so nice to see your beautiful photos Tiny, all your birds seem to be in top shape, healthy and strong. It makes me happy too. 🙂

    1. Yes, the birds seem to be happy now that the weather is a bit cooler and nicer after a hot & very wet summer. Have a wonderful weekend with your family 🙂

    1. I’m happy to hear you liked our friends at the marsh! When I don’t travel, I work from my home office as most of my clients are abroad, and these birds draw me out to get some exercise. They are very good at that 🙂

    1. The Woodpecker doesn’t seem to get dizzy while hanging upside down. I’ve also noticed that the WP Reader sometimes drops those I’m following, so I have to follow them again. Several such occurrences lately. Have a wonderful week Laurie.

  5. I need to learn gardening tips from Mama Sandy! I so enjoy your posts. Since I can’t live at the marsh, nice of you Tiny to bring it to me! Hahaha. Hope your weekend was awesome. Thursday here now and I hear the sounds of the night. It’s magical here in its own way. Hugs! Koko❀

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