Halloween Dates. Tricks and Treats at the Salt Marsh.

I heard them before I saw them. Mama Sandy and Papa Stanley were having an early lunch date on Halloween. They had a lot to discuss. I wonder if they made plans for the soon upcoming nesting season. Can you imagine it’s November already? Sandy may have reminded Stanley to start choreographing his Proposal Dance and planning for the gift to be delivered to her in early January. In any case, this couple gets together more often now. They clearly know their vacation will soon be over.

male and female osprey

male and female osprey flying togetherAfter witnessing their lunch date, I took a swing through the salt marsh, looking for any signs of Halloween tricks or treats. And I was not disappointed.

The first one I spotted was the Muscovy Duck. He looked disheveled and had lost a bunch of feathers. Maybe he’d tried on a Halloween costume that was too tight?

muscovy duckI didn’t see any signs of a fight, so maybe it was just a trick?  Soon this young man looked himself again. Minus a few feathers.

Looking for spooky creatures, I found a huge spider. It had its Halloween web skillfully built between two trees over the water. I saw it in time not to be caught in his web, but the poor dragonfly was not as lucky.

spider caught a dragonfly Then I spotted the Reddish Egret, the clown of the marsh. He’s always up to some tricks. You’ll see some of them “live” in my next salt marsh documentary later on.

reddish egret An Anhinga was visiting too and that was a treat I don’t get every day.

anhinga Just when I was leaving to walk home through the beach, Sandy flew into the nest. She appeared irritated. She scraped the nest with her talons so hard that small bits and pieces flew in the air. I wonder what all that was about. Some disagreement with Stanley or a fish that just had tricked her?

female osprey at her nestShe soon calmed down, and as I walked home, I was treated with more tricks by the Willets on the beach. For this trick only one leg was allowed.

four willets on one leg But that’s not all. The Halloween evening was gorgeous. I had to go out again. My intention was to go straight to the beach to see the sunset, but found my feet taking me to the bay side first. I wanted more treats.

clearwater bay at sunsetfish crowsThe bay was basking in the last rays for this Halloween, and so were the black Fish Crows. And Stanley. He was perching at his penthouse resort lit by the golden rays.

male ospreyHe looked like the king of the forest. But then I saw him fly away, and settle on the roof of the Marriott Resort. Maybe he had another date with Sandy and wanted to be there ahead of time. osprey at Marriott's roof

Sandy was still at the nest, at the fast darkening salt marsh. She was not watching the sunset like she usually does. She had turned her back to the sun, and was looking towards the spot where Stanley was perching. Stanley was also looking in the direction of the nest (I snapped this photo from the salt marsh!). It certainly looked like they had another date planned. But Sandy made him wait just a little bit. These love birds made me smile.

female osprey at sunsetMiss Rosa was home as well. She presented me with a trick or two. First she was playing hide and seek, and then balanced some long grasses on one leg.

 roseate spoonbill roseate spoonbill The Yellow-crowned Night Heron was awake too, ready for his nightly adventures.

yellow-crowned night heronAnd Mr. Moorhen represented with elegance all the black birds pertinent to Halloween.

moorhenThe sun was already hiding behind the trees. I decided it was time to leave. I wanted to catch the Halloween sunset.

salt marsh t sunset It was gorgeous! It had romance in the form of kisses on the water, and it had some intrigue. A pirate ship was chasing some innocent boaters. But it wasn’t the least spooky.

halloween sunset sand keyboat at sunset on Halloween sand keyboats at sunset halloween sand keyHad I stayed longer, maybe I would’ve witnessed Mama Sandy and Papa Stanley on a romantic flight over the moonlit ocean. Halloween has its treats after all.

This post is also my response to the weekly photo challenge “Treat”. You can find other responses here.