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.

79 thoughts on “Halloween Dates. Tricks and Treats at the Salt Marsh.”

  1. So many treats Tiny! Thank your for some great shots and the update. I especially love the composition of the fish crows photo!
    So glad Stanley is taking an interest in our Sandy again this year 😍

    1. Happy you came along, Val! Oh yes, love is starting to bloom again in the Osprey family ❤ And unlike last year, they haven't been far from each other for any longer period of time during this "vacation"!

  2. Oh, great catch on the spider pic.

    I just realized their dates (ahem, “dates”) are at the hotel. Too funny!

    Very true that it’ll be nesting time before we realize it!

    1. Thank you! Happy you liked the Halloween treats offered by the birds. yes, the Willet is a migratory wader. They nest up north in northern US and in Canada. This year they were not gone for too long, or so it felt 🙂

    1. Thank you Rebecca! The sunset on Saturday was spectacular, with so many hues of red/orange/yellow in 30 minutes, and pastel skies after the sun went down, like in the last photo.

    1. That was the romantic one…this couple went on the water just to see the sunset, I’m sure….going slow a couple of times back and forth 🙂

  3. You did collect quite a few treats on your Halloween evening walk. Loved the pictures of Rosa and the one of the yellow-crowned night heron is amazing. Something about the look in his eye, and also the background compliments his coloring perfectly. It’s always good to hear what Sandy and Stanley are up to. 🙂

    1. Happy you enjoyed the treats, Barbara! The marsh was almost too dark for photos, but I’m happy I captured these few quite okay. The Night Heron is difficult to spot at day time because they sleep either deep in the bushes or high up in the canopies. I can’t believe it’s only 8-9 weeks before Sandy and Stanley start courting seriously again, and rebuilding the nest.

  4. What a glorious Halloween on the Salt Marsh. Miss Rosa is looking particularly good – always the super-model. I do like the “Shy Lady Di” pose she pulled for you, lol! 🙂

    1. It was a nice Halloween they had at the salt marsh. Miss Rosa was about to sleep, but when she saw me she was immediately very much awake and pulled of this elegant pose. I think she is quite photogenic 😀

  5. I just love the shot of Stanley and Sandy flying together. And, the king of forest capture is awesome! Such a grand tour. Thank you, Tiny! 🙂

    1. Happy you liked the Halloween tour, Amy! I will see them flying together more often between now and the “proposal” Stanley will make in early/mid January. This one was taken from my terrace one day when they flew back and forth for quite a while 🙂

    1. Thank you, Lorrie! I had a beautiful day on Saturday, with two walks in the fabulous weather. Now it seems summer has returned for a short visit 🙂 Have a wonderful week, my friend!

      1. I know Tiny…it was 91 here yesterday!! I am not complaining…seems the older I get…the hotter I like it!! I love this time of year down here…and it is so different from when I was up north at this time…the sadness would already be creeping in! Much love…hope you enjoy the weekend!,♡

    1. They are quite something, Mama and Papa. So nice to be able to follow their lives and share some of it. Sorry for my tardy response. Just got up for air and try to catch up on everything.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. And sorry for my late response. Salt marshes are often home for so many birds. This one is small but lively, and has so many “characters” that are fun to follow.

    1. Thank you so much Susan! And sorry for my late response. I made a photobook about Sandy’s and Stanley’s nesting season, just to try how it would come out. Not too bad, but it would be so expensive to produce that I would need to find a publisher who would print it in a big volumes 🙂

  6. What an adventure you had! I think if I had all of your wonderful wildlife in my area I would want to be outside from sunrise to sunset. Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful photos:)

    1. Thank you! That’s what I’m struggling with too as I work from my home office when not traveling. There’s always something interesting happening outside my office window – I san see 1/3 of the salt marsh and birds flying back and forth 🙂

  7. I really enjoyed all the tricks and treats from your friends at the marsh, Tiny — and your photos are spectacular. You shaped a smile onto my face, thank you. 🙂

    1. Thank you Jet! I’m happy you enjoyed the tricks and treats of our feathery friends. I want to apologize for my tardy response. I’ve been immersed in work and had missed a huge number of wonderful comments. Finally I’m up for air and trying to catch up on everything.

  8. 非常好!:-) These photos are great, such a wide variety of shots…and they are made better with your commentary! The dragonfly in the web shot is fantastic, perhaps my favorite – but for me nothing beats Ms. Rosa…the Roseate-Spoonbill is just too beautiful. Wish you a wonderful weekend ~
    BTW – I liked your Chinese very much 🙂

  9. 謝謝大家 ! Happy you liked the Halloween tricks performed by the birds. That web was huge, 6-7 feet wide across the water. And the spider was not small either. Halloween stuff. Rosa is always a great model, she never leaves when I approach her, but rather poses for photos. Unfortunately Chinese is not really one of my languages, I’m just fascinated by it 🙂 A wonderful weekend to you too.

  10. That was a very special Halloween experience,dear Tinny!A big variety of tricks and treats by our wonderful feathered friends!Loved your post from the very beginning to the very end for many reasons!The close relationship you have with your heroes and heroines of your marsh stories really astonishes me.Your narattive and the warm way you approach your friends there is absolutely touching and engaging!Your photographs are fascinating and so are all the characters of your stories.I enjoyed the capricious behaviour of Sandy and Stanley and I was stunned by the Willets’ performance!Great timing,dear Tinny!They were all standing on one leg!Also Miss Rosy is so beautiful!The Anhinga treat was amazing too.I have never seen this bird before.Loved the epilogue of your Halloween Treats with those glorious sunset scenes!Thank you for the wonderful moments you shared with us,dear friend Tinny!Have a wonderful day 🙂 Doda xxx

    1. Thank you dear Doda! This is the most wonderful and encouraging comment ever ❤ I love it when I can share some of the wonderful "stories" these birds offer! They are such characters when you learn to know them 🙂 Always up to something worth telling. The Willets' performance was so entertaining, and Sandy's & Stanley's saga is truly fascinating. Now I'm waiting for them to start courting again soon for the next nesting season that starts in late December-early January here in Florida. Forgive me my late response. Much love, Tiny

      1. Thanks for reading and responding,dear Tiny!I do appreciate your generous reply which is enriched with extra info.Magical the world of the birds!I occasionally watch some BBC documentaries that ornithologists share with us and I am fascinated by the birds’ “societies” and their norms!There is no need to apologise,I know how difficult it is when we have to squeeze so many things in our busy schedule.So much love back to you,dear friend 🙂 Doda xxx

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