Fall Glory at the Salt Marsh. But Where Is Papa Osprey?

She’s been looking worried, Mama Sandy. She hasn’t stayed much at the nest since before the storms last weekend. And when she’s been there, she’s been calling and looking around in all directions.

mama osprey at the nest portrait ud31I had not seen Papa Stanley since before the weekend, not even with my binoculars. And Sandy’s behavior at mid-week told me she hadn’t either. She was restless. She  flew around a lot and stayed away from the salt marsh and her bay side hangouts much more than she normally does.

mama osprey at the nest UD31She looked at me and I looked at her. I was starting to get worried as well. Five days no see. Did something happen to Stanley? Or did he just take a few days of vacation time before the nesting season starts late December/early January? Sandy and I had no answers. But we could both enjoy the fall glory of the salt marsh.

yellow flowers closeup ud31Lots of  trees and bushes are in full bloom. And in absence of “traditional” fall foliage, colorful berries bring a sense of autumn.

salt marsh flower tree ud31berries 2 at salt marsh ud31salt marsh berries ud31flowers at the salt marsh ud31At mid-week, I spotted a bird that I’ve not seen at the salt marsh before, a Belted Kingfisher. His rattling calls draw my attention, and hovering high up above the water he was quite entertaining.  His”helicopter” flight was spectacular.

belted kingfisher hovers over the salt marsh ud31kingfisher 3 ud31I also saw a small bird I had not seen there for a long time, a Yellow-Green Vireo. This little bird moves a lot so it took time before I could get a clear shot. I hope he stays around the salt marsh for the winter.

yellow-gree vireo ud31

On my first walk this week, I didn’t stay at the salt marsh very long,  instead I took a long walk searching for Papa Stanley. I got great exercise, but saw no sign of him.

fall beach ud31So yesterday, I had to go out again. I started at the beach. The weather was beautiful, but breezy. I spotted a Snowy Egret contemplating a fishing trip.

snowy egret ud31

Royal Tern “clan” was there too. And they still have many juveniles who give a hard time to their parents. They want to be fed although they have already fledged. Like this little one.

Little Sanderlings were diligently at work, as usual. And a lone gull drew my attention as he was standing on a sand bank looking out on the ocean. Deeply in his thoughts for a long time.

sanderling ud31gull and shells ud31From there I walked to the salt marsh. No Sandy at the nest. But a few other birds were at home, like the young Great Blue Heron and the Tri-colored Heron. Both were taking shelter from the wind behind the bushes close to the Osprey nest.

young blue heron ud31tricolored heron ud31I was hoping Sandy had not disappeared on me too, and started walking towards the bay side. Soon I spotted an Osprey perching on a lamp-post opposite Papa Stanley’s resort. When I got closer I saw it was Sandy. She was sleeping. With a half-eaten fish in her talons. Maybe she’d had a few sleepless nights worrying about Stanley?

mama osprey sleeping ud31

When I reached her, she woke up. And started talking. And that’s when I saw Stanley. He was at his resort with a spotted fish.

papa osprey UD31He’d been fishing in the ocean, maybe far away, and finally come back home. He interrupted his meal to say hi, and listened to Sandy’s talk. He didn’t say a word. I wonder if she told him how worried she’d been. Or maybe she told him this was not a time to take a vacation when he should be planning his proposal gift for her. Whatever it was, I have to say it was great so see him.

With those good news, I wish you all a great weekend. I am looking forward to a family visit this weekend 🙂