Christmas Morning at the Salt Marsh. But Don’t Come without a Gift. Please.

The Christmas morning was beautiful. Little on the warm side. Okay, we were probably one of the warmest places in the country. No jacket required, not even in church. Late morning everybody was heading to the beach, including Santa.

christmas morning on the beach I got out too,  for a much needed walk. A solitary break from cooking and eating. And eating again. I took the shortcut through our garden to the beach and then to the salt marsh.

gardenIt was very peaceful. You see, the park was actually closed. No cars coming in. The birds were not many either. A couple of Great Egrets, a few White Ibis, Moorhens and several Night Herons sleeping in the bushes.

great egret white ibis and moorhen ud38

This juvenile was the only one agreeable to a photo shoot. Albeit half-heartedly.

juvenile yellow-crowned night heron christmas ud38

When I arrived to the east end of the marsh, the Osprey nest was empty. But I enjoyed the company of the “duckies” who have pretty much reserved the deep water for themselves. A young Moorhen came up on land and was quite funny walking the “plank” with his big feet.


Soon the Ibis also wanted to show me his style, balancing on the edge of the installation that regulates the ocean water coming into the marsh.white ibis The young Muscovy duck was resting further out, at the corner of the same installation. He lifted his head to acknowledge me, but didn’t move.

muscovy duck christmas portrait

I was admiring the little Grebe, who seems to have made the marsh her home, when Mama Sandy flew into her nest.

Grebe female osprey arrives at the nest

After saying hello, she settled on the back edge of the nest and scanned the skies. Looking up, I didn’t see anything interesting.

female osprey at the nest

And she scanned the ground too. Two unleashed dogs came running with their owner. When outside the dog park, dogs must be on leash. But I don’t think they knew how to read. It’s a pity that their human didn’t  either.

Mama Sandy continued to stare at the sky, and suddenly she gave a sharp, loud warning. I saw the young Great Blue Heron approaching the nest with his landing gear already down.

great blue heron 2 ud38But Sandy was adamant he wasn’t welcome.  Full stop. So he picked up his legs and flew towards the bay side. Soon after that I saw Papa Stanley fly high up in the sky, not far from the nest.

male osprey in flightAnd he was coming close. Very close. He was about to land, but Sandy told him not to come to the nest. Not without the customary gift!

female osprey is upset See, that’s a clear message. You don’t arrive empty-handed. Stanley changed his mind in the last minute. Sandy knows what she wants. And he knows very well he needs to bring a gift to be allowed into the nest.  So he flew towards the bay. This courting is getting serious.

male osprey not allowed at the nest Soon after Stanley disappeared from sight, Sandy flew away too. Maybe to check on him.

female osprey

When I walked out from the park, I spotted the Northern Mockingbird again. He lives somewhere close to the wooden fence of the park. He was in deep thought. Very serious. Maybe he’s been following the Osprey saga, and was pondering where to find a mate of his own.

northern mockingbird 2 ud38

Just before arriving home, I saw Sandy and Stanley flying together very far over the bay. It looked like she would get her gift. Sooner or later. Stanley had already caught a fish. I didn’t get a good picture of the two of them as they flew so far apart, but I’ll share what I’ve got so you’ll see I’m not kidding. He clearly has a fish. In less than ten minutes. There’s hope for this romance.

male osprey with fish and a female osprey

With that continuing excitement at the salt marsh, I wish you all a great Boxing Day! Peace.


74 thoughts on “Christmas Morning at the Salt Marsh. But Don’t Come without a Gift. Please.”

  1. I was raised where one never shows up empty-handed to a host’s house…. I get it, totally get it, I’m Team-Sandy here. 🙂

    And a very Happy Boxing day to you too, Tiny.
    Hope you had a lovely Christmas. *hugs* ❤

    1. I was raised the same way…and when a proposal and move in is in the cards, even more important to adhere to established tradition 😀 I had a nice Christmas, but now will need to move more… A big Holiday Hug to you my friend ❤

  2. Glad you had a chance to visit the Salt Marsh yesterday. We spent 5 hours in the car (to and from Orlando) so our only exercise was pushing away from the table after Christmas Dinner. 😛

    1. That particular Heron is very hard headed…he and Sandy have butted heads so many time now 🙂 It was a great Christmas. I hope yours was too.

    1. Yes, it’s funny to see how these things repeat year after year. New gifts and a new proposal 🙂 I still need to walk off more eats…trying to take a break from work for a couple of days. Hugs and best wishes ❤

    1. I see quite a few people who cannot read…whether it’s the fishing or the dogs. They don’t seem to respect that it’s a protected park.

  3. I’m glad that your loving ospreys are back and already making plans for the next generation. Have a wonderful New Year Day Tiny! 🙂

    1. Thank you dear H.J.! It’s wonderful to see both Ospreys are still here and in good form making plans for the future 🙂 Happy New Year to you all too!

  4. Love the Christmas Day saga Helen! That young heron is really getting to be a pain. I wonder if the mayor can take him down a peg or two… Or maybe it will be the other way around!

    1. The Mayor is still in charge, at least he chased the youngster away when the migrating birds came in the fall, but the question is for how long. Sandy has had it with him…I later understood he’d been flying around for a while, which is why she kept looking at the skies even behind her. I’m afraid we may see more excitement during the nesting season.

      1. Looks like some drama is around the corner.
        … And hopefully minimal tragedy.
        We do get attached to life, and how we want things to unfold, don’t we Helen…

  5. Beautiful walk and an understandable much needed solitary break from cooking and eating…and eating again.We all need to have this kind of break more often. Really loved your mockingbird photo! So special that it could have been a painting.

    1. It was a wonderful break, apart from the dogs with their human, it was just me and the birds. Happy you liked the Mockingbird photo. I see this little fellow almost on every walk around the same place.

  6. But it’s quite all right, it’s not their dogs that misbehave, only everyone else’s for whom the sign is meant.

    If you really need to shake off some overeating, you could go round twice. We could stand a second dose of pictures quite easily.

    1. Oh, I will definitely need to shake off some more. So twice it is, or maybe around the entire park, but it will be a whole lot of pictures 🙂

    1. She has her traditions and she keeps Stanley in line 😉 I think the gift of fish symbolizes the commitment to provide for her when she’s sitting on the eggs and then taking care of the hatchlings.

    1. Thank you for visiting us, Ashley! My holiday celebrations are mostly over now as I have to work this week, took on projects with end year deadlines, silly me 🙂 All the best for continued holidays!

    1. We had a quiet’ish Christmas, apart from the Christmas Eve dinner party, which was merry & lively! I’ll have a “second Christmas” with my two grandkids on the1st weekend of January…looking forward to it 🙂 Happy New Year to you & yours Kat!

  7. How you weave a story is so cool, Tiny!! LOVED these pictures. From the looks of it, mating time is near, is it not? Stanley had better bring Mama a gift!! How Life continues in a circular fashion for at this time last year the mating ritual began and then we saw through your lens, the babies. Now those babies are off and hopefully with a mate of their own, following their parents’ tradtition of the mating ritual. To see sunshine and know there is warmth …. ahhhhh …. oh yes it has turned chilly here and the storms out mid-west and south-west are supposedly headed this way. Here we go!!!! SNOW! The lakes are the warmest they have ever been so when that cold air hits that warm lake … watch out! Lake effect snows!!! I’m ready!!! LOL (((HUGS))) Amy ❤

    1. Yes, mating time is near now, only a question of days before Sandy and Stanley begin their annual nest restoration project. But Stanley better bring a good gift first 🙂 Their three offspring from last year are not yet mature, they will require at least one, maybe two more years before they form a bond with their future mate for life. Oh, you are expecting snow!! Can’t wait to see your snow pictures once it arrives…it’s snowing in Texas tonight already. Hugs & <3, Tiny

      1. We overnight got a dusting of snow, Tiny. It’s raining now so that snow will soon disappear. I have a feeling either this winter is going to be a very mild one or we are going to get hit all at once. It can play out either way because the lakes here are the warmest they have been in a very long time for this time of year. That spells trouble as in lake effect snows. ❤

    1. Thank you! I have registered this Osprey nest thanks to you 🙂 The couple came together in the nest on the 29th! The 2016 nesting season has started!

      1. Wonderful! I hope we get Osprey ‘tenants’ for our platform this year, fingers crossed. Counting down now to March 10-12th when our Chesapeake Bay Osprey return from their winter tropical vacation! 🙂

    1. I had to smile at Sandy…she played “hard to get”, made it clear her love could not be taken for granted. And now she has received her gift 🙂

  8. Dear Helen,
    Thank you so much for sharing some of your adventures through your camera lens. What an exciting and challenging year it has been. Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year. Looking forward to another great year in 2016 🙂
    Best wishes,

    1. Dear Takami,
      Thank you for being here cheering on our feathered friends! And thank you for your beautiful photos this year! I too look forward to the new year, and wish you & yous peace, joy and good health in 2016 🙂 My warmest regards, Helen

  9. Oh what a glorious walk through the salt marsh, thank you so much Tiny. Your photos are exquisite, and your familiarity with all the creatures is a joy. Best wishes for a new year filled with abundant wildlife, peaceful walks, and endless joy~~

  10. Thank you Jet for your beautiful wishes! And your continuous enrichment of my life with new learnings about wildlife and nature around the globe 🙂 I wish both of you a wonderful 2016 with new adventures, happy discoveries, peace and joy!

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s