Yesterday morning I lifted my eyes from the vector graphics on a complex analysis I was doing for work, and glanced out from my office window towards the Osprey nest. Did I overdo it at my computer and had double vision? I saw two white heads in the nest. I went to fetch my birding binoculars, then my camera…and yay! No double vision, but two Ospreys in the nest.
Sandy was half asleep with a partially eaten fish in her talons, and Stanley was in protection mode at the front of the nest. It must have been an early breakfast-in-bed proposal scenario. Sandy had finally gotten her gift! The nesting season 2016 had officially started. And I just had to get out there. Right then. So I left my work, gathered my stuff and jogged straight to the salt marsh.
And there they were, the love birds. Sandy was still sleeping and Stanley was still checking the environment, including me. I liked what I saw.
While I was standing close to the nest, I noticed a juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron. She was standing on the water installation and staring down into the water, all puffed up.
And that’s when I saw them. Two tarpons, 2-3 feet long, were swimming close to the surface of the deep water below the nest.
They looked huge in that small body of water. Far too much for the young Night Heron, and even for the Ospreys. But then everything is relative. Tarpons can grow to a length of 8 feet and weigh up to 280 pounds. These two fellows captured Stanley’s interest too. He glanced down at them, and then looked at me as in saying these guys are far too big, right?
He knows he can carry a fish up to two times his own weight, which would be about 3.5-4.4 pounds. And these were much bigger.
Everybody else noticed them too. Daddy Night Heron stared down into the water from his perch in a nearby tree.
A Snowy Egret on a lower branch got really upset, and gave a loud warning when one of the tarpons jumped up from the water at the shallow end of the pond.
So did Miss Rosa. She had been sleeping and was woken up by all the commotion. She ran further away from the water.
The one seemingly not bothered by the appearance of the two visitors was the Mayor. He was back from his Christmas holiday, surveying the marsh leisurely next to his favorite islet.
A large flock of White Ibis was foraging further out in the park. They were not bothered either.
After quickly walking around the marsh, I approached the deep end again. Peace had now returned. Miss Rosa had calmed down, and so had the Snowy Egret. He was busy cleaning his gorgeous plumage.
The juvenile Night Heron was still looking a bit wary, but her daddy had already fallen back to sleep.
But Mama Sandy had woken up. She was working on her big fish again.
Moorhens were back cruising the deep water, and life had assumed its normal peaceful ways at the salt marsh, on one of the last days of the year.
I returned to my work confident that the new year will bring many new adventures. Happy New Year to everyone! And thank you for being here. Much love, Tiny & co.