Murmurations. Occupations. And a Circle at the Salt Marsh.

My goodness! This year got off to a flying start, in more than one respect. The days have flown by until late at night before this girl has hit the pillow. And the Kindle with interesting blog posts has hit the floor. The birds seem to have been equally busy. Like the European Starlings, performing murmurations over the bay (I only caught the tail end of it here) and occupying neighborhood roofs.

murmurationstarlings on the roofOr like this unknown handsome male, who flew repeatedly past my office window and circled over the salt marsh. He certainly made Papa Stanley keep a close eye on Mama Sandy.

young male osprey in flight

During the only walk I’ve managed to take in this week, on Sunday, I found Stanley sitting with his fish on a lamp-post just outside of our garden. He had a straight line of sight to Sandy, who was at the nest.

mama and papa osprey I observed they both seem to be “right handed” as they held the fish in their right foot talons.  But they didn’t actually eat. They were watching the visitor eating his fish on a lamp-post nearby.

young male ospreyThis new fellow might be a young male trying to charm “Diamond”, the young female who paid a visit to Sandy and Stanley around Christmas time. She is probably somewhere not too far from here. But if that’s the case, there’s not much hope for this suitor to get her father’s approval. Stanley was quite vocal about that.

male osprey calling alarm

When I arrived at the salt marsh, I found it to be much like a lively little city.  Lots of Wood Storks, Egrets, Herons and Ibis were mingling on and between the islets. Papa Wood Stork had complete control of his clan, and everybody coexisted peacefully. I have to say the birds do this better than us humans.

wood storks and an ibis portrait of a wood storkwhite ibis

A few ibis were foraging in a neat circle in the shallow waters. Some of them circling clockwise and others counterclockwise, much like we know from human life.

ibis feed in circle

Sandy was still at the nest working on her fat fish, and the Mayor presided over the crowds from his favorite islet.

female osprey with a fisholder great blue heron

The nesting season is clearly approaching. The Egrets are already growing their breeding plumage, and lots of courting was going on.

great egret growing breeding plumagesnowy egret  in breeding plumage

The one seemingly not interested in such adult behaviors was the juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, who was trying to hide in the grass.

juvenile black-crowned night heron

Pop Yellow-crowned Night Heron seemed uninterested as well. He had a potential partner hiding in the branches of a tree right next to him, but he was fast asleep. Or maybe he was just pretending? Peeking at her with one eye?

yellow-crowned night heron

Suddenly the Mayor decided it was time to change scenery. He flew on the other side of the marsh towards the bay.

great blue heron in flightI decided to follow him to check if that beach would be equally crowded. On my way I spotted the European Starlings again. They had now gathered in a huge tree close to the park entrance.

european starling european starlings

The Mayor acknowledged me with a sidelong glance as soon as I arrived to the beach on the bay side.

great blue heron

That beach was fairly quiet. Only a Double-crested Cormorant and a few Gulls kept him company. I guess he needed some peace and quiet away from the crowds.

double crested cormorant gull Walking home, I spotted another beautiful Snowy Egret, a few Willets, and my faithful friend, the Northern Mockingbird.

snowy egret in breeding plumage Willet northern mockingbird

Bougainvillea blooms greeted me at the corner of our garage when I arrived home from my 3.5 mile walk. Then thinking I would repeat the walk the next day again. But it was not to be.

bougainvillea flower Unfortunately it may take another week or more before I get to see my feathery friends again. I have some travels coming up starting tomorrow morning. I hope your year is off to a good start, and thank you for coming along.

You can find many other circles here.

75 thoughts on “Murmurations. Occupations. And a Circle at the Salt Marsh.”

    1. It is a fascinating ecosystem with three different bodies of water, and a varied set of vegetation in the park. So many birds are attracted to it.

  1. You are familiar with so many of the individual birds, I just wonder what they see/think/feel when you are there on a continuous basis. I certainly enjoy this from YOUR perspective! By the way, I still feel rather partial to your images of the mockingbird. Have a very safe trip, Tiny!

    1. Oh, I wonder about that too. I think a few of them have gotten so used to me that I can get very close and they still don’t move. I’d love to have their perspective…but it’s not so easy to obtain 🙂 Have a great weekend, Cyndi.

  2. You got some great shots there Helen! Everyone is looking good.
    Thank you for the update on nature’s intrigue and philandering! That group ibis photo really resonates. I think it’s a beautiful composition.
    Safe travels. xo

    1. Everyone is looking good, and the romance is in the air, clearly 🙂 The Ibis were there in huge numbers and were quite entertaining to watch. I usually don’t “shoot” wide angle pictures to show the crowd because one can only see white dots, or black in case of the Starlings, in the green. Have a great weekend, Val.

  3. Fantastic series of photos Tiny! The osprey photos are wonderful, espec. the close-up with the fish; great to see the huge flock of Starlings and the close-ups too with the shimmering colors. Egrets in breeding plumage, ahhh, and I loved seeing the ibis fishing in a circle. Thanks so much — and happy travels to you!

    1. Thanks for your visit and kind comments, Jet. I’m happy you enjoyed the ‘crowd’ at the marsh. The Egrets are very beautiful right now, and I wonder how they are able to keep themselves spotless, bright white despite eating in the muddy waters 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    1. There is a small hint of spring, but weather-wise we are still expecting cool temperatures in Jan-Feb. Have a beautiful weekend, my friend 🙂

  4. Yesterday, we had 4 spoonbills around the lagoon, along with woodstorks, ibis, white pelicans, egrets, herons, cormorants, and anhingas. And all of them seemed to be getting along . . . although the great blue herons are a bit bossy.

    Safe travels!

        1. Thanks Nancy! I have looked at her pictures online and they are really VERY good! And I looked at her books too and see a struggle to publish reasonably priced photo books, exactly what I have been experiencing. I hope the exhibition will give her work more exposure.

  5. I live on the Somerset Levels here in England – the former seabed and now full of reed marshes and fenland – which is renowned for its birdlife. The starling murmurations are quite incredible at this time of year, appearing almost as if supernatural phenomena. What a blessing!

    1. It was so fascinating to watch. I forgot even to fetch my camera until it was almost over. I stood there in awe:) Have a wonderful weekend, I hope you see many birds on your walks!

  6. I just love seeing a Great Blue Heron taking flight. Saw this once at the marsh area just off the lake at my previous home. Took my breath away as he flew right over me.

    1. Happy you came along and enjoyed the ride! I wonder too what they might think of me…at least most of the permanent residents don’t run away anymore 🙂

  7. What a wonderful variety of bird life you have in your salt marsh. We have a lot of Ibis here too, but I never see them go into the water. They seem to be content to peck around in the grass. So amazing to see your Osprey couple again, and of course The Mayor is my absolute favourite. 🙂 Wishing you safe and happy travels. xx

    1. The residents enjoyed your visit as well! The Ibis don’t go to the water very often, but right then there must have been something really tasty in that pond. I’ve seen from my window that both Ospreys are now taking in twigs and branches…the nest renovation project is in full swing. Have a wonderful weekend, Sylvia!

  8. Thanks Tiny for another wonderful walk through the Salt Marsh, there is always something going on there! I love your photography, and the story you weave in it all. What a great shot of the ma and pa Osprey both with their their fish. I do hope you enjoy your time away, and look forward to seeing your next edition soon, have a safe trip my friend:-)

    1. Happy you liked the ma & pa shot. I thought it was quite funny as they sat their with their fish. I had a great trip, also fitted in an adventure day with my grandkids last Saturday 🙂 I will have to go and check on my salt marsh friends before the weekend.

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