I hope all friends are warm, safe and dry after the blizzard and coastal flooding that hit so many states here in the US this weekend. We had gale force winds from the ocean for two days and Florida winter temperatures in the 30s, but today things are much calmer, winds only at 10-15 mph, sun and pale blue skies.
I finally got a chance to go check on my feathered friends at the salt marsh. And wanted to give you a quick update on the state of affairs before the work week swallows me again.
Many birds were out and about braving the cool weather. A real hunching party. Everybody was puffed up, like these White Ibis taking in the sunshine.
Just when I arrived at the osprey nest, Papa Stanley flew in with soft materials for the nest cup. In preparation for egg laying.
Mama Sandy seemed pleased and put it carefully in place in the middle of the nest. And then they just sat there together warming up after the cold night. The nest platform held through the storm again, which is a a good sign considering that it now seems impossible to do any repairs until after the nesting season. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it holds until summer.
I spotted several juvenile Night Herons seeking shelter in the bushes under the osprey nest, some were awake, some asleep.
A Snowy Egret was huddling there too, airing her beautiful plumage in the breeze. And for the first time in weeks, I found a Tricolored Heron.
This slender heron was almost unrecognizable hunching there all puffed up.
I had just spotted the young Muscovy Duck, when I heard a loud discussion at the other end of the marsh.
Based on the dialect I heard, it was between two Great Blue Herons. You guessed it, the Mayor and the youngster. When I glanced over there, I saw that the young GBH had occupied the Mayor’s Office. He clearly harbors aspirations to take over. But the Mayor didn’t like it. The impostor got chased away. He flew up to a tall cypress and settled at the top to consider his options. Sandy and Stanley were not delighted to see him either. Stanley gave a sharp warning call.
When I came closer, I saw the Mayor was still very upset, probably thinking what his next step should be.
He didn’t settle in his office for long, instead he flew to an islet closest to the group of trees where the youngster was. To keep an eye on his rival. Wise move.
This season promises to be interesting. The youngster has not mellowed, if anything he seems to be challenging everyone.
Walking away from the drama, I spotted a Wood Stork. He was separated from his friends who were huddling in the bushes a bit away. They were not willing to pose for a photo.
But the Great Egret was. He had witnessed the high-pitched discussion between the Blue Herons, and seemed happy that the peace had returned.
I decided to walk home on the bay side. Leaving the salt marsh, I noticed a sweet juvenile Snowy Egret bravely exploring the marsh on her own.
The bay shore was almost empty. Some pelicans were fishing on the bay and another Great Egret was hunching in the sun next to the sailing club pier.
That’s when I saw the Turkey Vulture circling overhead. I snapped a couple of pictures of him at our driveway.
The surprise came when I looked at my pictures at home. Look carefully. Do you see anything strange? He has the letters HAX on his right wing, doesn’t he? I had to look at all my pictures to believe that marking really was there. I have no idea what that could be. Do you?
I wish you all a good week ahead. Take care.