Wind, Love and Diverging Agendas at the Salt Marsh.

It’s winter in Florida. 39 F (4 C) with strong winds made me dig for my 25 years old, lined bomber jacket. It’s known to keep me warm whatever the knots on the ocean. And soon after sunrise today it was exactly what I needed. I wanted to take a quick walk to see how my friends at the salt marsh were dealing with the cold and the wind.

rough seas ud46I couldn’t walk there through the beach as the wind was kicking up a sand storm. Fine sand doesn’t mix well with my gear, or my hair for that matter. So I quickly zoomed out to get a picture of the rough seas, and then decided for the bay side.

a palm tree in the wind ud46The palm trees were bending in the wind, their “hair” flying wild. I thought the marsh residents would all be in hiding, just like the people seemed to be. But I was wrong. The salt marsh was anything but quiet. Just when I arrived Mama Sandy flew into the nest where Stanley was waiting.

mama osprey flew into the nest ud46Then they perched there together, their heads facing the wind, most of the time.

papa and mama osprey in the nest ud46Sandy might already be pregnant. Last year she laid eggs around February 21st, but this year I’m thinking it might happen earlier.

mama osprey preening ud46Sandy took advantage of the wind to get her feathers clean and beautiful. Her agenda was all about love. And Stanley didn’t disappoint.

Mam and papa osprey mating 2 ud46Maybe when I’ll return from my trip in two weeks time I’ll find them incubating. That would be exciting.

I continued my walk and found more romantic agendas. Two Great Egrets were taking shelter in the bushes below the Osprey nest. Both in breeding plumage. Long looks were exchanged, beautifying was going on and courting was definitely on the agenda.

great egret 2 ud46

great egret in breeding plumage ud46Did you know that in addition to the long plumes, a patch on the face of these birds turns neon green for the breeding season? That is clearly visible on the male above, and on the flying bird in the featured image. I think that’s quite cool.

There were several other birds in the vicinity, like Night Herons and Snowy Egrets, but they were deep in the bushes seeking shelter from the wind. This little Tri-colored Heron had dared to step out into the sun. He had only one agenda. To get warm.

tricolored heron ud46But sometimes the agendas collide even for birds. And some fighting ensues. Like for these young Great Egrets. After a loud exchange and some aerial acrobatics, the loser left and flew away over the dog park.

Two great egrets ud46

great egret flies away ud46Maybe it was about this young lady, who was approached by the young Great Blue Heron.

younger great blue heron and a great egret ud46He was talking to her, and it looked like he was fishing for votes in a bid to take over the Mayor’s Office. The Mayor himself was a bit further out warming himself in the sun, and didn’t notice this youngster with a devious agenda.

great blue heron ud46Walking back from the beach end of the marsh, I spotted a beautiful female Belted Kingfisher. She was exactly where I had first seen the male last Sunday. Maybe they have a nest building agenda? That would be nice. New residents are always welcome.

belted kingfisher ud46Just when I was leaving the marsh, I found my friend, the young Muscovy Duck. He was airing his colorful feathers, but kept an eye on me at the same time.

Muscovy Duck ud46That was it for today. And for the next couple of weeks. In the meantime I’m hoping to capture at least one tiny bird of a different origin. Or maybe a lion. If I’m really lucky. I’ll try to peek into the blogging world whenever time and connectivity allows for such a luxury.

Thank you for coming along! Have a great week everyone.

 

91 thoughts on “Wind, Love and Diverging Agendas at the Salt Marsh.”

  1. Your weather is like my weather in Canada! Weird huh? The birds seem to be weathering the wind and coolness well. Let’s hope Mama and Papa have little one(s) by the time you come back! Stay safe my friend! ❤

    1. That is crazy…I also thought about that yesterday. It’s the strangest winter…maybe the new normal. I’m almost sure there will be egg(s) in the osprey nest when I next go see them 🙂 I’ll try to stay safe, thanks Jackie. Hugs!

  2. Another wonderful adventure around the marsh, especially finding love in the air! I know how it feels to ‘leave’ my birds, almost like leaving family, lol. I just arrived in Florida a few days ago on vacay and making up by having an awesome time photographing new lifer birds as well as the regulars that dwell here but not at home. I even have an Osprey nest I can see from where we are staying, although it is 200′ or more in the air on a tower of some kind. I can hear them everyday and love it! Safe travels, can’t wait to see what you capture on your trip!

    1. Thanks Donna! I’m happy you can photograph different “winter” birds here in Florida. We have many Osprey nests that are in strange places, from channel markers to lamp posts to high towers. They are very inventive 🙂 I don’t yet know what I will be able to capture in terms of wildlife as my work agenda is quite tight, but hope for a small break to get out and about. We’ll soon see…

    1. I was delighted to find this female Kingfisher as I now think they are an item. I hope the salt marsh will be acceptable for them and they decide to build a nest. I’ll keep an eye out for them and any little ones 🙂 Thanks Karen!

  3. Hello Helen,
    Apologies for being “M.I.A” but I’ve been following your wonderful updates as always. What an exciting time for you and the Marsh family! Wishing you safe travels my friend!

    Warm wishes,
    Takami ❤

    1. Thank you dear Takami! It’s easy to be M.I.A. when one is busy! I come and check on you from time to time 🙂 It is the most exciting time of the year at the salt marsh, many couples are forming and then little ones. They are very good at hiding the nests in the bushes though and I often see the babies only when they finally come out. Warm wishes to you too ❤

    1. Thanks Kathy! Today is just a tad warmer and little less wind, but I won’t have the time for another visit before I travel. But I hope to see incubating going on when I return 🙂

    1. Thank you for coming along again, Susan! I too wonder what kind of trouble the young GBH is planning for the nesting season, but luckily everyone seems to know by now how to deal with him. I trust they will be good while I’m traveling 🙂

    1. Thanks Sylvia! They made up an early Valentine’s Day for me yesterday as if knowing I’ll be far away next Sunday 🙂 Hoping for just a little fun too. XX

  4. Awesome photos and narrative Helen! Love is in the air, and a little wind won’t stop mother nature’s work. Love that flying egret shot. Neon shining bright 💞
    Safe and bountiful travels Helen!

  5. How wonderful Tiny to document the mating of your osprey stars! You truly have showcased the lives of this family remarkably well! I always love the breeding plumage of the waders, especially the egrets,herons and spoonbills. Yes, the green lores is an additional breeding mark for the egret and photographs really beautifully. Thanks again for sharing, and giving us hope of another wonderful year of posts to follow Mama and Stanley’s family. Have a great time away my friend!

    1. Thank you, my dear friend, and greetings from Nairobi, Kenya! I am watching some birds fly over the city at sunrise, but they are a bit too far for me to capture a good shot 🙂 Hoping for a short break from work tomorrow to go see some birds at the National Park.

  6. That was an amazingly eventful walk, especially for a windy (and cold) day! I don’t think I would have noticed that neon patch on the Great Egrets. Thanks for being my eyes and my teacher. These lessons are always entertaining! Have a beautiful couple of weeks outside of the salt marsh. We’ll miss you!

    1. Thank you Cyndi! And greetings from Nairobi, Kenya! Here waking up to Tuesday morning already and watching the sunrise from my hotel window. Summer weather, over 80F expected today. Tomorrow I hope to get a small break from work to see if I can capture a few different birds 🙂

  7. It’s amazing that you can just walk around and take such beautiful photos. I also can’t get over the fact that your weather and birds are two months ahead of ours.

    1. Thank you Hien. I miss “my” birds right now waking up to an African morning and watching some birds fly over the city at sunrise 🙂 I hope the Osprey couple will be incubating by the end of the week when I’m back home.

    1. Thank you kindly, David. Right now waking up to a misty African morning in Nairobi. And trying to capture some birds flying over the city from my hotel window. Not one good shot yet.

    1. Yes, it’s rare but it can get cool some mornings, particularly in February 🙂 I “fled” the cool weather and right now I’m on a work trip…waking up to the African morning in Nairobi. 28C expected today 🙂 Thank you Carolin!

  8. Looks like the weather was as crisp and refreshing as all your beautiful images! Congrats to Sandy and Stanley…will be wonderful to see more little ones this summer!

    1. I am thinking of Sandy and Stanley when I stand here at my hotel window and watch some large birds fly over Nairobi at sunrise. Trying to get a good shot, but no luck as yet 🙂 I hope to see Sandy incubating when I return this weekend.

  9. At long last I made it here.Galing winds forcefully directed me into your paradise place and started enjoying nature’s beauty in the lee of the bay.I had so much missed Sandy and Stanley and I am gladly watching their happy moments together.Beautiful the Snowy Egrets and that amazing neon-green patch on his bill and face.Nature has anticipated any needs.The blue plumage of the new resident is gorgeous and so is your post,dear Tiny!I apologise for being so late,but after coming back from my holidays,my inbox was ready to explode.Still some 600 emails are patiently waiting,but catching up sounds like a dream.Btw,you are about to leave again.Enjoy your trip and have fun.Your saltmarsh friends will take notice of your absence and they will all be looking forward to your return.So many thanks for all your visits and your pleasant comments,Tiny my friend.Take care ~ Doda xxx

    1. Dear Doda – I miss my feathery friends after being away from them only for a bit more than a week. I hope to see Sandy incubating new babies when I come back at the weekend. Thanks for being here Doda, and take care ❤

      1. Hi dear Tiny,and so many thanks for responding although you’re away and your daily schedule is different.I can really understand why you miss your extraordinary and beautiful feathered friends.You are so closely connected with them and their lives.I bet you’ll find the little ones once you come back and you’ll write more exciting stories,which I so much enjoy!Take care my wonderful friend and have a safe trip back home 🙂 xxxx

    1. Hi Amy! I have gone…right now waking up to the African morning in Nairobi, Kenya and stealing a couple of hours for myself before work watching (from my hotel window) birds fly over the city at sunrise 🙂

    1. Thank you Tina. I also fell in love with the Kingfisher…I hope the couple will stay and nest at the salt marsh. Right now I am in Nairobi, Kenya waking up and watching big birds flying over the city, trying to figure out what kind they might be 🙂

    1. Hi from Africa, dear Doda! First time I’m able to connect to the blogging world for many days. I will catch up on everything once back home at the end of the week 🙂 XXX

      1. Hi there Tinny my friend!How lovely to hear from you while being in Africa.Hope you will be able to capture some memorable photos of Lions!Have a great time and a safe trip back home.Hugs to you ~ Take care 🙂

  10. Boy, there is weather on the West coast (in southern Oregon) that was in the 80s, so when you mentioned it was 39 degrees I was simply assuming you meant Celcius 🙂 Wonderful view of your feathered friends ~ the egrets and kingfisher photos are spectacular… I will not feel badly about the cold weather in Florida now as you are in one of my favorite countries of all-time KENYA ~ yes, I wish I was there and I definitely look forward to seeing some of your photos in the future 🙂 Safe travels!

    1. Thanks Randall. I remember that the first post I ever read from you was about your experiences in Africa. It made a lasting impression 🙂 I am here in Kenya for business with a crazy schedule, but this afternoon I had a break and every minute of the four hours was spent in the Nairobi National Park. Spotted lots of wildlife, but no lions this time. The red soil and the savannah that stole my heart many years ago was as real as ever.

      1. There is this feeling when I travel for business that I may not get a break (and never see the sights), so I understand what you felt when you had some time 🙂 I truly need to head back to Kenya…magic. A feeling of being home. Safe travels…and enjoy the sunshine!

    1. Happy you enjoyed the birds, Sheryl. I am away on a business trip in Africa right now and had the good fortune to go “birding” this afternoon. That was an experience a bit different from the salt marsh 🙂

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