Happy Mother’s Day to Mama Sandy! Being a mother is wonderful, but also exhausting and full of trials. Mama Sandy knows. She looks weary. I am not sure this picture shows two chicks, but this is the closest I’ve come this week to confirm that there still are two of them.
But that doesn’t mean that the younger chick didn’t survive. S/he could just be in the middle of the nest and not yet looking out much. And even in the next picture s/he could be right in front of Sandy’s head.
The bigger chick is certainly thriving. S/he is wingersizing already. That long, out-stretched wing belongs to him/her!
This morning I took a solo walk to check on them. See, Dylan is not allowed to take long walks until next Thursday. He had surgery to repair a Cherry Eye in his left eye, which is still red. He has a cone to protect his eye, and is on three medications. Needless to say he doesn’t appreciate his current restrictions.
Anyway, this morning I heard Mama Sandy give a sharp alarm call several times. I looked up in the sky, but couldn’t see anything flying overhead. At one time she was making herself ready to fly out, but changed her mind at the last moment. I was baffled. What was making her so upset?
I walked closer to the nest and discovered the reason she was on edge. The young Great Blue Heron was watching the nest intensively from the other side of the deep pond.
After being discovered, he flew across the pond landing almost below the nest. And Sandy gave another sharp warning.
Sandy was on her toes and ready to defend the nest. Because Papa Stanley didn’t fly in to assist her, I gathered he was out fishing. So I walked around the marsh to see who else was at home. The first one I spotted was the small Tri-colored Heron. She was hunting and didn’t pay much attention to me.
The tiny juvenile Little Blue Heron, whom I saw last week for the first time, was also there. I think she’s made the salt marsh her new home.
On the north side of the marsh, two baby Mottled Ducks were having breakfast. Diving so often that I had a difficulty in capturing both of them up on the surface at the same time.
Mr. Mallard was also visiting the marsh for the first time this year. He posed nicely for the camera.
Walking further towards the beach end of the marsh, I had to laugh at this Northern Mockingbird.
As soon as I walked by his tree, he started serenading me in advance of Mother’s Day. I took a 30 second video so he can serenade you too. The master of the songbird universe.
Reaching the end of the marsh, my attention was drawn to a Great Egret, who seemed very upset.
He was vocal too, and soon enough I saw why. The young Great Blue Heron was flying right towards him. I guess the GBH had decided he didn’t want to get his butt kicked by Sandy again, and wanted another piece of land to conquer.
The Great Egret flew away, and the young GBH soon was the King of the Hill at the west-end of the marsh.
I walked back towards the Osprey nest on the south side of the marsh. The only bird I saw there was a Blue Jay. He was moving all the time and gave me a hard time to get a shot.
While I was occupied with him, I saw Papa Stanley circle around the nest with a fish. Mama Sandy did not say anything so he flew away with the fish. After reaching the nest, I sat down on “my” bench to change the battery in my camera.
I could only see Sandy. Then I saw a dark shadow flying over my head. It was Stanley coming back with the fish.
He landed at the corner of nest. But nobody was hungry. This was around 10 a.m. and I guess Sandy and the chick(s) had just eaten. So he took the fish and flew away, presumably to eat it himself.
I’m sure he’ll need that extra energy as he’s fishing at least four times a day now, and probably eats less than any of them.
It was a gorgeous day and an eventful walk. Reaching our driveway a Mourning Dove was welcoming me home.
With that I wish all mothers and grandmothers a wonderful Mother’s Day tomorrow.