Me and my Mama. And a Flight School at the Salt Marsh.

The chick closed her eyes and snuggled close to her Mama. Mama Sandy has been sad lately. She’s been grieving. Staying a lot in the corner of the nest where I now know the little chick’s earthly remains rest. The big chick is about 6 weeks old now, alert and following everything around her with healthy curiosity. I think it’s a she, but I might change my mind in the next couple of weeks.

salt marsh ud60 6x9I haven’t been taking Dylan on walks at the salt this past week. The poor guy still has to wear his cone. His vet told us to keep it on until Monday’s check-up. Needless to say Dylan is not a happy camper. He feels just fine, but the cone prevents him from doing so many essential things. Such as eating properly from his bowl or reading his daily newspaper in the grass. It’s like I would be trying to read the morning paper without my reading glasses. Not fun.

So today I decided to take a solo walk to check on our friends. It was lunch time and quite hot. I anticipated the marsh would be fairly quiet as birds tend to seek shelter from the midday sun. But I was happy to see many palm trees in full bloom.

palm flowers ud60

another flowering palm tree ud60When I arrived at the Osprey nest the chick was snuggling close to Sandy. Like taking care of her Mama. Then she started preening. And Sandy discovered I was there. We said our customary hellos.

mama osprey and osprey chick preening UD60After ten minutes of diligently cleaning herself, the chick settled down and started to check out her environment, including me.

osprey chick ud60

osprey chick 6 weeks old ud60She is a beautiful young Osprey now, and it will take only a couple of more weeks, if that, before she’ll be flying. I walked around the marsh and saw the young Great Blue Heron at the other end of the marsh. He didn’t dare to come close to the nest, which was probably good for his wellbeing. Mama Sandy was keeping an eye on him.

young great blue heron ud60I also spotted my newest friend, the juvenile Little Blue Heron foraging in the shade of some bushes. She is turning more blue every week, which unlike for us humans, is a good thing for a Little Blue Heron. She seems to be doing great.

juvenile little blue heron ud60Walking back towards the nest I saw two Florida Mottled Ducks tanning themselves in the midday sun.

two Florida Mottled Ducks ud60When I reached the nest again, I spotted the Reddish Egret. It was too hot to perform tricks, I guess, as he was just checking the marsh in quiet contemplation.

reddish egret ud60But the Osprey chick was not quiet. She had started her “getting-ready-to-fly routine” up in the nest. I made a short GIF so you can see all her elaborate moves. This young lady will take off soon!

osprey chick wingersizing may 14 2016Down in the pond this new routine didn’t go unnoticed. The Reddish Egret turned and followed the chick’s performance with great interest.

reddish egret looks at the nest ud60I left the salt marsh with mixed feelings. Sad that nature had decided there would be only one chick in the Osprey family this year, but happy knowing this young bird would have great odds to make it to maturity. Sandy and Stanley would feed her for a long time after she fledges, and take her on countless fishing trips to make sure she knows how to catch a fish before she leaves the nest towards the end of June or early July.

Waking home, I was delighted to find new palm flowers on my route, the White Bird of Paradise was in full bloom.

white bird of paradise flower ud60Thanks for coming along. I wish you all a peaceful weekend and a great week ahead.

59 thoughts on “Me and my Mama. And a Flight School at the Salt Marsh.”

  1. Tiny, your photos, and the GIF one, are so sharp and colorful. The eyes on each bird are really expressive and vibrant. I really enjoyed them, and the information behind each one.

  2. Mother Nature may seem cruel to take the young birds life, but she does so for a reason. The big kidlet will be flying soon and then things should get exciting! 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend. ❤

    1. I have learned to accept whatever Mother Nature decides, as you say she has her reasons. This chick will have much better than average chances to do well in her first year, which is a very difficult time for young Ospreys. I have to check on her often now not to miss her fledging 🙂 Dylan will be able to go to the park next week, I hope. Hugs!

  3. Thank you for making the GIF for us to view! Fabulous captures, Helen! The clarity is just incredible.
    Beautiful stories you have shared with us.

    1. Glad you liked the GIF, Amy! I discovered I had a series of shots with relatively little wobble so it was fun to make a moving picture of her wingersizing:)

    1. Yes, these birds are resilient. Sandy was clearly very tired and sad last weekend and I knew then the small one had died – although I was hoping I was wrong. Now she seems to be doing a bit better. And she will be even more excited when the chick fledges. Dylan is itching to go to the park, I hope we can do it next week.

  4. It is so bittersweet when not all of the chicks survive. The photo of the chick snuggling close to her Mama made me tear up. As always, I love your commentary of the Salt Marsh. Must be really special place 🙂 ❤

    1. I am so happy you liked the true story, which was quite a sad one for me to write. It was heartwarming to see how the remaining chick tried to console her mom. This little bird community is truly a special place ❤ and I am so privileged to live close by.

  5. The circle of life. It is sad and to know that their is grief in every part of nature and life allows us to know it is healthy to do. Love the GIF too!!
    Thankyou and have a great week. 💚❤️

    1. Yes, there is grief in nature too, and it was obvious to me that Mama Sandy was grieving already last week end. Happy you liked the GIF 🙂 the chick has quite strong wings already! I wish you a beautiful rest of the week too ❤

  6. Loved the aerial shot, Helen, it gives a ‘real’ perspective into such a beautiful area. I had no idea it would look so pristine. Wonderful photography, too!
    Sad about the little Osprey 😦 Mother Nature can seem unkind, at times. And yet, the older chick’s chances to life have probably increased.! 🙂

    1. I took the “aerial” shot from out terrace, unfortunately I can’t get the whole salt marsh as there is one building between us and the marsh. Happy you liked it. Yes it was sad that the late born chick didn’t make it, but now the first born will get all the attention, which definitely increases her chances to make it in her first year. If she does that, she’ll probably have a full Osprey life of over 15 years 🙂

      1. How kind of you to have remembered – I’d totally forgotten I’d even told you! Actually, it’s proving rather hard to shift, but I’m slowly getting there. Thankyou Helen!

  7. Stunningly beautiful clarity, brightness and vivid colour Tiny in your pics! Your shot of the baby is so clear and accurate. It is a delight to read and see my friend, is this the result of new photo gear or just the absence of Dylan?

    1. It’s probably the absence of Dylan (only the “aerial” picture of salt marsh is taken with my new gear from our terrace). When his leash is around my elbow and he sits down, I still feel his panting and it gets through to my left arm/hand holding the camera taking away some of the sharpness 🙂 Thanks for coming along, my friend.

  8. Oh, poor Mama Sandy I hope she will not be sad much longer. That chick is stunning and I really enjoyed the gif. The header picture is amazing….well all of the pictures are. but that one is just fabulous. Everything in the marsh is looking beautiful. Poor Dylan I hope he gets to come out of the cone tomorrow. Hugs for you sweet Tiny and some nose kisses for sweet Dylan.

    1. I think Sandy is doing much better than last weekend. I saw her very distraught about 8-9 days ago, but didn’t want to believe the late born chick had died. The first born is doing great, and she will have good chances in life. I am so hoping Dylan gets rid of the cone tomorrow. His eye is still little red, pinkish, but the doctor told me that will take time. Otherwise he’s doing really well and sends nose kisses to Chancy! Many hugs to you, my friend.

  9. Hi Tiny…stunning photos from the salt marsh…so sorry to hear about the poor baby 😦
    Sending love and light…will need to catch up to see why Dylan has a cone 😉

    1. So good to “see” you Lorrie! Dylan had a “Cherry eye” repaired 10 days ago. We’ll have a check-up tomorrow and I hope he’ll get rid of the cone. I think Mama Sandy has mostly recovered fro the loss of the chick and is looking forward to seeing the first born chick flying soon 🙂

      1. Sending healing thoughts for Dylan 🙂 Poor Mama Sandy…amazing how animals feel the hurt but move on…whereas humans sometimes never recover from loss. Blessitude to you dear friend…thanks for keeping us in the beautiful world of the salt marsh!

    1. Oh, Dylan has tried to uncone himself several times – without success. But I hope, that tomorrow he’ll make jumps and flips after finally getting rid of it 🙂

  10. Natural loss it’s one hard part of being involved with animal lives. Not so much you can do except grieve for the deceased. Thanks for the post Tiny.

    1. That is so true. Over the years I have become better in accepting that natural loss will happen every now and then, but it was quite sad seeing Sandy so distraught last weekend. Thanks for coming along, H.J.!

    1. Dylan says he fully agrees 🙂 He really wants to go to the park now…and I hope that tomorrow evening we can do it. The young chick is doing really well, now I’m looking forward to her fledging 🙂 I trust you’re having fun!

  11. So sad about the second chick, but I loved seeing the GIF. Brilliant! The young little blue heron is getting quite grown up already. Wonderful photos and narrative again, Helen. Thanks for the update. 🙂

    1. Happy you liked the GIF, Sylvia 🙂 The first born chick will be flying in about 10 days or so. I love the fact that the Little Blue Heron seems to have settled at the salt marsh, she is growing fast. I trust you guys had a blast yesterday. XX

    1. Thank you Elena – happy you enjoyed the update, albeit it was a bit sad this time. But it seems that the family is recovering and now focusing on getting the firstborn ready for independent life 🙂

  12. I can’t believe six weeks has gone so fast! I love that family. You captures the ducks beautifully. Their coloring is so vibrant. Your blog makes me want to move smack dab in the middle of the marsh! I hope your week goes smooth and you have lovely weather. Hugs Helen! Koko

    1. Happy you visited the marsh, even virtually, Koko 🙂 Dylan got his cone off yesterday, but still has eye ointment, today the “stinky baby” will get a bath…that’s a good start for the week! Many hugs XX

      1. Yay no more cone! I could never keep one on my dogs. Dylan must be a good boy!!!! Well, duh, I’m sure he is. He appears to be an angel! I love bath time. When they are clean, I can’t get enough of snuggling them! He looks mighty snuggle-able! (Teehee. A new Koko word). 🙂

  13. I can’t believe I missed the story so much already this time around. Poor family, but so glad the big chick is doing so well.

  14. What a beautiful young chick but how distressing for the family to lose the youngest. I guess even the best parents don’t always have a 100% success rate. 😦

  15. Always a treat to follow your salt marsh friends vicariously through you. Maybe I missed this, but I thought birds would often remove the deceased chicks from the nest – is that generally true?

    1. I have always thought so too, but got photographic evidence that the remains of the little chick were there at least for a week. Sandy was clearly sad and down and stayed in that corner a lot.

  16. Enjoyed your revisit to the salt marsh and loved loved LOVED your Osprey photos. What a beautiful chick! So wish the other chick had made it, but I too know it’s nature’s way. I loved the other bird captures too, of course! 🙂

    1. I know, Donna, we both have a special place for Ospreys 🙂 I was sad to see the second chick didn’t make it, and I also saw Sandy was grieving. But such is life, we need to take it as it comes.

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