After the Storm at the Salt Marsh.

Late last night I was reading and watching TV in bed when I heard a strange rumbling noise. I didn’t recognize it. When it continued and the light started to flicker,  I went to the window and peeked out. And immediately saw where the sound came from. A full fledged storm raged outside, probably the strongest one we’ve seen this year. Strong winds made the rain fall horizontally and palm trees bend heavily, their “hair” flying sideways.

mama protecting the chick in rain storm UD3The hen mother that I am, I was immediately thinking of Mama Sandy and the chick in the nest. They would lay flat, their heads pointing against the wind. The chick would be leaning to her mother tightly, or even lay partially under her, like in this picture from last year. I couldn’t see them, of course. It was pitch black over the salt marsh. I was hoping that Papa Stanley and all the other birds residing at the salt marsh were in safe shelters. The storm lasted for about an hour, and I made a mental note to go check on them in the morning.

sunrise on the bay ud61We woke up to an almost cloudless sky. From my windows I could see the Osprey nest was still intact despite two of the four supports being loose. When I opened the blinds in my office, I saw Papa Stanley fly right past the window towards the ocean – going on a fishing trip, I assumed. Needless to say I was happy to see him.

So after Dylan had taken me for a walk, and I had enjoyed a cup of coffee, I went out to see how everything and everybody had fared the short but fierce storm. The ground was full of palm debris, but the first thing I saw arriving at the salt marsh was Sandy and the chick happily in the nest. Yay!

mama osprey and chick waiting for brunch ud61Sandy was asking for fish. It seemed Stanley had not yet returned from his fishing expedition. And Sandy was also making a series of alarm calls. I looked around and did not see any reason for alarm. It occurred to me that she might have done that to get Stanley’s attention. Bad thought. She would never do that. And then I saw the young Great Blue Heron hiding in the high grass very close to the nest. Too close for Sandy to be comfortable.

younger great blue heron ud61To my delight I found many permanent residents at home. The great Egret was watching his village from on the beach end of the marsh.

great egret ud61The juvenile Little Blue Heron, who is growing fast, had found a hunting companion, a Tri-colored Heron.

little blue heron juvenile ud61They were happily foraging in the shallow pools formed by the heavy rains over the mud flats. I saw hundreds, if not thousands of fish fry swim around in those brand new pools. These two birds had a blast.

tri-colored heron ud61And so did the Reddish Egret. He caught a bigger fish at the shallow end of the marsh.

reddish egret caught a fish UD61The “resort island” was occupied by a Snowy Egret and a couple of blue-eyed White Ibis. They seemed to enjoy the freshness brought by the rains. No pollen blanket floating on the water.

snowy egret ud61

two ibis ud61Just when I was crawling my way up from the natural “hide” close to the little island, I discovered Papa Stanley was finally flying in with a fish. I missed the fish, of course, as he had just landed when I could stand up and shoot a picture from the distance.

papa osprey arrives with sunday brunch ud61Walking towards the nest again, I saw that even the Night Heron couple had made it through the storm.

another night heron ud61

yellow-crowned night heron ud61The fish Staley brought must have been a big one because he stayed in the nest and all three started having their brunch together.

osprey family ud61The chick is eating by herself now, and was done first. She was looking happy having both her parents in the nest for brunch. And so was I.

after sunday brunch the osprey family ud61All was well. And with those good news, I wish you all a wonderful weekend and a great week ahead. I hope that you too can make it out to enjoy the nature.


93 thoughts on “After the Storm at the Salt Marsh.”

  1. So good to hear all went well, during, and after the storm, Helen. They are all indeed amazing little creatures.
    The ‘high’ nest certainly has its protective qualities for the Osprey family, but, also is open to mother nature’s fantastic weather changes! The resilience of this little family deserve all the best available to them. 🙂
    And, all the best to you, creature loving mother, for a wonderful weekend.. 🙂

    1. These birds are truly resilient! That storm was fierce with lots of debris flying around. As you say, the nest protects the Ospreys from raccoons and many other predators, but the strong winds from the ocean will hit them right on. I have pledged to get the nest supports repaired as soon as the next is empty later this summer. This family deserves a safe home 🙂 Thanks Carolyn XX

      1. So pleased to hear that Helen! I didn’t want to mention, though, they are in need of a benefactor to help restore their home…. 🙂 I do so agree: This family deserves a safe home.. 🙂

  2. Hello Helen,
    I am so relieved to see that everyone in the Salt Marsh could “weather” through the storm and remain safe & sound. Especially the baby. I love your updates as always ❤

    1. The “baby” seemed very happy when both parents were in the nest. She now notices me every time I visit. She will be fledging in the next coupled of weeks, and I hope to capture one of her first flights <3. Thank you dear Takami, I wish you a wonderful week!

    1. Yes, you’ll know all of them 🙂 And if you stop by in the next couple of weeks, you might see the Osprey chick fledging!

  3. So lovely. Beautiful photos and heart-warming commentary. Good to know that all is well at the salt marsh, despite the stormy night. A lesson for us, too: We can survive the storms of life, if we just hang on in there.

    1. You are so right. Nature teaches us valuable lessons about resilience and our ability to survive the storms that will inevitably hit us at some point in life. Thank you for your visit and kind words, Isabella. XX

  4. A Wonderful report on your storm Tiny, and a great shot of the Osprey family persevering it. Lovely vivid pics I delight i to see everyone back to normal after the storm. They all have amazing resilience. I always love your great storytelling. Love that all your pics are all in focus, the problem with my zoom lens is to get the F stop high enough to extend my depth of field. Have a great weekend my friend:-)

    1. Yes, indeed, nature teaches us lessons about resilience. The birds and everything else bounce back so quickly after what is thrown at them. I take so many pictures that are out of focus and have to be just deleted, but happily there’re usually a few that can be spared 🙂 Thank you for your visit and kind words, my friend!

    1. Thank you, GP! The ground looked like a battle ground, so much debris everywhere, but only a few branches and twigs had flown out of the Osprey nest. I thought I was quite remarkable 🙂

    1. It was the fiercest storm for a while, I had forgotten the sound those strong winds make and looking out I thought it would be a challenge for Sandy and the chick to stay putt in the nest. But luckily everything seemed to be fine 🙂 Thank you, Hien.

    1. You said it! I have been able to document a few afternoon storms last year when Sandy has been in the nest with chicks, and she is always facing the storm. Something for us humans to ponder too!

        1. Re: birds facing storms. Birds have feathers, not hair or fur. Feathers are layered front to back so they lie flat when flying, or diving. If birds turned their backs to a storm the layering would open up, the bird’s skin would get wet; they’d immediately lose their body heat and die of hypothermia. Most diving birds are also equipped with a special oil to seal the under feathers (down) against water penetration, but you can see the exceptions in cormorants and anhingas who need to spread their wings to dry after a number of dives… So, it’s natural evolution, or design, that forces birds to always face into the wind, or a storm, or incoming water. Just thought I’d throw that out there. But it takes nothing away from the thought that maybe Earthians should learn that lesson: to always face an incoming force rather than run from it. Ducking works too… 🙂 At least, it must work for ducks otherwise where would the expression originate? 🙂

          1. Thanks! I thought it must have something to do with their feathers 🙂 Ospreys belong to those birds that have a special oil on their outer feathers, and they just shake off most of the water while flying with their catch back to the nest or feeding perch. Almost like dogs do, but in the air. I have witnessed that a few times, but was not able to get a shot. All that makes sense.

    1. I have thought about that too. They instinctively react to threats, but I lean towards believing they can also sense fear. This is based on me finding the oldest Osprey chick on the ground last year after his first flight. He was chased by crows and was hiding in a bush after a failed attempt to land back in the nest, and his eyes conveyed fear just before he took flight again and eventually landed back in the nest.

    1. I was happy to find everyone okay, particularly Sandy and the baby, who took a real hammering by the wind and rain up in the nest. Thanks Susan!

  5. The avian family of yours is getting so beautiful, I see them radiant of good health. I’m glad for them. Thank you Tiny for your wonderful update. I know that if they are happy_you’re happy too! 🙂 ❤

    1. You are so right my friend! This evening Dylan and I walked past the nest again and the whole Osprey family was having dinner. The little one is almost flying now, have to keep an eye on her in the next few days 🙂

    1. It was great to see things back to normal! The last few days have been very nice as the storm brought in dryer air 🙂

  6. I love all the detail that you put into your posts! I feel that I am walking beside you as you check on your “family”. It is such a a good thing to have a refreshing storm to make everything bright and new, especially when all is well after it passes;-)

    1. It is true that a good rain refreshes everything! The wind was a bit excessive though – but everything was well. These birds are so resilient. Thank you for your kind words Stephanie.

  7. It’s such a relief after a big storm to go out and see that all our wild friends made it through just fine. What a joy it must have been for you to see Papa Stanley flying by when you opened your blinds. And Tiny, as usual, your marsh is healthy and lively, and your photos are spectacular.

    1. Yes, I really loved that Papa Osprey swung by my window. He does that sometimes and flies so close I can see it’s him 🙂 last night Dylan and I swung by the nest and caught all three having dinner together. Thanks for your visit, Jet.

  8. It’s sometimes amazing to contemplate how well birds are equipped to weather strong storms. I once saw a mother goose facing into the wind and shielding her little ones under her body. But one gosling tried to brave the storm first, copying his mother’s pose, before he decided to join the others and scoot underneath his mother. I’m glad your osprey family and the other salt marsh residents came through the storm all right!

    1. What a sweet story that was! I can see in my mind’s eye the brave one trying to face the wind 🙂 The Osprey chick is almost ready to fledge now, I hope will not miss it!

    1. Oh yes, I’ve seen the ospreys shake the water from themselves after resurfacing from a successful dive, as when they are holding a fish. I always thought it was to lessen their carry weight. Around here the osprey as a constant and watchful predator: the bald eagle. The eagle will sit patiently in a tree and watch as the osprey hunts. When the osprey has a fish and is high enough in the air, the eagle swoops down and harasses the osprey until the osprey releases the fish which the eagle then catches, takes to a nearby shore and eats. The osprey returns to his fishing. You can’t argue with a bully.

      1. I have heard this happens, but luckily for our Ospreys the nearest Bald Eagle couple nests on the mainland on the other side of the bay, and they come here only occasionally.

    1. It is rare that they all three eat together, so that was a treat 🙂 We are all happy to see you here again, Sylvia!

  9. That’s a wonderful post as always,dear Tiny!I have so much missed your fascinating stories in the Salt Marsh and all your gorgeous feathered-characters involved.Magnificent your photos and captivating your commentaries.I was so glad to know that they were all fine after the nasty storm.Seemingly,they know how to protect themselves as natute has endowed them with specific “sensors” to perceive oncoming threats.Loved all your images,but I so much like the Snowy Egret and the blue-eyed white Ibis!Happy Sunday,my friend 🙂 xxx
    PS:Sorry for taking me ages to respond to your rich comment on my last post …. 😦

    1. So nice to see you again, dear Doda! I have also been busier this spring with a huge project and not been able to follow the developments at the salt marsh as frequently as I would have liked to. But everyone is doing fine, and the Osprey chick learned to fly this past week. She totally took me by surprise 🙂 The salt marsh badly needs more water again and it looks like we could get some this evening! Many hugs XX

  10. It’s always a nice feeling to reconnect with your favourite blogging friends,dear Tiny!We are all so busy and unfortunately ofttimes we have to put our pastimes on the back burner.I hope your new huge project won’t keep away from WP.Enjoy your evening and the blessings of the expected rain.Hugs back to you 🙂 xxx

    1. it is wonderful to reconnect – I have been checking your site every now and then 🙂 Hugs to you too. (Ps. I cannot see anything strange here)

      1. Thank you dear Tiny.At least,do you see my comment on your previous post ?And can you see the page that popped up each time I clicked the POST COMMENT box ?

        1. Yes, I saw that. I have had similar things happen at times on other blogging friends’ sites – I think it is some kind of internet error, but will let WordPress know. Thank you!

          1. I think you should,dear Tiny.Just now I wrote another comment on the Sunset Musings and I faced the same ptoblem although I commented there just minutes away.Thank you.

            1. Sorry for that trouble, I have let them know so they can check what is going on. Have a great day, my friend!

            2. You are welcome.I think they should know about it,I am sure that they can work on that and fix this annoying malfunction.Hugs to Dylan 🙂

  11. Happy to see and hear that all at the salt marsh are doing well after the storm. That chick is really growing fast. Amazing how Mama Sandy and baby survived in the nest. I feel sorry for her having to be out there protecting her baby without shelter, amazing how they survive the elements. As always fantastic pictures sweet Tiny. Hugs

    1. Thank you Mags! I am also full of admiration for them, so resilient. That storm was short, but very intense and I was so happy seeing Papa Stanley first thing in the morning and then finding everyone fine. Many hugs to you too!

  12. You are a great Mother Hen! I too worried every season over ‘my’ Osprey family when a storm enraged, I know I even said little prayers. So nice to see everyone made it through safely. I know that is not always the case some times and witnessed losses….. 😦

    1. Yes, a Mother Hen…I said prayers too. And went for binoculars so many times on Monday, but many times couldn’t see the nest. It is so good everyone pulled through.

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