Lady Cawcaw Performs. And High Drama at the Salt Marsh.

Two Ospreys were circling in the skies above the nest, looking down and talking to Lady Cawcaw. Both Mama Sandy and Papa Stanley were calling on her to go fishing with them. She responded something I didn’t quite understand, but she didn’t lift her butt from the nest. Typical teenager. After a few minutes Sandy flew over the nest with a fish. She is lightning fast. In the top 10 % of Ospreys as far as fishing speed is concerned. She was looking up at Stanley who had yet to go fishing.

papa osprey calls for chick to go fishing ud65

Mama Osprey with a fish ud65Seeing the fish, Lady Cawcaw started to sing. She  sang from the heart. You know that song. It’s quite repetitive, as you can hear in this 30 second clip.

But that didn’t work. No fish for her. Instead, Sandy landed on Mariott’s roof to enjoy her fish.

mama osprey eats her fish ud65And Stanley, once he flew towards the ocean, soon came back with a fish and started eating it in his usual hideout in the old pine tree close to the nest.

papa osprey eats his fish ud65.jpgAs you can see, Lady Cawcaw’s parents both caught the same kind of fish. I’m sure there was a school of that particular fish close to the shore and that was the reason they wanted her to come with them and learn. But no.

osprey chick 16x9 ud65She was hungry. And she continued to ask for food. I was sitting on “my” bench and watching her desperate quest to be fed without getting her feathers wet, when I noticed some movement on the water below the nest. I couldn’t believe my eyes…

mottled duck mom with 7 ducklings ud65…when Mama Mottled Duck swam to the shore with seven ducklings. She climbed up on the grass and so did the ducklings. Where was she taking them?!

mama duck and ducklings 2 ud65They marched straight towards the stone wall between the marsh and the busy street. Oh, no!!

mama duck in the grass ud65Mama Duck knew about a hole in the wall and they went through it. I had to run around the stone wall to get to the road. The traffic had to be stopped! I was gesturing like a mad woman (that I am) to the cars. Mama Duck and the ducklings marched right on to the busy street!

mama mottled duck takes ducklings over the gulf blvd ud65The cars stopped! They did. And Mama marched onto the Sailing Center grounds. Then into the grass and further towards the bay.

mama duck and duckling safely on the bay side ud65I guess their nest had been flooded by the rains dumped on us by TS Colin, and she had to move. The salt marsh is brimming with water.

salt marsh after Colin ud65Probably the highest water levels I’ve seen. Many of the small islands are under water and marsh flowers are sticking up from the water.

flooding at the salt marsh UD65The whole marsh looks more like a lake. No small “beaches” or mud flats.

This was on Tuesday, but the water had not receded even today. I walked around the marsh this morning and noticed that only large wading birds were around, and even they were sitting on the little trees sticking up from the water.

great egret ud65All, apart from the younger Great Blue Heron. He was standing right next to “my” bench. And he didn’t like to see me.

young great blue heron ud65In fact, he was very vocal about it. Before he took off.

younger great blue heron ud65.jpgApart from Great Egrets, I spotted a Snowy Egret on the doggy park fence, next to a little “lake” that had formed there.

snowy egret ud65

She was watching a Mottled Duck happily swimming around in the temporary “lake”.

mottled duck ud65…while her cousins, the Moorhens, were cruising the marsh in big numbers.

papa moorhen ud65And how was the svelte Lady Cawcaw, you may ask. She was just fine. She sang again. And this time her song was heard. Mama Sandy came in with half a fish.

mama osprey delivers fish UD65I left her eating her small portion, and walked onto the beach. A big party was going on in the new fresh water lake.

black skimmers royal terns and laughing gulls bathing ud65Laughing Gulls, Black Skimmers and Royal Terns enjoyed the temporary bath tub. There were hundreds of birds around. Some flying in tandem…

two black skimmers ud65…others just relaxing on the sand.

black skimmer sleeps ud65I was almost at home when an Osprey flying over the ocean caught my eye. It was lady Cawcaw!

osprey chick flies over the ocean 3 ud65I guess her small lunch had left her hungry. She flew beautifully, but was not looking down. She’s yet to learn that fish don’t fly. But this was a great start. Next time when her parents want her to go fishing with them, she just might follow them.

We all wish you a great weekend ahead. Peace.

80 thoughts on “Lady Cawcaw Performs. And High Drama at the Salt Marsh.”

  1. Good news Tiny!Mr Colin was rather mild.Lovely your photos and most entertaining your video.Lady Caw Caw is a very promising opera singer lol.I don’t want to imagine what it could have happened if “the traffic officer” was not there … Obviously the floods completely disorganised and disoriented the residents of the Marsh.Thank God you were there.Loved the photos of the Black Skimmers,they are very beautiful birds.Hugs to you & Dylan 🙂 xxx

    1. Yes, good news all around. Particularly the fact that the ducklings got over the street unharmed! Lady Cawcaw already knows many songs, but prefers this one for now. I’m hoping she will heed her parents advice and learn to fish soon. It was so obvious even to me, that they wanted her to come along. I loved to see so many birds on the beach, particularly the Black Skimmers, who have not been around for a while. Thank you Doda for being here and hugs from both of us to you too 🙂 XX

      1. It was a very upsetting scene,everything could have happened …Enjoy more walks in the Salt Marsh,and who knows,you might see Caw Caw going fishing.Hugs back to you,dear friend 🙂 xxx

    1. Thank you! My heart almost stopped when I understood she was going to cross the street. It’s the only major street here on the island, and always busy. The cars may have stopped even without this crazy lady, but I couldn’t be sure. I agree that Lady Cawcaw has beautiful wing markings, now she just has to learn to fish…and she’ll be good to go 🙂

        1. The little ducklings were too cute, but unfortunately I didn’t have much peace and quiet to enjoy them 🙂 Lady Cawcaw on the other hand, let’s me enjoy her presence every time I walk at the marsh. Thanks Amy!

    1. That was a completely new experience! I have laughed quite a bit thinking about the sight the drivers saw before they saw the ducks 🙂

  2. Wonderful Tiny to see Lady Caw Caw flying, and to see the salt marsh replenished after the huge storm. The conservation award goes to you my friend for saving the duck family from demise on the roadway. Though, you may not be there for them each time they decide to cross. Another lovely post. I never tire seeing your salt marsh friends, thanks again for your beautiful pics and story. Have a great weekend!

    1. yes, the salt marsh is truly replenished now. It will take a few days before the smaller wading birds come back…they don’t want to swim :)The fish will be plenty too! I hope Mama Duck made a permanenet move and that we’ll see the ducklings back at the salt marsh after they fledge, just like last year.Thank you, Ashley, and I wish you a beautiful weekend too!

  3. She’s quite the performer Helen! Thanks for sharing some wonderful shots 😍
    That mother duck is a brave wee thing! I’m so glad you were there to alert traffic.
    Have a great weekend 💛

    1. I am happy I was there just at the right moment. I think that Mama Duck made the same move last year and when the ducklings fledged many of them came back to the salt marsh. I love observing Lady Cawcaw, and hope to see her catch her own fish…I know, wishful thinking 🙂

  4. Gorgeous shots. I bet Lady Caw Caw will be encouraged to fish for herself in no time.

    And congrats on Mama Duck getting her ducklings across the road.

    1. I think Lady Cawcaw is just about to realize she needs to learn to fish. Being a little hungry will encourage her to try, and this hot weather will make her want to dive, once she discovers how refreshing a bath can be 🙂 And I hope the Duck family will only return to the salt marsh when the ducklings can fly.

  5. Lady CawCaw will be fishing in no time. Hunger tends to do that. lol
    Glad the ducks made it across the road. With your help. 🙂 Good going! ❤

    1. It was a dramatic week at the salt marsh! I am hoping to see Lady Cawcaw fishing shortly, her parents certainly know how to make that happen 🙂 Have a goof weekend, my friend ❤

  6. I’m always amazed at the sights you see (and photos you take), it is like you have a front row seat in the lives of those in the Salt Marsh. Seeing things as new ducklings being introduced to the world by her Momma ~ really quite priceless. Your comment “she didn’t lift her butt from the nest. Typical teenager” had me smiling from the outset 🙂

    1. It was wonderful to see the ducklings when they marched in tight formation behind Momma Duck over that street, so trusting in her ability to lead them into safety. I now think she did that last year too because the duckling disappeared for a couple of months and then came back after they had fledged to spend time at the marsh. This small community of feathered residents is quite fascinating 🙂 Thanks for visiting, Randall, and take care.

  7. Well that was a busy day! You are my hero for saving mama duck and her babies! Fantastic images and your stories always make my day. Been so busy lately, but hope to catch up with you after this month is over! Always love your posts!!

    1. I’ve been crazy busy until last week. Now have a break and enjoy the company of my extended family at the salt marsh. Thanks for your visit and kind comment, Susan.

  8. Those ducks are soooo cute! As for Lady Cawcaw, she is certainly learning to grow up fast, no second chances for her! Guess her parents are there to teach her to fend for herself.

    1. Those ducklings! I would have loved to just observe them, instead it soon became dramatic 🙂 But all went well at the end. I hope they found a cozy and safe home on the bay side. Lady Cawcaw’s parents are both watching over her, one is always close by. I’m sure the fishing lessons will start shortly.

  9. That was a wonderful read, Helen. I still have the sight of you with waving hands alerting cars to an oblivious mother duck doing her thing! Hahaaa 🙂
    Lady Cawcaw will learn. Who wouldn’t stay snug at home while others brought food and comfort? Wise Papa Stanley bringing only a small portion! He’s got the right moves, me thinks…
    Have a wonderful weekend from downunder… 🙂

    1. The sight of me gesturing to the drivers must have been hilarious 🙂 I have laughed at it myself just thinking of it…but I’m sure the ducks didn’t mind. I agree that the little lady’s parents have a good handle on her upbringing. She will be independent fairly soon, by end if th he month is my guess. Have a great Sunday, I can send some heat from here in case your winter has already started. XX

  10. Fabulous captures, Helen! You left and turned around and there she was, Lady Cawcaw in the air! She wanted to be sure you saw her. Yep, she’s not too excited about getting wet, lol. And I so loved your caring to help Momma duck and her ducklings cross the road. She was definitely determined to cross that road. Your are officially the salt marsh Momma Hen for sure!! 🙂

    1. I think the little lady will soon discover how refreshing a dive can be in this heat we’re having 🙂 Mama Sandy often goes for a bath, just to cool off. That duck momma may have done the same move last year. They all disappeared until the ducklings had fledged. Then they all came back to play at the salt marsh. Thanks for visiting in the middle of your ongoing adventure, Donna.

    1. That is really good advice, Hariod! I’m sure Lady Cawcaw will make her parents to sign on the dotted line 🙂 In my mind’s eye, I can already see her diving into the bowl of M&M after finishing up the fish.

    1. There is always an adventure waiting when I have time to go look for it at the salt marsh. And I am now taking a break after completing my big project. So hopefully more interesting things will happen 🙂 Nature is indeed amazing.

  11. Thank you so much for this wonderful side trip in my day. I LOVE your birds!!! All of them. And my very first pet as a child was a tiny duckling, raised inside, slept in my room with me. No one told me you could not housebreak a duck…so I did.

    1. So you have been a real duck momma! How wonderful. I wish I could’ve enjoyed the ducklings a bit longer at the salt marsh, but I know from last year that they will come back once they have fledged. I hope to see all seven of them later this summer. Thanks for your visit and kind words.

  12. Yes, getting kids to become independent takes time and patience! Good thing osprey nests don’t have video games 🙂

  13. Oh, those 7 ducklings are the cutest. So happy that ‘she who must be obeyed’ could stop the traffic for them. 😀 Lady Cawcaw is learning some tough life lessons, but it’s great to see how those parents handle her. I just spoke to my daughter in South Africa, and her 20-year-old daughter is also being taught that fish can’t fly. She finally found herself a vacation job in a restaurant, instead of expecting her parents to pay for everything whilst she’s home from university in England. 🙂

    1. I must have been an amusing sight there on the road, but at least no tragedy took place. Preparing youngsters for independent life is challenging, but as Meg said here, at least Lady Cawcaw doesn’t have videogames to distract her from “school work”. Or even other chicks to hang out with 🙂

  14. There’s nothing like hard lessons to learn to do something. Mama and Papa are doing a great job! The ducklings!!!!! So cute. Good thing you were there! It’s supposed to be blistering hot this weekend. I think I will need to be in long sleeves and a hat for my walks. I don’t want to burn! Be well Helen. Enjoy your weekend! Koko:)

    1. It’s hot here now too, and I apply sunscreen almost as I wake up, before my first walk with Dylan. These ducklings were too cute! I wished I could’ve enjoyed their company a bit longer and in less dramatic circumstances 🙂 I wish you too a great weekend, Koko. Take care ~

  15. Fabulous captures sweet Tiny. Hopefully Lady CawCaw has learned to fish for herself by now or soon will. I laughed when you said she has yet to learn that fish don’t fly. What great timing with you being there to see that mama duck and her ducklings got safely to the other side of the highway. What a beautiful sight….those seven little ones following right behind her. Hugs

    1. I had to smile at the sweet ducklings, when in the grass they formed a long line of little heads popping up, but when on the road, they tightened the formation. I hope they will stay safe on the bay side. Lady Cawcaw is flying more now. I will need to go see her today again 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend, dear Mags. Hugs!

  16. Your photos are so beautiful Tiny! I appreciate how you are able to capture the story of what is going on in the marsh with your wonderful photos! I love how you stopped traffic for the cute little duck family. Bravo!

    1. Thank you Stephanie! The more I observe the life at marsh, the easier it gets to understand what is going on 🙂 Last night, when Dylan took me for a walk, the marsh was “invaded” by Great Egrets, at least 30 of them. It looked like a big green cake with 30 white candles. Of course my camera was at home…

  17. I love the way you have presented so much information about these birds through narrative story telling. Love that style. Mama duck taking her babies across the street? We see that here too and it makes me smile as highway traffic comes to a halt and in unison our hearts all melt at the sight.

    1. Thank you Sue. After I started taking photos of these birds about three years ago, I have come to understand this little marsh community much better and have learned so much about each of the species, most though about the Ospreys. I wish I could have enjoyed the sight of these sweet ducklings a little longer, but hope they find a safe home on the bay shore somewhere.

  18. I’m always looking for animals around or in the road, dead or alive. It is a good habit to move those hit, off of the road; both out of respect for that animal and also the safety of scavengers. I’ll stop or u-turn in a heartbeat. I’ve rescued tons of turtles, especially when I lived in Florida, some were of monstrous size and some snappers too. Gorgeous shots as always, love your posts!

    1. That is great to hear! I am the same way. These ducklings were so small I couldn’t be sure the drivers would see them…some are texting and distracted, as you know. Some are just watching the waters on both sides of this street. Thank you for visiting 🙂

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