She’s Baaack! Papa Osprey’s Welcome Gift. And a Storm Brewing.

He stretched it out. The announcement was very loud, perhaps even a bit enthusiastic. The Green Heron had returned to his winter home at the salt marsh while I was gone, and appeared surprised to see me. As I walked closer, he repeated the announcement.

green heron 3 ud76An Anhinga, who was resting down by the water almost right below him, joined the choir. She’s baaack!

anhinga 2 ud76All eyes were on me. Well, almost. Even the Mayor interrupted his hunt, walked closer, nailed his eyes on me and gave me a nod.

older great blue heron ud76The young Mourning Dove checked on me too from her high vantage point. Approvingly, I thought.

mourning dove ud76Miss Rosa was still sleeping in her ‘bedroom’,  heavily curtailed by leafy greens. She opened her eyes. I’m afraid my approach had woken her up.

miss rosa ud76The Reddish Egret, who had been fishing in the shallows nearby, performed his signature dance. Shake, Baby, Shake. What a royal reception!

reddish egret 3 ud76Even two of the ducklings, who had left the salt marsh merely four months ago marching behind their Mama, came to say hi. They had grown a lot. And they had started in diving school. I saw a few more siblings further away.

two juvenile mottled ducks ud76

mottled ducklings diving ud76But not all residents joined the welcome party. The young Great Blue Heron didn’t really care to see me back. We have some history, as some of you will remember. I noticed he might have been in a fight as he had a flap of skin hanging under his chin. I wished him speedy recovery.

younger Blue Heron UD76And the Yellow-crowned Night Heron didn’t pay any attention to me either. But I didn’t take it personally. He might have been hunting all night and was now looking for some peace and quiet.

young yellow-crowned night heron ud76His cousin, the Black-crowned Night Heron, was present too and peeked out from the tall grass. He was simply shy. And soon he flew up into a tree to sleep for the day.

black+crowned night heron ud76I walked to the beach-end of the marsh and found two Great Egrets hunting together. Beautiful.

two great egrets ud76And a little Snowy Egret who was fishing alone. She soon decided to move onto the bay side and took off while I was watching her.

snowy egret ud76

snowy egret in flight ud76I was delighted to see so many feathered friends on my first walk! But where were the Ospreys? The nest was empty – and in great need of repair. Unfortunately the ground is too soft right now to allow a big vehicle to come close to the nest. That will have to wait for a bit longer.

osprey nest ud75I walked around the marsh. Then sat on ‘my’ bench to drink some water. It was hot already. I waited. A squirrel in the tree above came down to check me out.

squirrel ud76I noticed the Anhinga was still there, now drying her wings in the light breeze. And letting her latest catch, the drama of which I had obviously missed,  go down smoothly.

anhinga after breakfast ud76Suddenly I heard friendly osprey speak in the sky. Mama Sandy was flying above the marsh with Papa Stanley. Yes! Both of them were around and seemed to be doing fine.

Mama osprey 2 flies over salt marsh ud76

papa osprey flying with Steve UD76I discovered there was a third Osprey flying with them too. One with slightly orange-colored eyes and white tips on the flying feathers. A juvenile.

juvenile osprey over the nest ud76

a young osprey UD76I looked at all the pictures I snapped of this young Osprey, and while I can’t be absolutely sure, I think it might have been Lady Cawcaw! She was discussing something with her papa. Maybe getting tips on good fishing spots. That’s when Papa Stanley’s gift arrived. A beautiful flight feather came dangling down and landed on the grass just a few feet from where I was standing. I picked it up. And now have this 14 inches long ‘treasure’ in a small vase in my office, his molting gift.

mama ospreys feather ud75While I was watching the Ospreys, Miss Rosa had decided it was time for breakfast. She had come out from her hideout and was looking for food.

roseate spoonbill 2 ud76And the Reddish Egret had recovered from our first meeting and was hunting again with great determination.

reddish egret ud76I was delighted by the reception orchestrated by the salt marsh residents. So many of them were present on that beautiful morning last Saturday.

sunrise over the bay 2 ud76

sunrise on the ocean 16x9 ud76It may take a few days before we see such a glorious sunrise again as we are currently bracing for the impacts from a high grade tropical storm, hopefully not a hurricane, expected to brush our area tomorrow night and Thursday. I am hoping all our feathered friends will find shelter to keep them safe. Greetings from all of us.


68 thoughts on “She’s Baaack! Papa Osprey’s Welcome Gift. And a Storm Brewing.”

    1. That was an overwhelming (in a good way) welcome party – I hardly believed all of these guys were there 🙂 Just wonderful to see them again.

  1. What a wonderful homecoming, Helen. It has been great to see the Salt Marsh community in all their glory, once again. You are a very fortunate woman to be surrounded by so much diversity of nature… I’m green, again. (Oh to be a little pleasant fly upon the wall of your Salt Marsh Adventures!) And wonderful to see (perhaps) Lady Cawcaw with her mum and dad… and a feather to boot… So heartening!
    Fingers crossed re the weather prediction… Stay well… 🙂

    1. I was so delighted to see them after almost four weeks! All but the more occasional visitors were present and I felt such a warm welcome. Very fortunate woman indeed 🙂 The more I look at the pictures, the more I believe it was Lady Cawcaw…so much white still in the feathers and definitely friendly with both Sandy and Stanley. That was great as it means she has great chances to survive and in 2-3 years become a mom herself. We are likely to get loads of rain and some flooding on the beach, salt marsh and on the roads, but we are just south of the hurricane warning area so I’m hoping for not so strong winds here. We’ll hunker down inside. XO

  2. I am smiling from ear to ear, Tiny. What a fantastic event to have all your salt marsh friends welcoming you. Each photo, each creature is so very lovely. And it’s super that Papa Stanley graced you with one of his feathers. Great post!

    1. Happy you enjoyed the post, Jet. It was difficult to even believe all of the permanent resident were there last Saturday! I was delighted. I have never found an osprey feather, so I felt like a small treasure dropped at my feet 🙂

    1. That sunrise has to last for at least until late in the weekend 🙂 Miss Rosa was sleepy, but it was great she came out for a photo shoot. She was there today too (I checked with binoculars from my terrace), sitting at the top of a small tree which is unusual for her.

  3. What wonderful welcome home Tiny, and a magnificent post, such great shots as always. It is comforting to see all of the community doing well in the salt marsh, and what a gift of that feather, like it just dropped out of the sky to you. I do hope you are able to repair the osprey nesting platform before the next season. What a glorious sunrise, I love that time of the morning, when the morning chorus is on in the bush and all the birds are rejoicing as they look for their first feed of the day. Is the squirrel a grey? Have a wonderful week my friend:-)

    1. The squirrel is light brown-grayish, and there are many at the salt marsh, I just don’t see them very often. It was a wonderful morning and I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw all of them…the feather is a great little treasure 🙂 This week is stormy, it started last night with strong thunderstorms and now it’s pouring down non-stop. We are expecting stronger winds tomorrow and coastal flooding – so we are just hunkering down at home, probably until Saturday.

    1. Thanks for visiting us, Val ❤ It was a great welcome party and now we are all hunkering down for the storm, people and birds 🙂 Lots of water coming down.

  4. I am sure they sense your enegy home Helen. Such a good turn up and love the squirrel coming to join in. You will remember this day when you look at your feather. Hope the storms don’t create too much trouble.

    1. Thank you Karen! The reception was so beautiful, I was so surprised to see all permanent residents on this first walk! Papa’s feather was a special treat 🙂 The stormy weather has started, I can hardly see the salt marsh for the heavy rain, but we are not expecting hurricane strength winds here – just lots of water and quite a bit flooding. So we are hunkering at home for a few days…and I’ll check in on the salt marsh friends as soon as it clears up.

    1. We are not expecting very strong winds, but lots of water both from heavy rains, which have already started, and storm surge from the ocean. We’ll be fine just hunkering at home for a few days.

  5. So glad to see you safely back at the salt marsh with all your friends awaiting you. Hope the weather doesn’t get too bad for you and that the little creatures find shelter from the storm. Love to all of you ♥

    1. Absolutely loved this. On moving to our new house, I have gradually made friends with my nature family – squirrels, foxes, and birds. I have am cooking peanut kernels at the moment for the squirrels!I Uncooked kernels can actually give severe digestive problems and if there is a bloom or mould on the kernel it can kill the squirrel. So I am extra careful with them. Again thank you for such beautiful photos of the birds./

      1. Thanks Katy, for you visit and kind comment. I am happy to hear you have little friends around your new house and that you are taking such good care of them!!

    2. Thank you Isabella – it was a marvelous homecoming! We will hunker down at home for a few days during the storm and I too hope all our little friends at the salt marsh will find safe shelters from the wind and the rain. Much love from all of us ❤

  6. Oh wow, I didn’t think Lady Cawcaw would be seen again, Helen – how very lovely! And how wonderful for you to have been given such a special gift, which I’m sure you’ll always treasure. 🙂

    1. I have been looking at the photos again and I am almost 100% sure it was Lady Cawcaw. The juvenile was family for sure, because of the friendly talk and long time of flying together. And the amount of white at the feathers combined with the clearly orange eyes tells me it was this year’s osprey ‘kid’. Even the little of the breast pattern I could see “fits” her 🙂

  7. I’m happy to see that the salt marsh family (you included) is together again and looking good! I can relate to that because that’s how I feel about my birds too. Nice pictures too. Thanks for the post my dear Tiny! 🙂

    1. It truly was a wonderful ‘homecoming’, dear H.J. – I know understand :)Today we are drenched in rain…and that will continue for a couple of days. I will check on them again as soon as the storm is over at the weekend.

    1. Glad you came along to be part of this happy family reunion, Susan! Greetings from pouring rain – I will be hunkering down at home with hubby and Dylan for the next two days 🙂

  8. How ever good your visit abroad was, I am very pleased to see you back at the marsh and providing your readers with another banquet of fine photographs of the denizens. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. Right now I am monitoring the beach and salt marsh flooding from my terrace and Mama Sandy actually flew by. She used this short break in the rain (we got 19.05 cm yesterday) to go fishing. More rain and stronger winds still to come today.

    1. Yes, I was very happy about that! Right now, there is lots of flooding on the beach and the salt marsh and all birds are hunkering down in bushes and trees. Apart from Mama Osprey who just flew past my terrace.

  9. It is always nice to come back to the crowd and find out they did not forget you while you were gone ~ and the green heron made the announcement in style 🙂 Travel is wonderful, but I think as you show with your photos and words, nothing is quite like home and so nice to have joined in the homecoming as well. There is also about seeing a glorious sunrise too, and that is such a beautiful shot, hopefully the storm will a light one ~ take care Tiny.

    1. It’s funny that I came back home from “back home” in Finland, where I was visiting my dad. The Nordic summer was extremely beautiful, which I tried to capture in my photos, but in a different way than here. And of course I missed my salt marsh friends – most of whom have now sought shelter from the rain (over 7″ yesterday) and wind as TS/soon to be Hurricane Hermine is churning out on the Gulf towards north FL and we’re brushed by the heavy rain bands. So we are hunkering at home :)Thanks for your visit, Randall.

  10. Love the diving school picture! Synchronized! 🙂 Beautiful shots of the ospreys soaring… And the feather was a perfect welcome home gift for you. I hope you and the salt marsh gang are all weathering Hurricane Hermine safe and sound.

    1. These ducklings always come back to where they were born, but I don’t know if all 10 made it. They are about half of their mom’s size now and practice diving 🙂 Hermine is now churning out on the Gulf almost parallel to us and we are not going to get the strongest winds but the worst rains – much flooding already after 7″ yesterday and more is on its way. So we are just hunkering down at home until this passes.

  11. Such a wonderful post with all the beautiful bird captures, Helen! I love the first Reddish Egret capture with him shaking, so pretty and great detail. And I’m excited that you saw Stanley and Sandy, and maybe even Lady Cawcaw. Such a thrill for you, I know! I especially love Stanley’s feather that floated down to you, what a wonderful gift to receive and treasure. Indeed special! 🙂

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