Baths and Mirrors. Open and Closed.

The salt marsh is still closed after the flooding from Hurricane Hermine. Only the birds can fly in there at the moment. But it appears  almost deserted (looking out from my terrace) apart from a few Ibis foraging in the grass and a couple of large Wood Storks. The water levels are still too high for ‘normal sized’ wading birds to find food. Even the ‘lake’ formed by the heavy rains on the beach is still too deep for the birds to enjoy it. Or for me to walk through there to the salt marsh. So yesterday I visited the bay side with Dylan. That beach is open.

willet-taking-a-bath-ud78I found a couple of birds bathing in the puddles formed on the beach, a Willet and a Royal Tern.

tern-bath-ud78And a bit further on the bay, a Brown Pelican was enjoying a refreshing bath.

pelican-bird-bathing-3-ud78As I am not able to get any new pictures of other feathered friends at the moment, I thought I would dig in my archives for some images for this week’s photo challenge. It is all about reflections. And I found a handful of pictures presenting the salt marsh and some of its residents – in the mirror.

The first one is from spring of 2014, when Mama Osprey had hung a fish to bake in the sun. Remember that? You can see it dangling from a blue rope under the nest upside down, reflected in the water.

osprey nest reflection sunrise UD78.jpgThen I found images of the Great Egret, the Snowy Egret, the young Great Blue Heron…and Miss Rosa. All these are taken around sunrise early in the morning, when the marsh waters usually are calm like a mirror.




roseate-spoonbill-at-sunrise-ud78Some of you may have noticed the baby-like chubbiness of the young Great Blue Heron 🙂 He sure looks a bit more adult-like today.

I hope Hermine was more lenient in other areas it visited on its way up the east coast. And I hope to be able to get into the salt marsh late in the week or next weekend to check on the residents. Best wishes for a great week to all of you.


67 thoughts on “Baths and Mirrors. Open and Closed.”

  1. Gee, it’s been so difficult for everyone (including animals and birds, of course) with the hurricane in Florida, I hope that the salt marsh recovers and the folks in the entire are get some relief from the effects of the storm.
    Terrific photos, Helen.

  2. So glad you made it through Hermine relatively unscathed. Your “mirror” images are a beautiful reminder of what was and shall be again soon!🙂

    1. I needed to see the peaceful images of residents enjoying a quiet morning 🙂 Yes, it will be beautiful again soon, I was just far too optimistic of the speed with which the flood waters are receding.

    1. Thanks Maverick. This morning, for the first time in a week, the sidewalks were completely dry. No more water running from the grassy areas. So we are going in the right direction 🙂

  3. Thanks Tiny for sharing those beautiful reflection photos, they are so good. I do love reflection pics of birds very much, as you probably already know. I am glad the rain has replenished the salt marsh and given it a good flushing out for a new season cycle. We hope that the salt marsh community can resettle there again soon and Dylan and yourself can walk through it and report on the salt marsh goss. Enjoy the rest of the week my friend, for us this is a beautiful time of year early spring with wildflowers blooming everywhere and many birds nesting:-)

    1. I am happy to hear you are enjoying beautiful spring time! Wonderful to have wildflowers and nesting birds everywhere. The storm brought us a preview of beautiful fall days, a little cooler temperatures, breezy and low humidity for a few days 🙂 Wonderful, and will help nature to dry up faster.

  4. Lovely to see you and Dylan enjoying a walk, even though somewhat limited; I’m sure Dylan will be pleased to have a little freedom again.
    Yes, the Great Blue Heron definitely looks chubby; he’s a cutie for sure. Yes, I appreciate he’s a little ornery, at times, but I still love him! Reminds me of my little dog Sweetie. She can be a little ornery too sometimes, bullying our other little one, Beau… Ah well.. That’s life..! 😉
    A great ‘mirror’ contribution, Helen!
    Take care, and keep soldiering on.. 🙂

    1. It has been great to be able to use the side walks as they are now completely dry. Such small thing brings joy after experiencing puddles everywhere for quite a few days. And the storm has brought us something good, a gorgeous preview of the fall with little cooler temps, high air and low humidity. That’s how we expect it to be come end October/ November. I also like the young GBH now that he has calmed down, and I hope he made it through the storm. I am optimistic about seeing the salt marsh friends by next weekend 🙂 XOXO

  5. Lovely collection of reflections, Helen — the spoonbill is exceptionally dazzling. I really like your bathing beauties too. Best wishes while everything settles back into place~~

    1. Thank you, Jet. We are definitely going in the right direction, the water level in the ‘lake’ on the beach is getting lower and the flooding at the salt marsh is receding slowly. I am hoping they will open the park gates before the weekend.

    1. Happy you enjoyed the reflections, Sylvia. The whole park is still closed, but I hope to get into the marsh one of these days early in the morning to find more reflections 😉

    1. Yes, the young GBH is mature now. I think next spring he’ll have his own family. Rosa is quite a stunner, and with the reflection we got ‘two for one’ 🙂

    1. Yes – now we can walk almost everywhere but in the park. Dylan wanted to go to the dog park next to the salt marsh, and I had to walk him to the closed gates for him to understand we simply could not yet go there.

    1. Happy you liked the mirror images, Karen. We are on the right track, finally drying up, but the park and the beach are still closed today….maybe at the weekend 🙂

    1. This is a topic that might deserve a separate post sometime as there is so much “stuff” to tell. In principle birds can be harmed and even die in a storm like we had, but almost all survive. They can get hurt or die for example in a hail storm, due to habitat destruction or if trapped inside the calm eye of the hurricane and forced to fly without rest and food for hundreds or even thousands of miles. Even Hermine had birds trapped in its eye when making landfall in north Florida. Most birds survive as they can sense atmospheric pressure changes very early on and can employ different strategies to protect themselves. Some “evacuate” to outskirts of the storm, others (like woodpeckers) hunker in tree cavities, yet others hunker down in protective vegetation. Shorebirds and water birds, like our ducks and waders, are well equipped to handle wind and rain. And ospreys have an oil in their outer flying feathers that can keep their down feathers fairly dry in a rain storm when they perch on a tree branch in a protective location during the storm. During the worst winds of Hermine, I did not see any birds flying over the marsh, the bay or the ocean.

      1. Thankyou so much, Helen, for answering so comprehensively – I’m reading it twice to absorb the information. I hadn’t thought of birds being trapped in the eye of a storm, but of course, it’s obvious they must do given eyes are up to 40 miles in diameter. That could mean many thousands of birds, I suppose?

        1. Yes. They were discovered last Thursday afternoon with a special radar. But since Hermine’s eye was not well formed further out on land, I am sure most of those birds could survive.

  6. The bay side is not too shabby at all, and the photos of the birds there are just as wonderful. I do hope the salt marsh will come back to its pre-storm state, or perhaps even better.

    1. The bay side beach is quite nice too, but one cannot often see waders there. The salt marsh certainly is the greenest I have seen it – although I can only enjoy it from my terrace for now. Maybe it will open for the weekend.

  7. Happy you liked the bay side bathers, Barbara. My wild guess is that it will take another full week with not much rain for everything be dry again, but I am hoping the park will open for the weekend.

  8. Tiny,
    I was wondering what camera you use for taking these pictures ? My husband and I walked through the Sheraton in knee high deep water last week. Being a bird watcher as well as a sea shell collector, what a day we had before we knew it we had been their 6 glorious hours with a handful of people on the beach. Meet wonderful couple from Ireland.
    Was fun to share our love for shells and send them home with some rear ones that the storm leaves behind on the beach! Sad to see on Clearwater North side how many sea turtle nest were under water. Your beautiful heart comes out through your love for creation and what pictures you is truly amazing that animals know who we are when we develop a friendship with then, they know we won’t harm them. They do give us so insight into each of their personality when we least expect it .What we will get when behind the lens is always a exciting priceless gift ! I was sorry I left my camera home last week.
    Do you sell any of your pictures? In the past 5 years going down to Sand Key , I have seen Rosa( the spoonbill ) twice I managed to get a few pictures of the male as well .It was worth at the time my legs and face blowing up from all the bug bites before sunset.
    Have a beautiful week and thank you for your blog. Many blessings. Sorry for the long email, I was excited to see such a heartfelt blog! Hope to meet you one day when we go down for a visit. I don’t do Facebook or have a website, once in a great while I stumble on a beautiful blog. Feel free to shorten this note.
    Kind Regards

    1. Dear Denise – thank you so much for your visit and kind comment. I live right next to Sheraton when not traveling, and love the birds at the salt marsh. After a few years of following them, I know many of them individually, including the whole Osprey family and their ‘kids’ from the last three years. It is true that birds learn to know and trust people, many can even distinguish facial features….creation is wonder-filled. I use several cameras, but mostly my new Canon 80D and my old workhorse, the fixed super-zoom Canon XS50HS, which is great for bird photography in case you cannot get close enough to them. I do sell my images at “Nature Bound Art” at Fine Art America. You can find the shop in the right sidebar or as a page on the top of the blog. It would be nice to meet when you visit here, you can always email me through the ‘contact’ page. Many blessings, Tiny

  9. I was hoping for some rain from that storm as we have been in a horrible drought this summer, but unfortunately we barely got a sprinkle 😦 I’m loving the beautiful reflections in these images!

    1. I am sorry that the storm seems to have dumped most of its water down here. Too much or too little water is always a problem. I hope the fall will bring you the much needed rain. Thanks for your visit, Susan.

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