Rise and Shine. Fall at the Salt Marsh.

We have gorgeous fall weather here on Florida’s Gulf coast. I want to invite you all to join me on a morning walk on the beach, in the park and at the salt marsh.

love-grass-2-ud87Being “evergreen” we do not have the typical fall foliage, but there is plenty of color for us to enjoy right here in our garden.

And the beach is lively with shorebirds, particularly Sanderlings and Willets, in addition to the usual gulls and terns.


willet-ud87From the beach we walk to the fishing piers at north end of the park. Sun is shining on the bay and the Clearwater Pass.

shine-ud87People are fishing and birds are flying over the water.

bridge-ud87We spot two familiar birds: the “other osprey” who was pestering Mama Sandy last week, and Henry, the younger Great Blue Heron.


younger-great-blue-heron-henry-ud87For some reason, Henry is not at the salt marsh, but has flown into a kayak enclosure next to the fishing piers. Perhaps hoping for a free meal from one of the fishermen.

sand-key-park-ud87From there we walk south through the park to the salt marsh. And spot more fall colors on the way.


pink-flowers-ud87Arriving at the marsh, we immediately notice the visitors. A family of eight Wood Storks mingle with Great and Snowy Egrets.



great-egret-ud87The Great Egret wants to show the visitors who’s the boss, and some loud exchanges follow. But where is the real boss, the Mayor? We walk towards the osprey nest and find him hiding in the bushes right below the osprey nest.


older great blue heron 2 ud87.jpgIt seems he doesn’t want to get involved in any squabbles, but rather prefers to take some quiet time to enjoy the morning. And the same goes for Mama Sandy. She has just caught a fish and turns to greet us before starting her breakfast.

mama-osprey-with-a-fish-ud87Then we spot the showman. The Reddish Egret performs his hunting dance. The clown of the marsh, as I dubbed him two years ago, draws his energy from a large audience. And today is no exception.

reddish-egret-hunting-ud87But the smaller herons, apart from the Snowy Egrets, have decided to stay away from the ‘big boys’.

snowy-egret-ud87Walking home, we find one of them, the Little Blue Heron, hunting alone on the bay.  The low tide has revealed new and interesting fishing grounds.

little-blue-heron-in-the-bay-ud87I hope you enjoyed this three mile walk in the crisp autumn air – a rare treat for us this early in the season.

At home another treat is waiting. The Audubon Society has received a grant from Duke Energy, our power company. Yay! Thank you to all who have contributed! We are now much closer to having the new dish platform for the Osprey couple installed on time. We all wish you a wonderful week.

66 thoughts on “Rise and Shine. Fall at the Salt Marsh.”

  1. I felt almost as if I myself actually walked around the marsh, as your photos convey such beauty and fascinating action. Thank you for this vicarious experience!

    1. That was a wonderful walk, it feels great to have cooler and dried air – today for the 5th day! Even the birds seem to enjoy it. Happy you came along, Hien.

    1. For the first time this season we are having drier and cooler air, which is a real treat for me – and the birds 🙂 Thanks for walking along, Brad!

    1. The marsh was really nice and cool, happy you enjoyed the walk, Karen. The grant was such a relief…now we’re in business 🙂 Thanks for cheering us along ❤

    1. Thanks Cindy! It is really beautiful right now and I am expecting more migrating visitors to stop at the salt marsh in the next few weeks. The Reddish Egret is so much fun, always ready to entertain 🙂

    1. Happy to hear you enjoyed the walk, David. I am so thrilled about the weather we are having, no humidity and much cooler for the 5th day in a row 🙂

  2. Your shots are as FABULOUS as this weather! What a delight. We enjoyed Happy Hour at the Chart House tonight ~ overlooking the intercoastal and frolicking dolphins!

  3. The air was crisp and cool; the images peaceful (for the most part) and relaxing. Exhilarating and refreshing, Helen, all rolled into a ‘shining’ example of life on the Florida’s Gulf coast. 😉 😉
    Lovely strolling with you…. 🙂
    Great news!

    1. After a hot and sweaty summer, this gorgeous weather is really a gift for all of us here, including our feathered friends 🙂 And I hope to see more migrating birds to make a stop at the salt marsh in the next few weeks. The grant was such a relief, now we’re in business of building the new nest!

  4. Always a delight to see the salt marsh friends doing well Tiny, your photos are a beautiful showcase of this reserve. How wonderful that more businesses are contributing, we pray that you will get the full amount by the time it is required. ove that cool crisp air, it is my favorite air. We experienced this on our walk on Sunday only that it was Spring. I love walking and not getting hot. Thanks again Tiny, have a wonderful week my friend:-)

    1. Salt marsh friends are enjoying the fall weather as much as we humans 🙂 And this is the time when migrating birds make stop-overs here, it will be interesting to see who drops by. I think that the gap in funding is now small enough for a few of us to pitch in to get the work done. I wish you a beautiful week too, my friend.

  5. At the island this past week, there were four different Great Blue Heron that we routinely ran into. It was amazing how easy it became to distinguish them. They each had their own preferred area to patrol and their own unique personalities. I can see why you know right away which one Mr Mayor is!

    1. You are so right, Kathy. It is not very difficult to distinguish birds you spot often. The Mayor has very distinct colors and he is also bigger and calmer than his younger rival, whom I believe to be about 3 years now. He used to be a real nuisance to other birds, but has mellowed a lot lately. And perhaps he will have his own family this coming nesting season 🙂

  6. What a treat to take us around the walk with you Helen! Its good to see the old favorites and some new ones! I missed Miss Rosa, perhaps she was being bashful with the visitors around.
    I’m glad your hard work is paying off and contributions are coming in for the re-build. Yeah! 💛

    1. I missed Miss Rosa too. It seems that most smaller wading birds were keeping away that day because of the big guys were visiting. I have seen Miss Rosa there some evenings around and after sunset when Dylan wants to go to play at the doggie park, so I know she is around 🙂 I am very happy that we are almost “there” now for the nest replacement to start! Thank you Val ❤

  7. Yay! The ospreys will get a new home. Wonderful. 🙂 Can’t wait for you to start showing us pics of it going up. 🙂 Great pictures of the marsh as always. I could almost picture myself there with you.

  8. It’s great to know that your Osprey Project is getting near. Your Osprey family will get a brand new home! That’s good news! You are a great asset to the birds. Thanks for the pictures and the walk Tiny. 🙂

    1. I am so excited about being able to support our Osprey couple! And now that goal seems attainable. Thanks for visiting us again, even if virtually this time, my friend 🙂 My love to Lucy and Tyler too!

  9. Thank you very much for taking me on your walk with you. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. You either tread very gently as you go or you are lightning quick with your shutter finger….or perhaps both of course.

    1. I walked very fast (Dylan has gotten me in that habit)), but stopped momentarily when I saw something I wanted to shoot 🙂 Happy you enjoyed the walk.

  10. Helen, you live in such a beautiful world. Your pictures are captivating and your bird shots phenomenal. No you don’t get the color we do in Fall, but to be living where it is warm and to be able to swim in the ocean …… *sigh* ……. oh bring it on. Thank you for sharing your paradise. The sights just amaze me every time I am here. (((HUGS))) ❤

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, dear Amy! I am happy you enjoy your visits here at the marsh. The beach is very peaceful now as it is a low season for visitors. Thank you for your beautiful fall pictures! I wish you a wonderful week, my friend. Much love ❤

  11. Enjoyed this walk with you, Helen! I’ve been lying low for a month with before and after surgery pain, tore my meniscus in two places hiking out west. Glad to catch back up with you and your salt marsh buddies!

      1. Sorry to learn the reason I didn’t see you for a while (went looking for you at your blog a few times). I hope you feel better and get out soon again! The grant and the money we raised is enough for a new dish and I am just waiting to learn when the big event will take place 🙂 Thanks Donna – and all the best for your recovery.

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