Thanksgiving Feast at the Salt Marsh. Pure Magic.

Yesterday morning I lifted my head from the legal language on my screen and looked towards the salt marsh. I immediately saw that we had visitors for Thanksgiving. Many of them. I left my project in mid-sentence, grabbed my “birding camera” and ran out of the door. Looking towards the marsh from our driveway, I spotted Papa Stanley and Mama Sandy on lamp-posts at the parking lot next to the marsh.

papa-and-mama-osprey-ud91They were discussing something. Perhaps planning the furnishings of their new home. And they were watching the skies, sounding an occasional ‘double warning’ to a male Osprey flying around overhead. Stanley had a fish, but Sandy had probably already eaten.

papa-osprey-ud91

mama-osprey-ud91Do you see what I see? No, I don’t mean the bright blue autumn sky. But Sandy is clearly ready for the nesting season. She has gained weight, as she should.  She knows she will always eat last when there are other mouths to feed in the nest. And that time is not too far away now.

birds-at-salt-marsh-ud91When I arrived at the salt marsh, I saw birds everywhere. Many different species – see Miss Rosa there on the left with the big boys? Every single islet and shallow pond was sprawling with birds. Early in the morning when Dylan and I passed by the marsh, it had been almost deserted – this was pure magic. I was guessing many of birds were visitors on the move to their final destinations, like the 20+ Wood Storks and some of the Great Egrets.

older-wood-storks-ud91There were teenagers, parents and grandparents. It was great to see how all the different birds enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast together. Everyone was accepted and welcomed. The Mayor did set the tone, of course. He was staying a bit away from the biggest crowds, keeping an eye on everything.

older-blue-heron-mayor-ud91

younger-great-blue-heron-ud91Fishing was great. And the styles were many. But it was difficult to capture much of their acrobatics through the very high grass.

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wood-stork-fishing-ud91To my amazement, there was not one Reddish Egret but two. I had to observe them to know which of them was our Clown. One of them was a bit shy and just stayed quietly next to the bigger birds.

wood-stork-and-reddish-egret-2-ud91

wood-stork-and-reddish-egret-ud91I concluded it was not the Clown, but perhaps his girlfriend. Then I walked to the far end of the marsh and knew I had found him. His hunting dance was on.

reddish-egret-hunting-ud91When a Wood Stork walked close to where he was fishing, he asked – in no uncertain terms – to be left alone.

wood-stork-and-reddish-egret-3-ud91

reddish-egret-the-clown-ud91I had to smile. Definitely the Clown. And he was in a feisty mood. The Wood Stork decided to move a bit further. There was plenty of fish for everyone.

wood-stork-flies-away-ud91

wood-stork-ud91I was looking for Miss Rosa. I had seen her fly away, but was not sure where she had landed. I walked around the marsh again and finally spotted her in a busy pond with several Snowy Egrets and juvenile Wood Storks.

miss-rosa-fishing-ud91

snowy-egret-ud91

juvenile-wood-stork-ud91

roseate-spoonbill-ud91It was great to see her again. She looked at me to say hi, and went on to demonstrate that she too was a great fisher(wo)man. And she proved her point by catching the biggest fish of the day.

roseate-spoonbill-caught-a-fish-2-ud91Not far from her, I spotted two other permanent residents, the Tri-colored Heron and the Little Blue Heron.

tri-colored-heron-ud91

little-blue-heron-ud91Then my attention was captured by a call that I didn’t recognize. I walked towards a tree where I thought it was coming from. And spotted the tiniest bird, about 3″ from top to toe. It was a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, perhaps a juvenile. This very fast bird made me work hard for a few glimpses.

blue-gray-gnatcatcher-juvenile-ud91

blue-gray-gnatcatcher-2-juvenile-ud91After that I walked back home to continue my work. Later in the afternoon I saw Mama Sandy again. She was perching at her new nest, and I think she spotted me spying on her from our terrace more than a block away.

mama-osprey-at-her-new-nest-ud91We wish everyone Happy Thanksgiving and a great weekend.

67 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Feast at the Salt Marsh. Pure Magic.”

    1. Thank you Hien! I wish I had grabbed my new Canon as well. It would have taken better “group photos”. There were so many birds close to each other that it was difficult to take individual portraits. Today the visitors have continued their journey and the permanent residents have peace and quiet 🙂

  1. Enjoy your Thanksgiving Tiny, you have showcased so much that we can be thankful for in your beautiful photos. It was a great treat for you and Dylan to have all those birds drop bye. I loved seeing your shots of the Reddish Egret, a stunning bird, and interesting character. Thanks again for your lovely post and the enjoyable storytelling of life in the salt marsh. Have a wonderful weekend and a most enjoyable thanksgiving my friend:-)

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, my friend. We had a beautiful Thanksgiving – and today we are avoiding the crowds at shopping malls and elsewhere. The Reddish Egret I call the Clown is a real character and his hunting ‘dances’ are amazing. But this time there were two of them and the other one, perhaps a female, was much calmer. I think I have never before seen this many birds at the marsh – a great Thanksgiving gift.

    1. That was a great spontaneous outing! The migrants have all moved on now and the marsh looks very peaceful. We were invited to a great Thanksgiving feast…not planning to eat much at all today 🙂 Hugs ❤

    1. It was great to see all these visitors at the marsh…I’m thinking 60+ wading birds! I was in heaven, as you can imagine. Work always comes second to the birds 😀

    1. It was the biggest gang I’ve seen at the salt marsh. If they had posed for a group photo, I could have counted over 60 heads. Our own feast was livelier than usual too. I trust you had a great Thanksgiving with the whole family present.

  2. How lovely to see the salt marsh flourishing with activity on Thanksgiving Day, I know it brightened your day! So many beautiful photos, I can’t help though being partial to Sandy and Stanley’s closeups and gorgeous Miss Rosa. 🙂

    1. Thanks Donna! I was in ‘heaven’ when I saw all these old and new friends. I’m partial too, as you know. It was great to see Miss Rosa again after she has been absent for the last month or so. And I now see Sandy at the nest every single day, which means she likes her new home 🙂

  3. Thanks for hopping up out of your chair and capturing this wilderness extravagance, Helen. It is, as you say, pure magic. The bird life, as always at your salt marsh, is so incredible. Really like the photos so much, especially the startled look of the reddish egret, Miss Rosa catching a fish, and the stork in cruising action.

    1. I was so happy that I happened to look out and saw all the “white” at the pond I can see from my office…went to look with my binoculars and saw LOTs of birds! No work would have kept me from rushing out to see them 🙂 The marsh was the liveliest I have seen it, seems like “everybody” was there. While I have seen many performances by this one Reddish Egret, I have not seen Miss Rosa catch a fish before. That was a real treat. The storks visit a few times a year, I guess they make a stopover here on their way south. Thanks, Jet!

  4. Oh, Helen, I’ve missed out on your wonderful images (all I could see were little x’s where the image was meant to be). Luckily, I have a great imagination and used it to see many of the beautiful creatures.
    Hope your Thanksgiving went delightfully… 🙂

    1. I’ve come back and have been rewarded, Helen. This time the images were there in all their splendour! Wonderful to see the community going about their usual activities. And what a great concluding shot of Sandy so regal in her new lodgings… 🙂

      1. Yay! I was hoping you would come back and like magic, the images would be there! It was the biggest party (60+ guests) I have seen at the salt marsh 🙂 Every morning when I get up just around the sunrise, I look out towards the nest and Sandy is usually always there. She proudly owns her home now. XXX

    1. Thanks Karen! Yes, we had a great Thanksgiving and it all started with this big party at the salt marsh 🙂 More birds there than I have ever seen. Have a wonderful weekend ❤

  5. A wonderful set of pictures. We are so lucky that you not only looked up at the right time but had the energy to rush out and the skill to take such great illustrations of the salt marsh company.

  6. Thank you! I was in such a hurry to get out there that I forgot to take my new Canon, which would have been much better for the “group photos”.

    1. It was probably the biggest party I’ve seen at the salt marsh. I observed how well they all mingled together …something for us humans to learn from 🙂 Thank you for being here Lorrie. We all wish you a beautiful weekend ❤

      1. Haha! I was thinking that very thing…the birds can all get along…
        I’m always happy to stop by and drink in the beautiful pics and lovely writing. Many blessings to you friend ♡

  7. The weather is rather dreary here in Somerset today, Helen, so I settled for your virtual walk as a substitute for my own out on the nearby nature reserve – and a thoroughly pleasant one it was too. Many thanks, and with all best wishes, Hariod.

    1. Thank you Anja & Hertta! That day was really exciting, so many birds 🙂 Dylan has just been groomed, looks really handsome and sends his love to Hertta ❤

  8. Delightful Thanksgiving day in the salt m
    arsh. I was especially pleased to see the blue-gray gnatcatcher. We had one nesting in our park last spring, but it disappeared. I’m afraid it came to a bad ending.

    1. Thank you skip. I’ve been away for work, but today I took a short walk and saw a pair of them (no photo luck though). I hope they will nest at the marsh next spring 🙂 They are small and vulnerable to predators, but on the other hand they are able to hide among the leaves quite well.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Otto. That day the marsh was really busy, but the photographic challenge was the high grass…and the bright sun, of course.

  9. All the birds have so much personality!
    You capture the activities at the salt marsh as though we are there and enjoying the antics and activity.

    1. That was very cool. From time to time there are so many birds at the salt marsh…sometimes only a few. Have a nice day! Ps. I can almost read what you write on your blog because your language is quite similar to Swedish 🙂

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