A Weekend Holiday Party. Hosted by the Mayor.

This past weekend was a bit winter-like. Cool winds from the north, bright sunshine and then yesterday a bit warmer and cloudier with a few sprinkles. I was invited to a lively holiday party at the salt marsh. Two days of guests mingling happily in anticipation of the holidays. Residents hosting visitors who seemed happy to have escaped the real cold up north.

dozen-wood-storks-ud94And there were early signs of romance brewing in the bird community. Many couples, breeding plumages growing…and a few loud comments exchanged between suitors in some quarters.

The Reddish Egret was entertaining. Perhaps he was also trying to impress on his girlfriend, who had taken possession of the Mayor’s office. She was well put together and watched the Clown’s performance intently.


reddish-egret-shaking-off-water-ud94And Miss Rosa was, of course, the object of everyone’s admiration. Including mine. I first spotted her hanging out with the big boys.

roseate-spoonbill-with-wood-storks-ud94Then she flew to a pond where she could fish undisturbed. Photogenic. And I think she knows it.

roseate-spoonbill-2-ud94While Rosa didn’t seem to have a boyfriend, the Yellow-crowned Night Heron did have company. She was sitting shyly in the bushes below the osprey nest, while her admirer was openly staring at her from a tree across a small ‘strait’.

yellow-crowned night heron ud94.jpg

yellow-crowned-night-heron-2-ud94Mama Sandy was there too. She looked regal on her new perch. And she was in deep thought. Perhaps mulling over ideas for home decoration, which is about to start in 3-4 weeks now.

mama-osprey-on-her-perch-ud94Suddenly I heard osprey speak. I looked up and saw Papa Stanley right above the nest looking down. They talked.

papa-osprey-flies-over-talking-to-mama-ud94I would have loved to know what was said in that brief exchange! You see, he has not yet been allowed to land in the new nest. I know it will happen early January, but only after he has performed his proposal dance and brought a gift to Sandy. Then they will start decorating their new home together. That shall be interesting. I will make only one New Year resolution this year, and that is to follow their nesting season as much as I can. And then share this couple’s joys and challenges here with you.

After Stanley flew away towards the ocean, Sandy greeted me from her ‘high chair’. She is a beauty. No wonder Stanley is so besotted by her.

mama-osprey-closeup-ud94I walked around the marsh and spotted two of our permanent residents, the Tri-colored Heron and the Little Blue Heron. They are such gracious little waders and by now not a bit shy when I approach them.

tricolored-heron-2-ud94In fact, the Little Blue Heron kept me company. She walked with me quite a while along the southern border of the marsh.

little-blue-heron-ud94Soon I saw the big birds chilling out in the ‘west wing’ of the marsh. Mainly Wood Storks and Great Egrets, in clans, couples or solo enjoyed the holiday smorgasbord.

wood-stork-ud94I learned something new, namely how the Wood Storks ‘sit’ on the ground when only their heads are visible above the high grass.

wood-stork-2-ud94This is how. They actually sit on their knees – bent the other way round compared to ours.

wood-stork-sitting-ud94The older Great Blue Heron, the Mayor of the Marsh, was hosting the party. He patrolled the waters and talked to the guests.

great-egrets-blue-heron-reddish-egret-ud94At one point he said something to a Great Egret. I thought I heard “let’s compete who’s first at the osprey nest”.  I can’t be sure, but off they went.




great-blue-heron-and-great-egret-flying-ud94I have no way of knowing who won. Or even if that matters. But when I arrived back to the nest, I found each of them in trees close to the nest…in the company of the Night Heron couple.


great-egret-and-night-heron-ud94But were there no small birds at the party?  Of course there were. But these birds make me work too hard to get even one acceptable picture 🙂 I managed to make two of them to pose just for half a second, a Northern Mockingbird and a tiny Least Flycatcher who moved all the time. And I mean all of the time, which is obvious from my soft picture.


alder-flycatcher-2-ud94After being hosted by the Mayor, entertained by the Reddish Egret and greeted by Mama Sandy and Miss Rosa, I left the party and walked home by the bay side. There I spotted only one bird, a Brown Pelican at the Sailing Center pier. The pelicans prefer the bay or the ocean for their smorgasbord.

brown-pelican-ud94I hope you enjoyed this holiday party as much as I did. We all wish you a wonderful, stress-free week.



69 thoughts on “A Weekend Holiday Party. Hosted by the Mayor.”

    1. Your comment made me smile, Brad. I was contemplating whether or not to mention “winter” …. it’s tough though…today we have fog, all white and dense crawling from the ocean 😀

  1. Gorgeous shots especially the flight ones which are marvelous. The stork is amazing and of course the ospreys are awesome. Great selection of birds and wonderful photos!

    1. That was a really big party with many more quests than usual for the salt marsh. Loved the storks – they are very calm birds. I was truly amazed (again) when I saw the wing span of the GBH at close range. Thanks for joining the party, Cindy!

  2. Tough gig for Stanley! It’s amazing to understand the rules in nature, but more importantly they are always obeyed, hence the flowing and abundant life here. Lovely shots today Helen 💕🌿💕

    1. Stanley will pass with flying colors, I’m sure 🙂 Two years ago I saw him bring a mouse as a proposal gift…very rare as they eat fish 99.9 % of the time. Last year it was a nice red fish. Thanks for joining the party, my friend ❤

  3. It’s good to see some old faces and new ones joining the party Helen! You have some amazing shots there 💛
    I can’t wait To see the action over the next few weeks. ☺️

    1. Oh, I can’t wait either! This coming year I will not be completely bogged down with work like I was this year during the nesting season. That lighter load will make it possible for me to spend more time spying on the Osprey family and all the others nesting at the salt marsh 🙂 Thanks Val ❤

  4. What a wonderful party! Miss Rosa is definitely a stunner! Some day I would love to see a stork. Thanks for sharing. And I look forward to reading your posts about the ospreys.

    1. Thank you! I am happy you joined the party. These huge storks are amazingly calm birds and move in large family clans, and it was a surprise for me to see how the “sit” down. I am hoping for a great nesting season for the ospreys and all the other residents.

  5. Thanks again Tiny for a lovely visit to the early holiday celebrations in the salt marsh. You have such lovely clear shots of these birds, and such a natural story telling narrative which I always delight in. It was interesting to see how those cranes sit, our native Jabiru (Black-necked Stalk) sits the same way. have a great week my friend!

    1. Thank you for joining the salt marsh party, my friend. The stork sitting with its feet bent forward was a new learning for me. Previously I had only seen them with heads sticking out of the grass, or standing. It was also fun to observe the early signs of the approaching nesting season…plumages growing on many of the birds, and more couples 🙂

  6. What a beautiful gallery of birds, great variety of good looking avians! You have done such a good work Tiny! Your photos are terrific! Thanks! 🙂

    1. You would have enjoyed the party for real, H.J. It was difficult to shoot pictures of one bird in many places because there were so many of them. Thanks my friend 🙂

  7. Yes, Helen, I thoroughly enjoyed the party; though, would have preferred to be one of the party goers; they all seem to have so much fun!
    I’m wondering what type of gift will be given! Will it be acceptable? Will Madam Osprey play hard to get, or will she succumb to the wiles of her favourite beau with sheer delight?
    Then, of course, the work begins. 🙂 xoxoxo

    1. Oh, it’s always a mystery gift 🙂 Two years ago Stanley truly surprised Sandy by bringing a mouse. It was a big surprise and a special gift because they feed on fish 99.9% of the time. I saw the mouse, but missed the picture. Last year, if I remember correctly he brought a red snapper – a very expensive fish 😀 I hope to catch his gift this year on camera…wish me luck. It shall be interesting to see how Sandy wants to design the new nest…lots of trips to Home Depot by Stanley for sure. Thanks Carolyn ❤ XX

    1. Yes, I went out both days this weekend and it was great to witness the ongoing party. I am trying to get out more, but today was so foggy that we couldn’t even see the bay or the ocean. Thanks for joining the party, my friend ❤

    1. There were so many “flying birds” that it was difficult to decide which bird to “shoot” so I missed most of them. The GBH’s wingspan was impressive.

    1. Thank you for joining the party, Otto. And for your kind comment. The stories come partly from what I observe right there, and partly from looking at the sequence of pictures.

  8. What a fun holiday party — the winter darkness had me feeling a bit down, but these beautiful birds and their stories cheered me right back up! 🙂

  9. Rosa is so pretty!! The weather looks better than in the Midwest for sure lol. I like your New Years resolution. I should make one soon too, unfortunately I still have one resolution of the year that has not been accomplished. I guess I have to carry it to the year 2017!

  10. I SO enjoyed the holiday party, Helen. Thanks for taking us around and sharing all your gorgeous friends with us. I have an extra special fondness for Miss Rosa, so I’m always glad to see her. But the truth is, I love each one. Excellent spot on finding the bent knees of the wood stork — I have never seen this before! Thank you thank you, and happy holidays to you, my friend~

  11. Of course there would be a holiday party in the salt marsh!!! So happy to see the results of it here, Tiny!! 😉 Wishing you the most wonderful peace during this Christmas season. Thank you for blessing my life ❤

    1. Thank you so much my friend for coming along to the party ❤ We all wish you a beautiful and peaceful Christmas and many blessings for the new year!

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