Hello everyone! I hope the Holiday Season has treated you well. I’m back home from my Christmas adventures with family on the Atlantic seaboard in North Florida and Georgia. It was a precious time with our son and his family.
Lots of little adventures and places to see. Here a few pictures from our trip to St. Simons Island in Georgia: the lighthouse from 1807, rebuilt in 1872, the Christ Church from 1808 and the beautiful Avenue of Oaks planted sometime before 1850.
I did do some bird watching as well with my 6-year old granddaughter. Here’s our catch from Georgia, Double-crested Cormorants and gulls.
I am happy to say she is also into nature and photography, shooting away with her Nikon Coolpix. Here she discovered some ‘interesting plant’ that needed to be captured close up.
We also did a birding walk in her neighborhood with Dylan in tow. And to my delight I captured my first shots of a Hooded Merganser.
The rest of the neighborhood birds included a family of Canada Geese, a serious-looking Little Blue Heron and a Snowy Egret.
That was so much fun!
Yesterday morning I checked on my friends at the salt marsh. A New Year’s celebration was clearly in the making. So many birds! A large family of Wood Storks, many Great Egrets, and the Mayor, of course, were all enjoying the cool sunshine – and plenty of food offerings.
As usual, the Reddish Egret was entertaining the crowds and shaking his booty. And for the first time I captured him in full flight.
Miss Rosa was there too, delighting everyone with her colorful presence. She always notices me and nods her greeting. I thought she said Happy New Year. How sweet of her.
Mama Sandy was sitting on her new perch. Papa Stanley flew by and they had a brief exchange. At the time I was not aware of the importance of the moment.
Below the Osprey nest, I spotted a Tri-colored Heron. When I came home and looked at my pictures, I realized she was not alone. A Green Heron was lurking in the shadows right behind her, and another bird further in behind him.
And I witnessed some rivalry between two of the Great Egrets. There was a loud exchange followed by a flight competition.
Even the big Wood Stork wanted to get away from such a disturbance to the otherwise peaceful New Year Eve party. He hurried his steps, then ran and flexed his huge wings.
But the Little Blue Heron was brave. He was a bit startled, but stayed put on the water installation and stared curiously at the big boys’ silly competition.
The juvenile Night Heron also observed the hullabaloo from the relative safety of his tree below the Osprey nest.
I was happy to find everyone in good spirits on the last day of the year and walked home. On my way, I spotted an industrious couple, Mr. and Mrs. Red-bellied Woodpecker. But I was yet to get my biggest year-end surprise.
An hour or so later, when I happened to look out from my office window towards the salt marsh, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I ran out to the terrace and could confirm that Papa Stanley was in the new nest for the first time!
And Mama Sandy was happily enjoying her proposal gift on the perch. Wow! The proposal gift was not a fish, but a small mammal, perhaps a squirrel.
If Osprey eats something other than fish, it will probably be at the time when the male makes his annual marriage proposal. I have seen Sandy receiving a mouse in 2015, and that’s the only time before yesterday I’ve seen her eat other than fish. Now this gift was very special, and it was given 11 days earlier than last year.
This morning on my early morning walk with Dylan, but without my camera, I saw that both Sandy and Stanley were sitting in the nest together. And I noticed that some soft nest materials had already been brought in. Sandy and Stanley have renewed their marriage vows once again, and this New Year’s Eve marked the official start of their 2017 nesting season. What a resilient couple they are!
I want to thank all blogging friends for a wonderful year. You have inspired me with your thought-worthy posts and generous advice, amazing stories, wonderful poems and beautiful photos and other art! And you have given me laughs when I most needed them 🙂 You have also encouraged me by visiting here and commenting on what I have shared, which I have immensely enjoyed. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. My furry sidekick also sends his regards, and we both wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year.