Love and Circumstances.

Love’s in the air. Big time. After just renewing their marriage vows on New Year’s Eve, Sandy and Stanley are madly in love. It’s a fairly balanced relationship, as we know from the past. Both of them contribute to everything, including the annual nest remodeling project. Lots is already getting done this year, as you can see.

papa-osprey-and-mama-osprey-at-the-nest-jan-10-ud102But if you ask me, Mama Sandy is the one calling the shots. Yesterday afternoon she gave Stanley detailed instructions on what to bring next. And away he flew. I decided to wait for his return. I wanted to see what he would bring and whether or not Sandy would approve of it. The latter is not always a ‘given’, I’ve learned. After a few minutes, Sandy got a bit frustrated and asked, quite loudly, what was taking him so long.

mama-osprey-calls-out-ud102Unmoved by Sandy’s call, the Mayor sat quietly hunched in a tree just below the nest. This was going to be interesting.

great-blue-heron-ud102I thought Stanley may have been caught in long lines at ‘Home Depot’, and when I spotted the Reddish Egret, I walked away from the nest.

reddish-egret-ud102That’s when Stanley returned, of course. Shooting against the sun from a distance, I captured him bringing in a sturdy piece of wood. The straight ‘rod’ and its perfectly rounded top made it look manmade. I wonder if he had ‘borrowed’ it from the garden of the nearby resort or from one of their beach game sites. Risking a lot to please Sandy, for sure. Good for him.

papa-osprey-returns-2-ud102And Sandy approved. This new addition seemed to fit in her overall design for the new nest. They worked together for a while, rearranging the furniture.

papa-osprey-and-mama-osprey-at-the-nest-2-ud102Then Stanley checked me out. I’m sure he found me a harmless observer, because after a short discussion with Sandy he flew a few feet up in the air – and I witnessed a romantic moment between the two.

osprey-mating-ud102The other birds in the vicinity of the nest reacted to this expression of affection each in their own way. The Major started scratching his head. Perhaps wondering if his nesting calendar was up-to-date.

great-blue-heron-scratches-himself-ud102The female Yellow-crowned Night Heron, who also was perched close to the nest, turned away shyly.

yellow-crowned-night-heron-ud102Perhaps it was a hint to her hubby who was sitting close-by, as always in the past few weeks. But he too looked away.

male-yellow-crowned-night-heron-ud102An Anhinga, visiting from the bay side, was curious and stretched his neck to see what was going on.

anhinga-ud102But the Little Blue Heron pretended not to see or hear anything at all. She continued her search for that perfect bite.

little-blue-heron-2-ud102The same applied to the blue eyed White Ibis and the Great Egret, both of whom kept me company on dry land.


great-egret-ud102As you can see, the egrets are also growing their beautiful breeding plumage at this time. That’s when I discovered something large moving quietly in the sky. It was an airship, Wingfoot One, carrying a few passengers. They certainly had a good view of the happenings at the salt marsh.


airship-passenger-cabin-ud102Once the ‘big bird’ had moved on, I decided to walk home too. But I have one more picture to show you.

In the early evening Dylan, as usual, told me it was time for our walk. I looked out to check the weather. And  saw a huge full moon climbing up on the sky. I ran to fetch my camera and we both rushed onto the terrace. You see, Dylan always cheers me on when I discover something worth ‘shooting’ out there. So there it was – a huge, red full moon.

full-moon-rising-over-the-bay-ud102And if you look carefully at the very bottom of the picture, you can see a faint point of light in the otherwise dark salt marsh. The light was still on at the home of the Osprey couple.

Peace and love from all of us at the salt marsh. Have a great weekend.

79 thoughts on “Love and Circumstances.”

    1. Yes, there is a big difference…the new nest is safe, of course, but also much bigger. Room for three chicks, even when they grow up…and Stanley can actually land in the nest with the fish…instead of just ‘throwing’ it to Sandy 🙂 Thanks my friend ❤

  1. That full moon is a surprising but delightful addition to all the beautiful photos above it. I saw the moon this morning going to work. It was perfectly round, clear and bright, but alas no camera in the car with me.

    1. That night the moon appeared huge when it was just climbing up….I missed a few minutes while getting my camera and adjusting the settings – it was already “up”, but a delightful sight never the less.

    1. Thanks for your kind comment, Maverick. I am so happy to see them in their new home – last year I looked out every morning prepared to see that their nest platform had flown off. I wish you a great weekend too 🙂

    1. Yes – Stanley is a very considerate husband, understands the secrets of happy marriage 😀 The moon on Thursday night was really special, more reddish than usual and appeared huge when climbing up on the sky. I wish you a wonderful week ahead.

  2. What a romantic story and a beautiful moon to accompany it! I’m in love! Happy New Year to you…I look forward to many more adventures and beautiful images!

    1. Thank you Susan. It’s great to be able to observe yet another nesting season with this couple. The full moon that night provided a special ending to their story.

  3. It’s so nice to see that the Osprey couple are “working” on having family. I love your birds, I remember all of them fondly. Your pictures are vivid and convey the vibrant health of your birds. Thank you Tiny, great post! 🙂

    1. Thank you, dear friend, for your kind comment. I hope you all will come back one day to greet these birds in person again 🙂 Have a beautiful weekend and week ahead!

    1. As you know, Ospreys have their own personalities. Both of these guys are great partners and parents, but Sandy clearly is the designer of the nest. She tells Stanley what to get and at times I have seen her unhappy with materials Stanley has brought. She let’s him know that and then goes and gets it herself 🙂 She also does repairs when the chicks are growing and need “baby gates”. It shall be interesting to watch them this season 🙂 Thank you Donna!

      1. I too have seen the same scenarios with the female being in charge of home. I watched our “Oscar” place nesting materials and “Olivia” would have a displeased look and pick it up and move it, sometimes just slightly, which would make me laugh. Just had to be her way, lol. 🙂 I’m looking forward to the season of Stanley & Sandy!

  4. A great Love story, Tiny. I enjoyed all the salt marsh neighbors’ reactions! The closeup of the blimp’s ‘cabin’ was intriguing to see – and final nighttime scene . . . Such a beautiful sight!

    1. Thank you! I thought the “cabin’s” windows looked like plastic rather than glass, quite interesting. And they certainly did not disturb the birds with engine roar 😊

    1. Luckily Stanley didn’t need to tear down walls or floors 😏 his role was a bit easier , just fetching furniture and decor to match Sandy’s design plan.

    1. I have followed this couple since the 2014 nesting season. This will be the 4th season and I hope it’ll be the happiest so far, without much drama.

  5. Beautiful captures and entertaining narrative Helen! I do love their antics. The picture of the Mayor resting captures all the subtle colors so well. (Or perhaps his plumage is more vibrant for the breeding season?)

    1. Thank you, Val. The Major is always a bit more colorful than tex the younger GBH, but I think he also changes the plumage when the nesting season approaches. In the spring he usually disappears for a few months to the ‘bird island’ in the bay where he nests, and comes to the salt marsh only for short visits – when he needs a few minutes away from the kids 🙂

    1. Thanks Kat! The moon was really beautiful last Thursday, haven’t seen it since as it’s been cloudy. Many of the salt marsh residents are already preparing for their nesting season, which starts very early in the spring here. Have a wonderful week ahead.

    1. Thank you, Eliza. We have our winter too now, but usually it’s mild and mostly sunny. Although last weekend we had a rare cold spell around/below freezing which was not so good for all the citrus and other fruit farms or our manatees.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed your post Tiny, especially your narrative, but your pics are stunning of the loving couple, as well as the wingless bird that floated by. I had a few chuckles, I just love the way you write, you have such a creative imagination, which I so enjoy reading, you are a natural storyteller. I just see the fruit of your labours when I see this lovely couple enjoying their new nesting site, well done my friend, well done!!!

    1. Thank you, my friend. When I walk at the salt marsh, I try to understand what is going on….and that’s how the stories come to me when I see the pictures at home. As to the Osprey couple, I wish I would understand more of their language as they seem to have such meaningful exchanges. I can interpret a few things….and want to learn more 🙂 I am very happy about the new nest as I don’t need to fear that the platform will fall off – and they love their new perch! I hope your week will not be as stressful as the previous one.

    1. I was happy too that Stanley succeeded in his shopping trip 🙂 It is funny how the moon looks huge when seen low, close to the buildings, but much smaller once high up in the sky with no objects to compare it with. I discovered that once again on Thursday.

  7. That was adorable, Helen; such wonderful narrative. I felt I was there (and should avert my eyes, too!). (blushing)
    Yet another beginning to look forward to; not just our beautiful Osprey Family, but all the magnificent life you capture so very well…. 🙂

    1. Thank you Carolyn! My narrative was exactly as it happened 🙂 Happy you enjoyed it. Lots of new beginnings right now – the salt marsh ones are much more appealing than the ones we are witnessing in human life here right now. I wish you a wonderful rest of the week. XX

    1. Thank you Sue. These feathered friends provide an interesting narrative every time I meet them. And the moon was one of the kind, hasn’t shown up since that evening 🙂

    1. Thank you Tina! That moon was very special and it’s funny how it appears bigger when it is still close to the horizon than later on when it’s high up on the sky – with nothing to compare it with.

  8. LOVE your sense of humor and ability to spin a tale, Helen. LOVED each and every photo as I slowly scrolled through and then! That moon! Oh wowowowowow! Stunning capture as I wowed out loud! I too saw the full moon but unlike you did not have my camera. I just admired Her. 🙂 ❤

    1. Thank you, dear Amy for your visit and your kind comment ❤ These tales spin themselves when I observe the birds at the salt marsh. Some of their antics are obvious and others one can only see with the creative eye 🙂 That moon was really special and I was luckily to see it before Dylan and I went out.

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