Be Calm. And Enjoy Life as It Unfolds.

More than anything, I’m saying this to myself as I am facing a work trip packed with back-to-back meetings. I’m not used to such speed anymore. I’m more like the turtles I spotted at McCough Nature Park on Saturday. They just enjoy life in the present moment, lapping the sunshine. They have no hurry to do anything in particular. They accept what is and go with the flow. Or don’t go anywhere at all. A few lessons for me right there.

turtles-ud108While at this beautiful park, I also said hi to Sarge, the Bald Eagle. She has a rare feather disorder and is not able to fly. She now lives in the small Raptor Sanctuary in the park. She was undergoing tests to determine why her feathers are brittle and grow curly instead of straight. The cause could be environmental or genetic. And if it is environmental, it is important for the whole Bald Eagle population to pinpoint the exact substance that may have caused this disorder.

sarge-the-bald-eagle-ud108Sarge’s home is adjacent to a few other raptors, owls and hawks. One of the Great-horned Owls was about and about with his handler.

greathorned-owl-ud108After I had greeted all the raptors and chatted with staff, my journey continued to the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary. I couldn’t believe my luck when I arrived there exactly at the same time as Sheila’s handler. Sheila is the old Red-shouldered Hawk, whom I have met a few times in the last two years.

Sheila was happy to get out for a walk with her handler in the gorgeous winter weather. She flexed her wings vigorously before she settled down to enjoy the sunshine. She is almost blind, with very weak sight in one eye.

sheila-red-shouldered-hawk-with-her-handler-ud108When I talked to her she turned her head and looked towards me. I always enjoy her company. Walking back from the beach side where Sheila was perching, I spotted a Brown Pelican. She was doing bird yoga in the pool.

pelican-yoga-ud108This particular pose lasted for a while, and right afterwards she took a vigorous bath.

brown-pelican-bathing-ud108I walked to greet an old friend, an American Oyster Cather, who has a serious wing injury. It was great to see that she seemed to have more energy now than a few months ago when I first saw her.

american-oyster-catcher-ud-108As always, many completely healthy birds were drawn to the peace – and food – at the sanctuary. There were several American Black Vultures hanging around the hospital building. Maybe visiting their two relatives, who live here permanently.

american-black-vulture-ud108A few Black-crowned Night Herons were around too. One was busy drinking from the water fountain next to the raptor homes.

black-crowned-night-heron-ud1-8And many Brown Pelicans had made their nests in the high trees around the sanctuary. I counted 11 (!) pelican nests. The mothers-to-be were already sitting on the eggs and the males were bringing in complementary nesting materials. Or just hanging around.


male-pelican-at-the-nest-ud108Before I leave the sanctuary, I always greet the Great-horned Owl, one of the permanent residents here. He is very curious about me and the camera, and always poses nicely for a picture in his neat and clean little home. He has accepted what happened to him, a serious wing injury, and seems to enjoy every day given to him.

great-horned-owl-scbs-feb-11-ud108I was delighted to see how well the birds and their environment in this sanctuary are taken care of by the new management, all the volunteers and the medical staff who work in the hospital. They had just released several birds into the wild last week, and those who cannot manage on their own have pleasant and clean forever homes here.

On this happy note, I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!


72 thoughts on “Be Calm. And Enjoy Life as It Unfolds.”

    1. Thanks Brad! My Valentine’s Day was all work – and not one single picture 🙂 But I am happy to be back home again…hoping to have time for a walk at the salt marsh tomorrow. The sanctuary visit last weekend was great!

  1. Thank you for sharing the good work that the sanctuary does … along with their interesting birds. I live your photos and comments Helen!
    Had to smile at that pelican doing a backbend. It is after all an invigorating yoga pose 😊

    1. Thanks Val! My visits to the ‘turtle park’ and the bird sanctuary last weekend were great. It’s lovely to see how these injured birds are taken care of. The pelican was clearly enjoying his yoga…and the invigorating bath afterwards 🙂

    1. Your comment made me smile! That turtle was the only one in the pack with a green back 🙂 I find that I always slow down after visiting them.

  2. Good shots. Loved the pelican yoga pose! Speaking of pelicans . . . we had 13 white pelicans on the lagoon behind our villa yesterday. Gorgeous!

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    1. Thank you, Nancy. I am sure the 13 white pelicans were a gorgeous sight! My Valentine’s Day was all travel and work, but sometimes one has to prioritize 🙂

    1. You would enjoy both the McGough Nature Park and the Seabird Sanctuary, Cindy. I always feel grateful and privileged when I visit them. Thanks Cindy!

    1. Happy you enjoyed the sanctuary tour, Susan. My Valentine’s Day was all travel and work, but now I am back…hope to visit the salt marsh tomorrow.

  3. Happy Valentines Day dear Helen. Thanks for sharing the wonderful residents of the bird sanctuary with us.

    I feel your pain re: the back to back meetings/seemingly never enough time to get things done. I think it has gotten worse since everyone is connected all the time… Nature reminds us that sometimes we have to let go and allow for events to happen on their own. Easier said than done of course, and seems impossible in the corporate world.

    Thinking of you, my friend!

    Best wishes,

    1. Thank you for your wonderful comment, Takami. It was a hard trip, all work and not one photo, but now I am back home and will (hopefully) be able to visit the salt marsh tomorrow. Have a beautiful weekend my friend.

  4. Sounds like a great place to spend time! Happy Valentine’s Day to you too, Helen. Good luck with your business trip!

    1. Thank you Kathy! My Valentine’s Day was all travel and work, but now I am back home…already saw the Osprey couple from my terrace tonight 🙂

    1. Thank you Skip! Happy you shared this post with your friends. My Valentine’s Day was the least romantic in years…all travel and work 🙂 Now back home and enjoying the sunny, but cooler weather we are having today.

  5. Yes, Helen, the turtles sure know how to enjoy life! And the image of the owl reminds me how they (owls) can turn their heads almost completely around yet without doing any injury to themselves. (Loving the Great-horned Owl; what a cutie he is.)
    Nature certainly is wonderfully interesting. 🙂

    1. Thanks Carolyn! I really love the Great Horned Owls…my friend at the sanctuary is very interesting. We have a connection of sorts. I can stand in front of his ‘house’ and take as many pictures I want through the net without him getting nervous or agitated in any way. And the turtles always make me calm down 🙂 XXX

  6. Wonderful that these poor creatures are cared for so well Tiny. Love the turtles resting, we can all learn from them. Beautiful shell mosaic on the turtles. Love your horned owl pic, beautiful colours and patterns in the face. Thankfully the weather has cooled down here and raining so the birds have come back out again. Hope you are not over worked Tiny, keep yourself at peace in the midst of it all, and enjoy the rest of the week my friend.

    1. I was very impressed seeing how clean and wonderful the Seabird Sanctuary was now, after a new organization took over the management. The Great-horned Owl is wonderful…and we have established a good connection 🙂 My week has been overly busy, but now I am back home and hope to get a nature walk tomorrow, Friday. Have a beautiful weekend, my friend.

  7. Beautiful and so sweeet impressions, Helen!
    Happy Valentine’s Day to you too ❤
    However you spend this day of love, we hope you are healthy and happy.
    The Fab Four of Cley

    1. Thank you Dina and the Fab Four ❤ I had a work-filled Valentine's Day, but now enjoying my tranquil environment again. Have a wonderful weekend!

  8. Your old friend, the American Oyster Catcher [your typo corrected, Helen] still looks a little lachrymose, the poor dear creature!

    By the way Helen, I mentioned previously that the images don’t load when I click through from an email notification. Reloading the page does not cure the problem. Nonetheless, if I click through from the link it works every time. I can only conclude that there is a bug between your theme and the MS Edge browser, as this keeps recurring.

    1. I will correct the typo, thank you…and believe me, The Oyster Catcher was looking better than last time. I am sorry that there seems to be a bug. I’ve seen bugs affecting MS Edge on several other (non-WP) sites as well. Unfortunately there’s not much I can do about it, but will let them know.

    1. Thank you Otto. I hope your Valentine’s Day was wonderful. Mine was travel and work filled, but I am back home now and compensating for it 🙂 Have a great weekend.

    1. Thank you, Sylvia. Those turtles were having an early Valentine’s day 🙂 And I agree the owl is captivating, beautiful colors and such intense eyes. He always poses like a pro and seems to enjoy company. XX

  9. What wonderful pictures sweet Tiny, they are so sharp and clear they look like real life…not pictures. I love all of them and thank you so much for sharing with us. That first turtle and the close-up of the owl…wow, love them. Hugs

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  11. Oh how I enjoyed this sweet and mellow visit to the sanctuary, Helen. And your photos, as always, are lovely. Your friend, the posing great horned owl, is truly gorgeous.

    1. Happy you enjoyed this visit, Jet. Those birds, like the sweet owl, who cannot manage in the wild still seem to enjoy life. And now that the Sanctuary has new management, the environment and care for the birds seems to be even better than before.

  12. Gorgeous photos, Helen! I especially love the header photo of the turtle up close and personal! Great shot! I guess he’s already preparing for St Patty’s Day with his ‘green hair’. 🙂

    1. Thanks Donna! That ‘St Patty turtle’ was the only one with green hair and I thought he was quite handsome 🐢. And he definitely enjoyed life to the fullest.

  13. Loved visiting there again with you. Likely it was a perfect pace that day as you took these great photos. Hope your trip is slower and easier than you anticipate. Enjoy it!

    1. Glad to see you here Cyndi! My trip was short, cold and very hectic, but now I am back home in Florida enjoying sunshine. Just like the turtle 😎

    1. Thanks Lorrie. I am back from my whirlwind trip. Exhausted, but happy that I got everything done. Those turtles are slow, but also so peaceful. They seem to be able to ‘just be’. Thinking of you and cheering you on, my friend. Much love ❤️

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