Breaking News. Of the Good Kind.

But hold on for a minute. The breaking news will follow in the next segment – after our reporter, embedded at the salt marsh, gives you the back story. No commercial breaks or partisan views. Promise.

I was exhausted when I returned from my ‘fully loaded’ work trip to the big city up north. I carried one of my cameras all the time, but couldn’t get a breather to focus my mind on anything but work. Zero pictures. So right after returning home, I took a walk at the salt marsh. I realized how lucky I am having this small enclave of nature one block away from home.

salt-marsh-morning-ud107Arriving there, I saw things were lively at the Osprey family home. Papa Stanley brought a fish to Sandy, who had been busy decorating the nursery in the middle of the nest.

papa-osprey-brings-fish-ud107She took the fish, and I thought she would fly away to enjoy it. Like she had when I last saw her before my trip.

mama-osprey-takes-the-fish-ud107But this time she stayed at the nest. Just flew up onto the perch to eat her lunch. When you are close to the time, you better not go too far from home. She new that.

mama-osprey-takes-the-fish-ud107

mama-osprey-eats-the-fish-ud107I left Sandy to enjoy her fish and walked around the marsh to check on the other residents. The Mayor, the older Great Blue Heron, was standing guard right below the osprey nest. It seems to be his new favorite spot.

great-blue-heron-ud107And the Reddish Egret was hunting nearby, his long red hair flowing with his movements.

reddish-egret-ud107I noticed the Mourning Doves had returned. Several of them were foraging in the grass and flying around in the trees.

mourning-dove-ud107And the ducks were back too. A family of three Mottled Ducks was enjoying a pool of water next to the rest area in the park. They usually nest at the salt marsh and I was delighted to see them.

two-males-and-one-female-mottled-duck-ud107I am hoping to spot new little ducklings in June, like I did last year.

mottled duck mom with 7 ducklings ud65I continued my walk and saw another permanent resident, the Little Blue Heron. He was looking for something to eat in the grass, and was not shy when I approached. We have no trust issues. As far as he’s concerned, media is all good.

little-blue-heron-ud107Another old friend was present too. The Tri-colored Heron was busy doing bird yoga. And showing off her beautiful colors. I took that as a hint. It’s high time for me to start improving my flexibility 🙂

bird-yoga-by-tricolored-heron-ud107Walking back towards the osprey nest, I spotted Sandy returning from her perch – via a short exercise round. She had finished eating and probably knew that opportunities for after-lunch exercise would be limited in the weeks and months to come.

mama-osprey-returns-to-the-nest-ud107When I arrived back to the nest, Stanley was working on rearranging the soft materials around the nest cup. Papa putting the last touches on the nursery. Something was definitely in the making.

papa-osprey-builds-the-nest-ud107When I left them, the parents-to-be were perching side by side in the nest. A handsome couple, I thought.

mama-and-papa-osprey-in-the-nest-2-ud107I walked home on the bay side and spotted this Anhinga drying her feathers in the sun.

anhinga-ud105Then, looking out towards the nest from our terrace this morning, I saw something was different. Eggs had been laid last night. Sandy was incubating. Hatchlings expected in 35 to 40 days. Yay!

sitting-on-the-eggs-mama-and-papa-osprey-ud107You can see the design of the nest is centered on the nursery in the middle of the open floor plan. I hope you’ll also notice the soothing, earth-toned color scheme and the subtle decorations. All natural materials apart from the small piece of blue nylon rope, hardly visible next to the edge. It has followed the family from their old home into the new. Sandy’s favorite color.

mama-osprey-sitting-on-the-eggs-feb18-ud107In the next few months, you will see more of these ‘soft’ pictures, when I’ll zoom into the nest from a block away. It is the only way we can follow what’s happening in the nursery.

Thanks for visiting the Osprey family and our other friends at the marsh. I hope you enjoyed the breaking news. We all wish you a peaceful weekend and a good week ahead.

70 thoughts on “Breaking News. Of the Good Kind.”

  1. Delightful news all round, Helen; I can’t stop grinning!
    What wonderful décor with beautiful earth tones to soothe and relax. And, may I say, Helen, your feature image is one of your best; such majesty in action. 🙂
    xoxoxo

    1. Happy you liked the news, Carolyn! It’s so heartwarming to watch this couple share in all tasks. Stanley brings the food, but also sits on the eggs several times a day to give Sandy time to eat, stretch and relax. And he’s been feeding her at least two weeks already so that she doesn’t need to dive when pregnant 🙂

  2. Its so good to get such a humorous update from the marsh Helen. Love the media jokes and decorating notes 💛
    Those zoomed-in photos are amazing. I can’t wait to see the chick/s as they grow!

    1. Happy you enjoyed the news, fact-checked and all 🙂 I think I can zoom into this new nest better than what was possible with the old, small one. We should learn about the hatchling(s) quite quickly and be able to see them already before they start looking out from the nest. Thanks Val!

    1. Thank you, Hien. Glad you liked the news. It’s funny how many of these different birds either live at this small salt marsh or visit regularly from the ‘bird island’ situated just a bit north in the bay – only reachable by boat.

  3. I always love and enjoy your posts, Helen! This post’s captures are again gorgeous and so much variety! So nice to have the salt marsh within walking distance, so easy to take a break from life and enjoy nature at its finest. 🙂

    I was anticipating what the breaking news’ was, thinking I might know. I knew it was getting that ‘time’ and am so happy to see Mama Sandy incubating, yay! Glad she had that fine fish for dinner the day before from Papa Stanley, such a good hubby. I am looking forward to all your future posts of the nursery’s happenings! Exciting!!!

    1. I thought you would know what news to expect, Donna 🙂 I am excited too that we will be able to follow the events in the nest a bit better now. But to learn how many eggs there are might be a challenge as the nest cup probably is quite deep…and I’d need to be lucky to “shoot” from my terrace just when Sandy and Stanly do a quick shift change. Thanks Donna!

    1. Thank you, my friend. I am happy to be back in my tranquil environment and discover things are moving along towards a new, exciting nesting season at the marsh 🙂 Hugs to you too!

    1. Thank you my friend. Happy you enjoyed the news. Talking about weather…today we’re surrounded by fog, white and thick like milk, and I can’t see the nest or any of the salt marsh. Hope it’s gone by tomorrow!

    1. Thanks Karen! Happy you enjoyed the news. You’re right, and the ‘yoga bird’ reminded me about it, I will need to start yoga or some other kind of stretching exercises – even without having any ‘spare’ time 🙂

  4. How wonderful Tiny that the eggs are laid, all your hard work is seeing fruit in restoring their nursery. What a great shot looking into the nest too. Love the clear vivid pics of the Osprey in flight. I am especially impressed with the bright blue of the Little Blue Heron, it is beautiful in the sunlight. How good it is for you to have a please to unwind after a busy week, I know how refreshing it is when I go out in the bush and the quite sound of wind and birds calling. Enjoy your week my friend:-)

    1. Thank you Ashey. The blue of the Little Blue Heron changes with light conditions, I have noticed. And possibly also with the breeding season like for so many other birds. I have noticed the latter with the Tri-colored Heron too, sometimes a bit ‘dull’ and other times very bright colors. The osprey family seem very happy with their new home…the added perch comes to use every single day. Sometimes Sandy eats there, sometimes Stanley just perches there to be close to her. Have a wonderful week, my friend 🙂

  5. Yayyy! Great news, Helen! Wow…hard to believe another year has gone by! The pics are stunning and I’m happy you were welcomed home with such great friends! Sending lots of love ☀

    1. You made me laugh with your Reddish Egret comment, Sylvia. He really has a great hair 🙂 I am also impressed by how nicely Sandy and Stanley have filled the almost empty nest, and the nursery at the center looks really soft and comfortable 🙂

  6. I enjoyed looking through your images and the story, I am sure it takes a lot of patience to capture them! My favorite is especially when Papa Stanley brought the fish, he looks so serious 🙂

    1. Papa Stanley is busy fishing several times a day. He already fed Sandy at least two-three weeks before the egg laying…so that she didn’t need to dive while pregnant 🙂 And now he’ll feed her for 35 days while she is incubating…and then he’ll feed all of them until the chick(s) are at least 6-7 weeks.

  7. It’s great news Tiny! I’m happy for you, knowing now that the Osprey family will grow! Congratulations! Best wishes to you dear friend! 🙂

  8. Ah, now we can see direct into the nest; that’s great Helen, and it doesn’t matter about the inevitable slight blurriness — you’re shooting from what, c.100m away or something?

    1. I would say the nest is ca 200-250 meters away so when I use the max of my super zoom camera (1200 mm) I can get these pictures. After 600 mm the picture quality declines and the smallest shake will cause blurring. It is still nice to be able to see into the nest and hopefully discover a little head or two quite soon after hatching.

    1. Thank you Otto. I am happy you visited me and my salt marsh friends. The park is indeed a great resource for us all on this island, but so convenient for for me to just walk over there with my cameras and enjoy all the goings-on.

  9. The photo immediately above the words “I noticed the Mourning Doves had returned. Several of them were foraging in the grass and flying around in the trees” looks like a tall, slender model with a fan blowing on her for a windblown look 🙂

  10. Holy sh*t, Helen, your pictures are outstanding!!! I cannot believe how good you have gotten and am stunned by what I saw in this post today! What lens are you using? That baby must be huge because the detail you are now getting on the Ospreys is mind boggling!!! You really need to be proud of yourself for what you are accomplishing! NICE and then some!! Just WOW! Thank you thank you thank you! ❤

  11. Thank you dear Amy for your very kind comment! I am happy you see progress in the last couple of years. I most often use two Canons, the Canon 80D with different lenses of which the longest as of now is a 300mm telephoto lens (I’m dreaming of a 500 to 600mm super telephoto lens, but they are really pricey) and for most shots from very far, I use my old Canon 50X HS superzoom camera. Now that I have learned how to use it properly, I have noticed it takes fairly good quality pics up to 600mm, but the quality drops drastically when used at 1200mm – which I have to do trying to get pics of the nest from my terrace more than a block away. Thank you again, my dear friend, for your encouragement ❤

  12. What an amazing post! I have been “off the grid” for a few months, so it is nice to come back to catch up on what is going on in the salt marsh. The action photos are fantastic, and the color on the the little blue heron is amazing! I can’t wait to read your next posts and get caught up.

  13. Thank you Stephanie! I have noticed that the color of the Little Blue Heron varies between individuals and also depending on the lighting conditions. As to the Osprey family, I am expecting we get baby news any day now 🙂

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