They flew low in a tight formation over the bay. It was just before sunset. Dylan had insisted I take my camera along for the evening walk. I guess he had seen me glued to my computer and my phone all week, and felt we should take a longer walk. So I complied – and right off the bat we witnessed a spectacular synchronized dive by four Brown Pelicans on the bay.
One of them took off immediately and sat down to digest his meal, but the rest stayed on the water to enjoy the soft evening glow.
A lone Oyster Catcher was having his dinner near the sea wall, where the low tide had revealed a rich smorgasbord.
Before we left the bay side, we spotted the younger Great Blue Heron, whom I haven’t seen in a couple of months. He was making plans for the evening under the Sailing Center pier.
When we walked through the marsh towards the dog park, we saw Papa Stanley in a pine tree close to the nest. He spotted us too and nodded his greeting.
He was facing the nest, where Mama Sandy was brooding the chicks basking in the last rays still reaching the salt marsh.
Dylan spent a few minutes running with his friends at the dog park, including one of his first friends there, Saki.
When we walked back past the nest Papa Stanley was there too, drying his feathers and facing the setting sun. Perhaps he had brought home some evening snacks.
I have seen from my terrace that Sandy is now brooding the chicks and feeding them small bites of fish. But their new home is paparazzi-safe. The nest cup is so deep that I have not yet gotten a good picture of the new generation. However, I am concluding from Sandy’s feeding pattern that they have 2-3 babies…about 10-12 days old by now. It’s funny how they always notice me taking pictures from my terrace although I am more than a block away from the nest.
Then yesterday I finally had a chance to do a solo walk at the marsh in bright daylight. It was interesting to note that Sandy left the nest twice for a minute or so. When Stanley was there looking after the kids, she flew to the middle of the marsh and brought back something small, holding it very carefully in both her talons.
I have seen this also in previous years and always wondered what it is she brings back to the nest. The fact that Sandy now leaves the nest also tells me the chicks are more than 10 days old. She does not need to brood continuously any more. I just hope to see a little head, or more, soon. After twice leaving and bringing in some mysterious stuff, Sandy left Stanley in charge and went out once more for a short excursion. Perhaps she just wanted some exercise because she came back empty handed.
I walked around the marsh and saw a few friends. The Mayor was back in his office on the tiny islet. It looked like he was firmly in control of this small ‘city’. That was reassuring.
The Tri-Colored heron was foraging in the shallows – and little later on I saw him catch a small fish.
The Little Blue Heron was also there with the tiny Snowy Egret. I am thinking these guys are too young to form a family as yet.
Then I saw Stanley leave the nest. He flew towards the ocean. But in a couple of minutes he returned to the marsh. He didn’t fly to the nest empty-handed, that would’ve been a mistake, instead he settled on a cypress tree far away from the nest.
He sat there for a few minutes resting, then flew towards the bay. I hope he had better luck there. I saw many other smaller birds on this weekend walk, but those images will need to come in a future post.
I have a short work trip coming up in the beginning of the week and wish you all a wonderful week.