Performances and Mysteries.

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.

Pelicans ud115One 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.

pelican ud115A lone Oyster Catcher was having his dinner near the sea wall, where the low tide had revealed a rich smorgasbord.

oyster catcher ud115Before 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.

younger Great Blue heron ud115When 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.

papa osprey at sunset ud115He was facing the nest, where Mama Sandy was brooding the chicks basking in the last rays still reaching the salt marsh.

mama osprey in the nest at sunsetDylan spent a few minutes running with his friends at the dog park, including one of his first friends there, Saki.

dylan at doggy park UD115

saki ud115When 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.

sunset mama and papa osprey ud115I 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.

mama and papa osprey tend to chicks ud115Then 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.

mama osprey returns first time ud115I 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.

papa osprey at the nest 2 ud115

mama osprey returns to the nest ud115I 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.

Mayor in his office ud115The Tri-Colored heron was foraging in the shallows – and little later on I saw him catch a small fish.

tri-colored heron ud115The 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.

little Blue Heron ud115

snowy egret ud115Then 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.

papa osprey lands to rest ud115He 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.

sunset 16x9 ud115.jpgI have a short work trip coming up in the beginning of the week and wish you all a wonderful week.

66 thoughts on “Performances and Mysteries.”

  1. Dylan knows what’s best for Momma! Glad you took your camera, gorgeous photos, Helen. Safe travels this week, when you get back, you just might see one of those little fellas…. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Donna. I hope to see a small one or two or three when I come back! Sandy is rearranging in the nest quite a bit, probably in preparation for the chicks getting more mobile 🙂

  2. What precious images of both Dylan and Saki. And Saki’s halter is also very impressive! It’s giving me ideas!!! 🙂
    It must be just a little frustrating to know the little ones are there and yet not be able to capture them. We’ll just have to be content until they are old enough to raise their little heads ~ paparazzi-safe, indeed!
    And it’s lovely to see the Salt Marsh alive and alert. The Mayor’s in sight, and all’s well with the world. 🙂
    xoxoxo

    1. Glad Saki’s halter gave you ideas, Carolyn! I am now back from my work travels, but it has been so windy/stormy that Mama Sandy has been laying flat protecting the chick(s)…so no pictures. Yet. I will need to camp out on the terrace over the weekend 🙂 XXX

    1. Yes, Dylan is an excellent task leader – rain or shine 😉 We are happy you feel like part of the community – we feel that too 😀

    1. Back from my travels…yesterday afternoon spotted two little heads 🙂 They are so small that it will take a couple of more weeks before I can get real pictures of them from the ground 🙂 Thanks you, my friend.

    1. Great to “see” you Cyndi! Happy you enjoyed the news from the marsh…I am back from my travel so now is the time to check on them soon again 🙂

    1. Thanks, my friend. I had very hectic travel, but all went well so I am happy about that. Back home and hoping to head to the park soon.

  3. Your photos are as always, quite breathtaking, Helen. Thanks for keeping us updated on the Osprey family. Those parents are very vigilant. Dylan and his friend look really smart. Wonderful pelican shots. Mine have flown away now. I haven’t seen them since last week. Hope you have a great trip. *hugs* xx

    1. Thanks Sylvia! My trips was good but hectic. Now breathing out in the peace of home…and the marsh. I hope you will feel better soon ❤

    1. Thank you, dear Val. I am back after a productive trip and hope to get time today to go see everybody at the marsh 🙂 Spotted two little heads…

    1. I think the chicks are over two weeks old now. Their new mansion is so large and deep that I can only see the chicks’ heads from our terrace…that also means it is much safer than the old nest 🙂

  4. Not sure if anyone replied about Sandy’s mystery trips. What I think she’s going to get and bringing back carefully is grit for the baby’s gizzard so they can properly digest food as they grow. 🙂

    1. Thank you for solving the mystery! I saw this last year as well and the very small something she’s carrying with both talons could very well be grit 🙂

  5. Wonderful pictures and great update on the goings on at the marsh and dog park sweet Tiny. The pictures you take are all really great but the ones you take of Sandy and Stanley are absolutely amazing. Can’t wait to see the babies when you get to see and take pictures of them. My blog is no longer private. Hope your trip went well. Hugs and nose kisses for you and Dylan from all of us.

    1. Thank you Mags! My trip was very productive, but it is always great to be back home. I have seen 2 little heads now from my terrace 🙂 but it will take a couple of weeks more before I will see the little ones from the ground. Dylan and I send hugs to you all too 💞

  6. Wonderful goings-on in the Marsh, as always! Can’t wait to see those babies…funny how even Sandy needs a mom-break every once in a while 🙂 Would love to know what that mysterious thing was that she brought to the nest..

    1. The Osprey family is quite modern, Sandy will be on maternity leave for 6 weeks and then she’ll also start bringing home the fish.. And Stanley gives her several breaks a day to stretch her wings, take a bath, etc. A birder friend suggested that Sandy might be bringing in grit for the chicks… for their digestion, a kind of probiotic for birds 🙂

    1. Yes, Dylan keeps mom in shape 🏃 😎 . S & S have at least two chicks, I’m hoping both survive and we can observe “flight school 2017” in late May 🙂

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