Travels. And Homecoming Gifts.

My work trip to the nation’s capital last week was like jumping on a treadmill that was moving at an ever-increasing speed.

dc national mall ud116The approaching spring was evident, but so was the stress level. Luckily Dylan has trained me well so I could keep up with the people buzzing on the streets.

washington monument ud116I managed to run fast, sit in countless meetings and accomplish my mission. But it felt good when I was finally on my way back home.

reagan airport at sunset ud116The darkening city after sunset looked deceptively peaceful from the skies.

sunset over washington dc ud116It took a couple of days of dipping my toes into the serenity here at home before I felt the last traces of stress leaving my body. But I knew where the medicine cabinet was. At the salt marsh. Dylan and I went for a walk there late on Saturday – after I had spotted two tiny chicks in the nest from our terrace. The sun had already set when we walked the south side of the marsh right below the Osprey nest. I was breathing peace. Papa Stanley sat on the perch, and while he’s usually not tolerating people who walk there, he didn’t say a peep when Dylan and I admired him…and the moon. He just nodded his greeting.

papa osprey and the moon ud117

moon ud117Then, finally, this morning, I took a long walk at the salt marsh. And boy, did I feel welcomed by all! The first thing I spotted, even before reaching the park, was the Little Blue Heron. He was confidently balancing on the wooden fence.

little blue heron ud117And when I looked up, I saw Papa Stanley returning to the nest with a brand new mattress for the babies.

Papa osprey went shopping ud117

papa osprey comes home ud117Mama Sandy was shielding the babies from the sun, and paparazzi, but soon she got up and started making the bed.  And reinforcing the security of the nest.

mama osprey working ud117Then she sat down again and realized it was lunch time. She asked Stanley, in no uncertain terms, to go fishing. Right now.

mama osprey wants fish ud117He obliged, and I walked around the marsh to say hello to the residents who happened to be at home. First I spotted a visitor from the bay side, a Cormorant, close to the nest.

cormorant ud117.jpgAnd then I saw the older Great Blue Heron, the Mayor. He was standing in the shallow water and shaking his feathers. It looks more and more likely that he has a nest at the marsh. You see, last year during the nesting season I hardly saw him, and now he is present every time I visit, including late at night. He even posed for a portrait as soon as he had settled in his office.

mayor is wet ud117

the mayor great blue heron ud117It’s always reassuring to see him. To my delight I saw that the “Clown”, aka the Reddish Egret, was there too. He was faithful to his manners and put up a show in the middle of the marsh. I tried to tell him to come closer, but somehow he preferred the waters far away.

reddish egret 2 ud117

reddish egret 1 ud117But then I finally realized why he stayed right there. Silly me. He had an admirer! A beautiful, shy lady was observing him from an islet closer to me…straight line of sight.

another reddish egret ud117Hmm. Maybe something’s going on there. I continued my walk and spotted a Great Egret walking on the east fence. Look at that neck!

great egret in our garden ud117And her smaller cousin, a Snowy Egret was walking in the water nearby in her beautiful breeding plumage.

snowy egret ud117Papa Moorhen was minding his own business, or perhaps he was looking for some good bites to take back to Mama in the nest.

papa morrhen ud117Arriving back to the Osprey nest, I noticed some White Ibis foraging in the grass.

while ibis ud117.jpgAnd  suddenly something bright red flew past me. And then something orange swished by. I realized I had spotted the first Northern Cardinal couple at the marsh, ever. Yay!

male cardinal ud117

female cardinal ud117They looked for food in the grass, and I was so focused on them that I didn’t notice Papa Stanley had returned with a fish. He had already given it to Sandy and was sitting on the perch while Sandy was feeding the chicks.

papa osprey ud117So I started to walk home. Happy after seeing so many friends at the marsh, but a bit disappointed because I knew there were at least two chicks in the nest I wasn’t able to see. Reaching the street, I looked at back at the nest. And couldn’t believe my eyes. I spotted two little heads reaching for food!

mama osprey feeds two chicks ud117

Mama osprey feeds two chicks 3 ud117There could very well be three of them because it looked like they were in different places. Time will tell. But I am happy I could see them, and my last shot of the first-born was quite decent.

mama osprey feeds one chick ud117They are not yet pretty, but will be in a few weeks. Whether they are two or three, I hope all of them will survive. Exciting times, indeed.

Thank you for being here. We wish you peace.




75 thoughts on “Travels. And Homecoming Gifts.”

  1. I know what you mean about the frenetic energy in DC. Thankfully my visits are more relaxed as a tourist these days. And I love coming home to your salt marsh family too. Thanks for sharing Helen. 🙂

    1. That’s exactly how I thought too…they are mobile already (hence the increased security), but that fast? We’ll find out soon 🐤

  2. Congratulations for the babies Tiny! In no time they’ll be growing and the yearly cycle will go on. It’ll bring you happy memories once again. Enjoy them my friend! 🙂

    1. These babies come after Diamond (2014), Lofty, Aspire and Sindile (2015) and Lady Cawcaw last year 🙂 As you say, the cycle of life continues. Thank you, my friend!

    1. It truly is the best medicine! I have noticed that I react to stress, even in others, more now than I used to. As to the marsh news, the chicks will grow fast and towards the end of May they will learn to fly. I just hope Sandy doesn’t lose one like last year – at least there’s plenty of room for all of them. Have a wonderful week, you too, Karen ❤

    1. Thanks Susan. I am also happy for the new nest…so safe for the chicks and there’s room for everyone. I am glad we invested in the additional perch, it’s in heavy use every day 🙂

    1. Thank you, Tish! Somehow I have become more sensitive to stressful energy, but luckily the antidote is right here in the surrounding nature. I think the young Little Blue Heron lives at the marsh…and is the same one whom we observed turning from white to blue last summer.

      1. I liked the blue heron’s gymnastics too. 🙂 And yay for the little osprey heads! As for stressful energy, there is so much of it swirling around this year, it seems we’re all more affected. Lessons that need to be learned, I know; but still, no fun. Thanks for sharing your lovely peaceful pictures to help the world get back in balance!

    1. Thank you dear Takami. The chicks still have very short feathers but with daddy bringing in fish and mommy feeding them 4 times a day, they will look like small ospreys in two-three weeks 🙂

  3. What a contrast, yes? I’m grateful that my federal career and consulting work in that city are now in my rear view mirror. I reflect on the stressful energy of then and cannot imagine it now. Nature us a beautiful header, isn’t it? So glad you’re safely home and calmly enjoying life there and for the gifts you share with us. 💕

    1. I know exactly what you mean. Six years away from there, apart from short work trips, have made me feel that energy in a different way than I used to. That is a good thing 🙂 Thank you, Carrie.

  4. So glad you have come home to rest my friend, and how beautiful to see those little heads pop up from the nest. Love all your lovely pics Tiny, especially Mama tending to the babies. Have a great week!

    1. It is great to be back home after “mission accomplished”. I was thrilled to see the little heads! Sandy is a very good mother and Stanly is a great provider. He is often spending time on the perch just to be close by, and I am very glad we added that to the “order” last November. I hope your week is going good, my friend.

  5. The Salt Marsh would have to be the delightful way to destress and remove any traces of Washington from your being, and what a glorious welcome. Rosa was at the salon perhaps? Congratulations on your baby Osprey – very much look forward to watching their lives unfold!💗

    1. I’ve thought of Rosa too. The last time I saw her was that late night maybe 4-5 weeks ago. My theory is that she’s now busy nesting on that little island in the bay that can only be reached by boat. I can see it when I stand on the bay side beach, but it is so far that I cannot get pictures of the many “dots” that are birds 🙂 I, too, look forward to seeing the osprey chicks grow – before we know it, they will be attending flight school. Thank you, Joanne.

  6. You have come home to the perfect place to de-stress and feel at peace again :o) Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful images of the osprey chicks and their doting parents – they look beautiful! xxx

    1. Thank you! We have some exciting times ahead when the chicks grow…then learn to fly and start exploring the world around the marsh. This is the 4th generation of chicks I have been following and it is equally thrilling every year 🙂 XXX

  7. It must be quite a relief to be back home and unwind Helen! That last shot of Sandy with the first born is adorable!! I’m excited to see how things develop. It’s a great time to be around the marsh. 💛

    1. Thanks Val! It is, indeed, great to come back to my friends here on the beach – and see the next generation of ospreys and other birds grow up ❤ I've become so much calmer living here that I feel the stressful energy in others more than I used to 🙂

  8. I am glad that you have such a perfect place to go to after the stresses of the capital (though you made it look like an attractive place). I liked your moon shot a lot.

  9. Dearest Helen, I thoroughly enjoyed this walk to the salt marsh. It was easy to see that the hustle and bustle of DC (great photos) and the stress of a working trip drifted away as you visited your friends at the marsh. Is it such a joy in spring to see so much activity in the bird life, and I thank you for sharing it. The osprey chicks, so safe in their handsome new nest, was a true delight. Welcome home.

    1. Thank you, Jet. I appreciate my home environment more after such a busy visit to the big city. And this is the season when the next generation of birds, from small to big, are born. There are many nests at the marsh, well hidden from cameras…and predators. But I hope to see more young ones once they become mobile 🙂

  10. I like the pace of big cities – as I like the pace of more natural environment. It seems like you got the best of both here – although the capital maybe was a little too stressfull. Always good to be back home, isn’t it. 🙂

    1. I used to like the pace of big cities, we have lived in many capitals all over the world, but now I like the natural environments more and more – probably getting mellow as I get older 🙂

  11. Well, that was worth the wait, Helen; magnificent shots of two little heads; you must have been overjoyed! And the rest of the Salt Marsh community look peaceful and well. So good to see.
    And good to read you are rested, too. Nothing’s quite so good as nature to soothe and calm. 🙂

    1. Thank you dear Carolyn! I am back to ‘normal’ – living the relaxed life here at the beach 🙂 The marsh ‘city’ is big enough for me, and I appreciate it more after these hectic work trips….soothing for the soul. XXX

  12. Fantastic pictures sweet Tiny. You are brave to be among all the fast moving of DC. All those cars…the traffic must be terrible to be in. It had to have felt so good to be back home. The marsh looks like such a peaceful place and a much more fun place to be. Thank you for sharing all the pictures. Loved seeing the babies. Hugs

    1. Thank you dear Mags. I used to live in the D.C. area (MD) for over 16 years, but now after 6 years in FL, I feel the stress there in my bones. Everyone is in a hurry 🙂 Loved to come back to my beach and all the birds. Many hugs and Happy Easter!

  13. You got a great picture of DC from the plane. Everything must have aligned for you – an aisle seat,on the side with the great view,, the plane aligned with the mall, good weather. . .

    1. You are right that everything was aligned. I usually book a window seat on the right side of the plane going to D.C.I know I will get a photo op if the weather is good 🙂 Only that this time I did not have my camera and had to use my iPhone, but it came out surprisingly good.

    1. Thanks Cindy. Happy Easter and happy travels to you…now that my hubs cannot travel that much anymore, I love traveling with you, in addition to my short solo trips.

  14. What a nice group of photos ~ I loved the little blue heron balancing on the wooden fence, the excellent portrait of the Mayor, and the white ibis. Oh, and the cardinal! The first-born osprey chick is adorable ~ she seems to be listening very attentively to her mother (father?). Thanks for sharing your return to the soothing life rhythms of the salt marsh.

    1. Thank you Barbara! I was so happy to finally spot a cardinal couple at the marsh. They are so beautiful! There are three chicks now…but don’t tell anybody 😉 They grow by the day now, and I hope all three will survive. Happy Easter from all of us!

  15. That is the sweetest and most beautiful welcome home. Your DC pics are stunning but what a contrast to the beauty of the Marsh. I feel the stress draining from me just looking at these magnificent images.

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