My work trip to the nation’s capital last week was like jumping on a treadmill that was moving at an ever-increasing speed.
The 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.
I 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.
The darkening city after sunset looked deceptively peaceful from the skies.
It 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.
Then, 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.
And when I looked up, I saw Papa Stanley returning to the nest with a brand new mattress for the babies.
Mama 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.
Then she sat down again and realized it was lunch time. She asked Stanley, in no uncertain terms, to go fishing. Right now.
He 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.
And 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.
It’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.
But 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.
Hmm. Maybe something’s going on there. I continued my walk and spotted a Great Egret walking on the east fence. Look at that neck!
And her smaller cousin, a Snowy Egret was walking in the water nearby in her beautiful breeding plumage.
Papa Moorhen was minding his own business, or perhaps he was looking for some good bites to take back to Mama in the nest.
Arriving back to the Osprey nest, I noticed some White Ibis foraging in the grass.
And 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!
They 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.
So 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!
There 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.
They 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.