On Friday morning Dylan and I went for a walk around the salt marsh. Since I’ve been keeping an eye on the osprey nest from my terrace, I already knew that Mama Sandy and Papa Stanley were still incubating. And provided that everything goes well, we should have hatchlings in about 7-14 days.
On our front lawn, we were met by a puffed up Mourning Dove. It had been chilly, according to Florida standards of course, in the last few days. And the sun had not yet warmed up the grass.
On arrival, we spotted lots of white everywhere around the marsh. Several families of Great Egrets, a few Snowy Egrets and White Ibis were having breakfast under the watchful eye of the Mayor. The older Great Blue Heron had parked himself at the far end of the marsh to ensure an adequate overview of what was going on around the breakfast buffet.
Some Great Egrets were fishing, seemingly not with much success despite valiant efforts …
…while others demonstrated a double catch.
A few were still flying in …
…some were chasing each other…
…and yet others were flying around just for the fun of it.
Some had found their own perfect spot in the sun to air their beautiful breeding plumage. Like this Great Egret who had decided to rent the Mayor’s office…
…and this Snowy Egret, who had found a private sunny spot close to the osprey nest.
Suddenly we heard a familiar sound. A high-pitched warning call. And not only by one osprey, but two. Papa Stanley was eating his breakfast at a lamp-post just outside the marsh. He stopped eating and sounded repeated warning calls…
…while Mama Sandy sounded the alarm from the nest where she was sitting on the eggs. It took me a while to localize the threat in the sky. It was another, to me unknown, Osprey. He flew towards the nest and peered down right on Sandy.
Despite the duet of warning calls, the newcomer circled several times around the nest and finally Sandy couldn’t take it anymore. She got up, left the eggs and flew towards the forest after the intruder. I have never seen her do such a daring maneuver while incubating.
I lost sight of her for a minute or two, but then she landed back in the nest. Phew. As you can see, she was very careful not to hit the nest cup in the middle of the nest. Her talons were drawn in and her eyes were trained on the eggs.
She had been successful in chasing away the intruder, but stood up for a while checking he was really gone.
Peace returned to the salt marsh. A Belted Kingfisher landed on a branch in the middle of the marsh…
…Stanley went back to eating his fish…
…and Sandy went back to incubating.
I was glad there was a happy ending to this story, and can’t wait to see a hatchling, two or three soon. Dylan, I and the lively salt marsh gang wish you all a wonderful week ahead.
78 thoughts on “In the Meantime at the Salt Marsh…”
What a nice morning stroll through the marsh! 😊
Thank you Carrie for strolling with us. Have a great week 🙂
Whew! I am relieved all is okay now at the osprey nest. That was a close call! You caught such beautiful pictures here again. Are these with your new lens? I especially love the picture of the belted Kingfisher. I have never seen one before!
We hope to see you and Dylan at the dog park again soon!
Everything is good. I’m thinking that by the end of next week there will be hatchling(s)… when that time comes I will need to try to get “proof” by spying on them from my terrace. The Kingfisher comes every now and then to the salt marsh, but almost never sits down for a photo shoot. So this is rare 🙂 Hope to see you soon too!
Love your salt marsh story! And I enjoyed your beautiful photos. Where I live is surrounded by salt marsh and we have many of the same birds and critters. I just haven’t ventured out with my camera lately. Thanks for this post!
Thank you for stepping out with us at our salt marsh! Your birds are calling for you to walk too and I’m sure will pose nicely when you go out with your camera 🙂 Have a great week!
Mama Sandy, you go girl! 🙂 Wow, Sandy must have really been irked with the intruding Osprey to leave her eggs. Maybe even Stanley, too, for not doing something, lol.
Wonderful story and photos, Helen. This might not be a beach walk, but walking around the salt marsh with Dylan, surrounded by so much nature and wildlife is so invigorating, warms your heart & soul, makes you smile, and always puts happy in your walk. This walk & photos did mine. I hope you can find time to do these often as the rebirth of the salt marsh occurs. I am sure Dylan will be willing each time you ask him! 😉 And I know us readers always enjoy following along your walk. And additionally for me, the life of Sandy & Stanley. Have a great weekend, Helen! ❤
Thank you, Donna, for your wonderful commentary ❤ I think Sandy has a bit shorter "fuse" than Stanley. I have seen it many times. I also remember that 5 years ago when Sandy, Stanley and I were first making acquaintances, Sandy was more nervous about me under the nest than Stanley. But now both of them, of course, tolerate and greet both me and even Dylan. That morning, Stanley was also guarding their breakfast fish on the lamp-post, he eats the head first and then brings the fat part to Sandy…so it could not be left unguarded – a small defense for him right there 🙂 Next week I will need to be on "hatch watch" and the best way to capture a new comer is from my terrace with the long zoom…not sharp pictures, but rather that than waiting for three weeks to see a little head poke out from the nest 🙂
What a beautiful and fun series, Helen. I love the Egret in flight captures, really cool. Don’t mess with Mama Sandy. 🙂
Enjoy reading the story. Thank you so much!
Thank Amy for being here and for your kind comment. The egrets were out in force, the adults in breeding plumage. Mama Sandy doesn’t have any tolerance for fools, she acts quickly when irked by an intruder who doesn’t listen to her warnings 🙂
I have never seen snowy egrets and white ibis before – you took amazing pictures of the birds! Well done, Mama Sandy! I am glad that she guards her precious very well!
Mama Sandy doesn’t watch intruders for a long time, she warns a few times but if her warnings are not heeded, she will chase the intruder. But I had never before seen her fly out when sitting on the eggs. Happy I could introduce you to the beautiful egrets!
A lot of excitement at the salt marsh, and even daring, when she left the nest. Now that you have such elegant nesting spots, I guess the newcomer osprey is either curious or envious. I am glad to see the eggs were fine, and that all is well in your beautiful place in the world, Helen. Your photos here are breathtaking, and the story was wonderful. Great to see the egrets in breeding plumage, and the handsome belted kingfisher seems to be new to the scene. Warm wishes to you for a great new week, too.
Thank you for your beautiful comment, Jet. Last Friday, the egrets were out in force demonstrating their breeding plumage. The Kingfisher appears at the marsh from time to time, but has not been nesting there. I love to see them fishing, but capturing them hovering in flight is not easy, I think I only have one or two such pictures. Mama Sandy had a short “fuse” when the new osprey appeared and didn’t listen to their warnings, but luckily all is well. Stanley is always more relaxed…and that morning he was also guarding their breakfast fish 🙂
I wonder how the ospreys would react to the return of one of their own grown chicks?
They would react exactly like this to the return of one of their own when they have eggs or new chicks in the nest. (Otherwise they are friendly and just fly around with their returning chick) I was thinking this might have been one of their earlier chicks, not yet nesting, but couldn’t get a clear picture of the breast to see the “pattern”.
So glad all is well. Easy to see how successful the parents are with your great photos and storytelling. Awesome pic of the kingfisher. Ours here are so shy that it’s difficult to get a pic.
Yes, I’m happy all is well at the nest. The kingfisher appears at the marsh every now and then, but I think this was the first time ever he sat down for a picture. I have a few flight pictures from earlier occasions, but understandably they are not that marvelous 🙂
You are blessed with your ability to visit such pristine places and share with us your experiences. I adore each image. Thanks.
Thank you, Sally. I am so grateful for the precious natural beauty we have here, and do the little I can to help preserve it.
Wondered if chasing away intruders wasn’t Papa Stanley’s job. Amazing photographs! 🙂
It really is Stanley’s job, but see…his ‘fuse’ is much longer than Mama Sandy’s. He is vicious when chasing away intruders, but tolerates them around the nest longer than his better half. In addition, he could have lost their shared breakfast fish to some fish crows, had he left it on the lamp-post 🙂
Tiny, not only am I measuring the seasons from here in the UK, but also through you and your wonderful posts. It’s lovely to know that Sandy and Stanley are on the ball and the photos of the Egrets are stunning – I just want to join them in their free flight, just having fun. Beautiful. A heartwarming post on this very grey and wet Sunday afternoon. Thank you for sharing with us. xxxx
Thank you Annika for your kind comment. This year we actually had a ‘small winter’ in the month of January, with morning temps close to freezing. February was more spring-like and now we are in the middle of a cool spell again…today we hardly reached 15C. I love the fact that this year we didn’t go directly from winter to summer, but have been able to enjoy many weeks of spring. The birds are lively and either already nesting or making plans 🙂 In a week or so, I hope to see osprey chicks! XXX
Lovely to walk round the salt marsh with you enjoying your excellent photographs. I wish the osprey pair all the luck in the world.
Happy you enjoyed our spring walk at the salt marsh. While Papa Stanley did not leave his fish to chase away the intruder last Friday, today I saw him do that 🙂 I am hoping for hatchlings in a week or so.
Look forward to getting happy news.
Me too! I am hoping to confirm some happy news in a week or so.
So nice to see you and the family touring the neighborhood. 🙂
Thanks for being with us here, Brad 🙂
Love the kingfisher! Your photos are getting better every post Helen. Amazing 👏
Thanks for your kind words, Karen. The kingfisher is a rare visitor at the marsh, and even more rarely does he sit down for a photo shoot 🙂
Lots of springtime action on the marsh Helen. Here too although I am not as vigilant as you about their action-packed lives!! Loved the tale/photos of Sandy guarding her soon–to-be brood 🙂 Great story this week!
Thank you Tina. The salt marsh residents offered up this story ‘on a platter”. We just had to walk around and snap pictures 🙂 I’m sure they’ll be equally friendly at your marsh.
Another treat for your grateful readers. I liked the careful return to the nest.
Glad you enjoyed the escapades of the salt marsh gang. I hope to get proof of hatchings at the osprey nest in the next one week or so.
So much activity at this time of year. What a great reality show Helen ❣️
May all the drama settle into a happy and safe ending 🙏
Yes, this is a much better reality show than some others 🙂 I am crossing my fingers hoping that the Osprey family will not have more drama this nesting season!
Another great share with us. Keep us informed on the hatchlings “to be”.
Thank you Lee. I will keep checking for hatchlings starting mid next week and will share as soon as I have some ‘proof’ – even shaky pics on my 1200mm zoom 🙂
Loving the images, Helen; so crisp and clear. The little Belted Kingfisher is such a cutie; a nice Salt Marsh addition; for sure! And I can’t not mention the image of the Great Egret ‘flying in’; quite magnificent.
It is wonderful you are back narrating everyday life within the Salt Marsh; tales I/we would otherwise not experience in such close quarters, and with a humour that is yours alone.
Give Dylan a hug from me; and one for you too! 🙂
Thank you for the hugs and your kind comment, Carolyn! The kingfisher is a rare visitor. I have seen him only on a few occasions previously and this is the only time he has sat down for a photo shoot 🙂 I will be keeping an eye on the nest to see when the eggs hatch…should be within a week for the first one. Dylan says hi and I send you many hugs!
The salt marsh is always filled with activity and excitement! You are the curator of that wonderful place. It’s definitely in good hands! Great shots my friend. 🙂
Thank you for your kind comments, my friend. While we still have days with lots of birds, I have noticed that the average bird count has been lower after the hurricane last september than what it used to be previously. I don’t know whether many birds died at that time or whether they ‘evacuated’ and never came back. I hope it’s the latter and that they will return.
Great little story Tiny, so glad the intruder left, and there was no trouble. Love your belted kingfisher, what s beautiful bird, and a great capture with tail feathers. Have a wonderful week my friend 😊
Thank you, Ashley. I loved the kingfisher…and for the first time this rare visitor sat down for a photo shoot …showcasing his beautiful tail feathers 🙂 I hope your week has been good so far.
That Mourning Dove is so beautiful!
I agree. The Mourning Doves are very beautiful. And we are lucky to have some living right here around our front (and back) yard.
Thank you for these wonderful photos and narrative. I am finally re-connecting to other bloggers. This post is exhilarating.
Thank you Julie! Wonderful to have you here. I am hoping for osprey chicks in a week or so.
Thank you! What a wonderful story and pictures❤❤🐩🐩 Anja and Hertta
Thank you dear Anja! Happy you enjoyed the story from the salt marsh (right next to us). I hope you will feel better soon ❤ Hugs to you and Hertta from me and Dylan.
Oh wowowowow!!! Your shots, Helen, are superb!! Were these taken with your new baby? They are so clear and the ones of the birds flying … OH you are good!! I need SO much practice to do this! You inspire me totally to get birds in mid-flight. Glorious post, dear friend! Thank you!!! 🤗
Thank you dear Amy! Some of these are taken with the new baby and others with my old baby. I shot with both. For a good mid-flight shot I usually need more than one try, but sometimes I’m just lucky 🙂 The larger the wing span, the more difficult it is to get the whole bird in the picture even if I’m prepared…but that’s the beauty of the challenge. Much love ❤
Love those challenges, Helen ….. I know what you mean!!! 😁🌸
What exciting news of the pending babies – woohoo!
Yes, I’ll be hanging out from my terrace from mid next week to see if I can spot a baby/babies!
What a wonderful walk around the salt marsh early in the morning!
It started so peacefully until the invader arrived and all turned upside-down.Your story became gripping and I was holding my breath to see what would happen.What a daring mother-to-be Sandy is!All’s well that ends well,life came back to normal and left me to admire your magnificent photos,dear Helen.Loved the rich breeding plumage of the Great Egret and the iridescent blue plumage of the Belted Kingfisher.Wishing you,Dylan and the salt marsh gang a nice and peaceful week ahead 🙂
Thank you dear Doda! It was such a daring move by Sandy, I was completely surprised she did it although I knew her ‘fuse’ is much shorter than Stanley’s. She doesn’t tolerate any threats when she has eggs or chicks in the nest. The kingfisher is a rare visitor and I was delighted he sat down and posed nicely 🙂 I wish you a beautiful upcoming weekend, my friend.
The same to you ❤ I just love your salt marsh pictorial stories and all the lovable characters there 🙂
The Kingfisher is so cute! And the Mourning Dove does look quite chilly, poor thing. Fun photos, and I’m glad all is well with the osprey nest!
I wish the kingfisher would visit more often, he truly is beautiful. We have several couples of doves (Mourning Doves and Collared Doves) nesting in our garden. They are used to warm weather, just like us, but it has been very cool for FL lately, and still is today.
So much fun to be seeing the Osprey family story continue. And the photos, Tiny,are sepctacluar. I especially love the water-flinging egret. All the best – Susan
We are so happy to see you here, Susan. And I am hoping for less drama for the Osprey family than what they had to endure last season. next week I’ll be on “hatch watch” 🙂
Oh my goodness it’s like grand central at the marsh. What did Dylan think of all of the coming and going? Glad the hatchling Nya we’re safe. Looking forward to their arrival!
It was an unusually lively day at the marsh. Dylan doesn’t care about the birds any more after going through my “bird training course” – with a notable exception of ducks walking on the trail. They are irresistible 🙂 My “hatch watch” will start next week.
What exciting times for everyone. So glad to see you are enjoying time with your Marsh friends. All photos are lovely, and very cool to catch a glimpse of the belted Kingfisher. Hope you’re having a good week my friend.
Thank you for visiting our kingfisher, dear Takami. He is a rare visitor at the marsh and this was the first time so far he has sat down for a photo shoot. Dylan and I wish you a wonderful weekend.
All at the marsh seem to be doing well and look great. I am so glad that you share your beautiful pictures…you are an amazing photographer. Hugs for you sweet Tiny and nose kisses for Dylan from Chancy and me.
Thank you, Mags, for visiting our favorite place again! I believe Mama Sandy has hatchling already…from the way she acts, although I cannot not yet get any pictures of them. Dylan and I wish all of you a beautiful weekend. Many hugs
Wonderful captures and fascinating tales from the Salt Marsh.
Thank you! There is always something going on when we step out and take a walk around the marsh 🙂
Wonderful images Helen, so lovely to see the egrets flying in! I am glad Mama Sandy saw off the intruding osprey, hopefully all will stay calm for her now :o) xxx
Yes, I am hoping for ‘calm waters’ for Mama Sandy too! She may have hatchlings already…but she is not yet showing them to photographers 🙂 Have a beautiful weekend! XXX
Thank you Helen, a wonderful weekend to you too! 🤗🙋♀️ xxx
Wow you got some great shots on this particular marshy tour. I can’t remember the name of the blue one—can’t check back while on my phone—but he was my favorite. I also admired your morning dove. I have two that hang around my feeders of a morning and they aren’t nearly that puffy looking. Considering our temperatures, I have to wonder if they are the same species at all!
The blue one was the Belted Kingfisher. He honors the saltmarsh with a visit every now and then. I think the birds, much like people, get used to certain temperatures…that morning was “cold” to FL standards, about 50F at the time we went out, colder earlier. That is brrr for us 🙂 and the Mourning Dove probably felt that too.