Really?! Surprising Developments at the Salt Marsh.

It’s been difficult to get pictures of our osprey girl, Bubbette. She is a very ambitious student and attends the fishing school with Papa Stanley all day long. A few days ago when I started to get worried about her staying away so long, I went to our terrace with Dylan in tow and spotted Mama Sandy waiting for her at the nest. A Blue Jay had conquered the perch and kept flying over Sandy numerous times. He even landed on the nest. Sandy just ducked and made no effort to chase him away. She demonstrated great patience with the little one. I have to say I was impressed. I documented this rare event, but as the pictures were taken with my 1200mm zoom the quality leaves a lot to desire.

mama osprey and a Blue Jay 2 ud162

blue jay lands at the nest ud162

blue Jay flies over the nest UD162Did you spot the second Blue Jay at the edge of the nest? Sandy certainly did. But she took it all with stride.

In the last couple of days Sandy has joined the faculty at the fishing school, and the nest has been mostly empty. Bubbette leaves around sunrise when this night owl is still soundly asleep and often returns only just before sunset. In the last two weeks I have only found her at the nest once during our day time walks.

osprey chick with mama osprey ud162But when we go to the doggy park in the evenings, she and Sandy have been back at the nest and we have spotted Stanley fishing on the bay.

mama osprey with chick after sunset ud162The other night we saw the Blue Jay again. He was sitting on the perch and talking to Bubbette and Sandy.

blue jay and Bubbette ud162

blue jay ud162I was wondering what he was saying. It looked like he was asking to be adopted. He flew repeatedly over the nest and always landed back on the perch. Both ospreys were extremely understanding with him.

Blue jay flies ud162Anyway, on our one daytime walk we spotted several familiar faces. The Mayor was back! And he caught a big fish!

mayor GBH with a fish ud162This surprised us and one of the Snowy Egrets watching near by.

snowy egrets ud162But the Reddish Egret, aka the Clown, only got more motivated to continue his fishing expedition. I really like to watch this charming red head. And he knows it.

Reddish Egret is hunting ud162Harry, the younger GBH, did not witness the catch. Wisely, he stayed out of the Mayor’s sight at the opposite end of the marsh.

the younger blue heron ud162Yesterday I monitored Bubbette from my terrace. She was away the whole day and I started to get worried. Finally around 7 p.m. I spotted her alone in the nest. I took my camera along for the walk to the dog park. You see, I am not sure she will be here when I come back from my travels in about one week. She is an advanced flier already and the past couple of nights, Sandy has let her sleep alone in the nest. That means she’s considered almost ready to move from home and is fed only sporadically by her parents. We found her in the nest asking for food, although it was a quite half-hearted request. Her crop was fairly full.

Bubbette girl 6 15 UD162When we were close to the dog park, I turned around and noticed she had company. The little Blue Jay was back on the perch. They enjoyed the last rays of the day together.

Bubbette and the blue jay at sunset ud162When at the dog park, we heard her asking for food again and I walked up to the fence to see if Sandy was back at the nest with a bite for the night. She wasn’t. But the marsh bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun.

Bubbette at sunset 6 15 ud162Bubbette was learning that the free meals would be fewer and far between. When we left the dog park, we spotted a few more friends at the almost dark marsh. I saw a flash of red and noticed a male Northern Cardinal landing on a tree just ahead of us. My assistant kept a low profile and I managed to get a shot before he flew off.

male cardinal ud162A Tri-colored Heron was getting a late snack and Harry was, as he often is, watching the osprey nest.

tricolored heron at sunset ud162

young GBH at sunset 2 UD162 He saw that Bubbette had flown up to the perch. A sign of mastering the skill of flying. Perhaps she was checking if any of her parents were nearby and hoping for a late night snack.

Bubbette at night Friday 6 15 UD162And, indeed, Sandy was perching at the Sailing Center right across the road. She was looking at Bubbette. It might have been too dark to go fishing, but who knows…

sandy at sunset ud162Today at lunch time, I spotted both Sandy and Bubbette at the nest. And faintly heard the fish-fish song again. I will miss that song and hope to hear it again when I come back next weekend.

sandy and Bubbette at the nest 6 16 ud162I will leave you with last night’s beautiful glow over the salt marsh. Thank you for visiting. Be well.

salt marsh sunset 6 15 UD162

95 thoughts on “Really?! Surprising Developments at the Salt Marsh.”

    1. Thanks David. I was lucky, didn’t wait long…and was privileged to watch him bring the fish onto dry land and then take his time to eat it.

  1. You have such an imagination. I really think Mr Jay was trying to see if he could be enrolled in the Fishing School. Never too late to learn more ways to feed yourself. πŸ™‚

    1. I ‘hear’ the birds telling me their story πŸ™‚ But you might be right. That Fishing School was very efficient…Bubbette had left the nest when I came home yesterday.

    1. The colors of both these birds were amplified by the special light at sunset time…I thought they looked almost unreal, but that’s what my camera saw πŸ™‚ Thank you Karen.

      1. Hi Tiny. We don’t have a lot of fish out here, but I think they go for fish as well, as I see them down right by the water on the clearwater ditch.

  2. Interesting new events in your storyline,wonderful all your photos and the main protagonists.I really sympathise with Blue Jay,who desperately tries to bebriend the Osprey family.Poor little creature,he feels rather lonely.Enjoy your travels,dear Helen,hope Bubbette will be still there when you come back.Hugs to you & to your assistant πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for you kind comment, dear Doda. Unfortunately it seems that young Bubbette has left the nest while I was gone. A friend saw her still at the nest on Thursday…she was so advanced in her flying and attended the Flying School all day long that I was not sure she’d be here when I came back. The little Blue Jay was alone on the perch last night. Many hugs to you from both me and my assistant. XXX

      1. Oh,has she?You could sense it,she was very advanced for her age.Please do something about this poor little boy,who is so handsome,but lonely 😦 Love hugs to you & Mr Dylan xxxxx

  3. The Salt Marsh is the home of beautiful birds, it’s like an Eden for avians. I’m happy to see that everything is running normal and each one of the residents of this habitat look well and busy with their own lives. You must be delighted with your family of Ospreys, Bubbette looks beautiful! Thanks for the post Tiny! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for your kind comment, H.J. I just came home from a back to back trips to D.C. first, then to Jacksonville…and found out Bubbette had left the nest already. She had still been seen on Thursday at the nest by friends here. It was not surprising as she was so advanced in many ways…life goes on as it is meant to be πŸ™‚

  4. Once again, I really enjoyed your stories and updates on the Sand Key marsh family. Striking photos! I especially loved the colorful cardinal, the heron’s big catch, the darling blue jay addition and the gorgeous sunset.

    1. Thanks Kathy! You may already know that Bubbette left the nest at the end of this past week, just before I got home from my trips…she was so advanced that it didn’t surprise me. Hope to see you before I’m off again.

  5. I especially liked the photo of the bird with the fish. It reminded me of the times that I’ve seen birds with long neck catch and eat fish. It is amazing how they work so hard to get the fish aligned just right so that they can swallow it.

    1. This Great Blue Heron struggled a lot with his big fish, but at the end he had his dinner. As you say, it is always amazing to watch how they do it.

  6. Beautiful photographs Helen, it is so sweet to see the smaller birds interacting with the ospreys and lovely to see Bubette spread her wings. The fish caught by the major looks mighty impressive! Have a wonderful new week and much love to you and Dylan from all of us here πŸ™‚πŸ’– xxx

    1. Thank you Xenia! Bubbette has now left the nest…she was so advanced that it didn’t surprise me. That little Blue Jay was alone on the perch last night…probably wondering where his friend had gone πŸ™‚ Have a wonderful week ❀ XXX from me and Dylan.

  7. An interesting post Tiny, the Snowy Heron in breeding plumage is quite stunning. I love the friendship the Blue Jay has formed with the Osprey family, this type of friendship is occasionally seen in other parts of the animal kingdom. I hope Bubbette is around on your return. Our Tawny Frogmouths have returned to the tree they fled during a large storm months ago. We are off birding ourselves on a much needed holiday after this week when I finally finish full time work. Have a wonderful weekend and a safe and enjoyable trip my friend.

    1. Thank you, dear friend. I was a bit disappointed, but not surprised that Bubbette had indeed left the nest when I came back. She was so advanced in flying and followed her parents on fishing trips all day long. I think mama has gone to keep an eye on her, like she always does for a few weeks after the chick leaves the nest. Great that you are finishing full time work! Congratulations – more time for your other favorite tasks. Have a beautiful week.

    1. You are right, GP, each of them have their own personality and mannerisms. I have observed them for over five years now and still learn new things about them.

  8. What an interesting post about the bluejay. I guess Sandy knew it was not an aggressive one. Around here they are not always nice. Good catch for the Mayor and great shot of him and his fish. What vibrant colors on the Tri-colored Heron. Bubbette has really progressed quickly with catching on to all she has been taught. Seems all is going very well at the Marsh and I sure enjoyed seeing all the gorgeous birds. Thank you sweet Tiny. Hugs and give Dylan nose kisses for us.

    1. Thank you dear Mags for your visit and observations. The little Blue Jay is now alone on the perch – Bubbette left the nest last Friday when I was traveling. It was not surprising because she was really advanced in her development, but of course I’ll miss seeing her. Sandy has gone to keep an eye on her and only papa is around now. Dylan sends nose kisses to chancy and here’s a big hug from me to you!

      1. I will miss seeing Bubbette too but like you I am not surprised she has left the nest. Chancy thanks Dylan for the nose kisses and I thank you for the hug. Hugs and nose kisses to you both from us.

    1. Thanks for your visit and kind comment Sue. I had a back to back trip to D.C. for work and then to North Florida for my son’s graduation. The latter was great fun!

    1. It is bittersweet to see the new generation leave the nest. Bubbette left last week, according to a friend just before I came back. It was no surprise…she was so advanced in her development. I’ll be home for a week and early next week, I’ll travel to my old home town for the month of July. But this time I hope to keep up blogging. Have a wonderful week, my friend.

  9. There’s a great feeling of success in the air, Helen. May Bubbette enjoy all the wonders to be enjoyed as a fully fledged Osprey – the mind boggles at the life ahead for her. She has been wonderfully prepared by Sandy and Stanley; and if the well wishes of your commenters account for anything she’ll be an extremely fortunate little being.
    Enjoy your time away from the marsh. Give a hug to Mr D when you can.
    Lots of Love

    1. You were so right Carolyn – Bubbette left just before I came back, according to a friend here. Sandy has gone to keep an eye on her for a couple of weeks, just like one of the parents have always done when the fledgling leaves the nest. I am sure she will do really well – there was an air of confidence and determination about her πŸ™‚ Have a beautiful rest of the week! XXX

  10. Fascinating to see the blue jay trying to make friends with the osprey family. The photo of the cardinal is gorgeous and congratulations to the Mayor on his spectacular fish catch! Thank you for sharing your lovely pictures.

    1. Thank you Barbara! The little Blue Jay was alone in the nest on Saturday when I returned. Bubbette had left the nest and Sandy had left to keep an eye on her. She was such an advanced flier, that girl πŸ™‚

  11. Thank you and Dylan once again! The pictures and the story are unique! Hugs from Anja and Hertta πŸ’•πŸ©πŸ€πŸ€

    1. Thank you my dear friend πŸ™‚ ❀ I hope to see you and Hertta in less than a month! Many hugs from both of us to both of you!

  12. You got some amazing shots as usual. πŸ™‚ Love the bluejay trying to talk to the ospreys. Brave little guy. I always love your stories the go with the pictures. You truly have a gift my friend. ❀

    1. Thank you my friend! ❀ "Your" Bubbette has now left the nest! She was one of the most advanced osprey chicks I have seen in these 5 years – so I was not surprised. A friend had seen her still at the nest on Thursday, but when Dylan and I came by on Saturday night, she was gone. Good for her! But I'll miss seeing her. Many hugs!

  13. Awesome – 1200mm zoom! No wonder that Your photos are so excellent.

    Happy summer. We just had Samba Carnival in Helsinki in which my daughter participated.

  14. An abundance of beauty abounds in the Salt Marsh and you have photograph it all so very well. Not only that but developed a story linking
    the life together making it the ‘whole’ that it is in ‘our world’.

    1. Thank you dear Eddie for your visit and your kind comment. The marsh is a wonderful place…a slice of beautiful nature in the midst of people. I am so grateful to live ‘next door’.

  15. The tri-color heron was eye-bogglingly beautiful. I’ve never seen one look like that-so iridescent! It makes me feel that humans were shortchanged in the plumage department.

    1. Smiling. Yes, we humans were definitely shortchanged in the plumage department. The color of that Tri-colored Heron was truly amazing in the light of the setting sun!

    1. These cardinals live at the marsh…you are welcome to see them! πŸ™‚ I was in D.C. working for a few days last week and it was so hot I wanted to come home to FL to cool off!

  16. Ah! Helen!! Don’t we live in the most amazing place!? And what you capture with your lens is magnificent!! Much love to you…hope all is going well and you have some time to do nice things for yourself! ❀

    1. Thank you dear Lorrie! Yes, Florida is the nature’s showcase! And offers so much to do for us in nature from photographing to paddle boarding πŸ™‚ Much love and blessings to you, my friend ❀

  17. Welcome home Helen. I’m catching up myself. You have some wonderful captures here! I’m so glad the Mayor is feeding well and asserting himself. Can’t wait to find out if Bubbette has left the nest or not!

      1. I’m sure the BJ will guard the nest until Sandy returns to watch it periodically. It’s funny that Stanley never comes to the nest after-before the nesting season. He was around yesterday, but perched at the sailing center. Thanks Val πŸ™‚

  18. What a wonderful season it became for Sandy & Stanley and their beautiful daughter, Bubbette. She is quite the teenager now and I am sure full of adventure. How awesome to capture Blue Jays hanging with them! I had sparrows once nesting in the base of our Osprey pair’s nest years ago, and our pair didn’t mind at all.

    Right now, we have Barn Swallows flying all around the docks and Bella & Beau’s nest. B&B don’t mind them either. But they still have a distaste for GBH’s and Cormorants who neither would harm B&B. Our chicks are still dinosaur-y looking. Soon they too will be beauties!!

    Beautiful captures of your Osprey and all the other salt marsh neighbors. I hope when you return, the Osprey family is there to greet you!

    1. Hi Donna – when I came back from my D.C. – Jacksonville trip over the weekend, I discovered Bubbette had already left the nest (a friend saw her on Thursday last week) and Sandy has taken off too. My theory, after following S&S for 5 years, is that one – or sometimes both of them keep an eye on the chick for a few weeks after they leave the nest just in case they are not able to fish enough for themselves. These chicks (non-migratory)leave the nest 3-4 weeks after fledging, and Bubbette left just 3 weeks and one day after. She was very advanced and spent full days following her parents, while some other chicks over the years have gone on few and short fishing trips. I’m sure she will do well! I will come over now to visit B&B and their chicks πŸ™‚

    1. It is a beautiful bird. At least one couple lives in our park, but they are difficult to ‘shoot’ as they move so quickly and tend to land on branches high up in the trees.

  19. A delight of a post and I read extra slow whilst marvelling at your wonderful photos. Have you ever sent these into nature magazines / competitions? They are superlative and the one with the Mayor and his fish is incredible!! I love how you add all the personalities to the birds and I’m feeling for the Blue Jay, wanting to join the finishing school. Not much luck I reckon! Happy weekend, Helen! xx

  20. Mr Blue Jay is so cute. I guess he wanted to be included in the photo shoot and also to make new friends. πŸ˜… Wonderful captures and story, Helen. Bubette seems quite independent already. Kudos to Sandy and Stanley. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜

  21. I’ve been away from word press for a while, and just found your post from June. What a delight to read the latest goings on at the salt marsh. As always, your photos tell a wonderful story, and I always feel as though I know all the characters – it’s like catching up with old (and some new!) friends !

    1. Thank you and happy to ‘see’ you BJ! I have been very busy this summer so I have not been blogging/reading a lot. Trying to get back to it soon. Happy Labor Day!

  22. Beautiful recitation, as always. I am in love with the Tri-Color Heron. What a beauty! I imagine that’s the male and the female is dowdy in contrast? I know it’s intended to help with camouflage, but what makes the males so audaciously bright? The technicolor qualities of so many tropical birds is almost unworldly. It almost makes me believe in alien dna as a cause. Where else would such splendors come from?

    1. The male and female are almost identical for this Heron. Their color is a bit more dull right after the breeding season but then becomes more vivid as we go into fall and winter. Holiday greetings from Sweden!

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