Help! Where was I?

The answer is here, there and everywhere. And I don’t even know where to begin. Perhaps warm greetings from a chilly NYC, where I’ve worked this past week, would be in place?

I can’t believe I’ve been away from here for over six weeks. Various adventures near and far with my friends visiting from Sweden have filled my days… sprinkled with some necessary work sessions. And then a completely unnecessary bout of severe cold kept me ‘lying flat’ for days. But now I’m upright and on the go again. Feeling thankful for it.

Our nearby adventures included, of course, the salt marsh. This past month that little village has been lively. Many migrating birds have made a stopover there to mingle with the locals.

The Mayor has tried to keep peace among the sometimes unruly crowds, but despite his watching eye, the Clown (aka the Reddish Egret) got into trouble. It started innocently enough. A Wood Stork was trying to catch a fish. But the Clown got upset and flashed his red hair… and that was it!

The larger bird went into attack. And the Clown had to flee!

That was the first time I have seen him retreating. Ever.

He had met his match and settled on a small islet. He was sulking. Or maybe mulling over what just happened.

That day the marsh had more than fifty visitors. Birds everywhere. Some were flying…

Others were running…

Many were fishing…

One or two were dreaming…

Or just mingling and giving speeches…

Mama Sandy was, as always, only watching the nest and the skies. She couldn’t be bothered with the crowds. She knows they come and go.

One day my friends went for a walk with Dylan when I had to take a break … for work. And Tony spotted something special. Sandy had allowed Stanley to the nest although the nesting season was still more than a month away!

I hadn’t seen Stanley for a couple of weeks, so perhaps they had an argument and he’d gone away for a while? To let it cool down. And when he finally returned and brought her a fish as a sign of reconciliation, she allowed him to perch on the nest. Here is the proof. Thanks Tony!

And after that they have been flying a lot together. The other day when I was trying to work while battling a bout of bad cold, they flew several times past my office window.

And one morning I saw them working together. They were chasing a huge Bald Eagle away from the salt marsh. I had no camera, but Dylan is my witness. They took turns to dive on the back of the eagle until it got tired and flew to the other side of the bay where it lives.

But I spotted a juvenile Bald Eagle on one of our trips to Taylor Park. It was trying to fish, but gave up after several unsuccessful attempts and flew back into the forest.

My friends liked Taylor Park too. So many birds always show up…
…just to disappear like magic.

And it is quite a thrill to spot a gator lurking around and looking at you…

We got to see many more of them on an airboat ride with Captain Duke we did in the central Florida swamps.

In fact, we were guests in their very special world.

We spotted numerous huge old ones in and out of the water…

And deep in the swamp, we saw a baby gator who had dared to come out of the nest hole all alone.

It was a great journey through the St. John’s River swamps, or the ‘real Florida’ as our captain put it.

Of course we spotted lots of birds as well, but it was not easy to capture them on camera while speeding through the waters.

It was an adventure deep into nature my friends appreciated.

Although they flew back home a couple of weeks ago, you can still participate in more adventures right here in the coming weeks.
Thank you for coming along to the salt marsh, the Taylor Park and to the central Florida swamps. Have a great weekend. Lady Liberty says hi.

71 thoughts on “Help! Where was I?”

    1. Thanks Cyndi ❀ I'm still not 100% back, but trying to rest now for a few days although the call of the outdoors is difficult to resist πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Nancy! The spoonbills were truly beautiful – and many. But I could only catch these three when the captain pressed the pedal to the medal on the open river πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, it truly was a bird convention. The marsh is quite small and seeing so many birds there made it look like a sold out performance πŸ™‚ Thanks Sue.

  1. What a wonderful post, so glad to have you back and to be able to share through your excellent photographs the exciting bird life that you have so close. I love your comments too.

  2. Such a delight to “see” you, Helen, thank you for this stunning series of photographs, great narration too. You have really covered some very different earthscapes, beauty in all of them, but my favorite is getting back to your diverse salt marsh loaded with an abundance of birds. You are oh-so-lucky to be in one of the few places in America where wood storks live. Great to see Sandy and Stanley, the Mayor, the Clown, and all the gang. Really enjoyed seeing the swamp photos especially–as your guide said, the real Florida.

  3. Lovely, lovely, lovely, Helen. How good to have you back. And your salt marsh treasure place and its stalwart citizens and passing voyageurs. Good to hear you’re keeping so busy. Tx

    1. The airboat ride was fun and this time it was a small local company…a much better experience than what I had in the Everglades last year on a 30 person boat.

  4. Hello Helen,
    So glad to read this latest update. As always very happy to view the beautiful views of the Marsh and all the adventures within it. But please continue to take good care of you! ❀

    1. Thank you dear Takami! I am almost 100% recovered by now and enjoy walks with Mr. D. in the cooler weather. The marsh is still lively although the big crowds of migratory birds are gone. Happy week and weekend ❀

  5. Wonderful photos Tiny! I’m glad that you’re over that severe cold. Your salt marsh must be teeming with all kinds of birds, that’s a wonderful sight too. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you dear H.J.! I am so glad to be healthy again and really enjoy this cooler weather we have now…with the whole street lit up by colorful lights the walks with Dylan are quite “Christmasy” πŸ™‚

  6. You may have been out of touch but you certainly haven’t lost your touch for keeping us entertained and in love with your neighborhood. So good to be updated. Perhaps Sandy and Stanley are getting an early start with nesting this year.

    1. Thank you for being here, my friend. I have seen that Sandy has started to bring more “stuff” to the nest, but Stanley has not been in the nest yet after this rare occasion πŸ™‚ But soon…

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Matti! I wish you both a beautiful December. I will not come to Finland this winter, but will come to Stockholm to spend Christmas with my sister’s family. Hoping for snow πŸ™‚

  7. You’ve certainly ‘made up’ for your absence with a fabulous amount of images, Helen! Well done to Tony, too; what a great replacement when one was needed. And, on that subject; who better than Mr. D. as a witness? Seems like all bases were covered, one way or another.
    The ‘real’ Florida πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ must have been an exciting place to visit. The Captain sounds as though he was a great character!
    Glad to hear you’re back on your feet. Stay well, and give a hug to Dylan. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you dear Carolyn! This fall has been busier than what I bargained for! But many wonderful little adventures here and there πŸ™‚ Dylan is always ready to come along, and I miss my friends – they were such great company, including going to the marsh to witness a rare occasion. You are right, the Captain was a real Florida ‘original’ – so much fun and very knowledgeable. In a couple of days I will take off for Sweden again to spend Christmas with my sister and her family…looking forward to being in Stockholm again.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, dear Eddie. I am healthy now, but still much busier than I would like… I tend to commit a bit too much when the cause is great πŸ™‚

  8. Great to have you back Tiny we had missed you! You have had a very busy and varied time away. Love the photos, it must have been a great experience on the Gator swamps. I love your photo of the, is it Rosette Spoon Bills flying, how beautiful. Interesting that with many birds that feed from the ocean including Terns, the male presents a fish to the female and if she eats it, they mate and have the new years clutch. This may be what is going on with the Osprey pair. Then again as you said they may be making up and this could be the chocolates and flowers. Have a wonderful week my friend! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you for being here and for your wonderful comment, Ashley. I have not seen Papa Osprey in the nest since Tony took these pictures, but Mama has started to bring more materials to the nest. She usually allows him to come to the nest only in early January (around the 2nd week) so I hope to see both of them soon! Wishing you a wonderful Advent.

  9. Hi Tiny! Glad to hear you are feeling better😊 Wow…what a month you have Had! And the captures are AMAZING! That one gator looked HUGE!

    Sending lots of blessings to you and your family during this holiday seasonπŸ’œ And I just want to say how lucky we are to live here…I was up north recently and it was FREEZING!πŸ˜‰

    1. Thank you, dear Lorrie! It’s been a ‘ride’ since late October! I’ve not had many opportunities to see more gators πŸ™‚ I send you and your family blessing for the Christmas season ❀

  10. Great photos Helen, and I love the contribution from Tony!
    We’ve had a lot of activity at the marsh and I’m glad you found time to photograph some of our beautiful visitors.
    Welcome home, and glad to hear you’re feeling better!

    1. Thank you Deb! Tony’s contribution was wonderful. Yesterday I observed that Mama Sandy had already started to bring more ‘furniture’ to the house, but Stanley is still not participating…but that will change in about 3 weeks πŸ™‚

  11. Wonderful collection of photos and entertaining narration. We usually spend January along the TX Gulf coast and I get in an abundance of birding, but this year we’ll be staying in Phoenix. Thanks for the bird fix! Love those spoonbills.

    1. Thank you, Ingrid! I remember when I took the picture of the spoonbills. I wanted to shout to the Captain to stop the boat, but he was an “alligator man” so I didn’t want to interrupt his chase πŸ™‚

  12. You sweet Tiny and the Mayor we see have been very busy. You must be about ready for some rest and a bit less busy for awhile. Poor Mayor sure had a lot to oversee with all the visitors to the Marsh. Glad to know The Clown came out okay after the scuffle. The marsh would not be the same with out The Clown. Amazing photos as always and I sure enjoyed them all. Love, hugs and nose kisses for you and sweet Dylan from Chancy, PoohGirl and Me

    1. I loved the spectacle at the marsh when there were many visitors in November. The Clown is one of my favorites…he always has a ‘performance’ handy πŸ™‚ I am so ready for a Christmas break, dear Mags! I also look forward to the Osprey couple’s new nesting season, which will start early January. Dylan and I send you, Chancy and Pooh our love and best wishes for the festive season ❀

      1. I hope you have a nice Christmas break sweet Tiny. I too am looking forward to the Osprey’s nesting season. Love to you and Dylan. Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy every minute of your break. ❀

  13. Thank you very much ❀ I was missing you and your stories with pictures πŸŽ„πŸŽπŸŽ…Hugs from Anja and Hertta 🌻🌻🌻

    1. Thank you, Dear Anja! I have been far too busy since beginning of November…looking forward to my Christmas break in Stockholm. Many hugs to you and Hertta girl from me and Mr. Dylan ❀

  14. Wow! Helen, you have certainly made up for lost time. Some incredible photos in this collection. Those 3 pink flamingoes are beautiful!
    So glad you are feeling better.
    I look forward to being more present too πŸ’•

    1. Thank you, Val. So good to see you here ❀ I love being here among friends, but sometimes I overcommit for work when the cause is precious, like this time. I am looking forward to a break over the holidays…in Sweden with my sister's family and hope for a calmer spring πŸ™‚

  15. It does sound like you’ve been out and about, Tiny. From New York to the swamps, it sounded like a change of scenery a few times over. It is always lovely to catch up with friends and when they are around – you just have to grab the opportunity and have a good time together and you might not know when you’ll see each other again. Wonderful shots of the birds and the little gator all round. They all look like they are strutting around minding their own business. A wonderful collection as we all fly into the new year πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Mabel. Yes, my fall has been rich in change of scenery! It’s been fun and I loved when my friends were here. Now I’m changing scenery again by leaving the warmth of Florida and going to (hopefully) a white Christmas in Sweden. Merry Christmas!

  16. Over time (what with your business and personal travel) I have always been comforted by the reminders and renewed presence of Sandy and Stanley. They seem foundational to your grounding posts, beautiful photos and warm words. Thank you for your continued sharing and WP contributions, Helen.

  17. Thank you, Eric. It is true that my grounding is right here…with the osprey family, who are now gearing up for yet another nesting season early January. I also happy you are back πŸ™‚ Merry Christmas!

  18. Thanks for the update and delightful stories of your friends back home here in FL. We were also in NYC in late November during that biting bitter cold – Hoping you are back in the sunny south soon.

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