Hello friends! I’m still on my summer break, but since I’m at home right now I want to give you an update on the affairs at the salt marsh. H.J’s visit early this month brought in the regular thunderstorms with downpours that belong to our summer. At the salt marsh, water levels are up and everything is fresh green.
A couple of days ago I took a walk on the beach and was invited to a beach party attended by hundreds of feathered guests. It was a jolly event with Black Skimmers, Royal Terns, Sandwich Terns, Laughing Gulls, Herring Gulls, including juveniles, enjoying the freshwater ‘lake’ formed on the beach by the frequent torrential downpours. The ‘lake’ occupied almost the whole beach, leaving only a wet, narrow strip of sand next to the salt marsh.
Some partygoers were flying back and forth looking for the perfect spot, others were catching up on the latest, bathing or preening. It was lively indeed.
Some guests were resting, and yet others had partied enough and fallen asleep on the sand. But in such a crowd you’d better sleep with your eyes open, like this Black Skimmer.
Despite being attired with my newly acquired cheerful rain boots, I decided not to test the water depth in the ‘lake’, but instead to walk to the salt marsh through the bay side.
That was a great decision. I was rewarded with a pleasant discovery. Papa Stanley had returned from his 4-week vacation!
He was perching on the wind measurement device at the Sailing Center, obviously planning his next fishing trip. I could hardly see him as the sun was right in my eyes, but looking at my photos I realized he had definitely recognized me. From there I went to see Mama Sandy. She was ‘babysitting’ the nest again, and greeted me with a friendly nod. And I thought she tried to tell me about the dismal condition of the nest. We both agree that the nest will not make it through the nesting season starting in December.
I was happy to let her know that I’ve finally started the process of getting the nest repaired – or perhaps replaced. This will involve several steps: evaluating the nest pole to see if it has hollowed and will need to be replaced, and if that is the case, evaluating the ground to see if it can carry the heavy equipment needed to replace the whole structure with a new, more durable one. If the answer is yes, then I’ll have to get busy approaching sponsors to get help with the fairly high cost of this project. If the answer is no, then we’ll need to come up with plan B and only replace the nest platform that is falling apart. I hope to have these answers in the next few weeks through the Clearwater Audubon Society. While they don’t have the money to pay for this project right now, they have the required permits and the connections to suitable contractors, and have kindly agreed to help. Wonderful news for our Osprey family.
I promised to keep Mama Sandy updated. As I walked around the marsh, I observed something quite interesting. Both the younger Great Blue Heron and the Mayor were present. Staring at each other from opposite ends of the marsh. Measuring strength. As many of you know, the young one is a colorful character. He is still much smaller than the Mayor, but clearly has the desire to be the king of the hill, so to speak. He has been frequenting the marsh over the last three months, while the Mayor has taken care of his family on the ‘bird island’ in the bay. Last spring the Mayor told us ‘I’ll be back’ – and he has kept his promise.
A Great Egret was following the developments with keen interest from a tree in the middle of the marsh.
And a female Cowbird was excitedly cheering on the Mayor from a nearby tree.
Miss Rosa was seeking shelter from the sun at her usual spot, but kept an eye on the two rivals as well. Particularly the youngster. She didn’t cheer.
The Snowy Egret was staring at the young heron too, and he didn’t cheer either.
A family of White Ibis was foraging in the grass close by, probably hoping their youngster wouldn’t need to witness any brouhaha on such a beautiful day.
Their wish was granted. The truce lasted, and each heron held on to its end of the marsh. I walked home and shot some pictures of flowers in our garden on my way in. Pink flowers. Just to celebrate summer.
I look forward to visiting my family in northern Europe early August. I may do a short mobile post from there. Otherwise I’ll see you after mid August. Lots to catch up on by then.
Thanks for coming along. I hope you are enjoying your summer too. Much love.