Tag Archives: Elections

No Election Stress. At the Salt Marsh.

It’s election day. The salt marsh is right next to our polling place at the Sailing Center.

election-day-ud89Early this morning as voters started to stream in, Papa Stanley was stationed right there, on the wind metering device, keeping watch. He was very alarmed, to say the least.

papa-osprey-sounds-alarm-ud89To my relief I discovered that he was alarmed about something completely different. Another male osprey flying over the salt marsh, where Mama Sandy was minding the nest.

another-male-osprey-ud89

mama-osprey-ud89Sandy and Stanley are dating now, and he doesn’t venture far from her side. I bet he is already rehearsing his proposal dance to be performed in late December. In any case, the bay side was as lively as the polling place. Pelicans had gathered around the pier, and lots of fishing was going on.

two-pelicans-ud89

pelican-2-ud89I decided to visit the salt marsh. And the turnout of birds did not disappoint. Although Mama Sandy had now flown away from the nest, there was a lively crowd of ‘big boys’. Like the Wood Storks.

two-woodstorks-ud89

wood-stork-ud89And the Great Egrets. Although a few of them decided to move to the bay side. More excitement there, I assumed.

great-egret-ud89

great-egret-flies-away-ud89But most importantly, the Mayor was in the ‘office’ on his favorite islet. He was keeping an eye on everything.

great-blue-heron-mayor-ud89In addition to the big guys, I spotted some smaller fellows. Like this Black-crowned Night Heron. He was trying to take a nap, apparently unsuccessfully, in the bushes below the osprey nest.

black-crowned-night-heron-ud89Then my attention was drawn to a rare visitor, a Belted Kingfisher. He was flying and hovering above the marsh for a long time, and finally sat down to rest in the middle of the marsh.

belted-kingfisher-hovers-over-the-salt-marsh-ud89

belted-kingfisher-ud89I decided to take a swing on the beach. But I felt watched. A drone was circling above the beach. It was watching me, so I decided to watch it too. Tit for tat.

drone-ud89I didn’t like the drone and decided to return to the salt marsh. Just in time to see Mama Sandy return to the nest. I was secretly hoping she would not like the artificial ‘bird’ in the skies above the beach. But had to assume she had not seen it.

mama-osprey-lands-in-the-nest-ud89She had no fish. I believe she had already eaten her breakfast and was just taking an extra exercise round above the bay.

I then spent some time observing a few very small birds. They moved fast, but finally one of them sat down for a photo shoot. After looking at all my pictures, I think it might be a Pine Warbler, but stand to be corrected by friends who know these small birds much better than I do.

pine-warbler-ud89After getting my shot, I decided to walk home. Just when I got onto the street, I saw Papa Stanley fly over my head. With a fish. He landed on a lamp-post close to the marsh – with a direct line of sight to the nest where Mama Sandy was perching. Everything was in order.

papa-osprey-caught-a-fish-ud89Whatever happens tonight, I hope we will find peace. Individually and collectively.

Tough Love. And an Election Rally at the Salt Marsh.

I know, Lady Cawcaw gets disproportional coverage in the ‘Salt Marsh News’ right now. But for a good reason. We know she’ll be gone soon. That is, as soon as she learns to fish for herself. Her parents are using tough love to get her motivated.  This has been very clear over the weekend. The food portions are smaller and far between. And she’s hungry, her crop is empty.

osprey chick is hungry ud66Over the weekend she was away from the nest for hours, I assume hovering over the waters around here. But she always came back without a fish. And immediately upon return told her parents she had tried, but had not been successful.

osprey chick returns to nest ud66On Saturday, Sandy and Stanley demonstrated their strategy with the teen. Sandy was keeping an eye on the nest from a lamp-post close by. But I saw her finish the whole fish by herself. She had a full crop, as you can see.

mama osprey finished her meal ud66She was also watching Stanley fly overhead with his pal Steve. You remember him, right? Both of them settled on Marriott’s roof to scan for fish in the bay. I was hoping Stanley would bring lunch for Lady Cawcaw. But the guys were not in a hurry. They just chilled out in the breeze up there. I could hear friendly small talk, two guys catching up on a fishing trip.

stanley and steve ud66Although it was partly cloudy, it was very hot. I decided to check if the residents had moved back to the salt marsh. They had! The water had receded a bit and the egrets enjoyed being able to walk around the smorgasbord.

great and snoy egrets at salt marsh  ud66

egrets at the saltt marsh ud66The young Great Blue Heron was there too. I have a feeling that the Major has moved on (you remember him, right?) and the youngster is trying to secure this coveted office. He is always there, and I have to say his behavior has improved. No known attacks on the Osprey nest or others lately. He has cleaned up his rhetoric.

young great blue heron ud66But to his surprise another candidate had surfaced. A Great Egret was speaking to the crowds.

great egret making a speech UD66Some listened attentively and moved closer. Others turned their attention elsewhere.

two egrets 2 ud66The Great Blue Heron moved closer too. I was afraid he would confront the speaker right there. But he was quiet. Probably planning to tweet his counter arguments later on.

young great blue heron and great egret UD66The juvenile Night Heron had never heard a speech like that and lifted his head curiously from the grass.

juvenile night heron 2 ud66A young Brown-headed Cowbird was curious too. It looked like the speech spoke to younger voters.

brown-headed cowbird ud66But others, like Miss Rosa, who have seen and heard it all before, preferred to take a nap in the bushes.

roseate spoonbill ud66And some just didn’t pay attention to the speaker because they had some other pressing business to take care of, like this Snowy Egret.

snowy egret preening ud66And others simply moved away from it all, like this Mottled Duck couple.

mottled duck couple ud66Some protests were heard. The Moorhens are known to speak their mind. You just can’t come on their turf and get away with it.

moorhen ud66And in a nearby palm tree, a Common Grackle loudly added his voice to the mix too.

common grackle ud66Soon after that the speech ended. Everybody went on with their business. Miss Rosa had woken up and scanned the landscape carefully from her hideout.

Miss rosa is hiding in the bushes ud66Before leaving I spotted a fairly rare visitor, an adult Little Blue Heron. She had probably come to attend the rally. I was happy to see the smaller waders too had returned to the salt marsh.

little Blue heron 2 ud66Yesterday it was too hot to take a long walk, but I kept an eye on Lady Cawcaw from my terrace. I could hear her asking for fish, and I spotted Mama Sandy fairly close to the nest on the bay side. I assumed she was monitoring the situation and would intervene if it got critical.

Late this afternoon, while writing this post, I decided to go out on the terrace and check on the young lady again. To my delight she was eating what looked like a whole fish.

osprey chick eating fish mon june 13 ud66I hope she had caught it by herself. We will know soon enough. If this was her first fish, we will only see her in the nest for a few more days. But if Sandy or Stanley had brought it, she will probably stay a couple of more weeks.

Thanks for reading the ‘Salt Marsh News’. We all wish you a good week.

 

A Long Night

In the dark of the night

a lonely tree is watching

lights in the windows

like no other night

in the last four years.

In other places still dark

cold and no lights at all

like at no other time

in the recent memory.

But all over the country

people still up waiting

hoping, fearing, anticipating

the fruits of their voice

once in four years.

In the dark of the night

a lonely tree is watching

enjoying the peace

always available to everyone.