Tag Archives: Fall

Rise and Shine. Fall at the Salt Marsh.

We have gorgeous fall weather here on Florida’s Gulf coast. I want to invite you all to join me on a morning walk on the beach, in the park and at the salt marsh.

love-grass-2-ud87Being “evergreen” we do not have the typical fall foliage, but there is plenty of color for us to enjoy right here in our garden.

And the beach is lively with shorebirds, particularly Sanderlings and Willets, in addition to the usual gulls and terns.


willet-ud87From the beach we walk to the fishing piers at north end of the park. Sun is shining on the bay and the Clearwater Pass.

shine-ud87People are fishing and birds are flying over the water.

bridge-ud87We spot two familiar birds: the “other osprey” who was pestering Mama Sandy last week, and Henry, the younger Great Blue Heron.


younger-great-blue-heron-henry-ud87For some reason, Henry is not at the salt marsh, but has flown into a kayak enclosure next to the fishing piers. Perhaps hoping for a free meal from one of the fishermen.

sand-key-park-ud87From there we walk south through the park to the salt marsh. And spot more fall colors on the way.


pink-flowers-ud87Arriving at the marsh, we immediately notice the visitors. A family of eight Wood Storks mingle with Great and Snowy Egrets.



great-egret-ud87The Great Egret wants to show the visitors who’s the boss, and some loud exchanges follow. But where is the real boss, the Mayor? We walk towards the osprey nest and find him hiding in the bushes right below the osprey nest.


older great blue heron 2 ud87.jpgIt seems he doesn’t want to get involved in any squabbles, but rather prefers to take some quiet time to enjoy the morning. And the same goes for Mama Sandy. She has just caught a fish and turns to greet us before starting her breakfast.

mama-osprey-with-a-fish-ud87Then we spot the showman. The Reddish Egret performs his hunting dance. The clown of the marsh, as I dubbed him two years ago, draws his energy from a large audience. And today is no exception.

reddish-egret-hunting-ud87But the smaller herons, apart from the Snowy Egrets, have decided to stay away from the ‘big boys’.

snowy-egret-ud87Walking home, we find one of them, the Little Blue Heron, hunting alone on the bay.  The low tide has revealed new and interesting fishing grounds.

little-blue-heron-in-the-bay-ud87I hope you enjoyed this three mile walk in the crisp autumn air – a rare treat for us this early in the season.

At home another treat is waiting. The Audubon Society has received a grant from Duke Energy, our power company. Yay! Thank you to all who have contributed! We are now much closer to having the new dish platform for the Osprey couple installed on time. We all wish you a wonderful week.

A Walk Around the Lake

For weekend reading this Saturday I would actually like to invite you to take a walk with me. It will not be an exhausting, long walk. We are just going to walk less than two miles around “our” lake up north. We will not be jogging as we want to observe the nature around us and enjoy the fresh fall air.

Walking up the driveway past the apple garden takes us directly to a small road that runs between the lake and a forested mountain.

A birch tree forest grows between the road and the lake and the road soon takes us to the old barn that my grandparents used as their farming “headquarters” until early 1970s.

I vaguely remember seeing cows and horses here when I was small. Walking around the barn we can still find some relics of their farming equipment.

From there the road continues towards the north end of the lake, where we turn to follow a small path across the forest to the other side of the lake.

Along that path we can observe the beautiful early autumn colors, like some heather here and big boulders decorated with lichen and moss.

And you will see beautiful fall foliage too as the first red hues are just starting to appear.

Next we’ll arrive at a small stream that runs into this lake from the one just north of it. It’s quite beautiful and if you dare to step into the water, you may catch a crayfish or two…

We are now reaching the opposite side of the lake from where we started. The trees are smaller here and there are wild raspberry bushes, we’ll pick and taste some. Sweet and yummy. And there are wild roses too, now with colorful rose hips.

The path follows the lake shore and as we walk we get beautiful glimpses of the serene lake.

Walking further, we pass the only sandy patch of this lake shore. My sister and I used to come swim here when we wanted to go on an outing “far” from home. It’s funny how tiny this “beach” now feels. Isn’t it?

Next we approach the same little stream at the other end of the lake that now flows south to the next lake.

After crossing a small bridge, we find a batch of colorful, but poisonous mushrooms, I think they are called Amanita.

And then we reach the road leading back home. In the yard we are greeted by the fall’s last flowers.

And from here we can again enjoy the lake from our usual vantage point – now the sun has magically reappeared. I hope you enjoyed the walk. I’m a bit out of breath…but just because the browser was uploading the pictures far too slowly 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend! – Tiny

Around the House

For weekend reading this Saturday, I thought I would take you on a nostalgic tour around the yard and garden of my childhood home. I visited there last week for my dear dad’s 90th birthday.

The first thing I saw from my bedroom window waking up in the morning was the vibrant apple garden. The red “cinnamon” apples were hanging in huge clusters. They were not quite ready to be picked as yet. But the yellow-white apples were ready and so sweet!

I ate dozens of them for snack and for dessert. Could not get enough!

I loved just walking around the big yard and observing the activities going on. Like the mini-garden where my dad was growing vegetables and berries.

We had fresh lettuce for salad at every meal. Just to step out, pick and rinse!

The strawberries and blueberries had already come and gone, but there were still a few raspberries to pick for dessert. And my dad proudly presented a new type of berry, buckthorn, that apparently is very good for you. He eats them every day in his “berry mix”, is very healthy at 90, so I am inclined to trust the evidence.

Lots of other activity was also apparent in the yard, like  my dad’s wood chopping endevour…lots of firewood to heat up the sauna and to provide cozy warmth to his large country kitchen from the wood burning stove in the winter. He has preserved the stove and uses it for his cooking more than the electric one.

My dad has always loved our forest and had started a new hobby. He had collected natural “wood art” and put it on display on one side of the sauna building. Please meet the couple, “Adam and Eve” (inset) and other art works that are part of his large exhibition of various artistic wood formations.

And of course there were hints of fishing activity. The old table where we used to clean the fish still stood next to the sauna building. Like it has always done as long as I can remember.

And the red boat was there too, now full of leaves that were blowing down from the birch and other trees.

However, my main attraction back home is always the lake itself. It is so peaceful and beautiful when it rains..

…and when it shines. When I was a kid, we used to swim in it when the water reached about 50 degrees F. Now I prefer much higher temperatures 🙂

Mid September still carried some fading feel of summer, but the signs of fall were clearly already there. It was a lovely visit back to my family, my childhood and back to the nature.

Hope you enjoyed the tour around the house. Have a great weekend everyone. – Tiny