Tag Archives: Gulf Beaches

That Was a Blast. Right Next to the Salt Marsh.

Yesterday, on New Year’s Eve, we watched fabulous fireworks right here on the beach. I mean they were truly fabulous, but the thick fog over the ocean prevented us from seeing all of it.  I didn’t mind. But while I watched whatever we could see, I was getting worried. The loud blasts were coming from the north end of the beach, right next to the salt marsh where the birds live.

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A low “sparkler”…

While taking a few photos of the foggy fires from my terrace, I was hoping all of my feathery friends would be safely tucked in for the night in their sleeping quarters. With ear plugs. And not flying around in the area.

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All we could see below the fog…

So this morning when the sun half-heartedly peeked out, I took a walk to check on them. The first one I spotted was a Snowy Egret. She was cleaning her white dress. I assumed it had gotten dirty at last night’s swing about.

snowy egret grooming Jan 1 2015
A Snowy Egret dry cleaning her dress…

Why do I think there was a swing about? That was quite obvious when I spotted a male Snowy Egret doing exactly the same thing in a nearby tree.

male snowy heron grooming on new year
A Snowy Egret dry cleaning his traditional dress…

Just when I could see Mama Osprey’s empty nest from afar, she flew in.  Phew! You see, a couple of years ago an osprey was killed by fireworks in a nearby town, so I was relieved and happy to see her alive and well.

papa osprey lands in the nest new year 2015
Mama Osprey arrives just when I was getting worried…

I got a charming nod for Happy New Year, and also noticed she had continued to work on the nest in anticipation of Papa Osprey’s return. Many more heavy branches and twigs were sticking out of the nest now.

papa osprey says happy new year
Mama Osprey says Happy New Year…

After a while I continued my walk. And spotted a very sleepy Yellow-crowned Night Heron. He opened one eye when I approached. Just like hubs did this morning.

night heron sleeping one eye open on new year
A sleepy Yellow-crowned Night Heron shows little interest…

On a little island nearby, the always curious Muscovy Duck was sound asleep. I found a feather in his iridescent green color on the ground, it must have been a wild night for him.

muscovy duck sleeping on new year
Mister Muscovy Duck is sound asleep…

Then something interesting happened. I heard Mama Osprey sing. And sing. And sing. It was a beautiful tune! My tired head finally realized he didn’t sing just for my enjoyment, and I looked up. An osprey was flying high up above the nest.  It could have been Papa Osprey!

Last year I spotted them in full nest restoration mode on January 16th. And ospreys tend to keep their timetable from year to year. So please stay tuned for breaking good news 🙂

Happy New Year to all of you from all of us in the salt marsh!

Ps. This post has been edited after publishing when I discovered that Papa Osprey (PO) actually was Mama Osprey.

 

Holiday Travel. And All Its Trials.

Make no mistake, the holiday travel rush has started. At the busy airport on the ocean side, those wanting to land there had to wait for their turn to hit the runways.

congested landing strip
Terns lining up for landing…

Some were put into a holding pattern and had to circle the airport.

trio of flying pelicans
Pelicans in a holding pattern…

Others became a bit desperate and decided to make an emergency descent to a lower altitude. Just in case.

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A Pelican diving…

Luckily everyone attempting to land got their gear down on time. No accidents reported, but there definitely were some close calls.

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A Royal Tern asking for permission to land…
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A Pelican landing…

Some of the departing flights demonstrated excellent on-time performance, some not. But that’s to be expected.

pelican taking off
A Pelican taking off…

Those who had landed were happy to reach their destinations. A few showed signs of exhaustion, particularly those travelling with children.

royal tern mom and child
A Royal Tern kid complaining to his mom…

But most took it in stride. And a few even took advantage of the showers in the arrival lounge.

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A Sandwich Tern taking a shower…

That’s what holiday travel is at busy airports. But at smaller airports, like the salt marsh, it was much more laid back. One takeoff or landing every now and then.

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A Great Egret taking off…
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An Anhinga just landed…

And even the personnel in the tower could take a nap in between flights. With a half eaten lunch still on the table.

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Papa Osprey taking a nap with full crop…and a fish tail still in his talons…

There was some through traffic though above the salt marsh. And some cargo traffic too.

great egret flying
A Great Egret passing over salt marsh…
another osprey with half fish flying
Another Osprey, probably Stanley, flying over the salt marsh with a fish…

The control tower was certainly alert when needed. Some landing permissions were not granted.

papa osprey following the traffic
Papa Osprey scanning the skies…

Particularly for big “birds” like these.  They didn’t have feathered wings.

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A manmade bird flying over the salt marsh…
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…and another one…

All holiday travelers were not going by air, of course. There was some boat traffic too on the lakes in the salt marsh.  Very relaxing cruises, suitable for those who have all the time in the world.

muscovyduck and moorhen
A Muscovy Duck and a Moorhen cruising in the salt marsh…

May your holiday travels be pleasant and safe. ❤ Tiny

As the Sun Sets on 2013

Back home from my holiday travels – a wonderful time spent with family. Now looking out on the ocean and reflecting on the fact that today will be the last sunset of 2013. I thought I’d share one sunset for each month that I have been privileged to enjoy this year here at the Gulf beaches. I hope you enjoy them.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year 2014! May it bring you many blessings and much happiness.  Tiny