This winter mix of weird weather gave us a short break last Sunday. Sizzling 72 F (22 C) and sunny. I took a long walk on the beach and in the park around the salt marsh.
After the temps had lingered in the cold to cool zone for so long, it felt like summer. Even Mama Osprey was breathing with her tongue sticking out, cooling herself while sitting on the egg(s). I’ve seen her do this previously, but only when it’s 90+ degrees in the summer. I was tempted to do that too, sweaty in my light gear. But grateful for the sun showing up.
The salt marsh was full of activity. The resident Little Blue Heron even posed for a close-up (featured), and later showed off her catch.
And the Osprey Family went about their usual daily routine. Papa Stanley brought fish to Mama Sandy and when she was done, he took the rest for himself. To be enjoyed in his man cave about 100 feet away.
But that turned out to be a brief respite as far as the weather gods were concerned. The sea fog came in on Monday. For three full days I couldn’t see the osprey nest from our terrace. On Thursday afternoon, when the wind finally chased away the fog, I got this picture of Mama Sandy sitting on the egg(s). All was good.
Then, yesterday, it was finally just plain cloudy and gray. I went out for a short run. Approaching the nest I saw Mama Osprey sitting on the egg(s) with only her head visible. After a few minutes Papa flew into the nest bringing a big stick. But boy, wasn’t I in for a big surprise!
I discovered it was Mama Sandy who just flew in! And she was wet. Papa Stanley had given her a break from incubation duties so she could stretch her wings, refresh herself and also stop for a quick meal, in addition to going to Home Depot. How nice! Papa was participating in child care duties, like any other modern dad. So Mama could get some time for herself and whatever she wanted to work on.
After completing her design project, Sandy perched for a while at the edge of the nest to dry herself.
But the peace didn’t last long. Osprey Steve was approaching the nest. Yet again. He flew right above the nest, stopping and briefly treading air as if courting Mama Sandy. He seems to be young and overconfident that way.
Needless to say, Papa Stanley was furious! He warned his pal Steve in the loudest way possible.
Even the Night Heron who had been sleeping at the water right under the nest woke up and looked around curiously.
But Steve was insistent. To the point that Papa decided it was necessary to chase him away, in person. He set after Steve, who quickly disappeared back into the woods.
Papa flew around the nest a few more times. Just to make the point. Once again peace was restored in the salt marsh.
Today it’s raining. Nonstop. I looked out from our living room window towards the nest. At first I couldn’t see anybody. But then a white head came up, just a little bit. I’m guessing it’s Mama Sandy pressed tightly over the egg(s) to keep them warm and dry.
I hope your weekend has started well. Reporting from the salt marsh, Tiny
After neglecting my exercise routine for almost a month, and eating far too much over the holiday, I decided it was time to get out. Not to the malls or other crowded venues offering black stuff for mere pittance, but to the salt marsh to check on my feathered friends. The weather was finally sunny and the strong winds had calmed down quite a bit.
I was eager to see how the residents had fared the stormy weather and whether or not Papa Osprey would still recognize me.
There we signs of minor wind damage, dead palm branches and small debris scattered everywhere. And very few birds out and about. I almost got worried. But then I spotted this Great Egret. He was hunting. Looking intently into the grassy pool of water, waiting patiently, and then making his move.
He caught a little frog (click to enlarge, and you’ll see). He ate it and flew away to the sunny side of the marsh.
I continued to Papa’s nest. He was there, initially awake and checking his surroundings. But he had a full crop, much like mine after the holiday. He was sleepy. After nodding a greeting, he soon fell asleep perching on the edge of his nest to digest his breakfast. I thought that was neat. Tiny was not a threat, it was okay to doze off. He looked cute sleeping like a baby, I thought.
I let him sleep and walked around for a while looking for more birds. I found the Moorhen family, all three together, on an after breakfast swim.
And whoops, suddenly a Little Blue Heron landed almost in front of me. I assume he’d been away for Thanksgiving. Welcome home you little one!
But all the others were still sleeping, hiding or just away somewhere. So I decided to walk to the bay side to look for more familiar faces. But the pickings were slim. To my delight I spotted at least one resident of the salt marsh, a Yellow-crowned Night Heron.
That was rare as they usually don’t hunt after daybreak. I always find them dozing off in the bushes, but not this one. I hope he wasn’t sleepwalking.
I feel so much better after the long walk. My “crop” feels a little smaller. I hope yours does too. ❤ Tiny
This past weekend was a delight. The weather was gorgeous between two cold fronts, but even more importantly our son popped in for a short visit. After all the good eating, I took him on a walk to enjoy the beach and to introduce him to my winged friends in the salt marsh. I hoped they would behave. Or at least not go into hiding.
The ocean was sky blue and calm. Sailing school students were gathering for a class little further out.
Pelicans were flying back and forth close to the water, tiny Sanderlings were running around on the sand picking food, and to my surprise a Snowy Egret was fishing in the calm waves rolling in. A welcome committee already on the beach.
When we reached the north end of the beach, Mister Blue Heron had courteously come to welcome us to the park and the salt marsh. I made introductions and we got some nice pictures.
As we walked through the park, we spotted a beautiful Mourning Dove in the grass. And reaching the salt marsh we observed a Tricolored Heron fishing in the shallow waters. I was happy to see we still had some visitors. A team of Wood Storks was guarding a sleeping Spoonbill. He was taking an after lunch nap, I assumed.
I made some quick introductions again, but was in a hurry to see if I could introduce my most cherished friend, Papa Osprey. And he didn’t disappoint.
He was having lunch. He saw I had someone important to introduce so he interrupted his eating for a while to say hi. So very thoughtful of him. After saying our goodbyes to him we walked back home. And saw a new guy on the block circling high above the beach, a Turkey Vulture. I have no idea whether he’s moved in or was just visiting over the weekend.
It was a great weekend, but now we’re all back to work. Mine being to finish the first draft of my second book before the end of the month. I’ll need to catch up on my word count as writing was not a priority over this particular weekend. I’ll try to catch up on your blogs as well this week.
Have a great week, my friends.
Yesterday was a magnificent day. Wednesday’s rain event of the year was over. The sky was blue again, and everyone in the nature was happily active. And I mean just about everyone.
I went for a long walk on the flooded beach, where the gulls and the terns where taking a collective bath in the brand new rainwater lake. It was like a crowded salon spa. A place for everyone to be.
The pelicans were back on the beach too, practicing tandem flying and synchronized diving.
But I also witnessed them trying to catch the same fish. Not a recommended practice. Like in any competition, only one can win. Or perhaps the fish wins.
That’s exactly what happened. The fish was spared this time around. One of the pelicans was back up on his wings immediately, but the other one appeared a bit dazed for a while.
I was curious to see what the torrential rains had done in the nature reserve and found a path to the park that didn’t require a kayak.
I immediately saw that the water level in the salt marsh was up by several inches.
Some of the small “islands” were completely or partially underwater, and fish were happily swimming in areas that were very shallow or dry earlier this week. Including my low-lying photo spots 🙂
It was lovely to see how the birds enjoyed the revitalized environment. They were out and about in big numbers!
Mister Green Heron, whom I hadn’t spotted for quite a while was enjoying the great views. He was in such a good mood that he even posed for a portrait.
He shared the tree with a juvenile Yellow Crowned Night Heron, who was perfectly camouflaged between the branches.
A little later I spotted her cousin, a juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron, at the other end of the marsh.
Papa Osprey was there too, at his nest like I’ve seen him every single day from my terrace, keeping an eye on the skies.
And the ground, where Tiny was waving to him, and where a Muscovy Duck and a Tricolored Heron were looking for food in the new shallows.
After spending more than an hour with the birds, I decided to go home through the beach, taking a shortcut at the tree line. There was a small strip of sand free of water and I managed to walk dry-footed to the side of our garden, which is elevated several feet higher.
But there I was trapped by a new four-foot wide “river” and my shortcut became a longish detour instead.
It was great to see such joy and activity among the birds. I truly enjoyed my long walk. I hope you did too. Have a wonderful weekend ❤ Tiny