Tag Archives: Moorhen

Not Crowded. After Thanksgiving in the Salt Marsh.

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.

salt marsh flower tree nov 29
Sunny in the salt marsh…

I was eager to see how the residents had fared the stormy weather and whether or not Papa Osprey would still recognize me.

after the storm in the nature reserve nov 29 tm

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.

Great Egret hunting in the marsh nov 29
A Great Egret hunts…

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.

great egret catches a frog nov 29
…for a little frog
great egret flying 3 Nov 29
…and then flies away.

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.

Papa Osprey taking a nap Nov 29
PO takes a nap…

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.

Moorhen family Nov 29
The Moorhen family…

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!

little blue heron landing Nov
A Little Blue Heron comes back home…

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.

yellowcrowned night heron hunting on the bay nov 29
A Yellow-crowned Night Heron on a day trip…

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.

Yellowcrowned night heron on the bayside nov 29
…walks in the shallow water of the bay.

I feel so much better after the long walk. My “crop” feels a little smaller. I hope yours does too.  ❤ Tiny

 

 

Kids. They Grow Up So Fast.

There is a new batch of  Moorhen chicks in the salt marsh. I discovered them first about three weeks ago. They are truly the most difficult bunch to get to pose for camera, thanks to their protective mom. They’re hiding in the high grass and under the trees and bushes at the edge of water.

moorhen  kids hiding
Hiding…

I have gotten stiff branches in my face many times and almost fallen into the shallow water when trying to catch a clear sight of these little chicks. Acrobatic skills required my friends.

smallest moorhen chick swimming
Swimming between “islands”
small morrhen chick
Small explorations…

When they first came out of the nest for short adventures between the small islands, they were round, black fur balls.

moorhen middle chick
On the water…looking for mom

Then a week ago I spotted them again.  They had started their transformation into teenagers. You know, different hair and changes all over. Coupled with an attitude.

moorhen kid 6 where is mom
Where are you mom?!!

They adventured out on their own, but as soon as mama Moorhen was out of sight they got anxious and very loud.

the biggest moorhen kid 906
The biggest chick…a pretty teen

Then a couple of days ago I saw them again…exploring the world on their own. And discovering themselves too…marveling at their huge feet.

moorhen kid  looking at his foot
Oh, my feet are really huge…

Needless to say they were quite amusing to watch. They were still very small, less than half of the size of their mom, but already starting to lose their fluffy baby feathers.

moorhen kid aww
I’m still cute, right?

Please don’t get me wrong. They are still very cute. And a photo is worth every scratch on my legs and bur in my socks. ❤ Tiny

 

New Duck on Papa Osprey’s Block. And a New Rival.

It’s been a lively week in the nature reserve. And I’m quite proud to say that I’ve run there on five days out of seven. In 90 degree weather. My reward has been that I don’t walk like a duck anymore. Although there’s nothing wrong with the walking style of this new resident, a male Muscovy Duck. Duck walk fits him perfectly.

Only small populations of this duck, native to Mexico, Central and South America, have established themselves in North America. It makes his company quite special. And I’ve seen him around on every run. Just like I’ve seen Papa Osprey. On Monday he was eating his lunch at noon on the top of his favorite dead palm trunk. The big fish got all his attention.

papa osprey having lunch 818
A large fish for lunch…

The next day he was having lunch, again around noon, on the top of a street light next to the bay.  When I arrived, he was just about done. And greeted me with an expressive look. I wonder what that means.

osprey finishing his lunch
Howdy…I had a good lunch…

Since Thursday, he’s been perching on the corner of his nest every morning. And on some evenings I’ve seen him there (from my terrace) close to sundown as well. I’m not sure whether he just likes to rest there, do some maintenance and plan for the upcoming nesting season, or whether he’s protecting the nest from the new male who appeared in this area mid July.  He might be making sure the other guy knows who has the leasing contract on the nest.

Papa osprey looks at tiny 822
Yesterdays greeting…
PO say hi 823
Today’s greeting…

This morning I could sense some tension in the air when the other osprey suddenly flew right over the nest,  and then settled on the top of a cypress tree nearby. In Papa Osprey’s park!

the other osprey flying over park 823
The other guy flying over the nest…
the other osprey on a tree top
I’m just sitting here…

They were not saying a peep, but clearly kept an eye on each other. It’ll be interesting to follow these dynamics in the coming days.

I have seen many other birds as well this week, but want to share only one more picture with you today.  We have Moorhen chicks again! What a nice surprise. I love these black fuzzy babies. Do I get an awww?

I'm following Mom...
I’m following Mom…

This time the nest is in the middle of the salt marsh, where they have lots of long grass to hide in.  Yesterday I saw two chicks from a distance when Mom Moorhen took them for a short swim. Today no such luck, but something to look forward to…

With that I wish you all a wonderful weekend. Peace. ❤ Tiny

 

Gen Z Invasion. In the Nature Reserve.

I haven’t had the time to take a walk for quite a few days, so I started feeling the deficit today. You know, like an itch in the soul and tingling in the toes. I knew that a long walk on the beach and in the nature reserve would provide a complete cure. So that’s what I did.

Arriving in the nature reserve, I discovered that the Gallinule kids had grown up in the last one month, transformed from fluffy black fur balls to beautiful teenagers.

Common Gallinule chick
Gallinule chick on June 4
Two common gallinule chicks
Two chicks on June 15

The three chicks didn’t want to pose for a portrait together (what’s new?), but here’s how they all look today. They are about two-thirds of the size of mom now, And they  don’t want to be seen with her. They are full of energy and busy exploring the world on their own.  Luckily I didn’t see them thumbing on smart phones  🙂

gallinule  juvenile
Gallinule teen July 8

Walking a bit further, I found a young roseate spoonbill. She was sleeping in the shadow of a tree and woke up when I approached her “bed”. She gave me the look. You’re waking me up and it’s not yet even noon.

sleeping roseate spoonbill
Roseate spoonbill sleeping in a tree
roseate spoonbill
You woke me up!

Then to my total surprise, the young osprey came to say hello. She’s been hanging around on the bay-side (across the street from the park) after she left the nest about three weeks ago.  Thanks to excellent binoculars I’ve seen her fishing on the bay and then eating the fish on her favorite lamp-post at the sailing club. Now she flew right over her birth home, fairly high up, and looked down on me.  Sorry for the bad quality of the pictures, but she didn’t send me a text that she was coming 🙂 It was great to see her again “in person”, even if very briefly!

My friend, young osprey flies over the nest
My friend, young osprey, flies over the nest and nods a greeting…
juvenile osprey two 708
The young osprey flies over to the bay-side

There were so many gen Zs in the reserve today, they far outnumbered all the other generations. Next, I saw the resident great blue heron patrolling the marsh. He’s  a mature adult, a boomer like me. I bet he’s the Mayor of the marsh. Always there, always in control.

The Great Blue Heron, Mayor of the marsh...
The Great Blue Heron, Mayor of the marsh…

There were several other herons present in his municipality. I saw the green heron again. He was taxing out on the sand dune and then took off.

green heron in flight 708

Before I left the reserve, I spotted a tri-colored heron. She’s such a beautiful and gracious bird. And a great fisher too.

Tri-colored Heron
Tri-colored Heron

I’m quite sure the night heron was there too. He’s always hiding in the bushes around the marsh and very difficult to spot.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the walk, whether gen x, y, z or an older version like me. Have a great week.

The Gallinule Kids. And Another Juvenile.

Yesterday, for the fist time in more than a week, I was able to take a walk in the nature reserve. I was delighted to find the Gallinule  family, mom and all three kids. Fluffy black balls with red sprinkles.

mama common gallinule 615
Mama Gallinule leads the troops…

Mrs. Gallinule is extremely skilful in hiding her chicks even when they are on the move, but a little movement under bushes and grass next to the water gave her away.

Common Gallinule chick
Chick number one is following mom…
Two chicks follow behind them...
Two chicks follow behind them…

They were getting swimming lessons. Common Gallinules have big feet and walk well on the ground, but they are also good swimmers. And these cuties were already moving pretty fast 🙂

lone juvenile at nest 615
Osprey juvenile having brunch…

While in the park, I also had to check on the osprey nest. I found the juvenile there alone. She looks more and more like an adult now as the white feathering on her wings is becoming less marked. She was having brunch, fish that she’d caught by herself. It seems that she is completely independent now, but  still continues to use the nest for eating and resting. I saw her there also late last night when I checked the nest from my terrace. It seems she was sleeping there, but by morning she was gone again. Probably to get some breakfast.

Juvenile checking on some gulls who were too curious...
Juvenile checking on some gulls who were too curious about her brunch table…

The last time I saw her there together with papa osprey was five days ago. Mama osprey might have left the nesting area already (the female often leaves before the young ones are fully independent), but I’m almost sure papa osprey is still hanging around somewhere in the vicinity. Keeping an eye. As you can see the nest is becoming very “bare bones” now. Its duty for this season is almost done…serving as a home for the osprey couple who produced one healthy offspring. And that is a great thing!