Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Be Calm. And Enjoy Life as It Unfolds.

More than anything, I’m saying this to myself as I am facing a work trip packed with back-to-back meetings. I’m not used to such speed anymore. I’m more like the turtles I spotted at McCough Nature Park on Saturday. They just enjoy life in the present moment, lapping the sunshine. They have no hurry to do anything in particular. They accept what is and go with the flow. Or don’t go anywhere at all. A few lessons for me right there.

turtles-ud108While at this beautiful park, I also said hi to Sarge, the Bald Eagle. She has a rare feather disorder and is not able to fly. She now lives in the small Raptor Sanctuary in the park. She was undergoing tests to determine why her feathers are brittle and grow curly instead of straight. The cause could be environmental or genetic. And if it is environmental, it is important for the whole Bald Eagle population to pinpoint the exact substance that may have caused this disorder.

sarge-the-bald-eagle-ud108Sarge’s home is adjacent to a few other raptors, owls and hawks. One of the Great-horned Owls was about and about with his handler.

greathorned-owl-ud108After I had greeted all the raptors and chatted with staff, my journey continued to the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary. I couldn’t believe my luck when I arrived there exactly at the same time as Sheila’s handler. Sheila is the old Red-shouldered Hawk, whom I have met a few times in the last two years.

Sheila was happy to get out for a walk with her handler in the gorgeous winter weather. She flexed her wings vigorously before she settled down to enjoy the sunshine. She is almost blind, with very weak sight in one eye.

sheila-red-shouldered-hawk-with-her-handler-ud108When I talked to her she turned her head and looked towards me. I always enjoy her company. Walking back from the beach side where Sheila was perching, I spotted a Brown Pelican. She was doing bird yoga in the pool.

pelican-yoga-ud108This particular pose lasted for a while, and right afterwards she took a vigorous bath.

brown-pelican-bathing-ud108I walked to greet an old friend, an American Oyster Cather, who has a serious wing injury. It was great to see that she seemed to have more energy now than a few months ago when I first saw her.

american-oyster-catcher-ud-108As always, many completely healthy birds were drawn to the peace – and food – at the sanctuary. There were several American Black Vultures hanging around the hospital building. Maybe visiting their two relatives, who live here permanently.

american-black-vulture-ud108A few Black-crowned Night Herons were around too. One was busy drinking from the water fountain next to the raptor homes.

black-crowned-night-heron-ud1-8And many Brown Pelicans had made their nests in the high trees around the sanctuary. I counted 11 (!) pelican nests. The mothers-to-be were already sitting on the eggs and the males were bringing in complementary nesting materials. Or just hanging around.

papa-pelican-brings-nest-materials-ud108

male-pelican-at-the-nest-ud108Before I leave the sanctuary, I always greet the Great-horned Owl, one of the permanent residents here. He is very curious about me and the camera, and always poses nicely for a picture in his neat and clean little home. He has accepted what happened to him, a serious wing injury, and seems to enjoy every day given to him.

great-horned-owl-scbs-feb-11-ud108I was delighted to see how well the birds and their environment in this sanctuary are taken care of by the new management, all the volunteers and the medical staff who work in the hospital. They had just released several birds into the wild last week, and those who cannot manage on their own have pleasant and clean forever homes here.

On this happy note, I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!

two-turtles-ud108

Be My Valentine. And Other Breaking News from the Salt Marsh.

Phew! What a busy week it’s been. Haven’t been able to visit the salt marsh until today. But there is breaking news! Mama Osprey seems to be sitting on the first egg now. At least it looks like that to me. And if I’m correct, there could be a little hatchling in 5-6 weeks.

female osprey sitting on the eggs sand key clearwater
Mama Osprey sitting in the nest.

As you can see from the picture taken from my terrace today, the nest is in great shape. It is much higher now than it was just three weeks ago and has lots of soft materials (dry sea algae, dry palm flowers) and colorful “toys” for the babies.

female and male osprey share a fish clearwater fl
Mama had lunch, Papa takes the rest…

When I arrived to the nest Mama Sandy had just finished eating lunch. Papa Stanley took what was left of the fish and flew to finish it off in his “man cave”. Mama settled in the middle of the nest, only her head visible, so I jogged over to Papa Osprey’s hangout.

male osprey sand key clearwater fl
…to his “man cave”, but hears Mama’s alarm calls…

But soon his eating was interrupted by alarm calls from Mama Sandy. There was another osprey flying towards the salt marsh from the bay side. He took the rest of the fish and hurried back to the nest immediately. That’s love right there.

Papa is back in the nest with the rest of the food
…and flies back to the nest with the rest of the food in his right talons

He checked that Mama was okay and immediately took off for a patrol flight, several rounds over the salt marsh.

osprey leaves again to check the situation
Papa Osprey takes off again…
male osprey patrols the marsh in sand key park clearwater fl
…to patrol the salt marsh.

When the danger was over Stanley returned to his Valentine in the nest…to make more little ospreys.

mating ospeys
Mating…and hoping for more than one offspring

An Anhinga serenaded them in a tree towards the bay side. Every day is a Valentine’s Day in the salt marsh. Love is in the air.

anhinga sand key park clearwater fl
An Anhinga sings “Be My Valentine”.

Happy Heart Day to all of you from all of us in the salt marsh! ❤ Tiny

Valentine’s Flowers to You

I just wanted to say Happy Valentine’s Day to all friends and visitors! Since I cannot send flowers to all of you, I have prepared a small gallery of my digital art flowers, and a little Haiku to go with the bouquet. These flowers will reach everyone regardless of the weather and canceled flights. I hope you enjoy them!

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Friendship is a gift

Given by an open heart

Receive it with joy. 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and stay safe!   Tiny

Oh Valentine

Oh Dear, you say

life is complicated

not moving in straight lines

but in pirouettes

constantly changing

the next move more delicate

than the previous one.

I’m learning, you say

the steps quite fast

still falling sometimes

and taking a few missteps

but I’ll get up and continue

going with the flow

of the delicate melodies.

Oh Valentine, you say

that’s the dance of my life

and I’m happy

to dance with you.