Tag Archives: Walk

In the Meantime at the Salt Marsh…

On Friday morning Dylan and I went for a walk around the salt marsh. Since I’ve been keeping an eye on the osprey nest from my terrace, I already knew that Mama Sandy and Papa Stanley were still incubating. And provided that everything goes well, we should have hatchlings in about 7-14 days.

ospreys still incubating UD153_edited-2On our front lawn, we were met by a puffed up Mourning Dove. It had been chilly, according to Florida standards of course, in the last few days. And the sun had not yet warmed up the grass.

mourning dove ud153On arrival, we spotted lots of white everywhere around the marsh. Several families of Great Egrets, a few Snowy Egrets and White Ibis were having breakfast under the watchful eye of the Mayor. The older Great Blue Heron had parked himself at the far end of the marsh to ensure an adequate overview of what was going on around the breakfast buffet.

mr mayor great blue heron ud153Some Great Egrets were fishing, seemingly not with much success despite valiant efforts …

a Great Egret fishing ud153…while others demonstrated a double catch.

great egret with two fish UD153A few were still flying in …

great egret flying UD153…some were chasing each other…

Two Great Egrets fly together ud153…and yet others were flying around just for the fun of it.

great egret in flight ud153Some had found their own perfect spot in the sun to air their beautiful breeding plumage. Like this Great Egret who had decided to rent the Mayor’s office…

great egret ud153…and this Snowy Egret, who had found a private sunny spot close to the osprey nest.

snowy agret ud153Suddenly we heard a familiar sound. A high-pitched warning call. And not only by one osprey, but two. Papa Stanley was eating his breakfast at a lamp-post just outside the marsh. He stopped eating and sounded repeated warning calls…

papa osprey sounds alarm ud153…while Mama Sandy sounded the alarm from the nest where she was sitting on the eggs. It took me a while to localize the threat in the sky. It was another, to me unknown, Osprey. He flew towards the nest and peered down right on Sandy.

another osprey ud153Despite the duet of warning calls, the newcomer circled several times around the nest and finally Sandy couldn’t take it anymore. She got up, left the eggs and flew towards the forest after the intruder. I have never seen her do such a daring maneuver while incubating.

mama osprey gets up and flies UD153I lost sight of her for a minute or two, but then she landed back in the nest. Phew. As you can see, she was very careful not to hit the nest cup in the middle of the nest. Her talons were drawn in and her eyes were trained on the eggs.

mama osprey arrives back ud153

mama osprey back at the nest ud153She had been successful in chasing away the intruder, but stood up for a while checking he was really gone.

Peace returned to the salt marsh. A Belted Kingfisher landed on a branch in the middle of the marsh…

belted Kingfisher ud153_edited-1…Stanley went back to eating his fish…

papa osprey continues to eat ud153…and Sandy went back to incubating.

mama osprey incubiting ud153I was glad there was a happy ending to this story, and can’t wait to see a hatchling, two or three soon. Dylan, I and the lively salt marsh gang wish you all a wonderful week ahead.

Papa Osprey’s Photo Shoot. And an Illicit Visitor at the Salt Marsh.

The sun was barely up on my first day home after the trip when I stepped out in the garden. Without even a cup of coffee. I just had to go see my feathered friends before starting a busy day. And he was right there. The Little Blue Heron, in a shady spot under the palm trees.

little blue heron in our garden ud21It was wonderful to be welcomed home by one of my friends from the salt marsh. The beach was quiet. And the rainwater “lake” was gone.

sunrise beach ud21The salt marsh looked fresh and misty. And I saw the water levels were almost back to normal. Little islets stuck up from the water, just as they used to.

sunrise at salt marsh ud21Most birds were still in their sleeping quarters, but Mama Sandy was already having her breakfast at the nest. She had a nasty wound on her left leg, but looked okay otherwise.

mama osprey with a fish ud21When I came closer, she greeted me in her typical straight forward, but friendly manner. I thought she even smiled.

mama osprey at the nest UD21I found the young Great Blue Heron (GBH) close to the osprey nest, as often is the case. He didn’t bother to look at me. He might be familiar with my view on his attacks on the nest earlier this year.

young blue heronThe Tri-colored Heron, who had temporarily moved elsewhere during the floods, was back home. She was happily hunting for her breakfast in the shallow waters.

tricolored heron ud21And just when I was about to leave, Rosa, the Roseate Spoonbill flew in. It’s always nice to see her. And it looks like she might think the same about me 🙂

roseate spoonbill landing ud21roseate spoonbill Rosa ud21I continued my walk to the bay side, and marveled at the European Starlings greeting the sun on a lamp-post next to the park.

starling family at sunrise ud21I decided to check if Papa Stanley would be at his resort. He was at home. Still sleeping when I arrived.

papa osprey sleeping ud21He soon discovered me and decided to pose for a photo shoot. A rare treat, and so very kind of him.

papa ospey says hi ud21papa osprey in his resort ud21papa osprey portraIT 2 UD21papa osprey portrait ud21I thought he was quite handsome. That was a great home-coming.

I got another opportunity to get out for a quick walk this morning. I discovered that the “beach lake” had reemerged after yesterday’s short, but intense storm. Many birds were enjoying rainwater baths and the special menu the fresh waters had to offer.

more rainwater and birds on the beach ud21snowy egret 2 ud21theyoung great blue heron ud21black skimmer drinking fresh water ud21juvenile black skimmer sleeping ud21And some, like this juvenile Black Skimmer, were just plain tired of all the excitement.

While the young GBH was frolicking at the “beach lake”, the older one, the Mayor, was back in charge at the salt marsh.

mayor great blue heronI bet he was not happy to see this illicit fisherman trying to capture the fish that belongs to the residents. I was not happy either.

fisherman at salt marsh ud21I wished Sandy had been at the nest and given him a small lesson. But luckily, as soon as I started walking towards the park HQ, he packed his gear and left. Once he was gone, I came back to greet the Great and Snowy Egrets who were enjoying the sunshine in large numbers, and then walked back home.

great egret on the top ud21So much excitement, as always, at the salt marsh. Thank you for coming along. We all wish you a wonderful weekend!

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.

A Walk between Winter and Spring

For weekend reading I want to invite you to come along for another walk on the beach and in the nature reserve close to my home. My outing earlier this week was on an intermittently sunny, but windy day. It was not yet warm. Although it’s March, it felt more like winter. That’s relative, of course.

boj beach slow speed

Spring has actually started by now here on the nature coast, but one wouldn’t know it from the weather. Temperatures are several degrees cooler than the averages for this time of the year. Even an implant like me is still using a jacket. Then, how do I know it’s spring? Easy. There is lots of pollen in the air and allergies are in high gear. Even my dog, Bumble, got an allergy shot this week. Not kidding.

gull on the beach edx

The pelicans have not yet returned to the beach, but I could see a few sea gulls patrolling the windy ocean front. My eyes were watering from the wind so I decided to turn away from the beach and walk in the nature reserve.


I immediately knew I would have much better luck in spotting birds. The first one I saw was a small blue heron wading in the marsh. Then I spotted a bunch of white ibis birds. They were playing “follow the leader”. And marched right across the trail I was walking on. One, two, three…

five ibis birds walking (2) edx

At the first glance the marshland looked empty. But then I discovered several birds hiding from the cool wind amongst the trees and bushes. Here’s a small heron taking shelter. I would say it was well camouflaged.

BIRD HIDING small heron edx

After a while I encountered two birds who were very happy to pose for close-ups. A large sea gull

Gull edx

who had taken shelter in the park, which is rare, and a white ibis braving the wind on the top of an old swing. It didn’t look very happy, I thought.


My next find was much more rare, a roseate spoonbill. I have only seen one about a year ago in this reserve. This one might be visiting or maybe renting a home here only for the spring break?

bird roseate spoonbill EDX

But I thought it was beautiful! I was standing there admiring the spoonbill when a great blue heron landed elegantly in the water right in front of me. This one definitely lives here.

blue heron landed edx

It always patrols the different areas of the park and it occurred to me that it might be the neighborhood watchman? Or maybe the tax collector?

little bird 3 edx

I continued my walk and saw tiny bird. I hope it felt welcomed by the many big birds who call this reserve their home. As we say in the Nordic countries: if there’s  room in the heart, there’s room in the home.

bird osprey husband leaving ed

Before I leave the park, I always check on the resident osprey couple. It seems that they are not yet expecting any addition to the family. But I guess it’s just a matter of time. I’m going to keep an eye on them from our terrace. I can see their nest using strong binoculars. It would be so cool to catch a few flying lessons when the juveniles start practicing.  If I do, I’ll make sure to share the pictures with you.

I wish everyone a wonderful weekend. ♥ Tiny

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

Sunday Morning Surprises

Our nature reserve

This morning my little poodle decided to take me for a walk in the neighboring nature reserve. The weather was gorgeous, crisp and sunny. We took the birding trail close to the marsh to see if we could spot any birds on our way to the beach.

bird trail

As my companion went about his business, I spotted a huge blue heron on a tiny “island” next to the trail.

blue heron

It was calmly inspecting the waters for something to eat for breakfast and did not care about us walking close by.

bird in the marsh

Soon we spotted a smaller crane bird in the water very close to the trail. And further back, on the other side of the marsh, there were two white herons enjoying themselves in the morning sun.

white cranes

The bird trail leads right onto the beach and there we spotted another blue heron seemingly contemplating a fishing trip in the ocean.

another blue heron on the beach

And of course we spotted many sea gulls and pelicans on the beach as well. They seemed to have found a shoal of small fish and were having a free Sunday brunch!

sea gulls and pelicans

This little Sunday morning stroll suddenly turned into a bird watching walk and I wished I would have taken my better camera gear instead of just carrying my iPhone, a bottle of water and a doggy bag.

walking home through the reserve

Life can be full of pleasant surprises, sometimes just a block away from home!