Spread your wings..
The refreshing breezes of May have given new life to the marsh. The grass is growing greener due to the abundant rains. This morning I saw the pink glow of morning reflect on the clouds. By the time I got my lenses changed it had faded all too quickly and was gone. Like the fading flash of pink, spring is almost gone and the hot humid air of summer is beginning to roll over the marsh like a wet smothering blanket. The marsh birds are nesting. Time for a road trip to the stick marsh.
I had to cancel a planned trip to the southwest coast of Florida this spring and missed out on one of my favorite workshops this year with my friend Jack. However, a last minute schedule change with visitors did allow me to take advantage of an opening to take a trip down south again to Blue Cypress Lake to see how the Osprey were doing and also visit the "stick marsh" . The T.M. Goodwin waterfowl management area near Fellsmere Florida, aka the "Stick Marsh" is home to prime bass fishing. For birders it provides a great opportunity to see nesting Roseate Spoonbills, Great Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Little Blue and Tricolored Herons and sometimes, the illusive Green Herons. I met Wildlife guide and photographer Ron Bielefeld and his client "Doc" Wingfield there for a day on the pontoon boat. The weather was perfect but as "fate" would have it the birds didn't quite cooperate for that planned "Kodak moment" I had envisioned. Still, I had a great time and captured some good photographs.
The "stick marsh" is aptly named for the nesting material or sticks that the birds gather when they fly to and from the small island outcrops of bushes heavily loaded with nesting birds of all kinds. We watched a Tricolored heron and a Cattle Egret fly back and forth across the canal for hours as fast as they could to gather nesting materials. Some sticks were large, some seemed small, but each had a planned location and purpose. Time, tide and formation wait for no man. Neither do the waiting eggs of a nesting marsh bird. We saw birds on eggs, newly hatched chicks, and some half grown and fledgling young. Some were branching as they spread their wings and started to practice the magical art of flying. For the recently fledged young, It was comical to watch them try new maneuvers as they attempted to land, avoid obstacles or wires and show off their new skills.
This June blog is dedicated to all you new fledglings out there. They may be your children or more likely grand or great grandchildren. They are spreading their wings and beginning to fly. You gathered the sticks, made the nest, fed them and nourished and protected them. It is their turn to fly now. Be mindful of the lurking gators. Now watch them go on a wing and a prayer. Be blessed. Harry