Those who wait!
The morning light creeps into the marsh as the sun begins its daily climb. Clear blue azure hues fill the sky. There is a hint of pink and gray on the western horizon. A Clapper Rail cautiously slips out of cover of the thick green grasses to bath in the channel as the tide rises in the early dawn light. It spots me watching and quickly disappears. A fin breaks the surface followed by the broad red back of a huge Redfish cruising along the edge of the channel searching for crabs in the shallow mud banks of the marsh. It is a beautiful May morning on the Broward. It has been a great week too. Grab a cup of coffee and let me share some of my adventures with you.
I finally have the pleasure of meeting some of my photo friends on the Broward. Miss Donna (an award winning local photographer) and her husband invite me over to share some time and discuss our favorite hobby as we vainly try to figure out why a new lens is not working properly on her camera. She takes me to her dock and I see what a beautiful view she enjoys. The ospreys and herons are fishing nearby. A few cormorants are sunning on the neighbors dock, one in the classic wings stretched out pose I hope to catch close up someday. We begin to walk over and down on that dock and are greeted by about a dozen small Least Terns who sit and look curiously at our approach. A Black Skimmer is also spotted among them. As we slowly approach, the terns relent and fly off one by one. The Black Skimmer stays put and warily watches us with what seems like the same curiosity that we have with it. We sit down for a birds-eye view of our feathered friend. Finally we reach a distance that seems “close enough” and it slowly takes wing and circles around only to land a bit further away as I push the doohickey again and again. Also later met met Angie and husband Karl and the bug Macro-photo guy Jim and Mr. Wayne, a professional photographer. I had wonderful visits and now a face to put with my neighbors and photo friends.
Back on my dock I have good news to report. While a relative is visiting, we retreat to the back porch to watch the sunset over the marsh. The golden light bathes the marsh grass as the sun peeks through a low deck of clouds on its way to the horizon to bid us goodnight. An owl silently swoops by and lands in the tree next to the porch and is shortly joined by another. A mocking bird is highly disturbed by their presence but the owls hiss and ignore the pesky bird and it finally gives up its attempt to scare the owls off. I do believe this is Fuzzy and Wuzzy, the young Barred Owls, now hunting on their own. The owls appear smaller than the two adults I recall seeing a few weeks ago. After a few mishaps, I manage to catch a few dark photos before the on camera flash causes them to move. One owl flies back towards the tree where I first saw them in April. On another afternoon I also spot my favorite bird, a Roseate Spoonbill in the channel near my dock. I get only a few quick photos before it flies off. In the future I hope I will get many more opportunities to share this beautiful bird with you. On another day a small Cattle Egret walks into the back yard and thru the fenced area to within a few feet of me. It was in post breeding plumage with a tawny crown still visible. Without even a hint of notice of me, it hops the fence and flies off. A similar looking bird, often confused with the cattle egret, is the juvenile Little Blue Heron. Both birds are born all white but the Little Blue slowly begins to change to spotted blue and white and then to all blue with a maroon neck and head. Now photos of both types of these herons add to my album collections.Another treat was an afternoon spent watching a small Tricolored Heron. It is decked out with a breeding blue beak and crown plumes as it chases minnows in the rising tide. This small heron is not alarmed at my presence and allows me to sit on the dock as it hunts only a few feet away. As I lower myself low on the dock, I get a birds-eye view of this beautiful little heron. The little tricolored bird stalks the shallows and holds its head at various angles to see the minnows. It stops, appears to cock its neck back like a hunter about to draw a bow and arrow, then lunges forward as its beak strikes the water with lightning speed. A wriggling minnow is soon swallowed with glee and off it goes again in search of another.
Good things do come to those who wait. And wait. And wait. Seems like it was a long dry spell, then a flood, and now good things have arrived with the spring. I have a face with a friends name now and opportunity for future photos. It is nice to have hope and something to look forward to. Hope you enjoy the photos. They were worth the wait. Be Blessed. Harry