Monday, July 13, 2015

Salt Marsh Surprise!

     Today I met my friend and fellow wildlife enthusiast at the Salt Marsh in Marine Park. I was almost disheartened as I had left my battery for my camera home, and it was hot. But I'm glad I got my butt out the door because we got quite a show from some salt marsh residents! Lots of photos, hope you enjoy!
A black swallowtail butterfly feasts on the wildflowers that welcome you to the salt marsh.
We had walked down to near the active osprey platform. And were about to walk in a different direction, but saw papa osprey bring in a huge fish to the nest. I was like, I gotta go watch that, so we walked closer, and in the reeds below... GAH! The cuteness! An entire clapper rail family! Mom, Dad, and 8 chicks! The whole family is in this frame, chick #8 was a bit lagging from his siblings. I was over come with cute!
Dad is in the back, with a more orange bill and red eyes, mom seemed to lead the family, dad was more for snuggling.
I have never seen clapper rail spend so much time out in the open, not darting into some grasses after being seen. We remained on the trail, while these guys just did their thing, only coming closer to us.
In the same family as coots, the babies are where I see the resemblance.
Awful photo, but you get some bird drama, as a glossy ibis flew in to land, and mom was NOT happy.
I would have liked to have seen the glossy land there, buuuut, there is nothing like an angry mama clapper rail! Would not want to cross her!
The chicks wade through the rising tide to get to mom.
The family settled here for a bit, the chicks gathered around dad while mom took a time out.
Dad takes on the snuggling responsibility, guarding and watching those chicks.
A devoted dad!
Mom gets some down time.
And I get some lovely shots of mom...
Dad keeps the chicks near by to him and the grasses for cover.
Egret stole my attention for a hot second, lots of birds flying through the area in which we stood and observed the rail family. Those yellow feet, and small size tell you this is a snowy egret.
Mom leads the family closer to us to a patch of grasses just below the trail.
Felt pretty lucky to have such a nice long view of this rail family, it was a great surprise and made me so glad I got my rear end back out after work!
The osprey family was trying out their wings. These babies are no longer babies, but juvenile flighted birds, still hanging with mom and dad, still learning some life skills.
Trying out those wings!
Mom gives encouragement to the juveniles in the middle, while dad feasts on his catch.
Pretty sure these are milkweed borers, a species of beetle that feeds on milkweed. They are making more milkweed borers that will feed on the roots of the milkweed. Adults feed on the leaves, biting them and "bleeding" them of their toxic sap.
The glossy ibis from before settled down further from the rail family. A gorgeous bird!
My first monarch of the year. He looks a little worn, but I hope he gets the chance to reproduce and make a new monarch generation.
Identifying this as a great golden digger wasp. Adults like this, feed on nectar. Larvae feed on insects that their parents paralyze and leave in an underground burrows with them for them to feed and develop in.q1