Marshy Morning & New Discoveries!
I saw a green heron for the first time and finally ID’d tree swallows, during a short trip to explore the local marshes in the early morning. The green heron is gorgeous: blue/green wings; rust-colored belly; and bright orange legs/talons. It’s smaller than other herons and more compact, and its legs are much shorter.
Here’s a pic from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology “All About Birds” website:
It must’ve been nesting in shrubbery along the shoulder of the road and I disturbed it. When I pulled over & got out of my car, it flew out to the center of the marsh. Lucky for me, it perched on a tree long enough to collect its characteristics. Naturalist Steve from the Irvine Nature Center confirmed the ID for me.
Also in the marsh, I’ve seen little birds flitting around, they are striking. They are small with white bellies. Today one perched within binocular distance for me and I was able to ID it (also confirmed by Naturalist Steve) as a tree swallow. Such a common name for such a pretty bird! Its head and top of wings is a beautiful shade of blue – almost iridescent. Here’s a pic, also from the Cornell website:
I was super-excited about the finds. Particularly as this is a new location for nature viewing. The marsh that I stop at along Rt. 40, across from Home Depot, is dissected by the ramp to Rt. 24. This second section of the marsh doesn’t have an easy viewing spot; there’s minimal shoulder on the road. With light traffic on an early Saturday morning, I found a relatively safe spot to pull over and was happily rewarded with these finds. Here are two views of this section of marsh:
At my regular marsh-viewing spot the mute swan returned. Apparently tundra swans are common here. But as far as I can tell with my binoculars this one has an orange bill, making it a mute swan. It looked rather dirty. It was way on the far side of the marsh, hunkered down grooming itself, so it was hard to see.
A great blue heron was there as well. I got busy watching the red-winged blackbirds thru my binoculars though, and the heron flew off. I missed his flight.
Besides blackbirds, tree swallows, and robins, I sighted another small black/gray bird. That will be my next mission to ID that one.
Here are two views of this section of marsh. Just amazing how much activity is going on, yet unnoticeable to casual viewing.
My early-morning marsh trip included a stop at the Rt. 40 pull-off park, prior to the Leight Estuary Center. I saw a fisherman returning along a little trail leading to the water’s edge. I wanted to get a photo of the fog in the cove and asked him about the view. He cautioned me about following the trail – “There are animals back there!” he said. Being by myself, I was a little apprehensive about what kinds of animals were back in those woods … He said beavers. Ok, beavers I can deal with. (Maybe they are otters, being that we were at Otter Point Creek.)
I’m glad he mentioned it. As I was enjoying the view and the quiet along the cove, all of a sudden there was loud splashing near my feet that lasted for a few seconds. I jumped. If I hadn’t been forewarned of the beavers, I probably would’ve went running down the trail back to my car. :).
The cove at early morning:
Next, I drove around the corner to the Leight Estuary Center. The gates were open so I took a short walk down to the water’s edge hoping for more pics of the fog over the water. I saw a heron in flight there, and two osprey hunting for breakfast. The water level is very high, following the severe storms of the night before.
The woods are lush and thick and were dark and damp this morning:
To close, here’s a pic of Saturday’s sunrise from my back deck:
I hope you enjoy the trip to the marshes of Edgewood!