Some summer days are just lazy and pleasant. Nothing too dramatic or exciting, just casual fun. Miriam and I visited the Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area yet again, and we took a lot of pictures. This easily accessed marsh habitat is a popular spot for photographers of all ability levels, and many of the local wildlife have become accustomed to human presence. Like a less exotic version of the Anhinga Trail in the Florida Everglades, OMNSA provides great opportunities to get up close and personal with the resident critters.
The star of the show today was an adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. We watched as the stealthy predator stalked crabs just beyond the boardwalk’s guard rail, tearing off their claws before gulping them down. Miriam pointed out that you could watch the heron’s hapless prey moving as they were slowly swallowed. Awesome.
Crabs are a popular menu item at the Oceanside marsh. We spotted a Herring Gull tucking into a larger Blue Crab out on the mudflats.
We stopped by the Osprey platform, briefly catching a glimpse of one of the nestlings. Two Green Herons, a youngster and an adult, were foraging in one of the tidal creeks. The other expected wading birds, swallows, and sparrows were all present in some numbers.
A Snow Goose has been hanging around with the Canada Geese at this site, seemingly an injured individual who failed to migrate north this spring. We saw it in the distance on our last visit, but today it was resting on a grassy knoll closer to the main trails. Miriam’s quest to photograph a Willet in flight continued, with some success. She did manage to score a clear shot of one bird with its flashy wings spread as it touched down on the muddy shoreline. A clear in-flight snapshot is still the primary goal, yet to be achieved satisfactorily.
Our Oceanside outing, though brief and easygoing, was a fine use of a sunny summer morning. Even the small-scale adventures are a welcome break from the daily hustle and bustle!
Year List Update, July 5 – 314 Species