Little Sindile, the youngest of the three Osprey chicks, was alone in the nest. Her siblings had left for their independent adventures several days ago, but Papa Osprey was still around to look after her.
He perched on the bayside at the Community Sailing Center, with a direct line of sight to the nest. He would bring fish to Sindile a couple of times a day, usually in the morning and in the evening. Sometimes he would eat lunch, but not bring anything to her. That’s tough love. It’s called motivation. He wanted her to go fishing. And after frenetically asking for lunch, she usually flew a few rounds over the bay scanning for fish. I didn’t see her catch any, but she might have.
On Monday, I discovered something funny. Sindile was in the nest and she asked for fish. But in a way that sounded a bit half-hearted, there was no urgency in her call (unlike in the video clip below I shot on Sunday). I thought of it when I walked away from the nest to greet other residents of the salt marsh.
I marveled about Mama Yellow-crowned Night Heron, who tried to land on a thin branch close to her juvenile offspring. The branch broke off, and she fell into the water. Like most moms, she must have been sleep deprived. Then I looked back towards the nest again and saw Sindile with a big, half-eaten fish. She was nibbling on it. She had it all along. Apparently it was too big to finish at breakfast, but I was too close previously to notice it from the ground. She may have caught it herself that morning, but thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask for another one :) I had to smile.
I saw her for the last time on my early morning walk yesterday. She was looking down into the water where a big fish was making waves.
I walked along the northern side of the marsh and saw a Roseate Spoonbill perched on a small tree, still fast asleep.
And spotted an old friend, the Reddish Egret, also known as the “showman”. He might have brought his juvenile offspring for a fishing trip at the marsh.
I took a short video clip of the early morning activities. And later added my last footage on Sindile from Sunday.
I had to leave the salt marsh quite abruptly as a morning storm was approaching from the ocean.
Passing the nest again, I snapped one more picture of Sindile. She looked so “adult” and in control. Little did I know it would be my last picture of her. At least for now. I checked on her from my window before going to my lunch meeting. She was still in the nest. But when I came back around 3 p.m., the nest was empty.
I kept an eye on the nest in the evening until it was dark. She didn’t come back. Papa Stanley was perched on his usual lamp-post at the Sailing Center. It’s quite a bit further than the nest, but I could see he caught a fish two times last night. Just in case Sindile would come back. He is a good dad. And his tough love had worked. He was eligible for a good vacation.
This morning he was perched there again, turned toward the nest. I’m not sure whether or not he spent the night there. But Sindile had left the nest for good. She had enough confidence in her fishing skills to embark on independent life. Goodbye and good luck, Sindile! I will miss you.
Next week, I’ll peek into Mama Sandy’s calendar to prepare a short recap of Sandy’s and Stanley’s successful nesting season. I have to lift my hat to them, such talented parents! That’s all from the salt marsh this week. Have a great week!