Gaining Weight. And That’s a Good Thing.

Don’t you worry, this post is not about me. Luckily I haven’t gained any weight lately.  Should it happen, I wouldn’t necessarily consider that a good thing. This is all about a certain distinguished  Pandion haliaetus, namely Papa Osprey.

The other day I realized he might have gained a little bit of weight. No, I couldn’t get him to step on the scale, that’s still very much work in progress, but found this picture. It was  taken just after the nesting season in early July, when Papa Osprey returned from his two-week vacation. Doesn’t he look pretty thin and worn out? Just bones and skin beneath the feathers?

papa osprey in beginning of July
PO in early July, just two weeks after the fledgling left the nest.

If we compare this picture to how he looks now,  in November, when perched on the edge of his nest with a nice variety of brunch items, I’m sure you agree that there’s some more of him now.

papa osprey with a red fish
PO at the nest with a red fish…
..and another fish...
..and a white fish…
...and a third type of fish...
…and a third type of very pale fish…
...and a forth variety, a huge one.
…and a fourth variety, a huge one for breakfast at sunrise.

You see, Ospreys lose weight during the nesting season. All that hauling of heavy building materials needed for nestoration, and then fishing from sunrise to sunset to feed Mama Osprey and the nestling, made for a good workout. Combine that with the fact that his lunch hour was short, if he didn’t miss it altogether, and the dinner table might have been pretty empty by the time his work was finished , and you have an effective weight loss regimen.

wet papa osprey returns from ocean
PO after a recreational swim in the ocean…

Now Papa Osprey has enjoyed about five months of freedom. Warm, lazy days just gliding along the beach and fishing for himself. No stress. All his attention directed towards his own wellbeing. Full crop most times I’ve seen him. I think it shows. And that’s a good thing.

papa osprey over the ocean
PO fishing on the ocean…

Yesterday I saw he had brought some colorful materials into the nest. He probably wants to make sure Mama Osprey will see the nest from afar whenever she decides to arrive back into this area. It could be any day between now and early January. He’s already preening diligently to look handsome for her.

Po getting in shape...
PO getting in shape…

Yesterday I also spotted a new, fourth osprey gliding past my office window, but  wasn’t able to make an identification. Papa was perched in his nest, and I saw two other ospreys (Stanley and Steve?) circling above the bay. Might it be Mama Osprey, all rested and fuller figured too, waiting for Papa to perform his Proposal Dance?

Even when they stay together for life, Papa needs to please her with a special dance before she’ll start working with him on rebuilding  the nest. Repeat every year. I personally think it’s a good practice :-D

An artistic "dream rendering" of PO performing his dance
An artistic “dream rendering” of PO performing his dance

I’m sharing a link to a beautiful two-minute trailer for a documentary about Ospreys. It’s worth watching, and you can do it by clicking right here. It pretty much sums up why Ospreys have a special place in my heart.

Hope your weekend has been great so far. Mine has been exceptionally good. I was able to watch Papa Osprey and the other residents in the salt marsh together with a blogging friend of mine, bird photographer and expert, H.J. aka Avian 101, and his beautiful family. I’m sure he’ll post some great photos from the salt marsh and elsewhere after his vacation.

Happy Thanksgiving week to everyone.

 

A Short Walk in Search of Fall

Earlier this week, I decided to go look for signs of fall here in my neighborhood.  Even in nature that’s mostly evergreen, there should be some signs of the seasons changing. Other than somewhat cooler temperatures with occasional cold fronts, shorter days and migrating birds.

When I looked carefully, I found some seasonal colors in our garden, on the beach, around the bay and the salt marsh in the park. We don’t see the type of stunning color palettes you have up north, but I found a few small spots of eye-popping color. I hope you like the Florida fall colors I picked up on my walk.

Sending warm thoughts and prayers to those blogging friends who experienced the epic snow storm this week, and are now expecting flooding. Please stay safe. You can read about their struggle on Amy’s blog.

Love always, Tiny

Fall colors in our garden...
Fall colors in our garden…
Fall flowers on the beach...
Fall flowers on the beach…
Changing colors on the beach...
Changing colors on the beach…
Colorful leaves in the salt marsh...
Colorful leaves in the salt marsh…
Wild flowers in the salt marsh
Wild flowers in the salt marsh
Late bloomers...White Bird of Paradise next to the bay...
Late bloomers…White Bird of Paradise next to the bay…
Blooming grass on the bay side...
Blooming grass on the bay side…
A blooming tree in the park...
A blooming tree in the park…
Color popping seed pods in the park...
Eye-popping seed pods in the park…
...and a head popping Muscovy Duck in the salt mash :)
…and a head-bopping Muscovy Duck in the salt mash :)

 

Papa Osprey and His Friends. Important Introductions.

This past weekend was a delight. The weather was gorgeous between two cold fronts, but even more importantly our son popped in for a short visit. After all the good eating, I took him on a walk to enjoy the beach and to introduce him to my winged friends in the salt marsh.  I hoped they would behave. Or at least not go into hiding.

blue ocean nov 16
A sailing boat on the calm, blue Gulf…

The ocean was sky blue and calm. Sailing school students were gathering for a class little further out.

sailing school nov 16
Sailing school students gather for a class…

Pelicans were flying back and forth close to the water, tiny Sanderlings were running around on the sand picking food, and to my surprise a Snowy Egret was fishing in the calm waves rolling in. A welcome committee already on the beach.

pelican flying low 2
A Pelican flies close to the calm waters…
sanderling
A little Sanderling picks for food…
A Snowy Egret fishing on the ocean shore...
A Snowy Egret fishing on the ocean shore…

When we reached the north end of the beach, Mister Blue Heron had courteously come to welcome us to the park and the salt marsh. I made introductions and we got some nice pictures.

mister blue heron on the beach
Mister Blue Heron shows off his welcome pose…

As we walked through the park, we spotted a beautiful Mourning Dove in the grass. And reaching the salt marsh we observed a Tricolored Heron fishing in the shallow waters. I was happy to see we still had some visitors. A team of Wood Storks was guarding a sleeping Spoonbill. He was taking an after lunch nap, I assumed.

mourning dove
A graceful Mourning Dove…
wood storks and roseate spoonbill
Visiting Wood Stork team and a Roseate Spoonbill…
tricolored heron
A Tricolored Heron patrols the marsh…

I made some quick introductions again, but was in a hurry to see if I could introduce my most cherished friend, Papa Osprey. And he didn’t disappoint.

papa osprey with a fish
Papa Osprey says hi to Tiny & son…

He was having lunch. He saw I had someone important to introduce so he interrupted his eating for a while to say hi. So very thoughtful of him. After saying our goodbyes to him we walked back home. And saw a new guy on the block circling high above the beach, a Turkey Vulture. I have no idea whether he’s moved in or was just visiting over the weekend.

Turkey vulture in flight
A Turkey Vulture circles high up…

It was a great weekend, but now we’re all back to work. Mine being to finish the first draft of my second book before the end of the month. I’ll need to catch up on my word count as writing was not a priority over this particular weekend. I’ll try to catch up on your blogs as well this week.

Have a great week, my friends.

 

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