We are having our best weather so far this year. It’s been calling me to go outside. Finally yesterday morning I got an opportunity to spend a couple of hours on the beach and in the nature reserve. I needed that quiet time in the midst of everything going on in the outer world. It was simply beautiful. I invite you to come along.
Just outside our garden, I was greeted by a Snowy Egret who was enjoying the beautiful morning at the top of a tree. Close by, two Mourning Doves were admiring the sun. I thought they looked like a happy old couple. Content with life. No worries of the world.
Once on the beach I was walking along the water line, watching the terns and gulls play and bath in the surf. And pelicans fly back and forth in search of fish.
I also found mama Royal Tern and her teenage offspring…arguing as usual. I had to smile. Some things stay the same.
I was just about to turn towards the nature reserve when I spotted two ospreys. They were on a fishing trip. Flying high above the waves and peering down on the water. They were far out so I couldn’t see who they were, but snapped a picture of both. And guess what?
That was Papa Osprey and Stanley! They have become pals, it seems. They flew further away on the ocean and I took the path to the salt marsh.
I walked on the north side of the marsh and was greeted by a Great Egret on the very top of a huge tree. I guess having an overview was trending among egrets yesterday.
I spotted many other egrets, a juvenile Night Heron, and Tricolored Heron, among others. And my pal, the Muscovy Duck, who tends to come and greet me whenever I rest and sit on a bench.
I didn’t expect to see Papa Osprey because I’d just seen him over the ocean. But when I approached the nest, there he was. All wet. But with no fish.
I guess he was disappointed that the dive in the ocean didn’t result in fresh seafood lunch. And he must have been hungry. He turned to look at me as if saying he can’t stay.
I assured him I understood, and that I’d wait for a while. Off he flew to the drive-thru fish place, aka the intra-coastal bay.
I wanted to see if he’d catch a fish, so I decided to take a run around the park. I approached his nest again after about 15 minutes. And he was already back! Soaking wet and with a fish firmly in the talons of his left foot. It looked like one from the lunch menu.
The second fishing trip was a success. Persistence pays off. After drying himself for a few minutes, he looked up towards the wooded end of the park and talked to someone I couldn’t see. In a friendly voice. Maybe he told his pal Stanley where he had caught the fish?
After checking the airspace around him he started to eat his lunch. Soon thereafter I said my goodbyes. I may not see him until after a couple of weeks due to my upcoming travels.
It was a great little outing. I hope you enjoyed it too. Be good now and enjoy the weekend. <3 Tiny
This year I have a useless calendar on my office wall. It didn’t say it’s Thanksgiving in Canada today. However, I got a hint from Papa Osprey yesterday. I should’ve understood that something special was in making when he offered me breakfast. At sunrise.
It was a beautiful, cool (FL cool, of course) morning. The waning moon was still high up in the sky when I decided to go for a pre-breakfast, sunrise run on the beach. And then round it out in the nature reserve.
I reached the salt marsh when sun was just climbing above the tree tops. Running along the foot path, I stopped to snap a few pictures of a Great Blue Heron who was wading knee-deep in the water. Beautiful. All other wading birds seemed to be at sleep in their secret quarters. Or so I thought.
I was standing under a dense tree admiring and “shooting” the heron, when a sudden, loud “kaa-kaa” and rustling of the branches and leaves just above my head scared me to death! I almost dropped my camera. But I got this nice picture, not edited in any way. It has some fancy colors, but I have no idea what I shot. The spirits of nature?
I discovered it was a Black Crowned Night Heron who had scared me. Or rather, I had interrupted his sleep by sneaking around at sunrise. I’m sure he had just gone to sleep after a night of hunting. I got this shaky, partial picture of him in the next tree…And I said sorry for waking him up.
That’s when I saw Papa Osprey. He had been up early, fishing in the dark. And was having a big fish for breakfast. I walked closer to the nest. He looked at me with a funny expression.
Then he took a bite of the fish and dropped it in my direction. Offering breakfast.
I didn’t catch it, but said my thanks for his kindness. I should’ve known it was close to Thanksgiving. For all my Canadian friends. Happy Thanksgiving !! <3 Tiny
I know a leader when I see one. That’s how I’ve made my livelihood, at least to a part. Spotting leadership talent and helping it flourish. Now I’ve spotted such talent in the nature reserve. Ready to lead. No coaching required.
That’s Papa Osprey, of course. You knew it, right? Or you may want some proof? I have plenty.
First, he cares about his community. The salt marsh has plenty of fish, from huge footlongs to medium and small. It would be easy to just dive down from the nest and get breakfast, lunch and dinner. Like opening the fridge. But he doesn’t fish there.
He leaves the food supply for residents who can’t fish in the ocean. Like this tiny Tri-colored Heron.
Second, he ensures peace in the community. He constantly scans the skies and the grounds for any threats. And warns the residents whenever he detects a potential danger. Like dogs walking their people or bicyclists on the foot path closest to the marsh.
Or the two other ospreys, Stanley and Steve, who have settled in the area. Don’t get me wrong. Papa Osprey lets them thrive in the park. And even allows them to use his favorite dead palm trunk as their breakfast bar.
But he keeps a watchful eye on their movements. And sends a message of caution, as and when warranted. It’s clear that he has earned their respect.
Third, he’s on the top of everything in the community. Has the big picture. Gently keeps tabs on the residents’ comings and goings. Like this Great Blue Heron, who periodically takes trips to the bay-side to socialize with fishermen in exchange for free fish.
Or the Pelicans who fly in shuttle traffic between the ocean and the bay right over the salt marsh.
And the young Night Herons who practice landing at the tree tops with varying degrees of success.
And not to talk about the large Egret population that tends to move back and forth between the tiny islands in search of the best fish.
Fourth, Papa Osprey trusts his gut. I got proof of that just a couple of days ago when I met a nice bird photographer. He was a visitor, not familiar with the nature reserve . So we started to chat and I told him about the nest. After a while I heard Papa Osprey’s warning calls. Unwanted disturbance too close to the nest.
And then saw the poor guy walk away from the vicinity of the nest. After he left, I went to see Papa Osprey. He was his calm, handsome self and turned to greet me when I walked right under the nest. Not a peep, just a friendly nod. He definitely trusts his gut.
Then we both admired the bright yellow wild flowers that had popped up right next to the nest pole. I snapped a picture, he checked on the little worm crawling on one of the flowers.
My conclusion, based on all this evidence, is that Papa Osprey is a community leader with natural clout. I hope you agree with my assessment.