Monday Musings: Nightfall

When the night is born

Out of the last light

The day’s comings and goings

Are recycled by the mind

The words used and the silences

The doings and the neglects

All scrutinized by the heart

But abandon the judgment

Let go of the unforgiving criticism

Set your mind on a path to learning

Kindle the light of forgiveness in your heart

And let your soul dwell in the peace

Of the night just born.

Papa Osprey is a Modern Dad. And Other Foggy Stuff from the Salt Marsh.

This winter mix of weird weather gave us a short break last Sunday. Sizzling 72 F (22 C) and sunny. I took a long walk on the beach and in the park around the salt marsh.

Boring...a Royal Tern is yawning...
This heat makes me so sleepy….a Royal Tern yawns in the company of a Ring-billed Gull.

After the temps had lingered in the cold to cool zone for so long, it felt like summer. Even Mama Osprey was breathing with her tongue sticking out, cooling herself while sitting on the egg(s). I’ve seen her do this previously, but only when it’s 90+ degrees in the summer. I was tempted to do that too, sweaty in my light gear. But grateful for the sun showing up.

Mama Osprey sits on the egg(s) and cools herself...
Mama Osprey sits on the egg(s) and cools herself…

The salt marsh was full of activity. The resident Little Blue Heron even posed for a close-up (featured), and later showed off her catch.

Little Blue Heron caught a frog...Snad Key Park clearwater florida
Look Tiny, I caught a frog…

And the Osprey Family went about their usual daily routine. Papa Stanley brought fish to Mama Sandy and when she was done, he took the rest for himself. To be enjoyed in his man cave about 100 feet away.

Papa Osprey flies to his man cave with the rest of the fish...
Papa Osprey flies to his man cave with the rest of the fish…

But that turned out to be a brief respite as far as the weather gods were concerned. The sea fog came in on Monday.  For three full days I couldn’t see the osprey nest from our terrace. On Thursday afternoon, when the wind finally chased away the fog, I got this picture of Mama Sandy sitting on the egg(s). All was good.

mama osprey incubating the eggs by tiny
Mama Osprey incubating the egg(s)…as seen from our terrace.

Then, yesterday, it was finally just plain cloudy and gray. I went out for a short run. Approaching the nest I saw Mama Osprey sitting on the egg(s) with only her head visible. After a few minutes Papa flew into the nest bringing a big stick. But boy, wasn’t I in for a big surprise!

Papa Osprey sits on the egg(s)...
Papa Osprey sits on the egg(s)…

I discovered it was Mama Sandy who just flew in! And she was wet. Papa Stanley had given her a break from incubation duties so she could stretch her wings, refresh herself and also stop for a quick meal, in addition to going to Home Depot. How nice! Papa was participating in child care duties, like any other modern dad. So Mama could get some time for herself and whatever she wanted to work on.

opsprey brings in nest materials materials
Mama Osprey brings in reinforcements to the nest…

After completing her design project, Sandy perched for a while at the edge of the nest to dry herself.

Papa sits on the eggs while Mama dries herself...
Papa sits on the egg(s) while Mama dries herself…and they both see something approaching…

But the peace didn’t last long. Osprey Steve was approaching the nest. Yet again. He flew right above the nest, stopping and briefly treading air as if courting Mama Sandy. He seems to be young and overconfident that way.

Steve flies above the nest and looks down...
Steve flies above the nest and looks down…

Needless to say, Papa Stanley was furious! He warned his pal Steve in the loudest way possible.

Papa Osprey warns Steve...
Papa Osprey warns Steve…

Even the Night Heron who had been sleeping at the water right under the nest woke up and looked around curiously.

The Yellow-crowned Night Heron woke up...
The Yellow-crowned Night Heron woke up…

But Steve was insistent. To the point that Papa decided it was necessary to chase him away, in person. He set after Steve, who quickly disappeared back into the woods.

Osprey on defense mission...Sand key park clearwater florida
Papa Osprey on his defense mission…

Papa flew around the nest a few more times. Just to make the point. Once again peace was restored in the salt marsh.

Today it’s raining. Nonstop. I looked out from our living room window towards the nest.  At first I couldn’t see anybody. But then a white head came up, just a little bit. I’m guessing it’s Mama Sandy pressed tightly over the egg(s) to keep them warm and dry.

I hope your weekend has started well. Reporting from the salt marsh, Tiny

Wordless Wednesday: Get Your Feet Wet. Frame by Frame.

Get your feet wet…and explore the world, even your own backyard.
Great blue heron
Get your feet wet…and get out of your comfort zone.
Get your feet wet…and shake away your fears.
Royal tern sand key clearwater florida
Get your feet wet…and don’t back off when challenges roll your way.
Little blue heron sand key clearwater florida
Get your feet wet…and pursue your adventure, even if your hair stands up.
Get your feet wet...and drink from the source of all wisdom.
Get your feet wet…and drink from the source of all wisdom.
snowy egret sand key park clearwater florida
…and then go where your heart calls you to go. Get your feet wet.

 

Monday Musings: A Winter Walk

I have no thoughts. All dissolved into the loud silence of this winter afternoon. Previously important to-dos and to-haves gone. Wafted into these woods. Soundlessly. Graciously.

But I am.  Conscious of being part of this resplendent nature. Privileged to breathe in the clean air.  Feeling its refreshing energy. And to breathe out. Gently. Replenished.

I have no thoughts. But I am. Sensing love emanating from the earth. And grace from the heavens. Purpose reflected in every last ray of light. Passion for life. And hope.

 

Repairs and Drama. In the Windswept Salt Marsh.

In battering winds and close to freezing temperatures, with a wind chill factor much below freezing, Mama Osprey was tightly pressed down in the middle of the nest in her Florida coat. Her head was down and pointed against the wind. She didn’t move. She was protecting her egg(s). I saw all this from my office window and decided to dare the cold to check on the Osprey Family.

When I arrived, Mama osprey acknowledged my presence. Papa Osprey was nowhere to be seen.

female osprey at the nest
Mama Osprey says hi to Tiny…

I walked over to his “man cave”. He was not there. Then I spotted him huddling in a pine tree close by. He appeared to be wet. Maybe from an unsuccessful fishing trip in the stormy bay waters on the coldest day this winter. That was on Thursday.

male osprey perching in a pine tree
Papa Osprey huddles in a pine tree…

Yesterday the weather improved slowly. The winds calmed down a bit, and after the coldest morning this winter,  the temperatures climbed to balmy 49F (9.5 C) in the afternoon.  Most birds were still in hiding when I arrived in the salt marsh, but the “Mayor” himself was hunching on a small islet. I guess he wanted to give reassurances to the other residents.  This too shall pass.

great blue heron
Mister Great Blue Heron huddles in the wind…

I found Mama Sandy eager to repair her nursery after the stormy night. She gave instructions to Papa Stanley to bring home some sturdy materials. And he promptly delivered a long stick.

male osprey repairs the nest
Papa Osprey delivers repair materials…

But it didn’t seem to be quite what Mama needed. So she left the nest, just for a couple of minutes, to do the shopping herself. And brought home a large piece taken from a palm tree.

mama osprey goes shopping A
Mama Osprey goes shopping…
mama osprey gets materials A
…for the correct materials.

She then arranged the nest to her liking, and sat down on the egg(s)again.  That’s when a threat appear in the sky. Mama sounded an alarm, and Papa Stanley hurried back to the nest.

osprey couple
Mama Osprey sounds warnings…

Osprey Steve was flying over the nest. Repeatedly. With a half eaten fish in his talons.

osprey steve flies by the nest with a half fish by tiny
…with a half eaten fish. It’s Steve.

After the “situation” was over, Mama Sandy asked for fish. And Papa flew away again. Life was returning to normal in the salt marsh.

male osprey leaves the nest
Papa osprey goes fishing…

On my way home I spotted him scanning for fish above the bay, but couldn’t stay long enough to see the outcome. But about half an hour later, I saw him fly past my office window with a small shiny fish. All was good.

male osprey scans for fish
Papa Osprey scans for fish in the bay…

This morning was beautiful. The winds were weak and the temperatures climbed steadily. I just had to get out for a long walk.

The salt marsh was bustling with activity. Ibis, Night Herons, Blue Herons and Egrets were out and about.

great egret
A Great Egret airs her plumes in the sunshine.
yellowcrowned night heron portrait
A Yellow-crowned Night Heron is completely awake.

When I arrived to the nest, Mama Osprey had just finished eating . As usual, Papa Stanley took the rest of the fish and flew to finish it off in his “man cave”.

osprey flies away with the fish
Papa Osprey flies to his “man cave” to finish his meal…

But he didn’t eat. Something else had caught his attention high up in the sky.

papa osprey watching the bald eagles by tiny
…but he can’t eat. There’s danger on the horizon.

I looked up too and saw what seemed like two huge birds circling high, high up in the sky. I took my camera and zoomed all out. Two Bald Eagles. The only real danger to Ospreys, apart from man-made hazards. Papa Osprey didn’t move. His eyes followed the two birds with complete concentration.

two bald eagles flying high above
Could these two be Bald Eagles?
Yes they were...
Yes they were…

I ran back to the nest. Mama Osprey sat on her egg(s), quietly without a peep. Watching the danger in the sky. No alarm calls. It was better to remain silent and pretend to be invisible.

osprey watching the eagles
Mama Osprey watches the Eagles as well…

I knew there was a Bald Eagle nest on the other side of the bay, and gathered this might be the couple. They appeared to be completely taken by their courting dance high up in the air, and not hunting. After about five minutes they disappeared towards the bay. I could almost hear the sigh of relief from Mama Sandy. And soon Papa Stanley arrived back to the nest with his still uneaten fish. Better safe than sorry.

osprey returns with his fish 16x9
Papa Osprey returns with his fish…to be with Mama.

The danger was over and weekend was going great again.

I hope your weekend is going well too. Reporting from the salt marsh, Tiny

 

Wordless Wednesday: Don’t Bite More Than You Can… Swallow. Frame by Frame.

double crested cormorant caught a fish 0
Just lost a big fish. Let me dive for it again…
double crested cormorant caught a fish1
Oh, there you are, that was easy…
double crested cormorant caught a fish 3
Now we just need to get you up…
double crested cormorant caught a fish 4
There you go…up…
double crested cormorant caught a fish 5
I said UP you go!
double crested cormorant caught a fish 6
Oh no! Eeeek!
What’s he doing? All that noise…this is not gonna end well…
double crested cormorant caught a fish 8
Help! He’s trying to escape!
OMG! I can't watch this!
OMG! I can’t watch this!
Swing...up you go!
Swing…up you go!
You're huge, alright...
You’re huge, alright…
...but down you go!
…but down you go!
That's it! My throat is so full...
That’s it! My stomach…er…throat is so full…
...now just need to stretch a little...
…now just need to stretch a little…
...and flap my wings. Aah, that feels better.
…and flap my wings. Aah, that feels better.

 

 

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