Look Mama! I’m Flying!

Since my last “report” from the nature reserve I’ve had two opportunities to visit with the osprey family.  First on Sunday afternoon, after a sumptuous Mother’s Day lunch, and then again two days ago.

Mother’s Day was fairly cloudy, but Tuesday was sunny and breezy. The two visits were quite different,  although it was clear already on Sunday that the nestling’s flying practice had started!

Mama osprey and nestling resting after lunch
Mama osprey and nestling resting after lunch

When I arrived in the vicinity of the nest on Sunday, mama osprey was looking after the youngster. She appeared a bit irritated. I soon discovered that some gulls were flying back and forth fairly close to the nest.  Too close. There might have been a “doggy bag” left from the family’s Mother’s Day luncheon, but mama didn’t welcome uninvited guests. After a few loud warnings, she decided to make it very clear that she preferred some privacy. It was her day, after all.

Mama osprey on her warning tour above the marsh
Mama osprey on her warning tour above the marsh

She flew a few fast and furious rounds above the marsh, and that seemed to do it. No more disturbance from the gulls.

mama ospreys warning flight 511  ed
Mama osprey on her patrol

It was funny to see how the nestling was laying low while alone in the nest. I couldn’t even see his/her (still not sure about the gender, but leaning towards a girl) head. It appeared above my horizon again only when mama was returning!

Mama osprey returns to nest
Mama osprey returns to nest

As soon as the peace was restored, the youngster started flexing his wings. Mama was still checking out something on the south side of the nest.

osprey nestling flying practice 511 ed

I overheard mama osprey giving some advice to the youngster, but unfortunately I didn’t understand all of it . I’m still a beginner in osprey language.

osprey flying practice 1 511 ed

The youngster jumped into the air and hopped from one side of the nest to the other. Accompanied by flying motions. I saw his/her feet in the air, not touching the nest for a second or so! I have a picture to prove it, but it’s completely blurred…silly me did something stupid in the excitement of it all.

Papa came home to take over child care duties...
Papa came home to take over child care duties…

After a little while papa osprey returned from his afternoon tour of the neighborhood. As soon as he touched down, mama osprey told him to take over the child minding duties, and flew away. I guess she needed some exercise too!

osprey mama and nesting best 513

Two days ago, my short visit was even more exciting! The youngster did real practice sessions above the nest under mama osprey’s strict supervision. I have prepared a small gallery below so that the youngster can show off his/her newly acquired skill!

When the young one was 3-4 feet up in the air, I was almost sure s/he would fly out! But it was not that time as yet.

It looks like I might miss the fishing lessons. Unless the youngster decides to wait for me to come back home from my upcoming trip.

I need to “fly” now.  See you all later, Tiny