Papa Osprey. The Maintenance Man.

My  regular readers know that Papa Osprey is a good man. Last January-February he made numerous trips to Home Depot fetching materials for nest renovation. Then tirelessly brought home fish after fish on a daily basis to feed Mama Osprey and the nestling. After the young one fledged, he sent Mama Osprey on a well deserved vacation. He cared for the youngster one more month, until she was completely independent and knew how to fish for herself. Remarkable achievements.

Papa osprey from Sand Key, Clearwater, FL
Papa Osprey on his favorite palm trunk

After he moved out of the nest and left it for the youngster to enjoy, I didn’t see him for about a month. Maybe he needed to recuperate and went on a cruise in the Caribbean? Or had some fun in Key West? Mid July I discovered he was back in his “township”. Since then he’s been hanging around. I’ve spotted him perched on the top of a dead palm trunk on the eastern edge of the park. Or on one of the street lights next to the bay. And even on Marriot’s roof. He’s looking after his territory. Managing his assets.

my bench 712
This bench has my name written on it…

But that’s not all. Yesterday, when I got out for a run, I was looking forward to greeting him again. I jogged north along the edge of the park and passed “his” palm tree. Not there. Then I checked the lamp posts where I’ve spotted him previously. Even took a swing around the Sailing Club grounds, but he was nowhere to be seen. A bit disappointed I turned around and headed into the nature reserve. I needed a short break to drink some water. And to dig out my camera. Just in case something interesting would happen around the salt marsh. So I sat down on my usual bench under the trees. I had some water. Then I looked up.

papa osprey visiting the nest 812 clearwater, FL
Surprise, surprise! Papa Osprey is at “home”…

Papa Osprey was perched right where he always used to be, on the edge of his nest! And he was looking at me. Approvingly, I thought. Like saying nice to see you’re exercising in this heat. So we enjoyed each other’s company quietly for a good while. He even allowed me to walk right under the nest without saying a peep.

papa osprey at the nest 0812 Clearwater, FL
Check the underside of the nest, fairly heavy stuff…

That was a nod of trust right there! He was in no hurry to leave, but I had to get back home and back to work. So I continued my run through the park and the beach. When I finally came home, I took my birding binoculars and went straight onto the terrace. To check if he was still there. Can you guess what I saw?

papa osprey lifting sticks
Papa Osprey inspecting the nest and finding it in need of repair…
maintenance papa osprey
And this needs to go here…

Papa Osprey was doing maintenance work on the nest! Busy moving big sticks and twigs, then securing them better. Structural adjustments. I was too tired to set up my tripod so the quality is grainy from camera shake, but you can see him demonstrating great maintenance skills. He couldn’t allow the nest to fall apart. It would be their home again come January.  He undertook maintenance work in the summer heat. Needless to say I was impressed.

papa osprey saying hi 813 clearwater, FL
Hi Tiny, you want a picture?

I saw him again on today’s run, perched on a lamp post next to the bay. He posed nicely for about a minute, as if waiting for me to take the picture. Then he flew up and soared high above the bay.

papa osprey in flight 813d
Papa Osprey soaring over the bay…

I felt like soaring too. Little lighter on my foot. That’s what a “medicine bird” (in Nez Perce tribe’s mythology) does to you.