Up Close and Personal. Going Home.

During my recent trip to Europe, I went to see my dear dad for a few days. At the respectable age of 91, he lives in his house at a beautiful lake in Finland.  He built it himself when I was about four years old. I grew up there until my educational pursuits and work brought me to the big city. And later to Sweden and around the world.

other end of the lake
Our lake around sunset time…

It’s good to go home. Apart from having some wonderful quality time with my dad, these visits are always relaxing and pleasant. With quiet time for reflection, nature walks, deep conversations and sauna baths. This time my visit was also a tad nostalgic. I saw many places I hadn’t seen for a long time. Like this church where we lived in the side wing when I was born.

the church my first home
My first home was in the “west wing” of this church…

My first memories are from here. I manage to climb out of my crib for the first time and surprise my mom by running into the church where she was preparing for a mass. A little later, I “paint” mom’s green kitchen chair with fresh apple sauce. And I’m very proud of my accomplishment.

Then my elementary school. It’s still standing and proudly providing education for the kids in the village. When I stood there in the school yard, I got another, not so pleasant, memory flash.

my first school
My elementary school…

I’m on my back on the gravel looking up to faces staring at me in a circle. I’ve been hit on the nose by a baseball bat swung by a fellow second grader. Sporting accident. Blood. And a very swollen nose. Most of my field of vision is filled by a huge nose. Luckily it didn’t stay that way.

My dad drove me around to see houses where I had played with friends, all of whom now lived elsewhere. And beautiful spots that I used to frequent. A full day of nostalgia. Everything changes.

partly frozen river
Lily pads frozen in the river….

Although it was still October, winter was clearly on its way. Some rivers were partly frozen, and one morning I saw a hint of snow on the ground too. Just a hint in a shady spot in the forest. It’s kind of treat for a Floridian. Provided one is appropriately attired. My pea coat was no match for the wind chill, but luckily my dear sister had left some warm clothes there for me to borrow.

hint of snow
A hint of snow!

We did many walks in the nature and although most of the colorful foliage was already gone, it was still beautiful.

fall colors
Some autumn colors were still there….
ice on the river 2
A frozen river…
Rowan-berries in the forest...
Rowan-berries in the forest…

Some of you may wonder if I saw any birds. Yes I did. Two different kinds. Although the migratory birds, like ospreys, swans and swallows, had left several weeks earlier, I found many Great Tits congregating around feeders or looking for rowan-berries.

The Great Tit 2
A Great Tit

And I saw a rooster 🙂 Mind you, it was not an ordinary rooster. But one that made a lasting impression. I was visiting my cousin’s house and snapped this picture with my phone. Just to have evidence.

the rooster 2
The handsome rooster…

He was impressive! And although he was not a bit scary, I’ve asked him to serve as my “Halloween bird”.

It was a wonderful visit, but it’s good to be back too. Happy Halloween everyone!

 

 

Papa Osprey Goes Fishing. And Other Serious Stuff.

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.

snowy egret, Florida, Sand Key
A Snowy Egret drying in the sun…

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.

mourning dove couple, Florida, Sand Key
Mourning dove couple

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.

sandwich tern bathing 2
A Sandwich Tern baths in the surf…
pelican flyinng low, Florida, Sand Key
A White Pelican glides above the waves…

I also found mama Royal Tern and her teenage offspring…arguing as usual. I had to smile. Some things stay the same.

Mom and juvenile royal tern
Mama and juvenile Royal Tern argue….again.

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?

 osprey fishing, Florida
Stanley, the second osprey, fishing with P.O.
 osprey over the ocean, Florida, Sand Key
P.O. on a fishing trip with Stanley on Mexican Gulf

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.

great egret at the very top of a tree, Florida, Sand Key
A Great Egret on the top of the world…

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.

tricolored heron Florida, Sand Key
A Tri-colored Heron hunting in the salt marsh…
muscovy duck Florida, Sand Key
A Muscovy Duck swimming in the salt marsh….

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.

wet papa osprey returns from ocean
Papa Osprey is wet…but didn’t catch a 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.

osprey Florida, Sand Key
Papa Osprey…says he’s hungry…

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.

osprey goes fishing Florida, Sand Key
Papa Osprey goes fishing…again.

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.

Papa osprey back with a fish
Papa Osprey comes home with a fish…

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?

papa osprey has a fish 2
Papa Osprey starting his lunch…

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. ❤ Tiny

 

 

 

A Hint from Papa Osprey. Happy Thanksgiving to All Canadian Friends!

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.

sunrise moon 2
Moon just before the 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.

sunrise park 2
Sun rising above the park…

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.

blue heron 2 at sunrise
A Great Blue Heron at sunrise…

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?

most artistic bird photo
“Camera art” in the nature reserve…

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.

night heron in a tree scared me
The Night Heron, now awake thanks to Tiny…

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.

papa osprey eating big fish at sunrise
Papa Osprey having early breakfast…

Then he took a bite of the fish and dropped it in my direction. Offering breakfast.

papa osprey eating at sunrise
A piece for you Tiny…

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 !!  ❤ Tiny