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