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

49 thoughts on “Papa Osprey is a Modern Dad. And Other Foggy Stuff from the Salt Marsh.”

    1. Thanks Susan. Yes, the Little Blue Heron has green legs. She is such a gracious little bird and a good hunter. The Ospreys may have little one(s) in 2-3 weeks 🙂

    1. Thanks Hien! The 72F seems to come back only on Sundays…today looks promising. I hope your weather warms up soon, I think we’ve sent some warmth in your direction.

  1. my weekend started with freezing rain, north winds way to cold,
    just finished last walk with Molly,and getting ready to take a shower
    to warm up 🙂

    wonderful photos and I love your words from each one, always a pleasure to wonder in and see your neck of the world
    my momma goose is sitting on her nest of 9 eggs, I went home
    for a while yesterday to check on my zoo,and the greenhouse and
    gardens…I miss them

    Thank you for sharing natures’ beauty
    Take Care ….. You Matter…..
    )0(
    maryrose

    1. Thank you Maryrose for your beautiful comment! Wonderful that you have your mama goose sitting on eggs too…soon you’ll have many fluffy little ones! Nature is amazing and healing. XX Tiny

  2. So glad all is well in the oshood! Steve is just a flashy incomer .. And its good to hear that Sandy and Papa are staying strong.
    The shot of the blue heron is wonderful! Whats his story I wonder ….

    1. Yes, all is well. Steve is a youngster (2-3 years old) who hasn’t found his bride yet, I think. I have looked for another nest in the forest, but haven’t found one. He definitely lives there, but he should be looking for his wife to be elsewhere 🙂 I’m not sure what the story of the LBH is, but she’s been around for about a year now. Doesn’t seem to have company as yet…

  3. Beautiful photos and story to go with 🙂 I’m curious – is the pole and platform where they’ve built their nest purpose-built for them, or is it just a construction they’ve taken advantage of? If this wasn’t there, where would they otherwise build their nest? Thanks for keeping us up to date with the latest happenings of this modern family! 🙂

      1. Ah, I wondered if that was the case … and I remember reading your earlier post about the “home show” of nests on Honeymoon Island. I have to say they don’t look the most comfortable of homes! 🙂 But as long as they serve the purpose for which they’re built, I guess that’s what matters most. I’m really enjoying your commentary on these beautiful birds – can’t wait for photos of the new arrivals in due course!

    1. Thanks Amy! Yes the rain lasted for 24 hours and this morning the sun was peeking out. A very nice day for the ospreys as they and their nest has a chance to dry out 🙂

  4. your touching “lovestory” would be fantastic as a photobook…i’d the first to buy it 🙂 (i read some time ago, there are 1300 couples living in finland, under protection). sirpa

    1. Thanks Sirpa! I’ll write these stories just because it’s so much fun to see what they are up to – and they motivate me to get out! Maybe at some point there will be enough high quality materials to tell a longer story in a book 🙂 I’ve seen some of these “kalasaaski” in Finland on my visits to see my dad close to Tampere, but usually they have already migrated south when I visit in the fall…

    1. She “talks” to him. I understand a few things, but wish I could “translate” more 🙂 I believe Steve is a youngster, maybe 2-3 years old, and hasn’t found a wife yet. But he should be looking elsewhere…I’m sure that’s what PO told him…

    1. It would definitely be too cold for the eggs up there right now, but in a month or so, I’m sure “nestorations” will begin there too 🙂

  5. I’ve been away for a bit and your blog is one I’ve missed the most. I really enjoyed reading it today. The photos are amazing. Makes me want to be there to see them in person. How lovely it must be to see them in action! It’s raining here today. Last week hard ice and snow covered everything. I am not one to rush the seasons, but I do hope for spring. I need some sunshine. Have a wonderful Sunday! Koko✿

    1. It’s so nice to see you back, Koko!! I have been at your blog numerous times hoping to see you there. I’m happy you liked the story, I’ve been following this little osprey family for about a year now…more intensively (a post/week) now during the nesting season. I’m hoping we’ll see a little one or two in a few weeks 🙂
      I know this winter has been very trying for many friends, even here much cooler and more strong winds than we normally get, but spring is not very far now!

  6. Wonderful post and photos! I cannot wait for our area Osprey due to return March 12th from their winter migration. Your Osprey photos warm my heart and remind me of our past Osprey pair, Oliver & Olivia, thank you! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Donna! I know how excited you must be to see them back soon! These guys don’t migrate, but they also go “on vacation” somewhere for a little bit after the nesting season. Then they hang around this park, bay and ocean until it’s time again. They came together mid January and are now incubating…

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