Parents Shield the Newborn from Paparazzi. And Other Late Breaking News from the Salt Marsh.

It’s really hard to be a paparazzo. While some “duckies” are happy to be photographed, and even pose for the camera with their kids at times, that’s not the  case with the Osprey family. The happy parents announced their baby news when I returned from my travels earlier this week. My guess is the baby was born between Thursday and Saturday last week. I could see both parents bent over the depression in the nest tending to the baby. But all my attempts to get a picture of the tiny hatchling have been thwarted by the protective parents. Almost.

Baby food transport arrived and feeding started.
Baby food transport has arrived and feeding started.

I have leaned far out over my terrace railings trying to get a clear line of sight into the nest, or a better angle. That’s not a totally risk free undertaking when your terrace is on the 14th floor and you’re trying to hold a 200x/1200mm zoom steady. When visiting the salt marsh, I’ve have climbed up on benches closest to the nest. And even considered using stilts or climbing a tree. But despite my best paparazzi tricks, the only picture that I might have of the baby is below. I’m not sure if it’s the hatching, it could be wishful thinking. What do you think?

osprey nest
Mama Sandy…and the chick?

The parents have now built a bit higher baby fence on the side facing my terrace so picture taking will be even more challenging. Good for the baby, bad for the paparazzo.

I’ve walked around the nest yesterday and today. And while I will not be able to see the little one from the ground for a few weeks, I’ve observed interesting parenting stuff. Check out this photo story.

Mama Sandy broods the chick...
Mama Sandy broods the chick for the first 10 days…it’s quite warm and she’s getting sweaty.
Papa Osprey comes in with a lunch bag of fresh fish, flies over the nest to show it to Mama...
Papa Stanley comes in with a lunch bag of fresh fish, flies over the nest to show it to Mama…
...and goes to eat the head in his man cave, then brings the best part to Mama and baby...
…and goes to eat the head in his man cave, then brings the best part to the nest…
...where Sandy starts feeding the baby...
…where Sandy immediately starts feeding the baby…
...while Stanley watches and learns...
…while Stanley watches and learns…
…until it’s his turn to feed the baby … under strict supervision by Sandy.
...then they both bend over the baby and feed it in turn...
Then they both bend over the baby and feed it in turn…
...until the feeding is done and Sandy has eaten. Then Stanley flies away with the rest of the fish...
When the baby has been fed it’s Sandy’s turn to have a bite, if she’s hungry. Finally Stanley flies away with the rest of the fish.

I’ve seen this routine several times now. But I should add that Stanley is even more protective of the nest now. Yesterday I saw him fly away with his fish and return almost immediately. Osprey Steve was flying by and Sandy sounded an alarm.

Papa Stanley returned back home...
Papa Stanley returns back home… defend the nest...Mama Sandy is still sounding a stern warning to Steve...
…to defend the nest…Mama Sandy sounds a stern warning to Steve…
Osprey Steve over the marsh
…who flies over the marsh.

And only when everything is calm again will Stanley go to his man cave to finish his meal.

Finally everything looks peaceful and Stanley leaves for his man cave again to finish his meal.
Finally everything looks peaceful and Stanley leaves for his man cave again to finish his meal.

I think Sandy and Stanley are amazing, doting parents. And I’m happy they are not alarmed when a clumsy paparazzo lurks around the nest. They are just not yet ready for a photo shoot with the baby. I get that. Later will do.

When I was saying goodbye to Mama Sandy yesterday afternoon, I discovered a drama playing out in the deep water just below the nest. It was the Cormorant. Again. This is how it went down. The fish, I mean.

The Cormorant caught a fish...
The Cormorant caught a fish…
...and it's a big one!
…and it’s a big one!
He swings it up...
He swings it up…
...and down it goes!
…and down it goes!
With some effort, slowly but surely.

Such is life in the salt marsh. Never a dull moment in this beautiful place, where wildflowers greet the newborn. The little hatchling will learn all that in time.  Bless his/her heart.

Birthday flowers for the newborn. You can see the reflection of the nest pole in the water.
Birthday flowers for the newborn. You can see the reflection of the nest pole in the water.

Late Breaking News! Just before this was going to press, I was hanging out from the terrace again and got a confirmation it really was the hatchling in the first picture. Sandy was feeding the baby, now approximately 5-7 days old, and moved aside to take another bite. I got a few pictures where the chick was moving, and also enlarged one where s/he waits for another bite with an open mouth. If you look carefully at the second, very grainy and pixelated photo (feel free to get your goggles) you’ll see a tiny brown/white Osprey, about the size of Mama’s head, in the red circle 🙂

A tiny baby Osprey between Papa and Mama.
A tiny baby Osprey between Papa and Mama.
osprey chick enlarged
Osprey chick wants food.

I hope your Easter week is going smoothly. Reporting from the salt marsh this Thursday evening, Tiny

85 thoughts on “Parents Shield the Newborn from Paparazzi. And Other Late Breaking News from the Salt Marsh.”

  1. Hooray, hooray. What a lovely post to greet me this morning. I will be smiling all day. 🙂 Welcome to the world, little one. Baby Osprey, you are blessed with a caring, loving family.

    1. I’m very happy to heart that! And the Baby Osprey truly has a beautiful family. I can’t wait to see him or her peeping out over the edge of the nest in a few weeks.

  2. Wow Tiny, this is just extraordinary and what good parents they are! And that Cormorant swallowing that fish is just amazing! Loved this post!

    1. They are “model” parents! Yesterday I saw Sandy dive down to the bushes to get something for the baby, but it was so small in her big talons that I was not sure what it was…maybe a small “pacifier”. That Cormorant always gets a huge fish , but somehow gets it down.

    1. Thanks Amy! I love watching them. They have so many intuitive skills and they are so caring. And friendly… even small birds are not afraid of them as they only defend their immediate environment, the nest.

  3. Woohoo, at last! 🙂 Thanks for the good news, looking forward to more photos of the new arrival – and in the meantime, I can just keep looking at your amazing pics of the cormorant swallowing that fish, just incredible!

    1. As soon as the baby grows a little bit, it will peek out from the nest and that’s when I’ll get some better pictures 🙂 That Cormorant always overeats… And looks so funny struggling with a huge fish.

  4. Aww, a tiny little guy/girl to come into the world. So nice. Great shots my friend. That Cormorant is a bit of a glutton. LOL big hugs!

    1. It’s nice to see the tiny newcomer, isn’t it. S/he will grow up fast and once I can see whether it’s a girl or a boy, we’ll have a naming ceremony 🐥. That Cormorant is a chronic overwater! Hugs to you too, my friend.

    1. You’re welcome, Nancy! I was dreaming of a hide high up in a nearby tree…but unfortunately the hatchling is too tiny to be seen from the ground…and from the distance of two blocks away.

        1. I have a 1200mm zoom, but when the tiny hatchling grows a bit, I will try to see how much the quality can improve with the tripod. Today just didn’t have the time. Heron rookery should be interesting…I hope you get pics of it, Nancy!

  5. Oh my! Such great news and amazing photos. As a paparazzo you should be proud. Thank you for your patience, humor and ability to capture these moments a Tiny!

    1. Thanks Val! I guess some paparazzi get worse photos of their “targets”, particularly babies 🙂 But at least we know there is an itty-bitty in the nest now. S/he is going to grow fast with all this nutritious food…and soon become visible also from the ground.

  6. Congratulations Tiny! Do you have a name for the little one yet? I’m sure that you must bursting in happiness. It’s great! 🙂

    1. Thanks H.J. – I feel like a granny to the baby 😀 Thinking about how to give a name…but it will take some time before I can say whether the young one is a boy or a girl…that’s the dilemma. I don’t see more eggs, so maybe there will be only one this year too.

    1. No perseverance, no pictures 🙂 But today I’m even more intrigued…might have seen an even smaller head…can’t tell for sure though.

  7. Congratulations to mama and papa osprey. These pictures are amazing sweet Tiny. Lots of fishing going on in the marsh and those pictures of the cormorant catching and eating a fish…what great captures. And the osprey in flight and papa osprey with his catch…terrific photography. Hugs

    1. Thanks Mags! There’s always so much happening in this little marsh so it’s quite easy to catch some action 🙂 Happy Easter to you & yours. Hugs

  8. I say you did capture a shot of the baby in the first pic. I am so loving following this family. I will go to sleep with these lovey images and story in my head. Thanks Tiny! Happy Easter and happy spring! :)🌸

    1. Yes, it was a picture of the baby. I saw him/her today too (from my terrace through the zoom) with open mouth again waiting for food as soon as papa landed with a fish. But now I’m thinking there might be a brand new sibling…saw the tiniest head, but I can’t be sure. Time will tell. Happy Easter to you & your too! And happy spring!

  9. wishing all the happiness to the new mom and dad! may life be especially sweet for you and your little baby-girl? / baby-boy? 🙂 honestly, it’s been a long time since i’ve felt this great! tiny, dearest thanks for these latest paparazzo-shots on these brave celebrities.

    1. I will tell them your well wishes when I get to visit them again (maybe Sunday morning)! It will take some time before I can tell whether it’s a girl or a boy, need to see the little one from the ground…girls usually have a “necklage” much like Mama and boys have a mostly white breast like Papa has. Have a wonderful Easter, Sirpa!

    1. A humble thanks, David. And smiling. They are always doing stuff, so most shots will have some action. I’m still very far from where I want to be in terms of skill level and equipment…but I enjoy observing this fascinating little family. And they make me go out and move whenever I have an hour to spare.

    1. I’m happy you enjoy following their story! And I also came to the conclusion that the stilts are better left in the storage. Climbing the benches is hazardous enough for me 🙂

  10. Normally I launch all the blogs I need to read in different tabs and get to them through the day, but I saw this and had to open it immediately. Baby cheep! Too, too awesome. Amazing pictures, as always.

    Do we have a name yet? 😀

    I am still shocked when I see birds swallow fish like a snake would LOL

    1. Thanks, happy to hear you liked the baby! I saw him/her today too…and I thought I saw another even tinier head (through my zoom) but I could’ve been dreaming. No name yet…I think that’ll need to be a community project once we have an idea of gender 😀
      Many birds swallow the fish like that, but most eat very small fish…this one is clearly an exception.

    1. Thanks Cyndi! The paparazzo will do at least one stalking mission to the marsh over this weekend. Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

  11. Such wonder. Here’s my name suggestion: Little Tiny Lessons (LTL)
    Your photography is so beautiful, I am nearly inspired to buy a real camera. Of course, then I would have to learn to use it. Thanks for a sharing a great day in the salt marsh.

    1. Thanks for the name suggestion, Susan! I’m thinking to maybe have some fun community effort to come up with a name…or names if there will be a sibling. I though I saw another, even tinier, head today through my zoom, but it’s difficult to tell whether it was another hatchling or not. You will learn to use a camera…just go ahead and get one. It’s so much fun.

  12. OH, Tiny! This is so exciting! Your shots are out of this world phenomenal! I am amazed you can keep a lens that heavy steady without a tripod. And the shot you took of baby, GOOD FOR YOU! Please don’t fall off of terrace in the process. The series of the fish gobbling … what can I say but WOW!!! How incredible Nature is. Your accounts from the Salt Marsh have been just fascinating. Thank you, Tiny! Stay safe! Love, And Happy Easter, Amy

    1. Thank you dear Amy! I’m just happy I can share some of the wonders of nature and the animal kingdom. I was there at the edge of my terrace today too and saw the baby again…s/he asked for food as soon as Papa landed with a fish. And I might have seen another tiniest head you can imagine, but cannot be sure as yet. I promise to be careful. Happy Easter to you & yours too Amy!

      1. Oh boy, “maybe” another baby? Oh OH! This is getting really exciting!!!! Thank you for being careful. I know how it is with a camera in hand, trying to get that perfect shot. (((HUGS))) Amy

  13. Wow, Tiny these photos are almost surreal ~ the “Papa Stanley flying with fresh fish” is amazing…simply amazing. Of course the fish gobbler does its best imitation to impress (which is it impressive) but I am such a sucker for the larger birds of prey. Beautifully done, and what a place the marsh must be ~ and great to visit there through your stories and photos!

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words, Randall. This little marsh is amazing with its richness of life, and it’s just two blocks away. A gift of nature that gives every day.

  14. What a great series of photos! I’m not sure which fish photos were more impressive – the Osprey coming in with that big hunk of fish, or the Cormorant actually getting his down whole!! Smile.

    1. I like the Osprey way of fishing a bit better 🙂 But the Cormorant puts up such a show every time he comes to eat in the marsh.

    1. Thanks Daniela. Happy you enjoyed their story. It was (and still is) challenging to try to get a baby photo, but it’s so much fun to watch them on my walks.

    1. Thanks Kathy! Now I need to find out if there is another small one… Have been busy over this weekend, but will try to see if I can get new pics this coming week.

  15. As much as I hate the paparazzi, once in a while they bring something good to our attention… obviously Stanley and Sandy realized you are one of the good ones and wouldn’t use the photos to make sensational headlines!

    1. I hope so! I’m a fortunate paparazzo because they don’t seem to be bothered. But they also won’t left the baby up from the nest to be photographed 😀

  16. How wonderful that baby has arrived at last. Those parents look so protective. Pap Osprey is certainly doing his bit and bringing home the bacon…….I mean fish. 🙂 I’m sure that once the baby gets a bit bigger, you’ll get some pics of it learning to fly.

    1. Sorry, I didn’t see your comment earlier, Mary. Yes, they are amazing in their ability to spot the fish, then dive for it, and carry home one that’s up to two times their own weight!

  17. Wow! Tiny amazing shots, how wonderful! It is easy to see fish are important food. It is interesting how Osprey eat their catch on the top of a not so flat pole. I have pics of our Osprey doing the same, on the very top of lamps on lamp posts, taking the fish apart. You can appreciate from your photo, why Osprey are the only raptor with the reversible outer toe which allows it to grip the slimy fish from both sides equally. Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful images!

  18. Their fishing skills are truly amazing. They need to assess the size of the fish carefully before diving for it so that they are sure they can carry it (their max payload is 1:2 ratio to their own weight!) and not drown, as they cannot let go of it easily. Happy you liked the pics!

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