Timeout. Fresh Deliveries. And Beauty in the Salt Marsh.

Lunch time. Papa Osprey is approaching the nest with a big fish. It wriggles in the air. Excitement skyrockets at the nest. Mama Sandy and the oldest chick lead the refrain singers. Fish, fish, fish!

osprey mom and chick await for fish transport Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Fish! Fish! Fish!

Shortly thereafter Papa Stanley lands with the fish. It’s still fighting for its freedom. The handover to Sandy is going to be tricky. If the fish falls onto the ground it’ll be uneatable. A teachable moment for the first born.

male osprey brings in a fish Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
The fish is still struggling to get free…oldest chick looks on in amazement…

Sandy places her talons firmly on the fish. Stanley leaves immediately. Lunch delivery is complete.

male osprey leaves the nest Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Stanley leaves after lunch drop-off…

Sandy moves the fish several times. And finally parks it right next to the smallest chick. Like she always does.

female osprey struggles with a fish Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
When are we gonna eat, Mama?

The smallest chick is going to be fed first. But the big brother (yes, I think the oldest is a boy) doesn’t like that at all. He jumps onto his little sister’s (yes, I think it’s probably a girl) back and ruffles it up.

oldest osprey chick attacks the youngest chick Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Oldest chick is angry and ruffles the smallest chick…

That doesn’t go down well with Mama Sandy. She calmly cleans up the fish, but doesn’t allow the badly behaving chick to touch it. Instead, the little sister gets the finest piece of fish fillet I’ve seen around here. All for herself.

smalles osprey chick gets the biggest bite Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
The little sister get a big fillet of fish. And a  feather on her back is standing right up.

Then she feeds the middle chick (probably a boy, not quite sure yet). And takes a few bites herself. And finally, after about 40 minutes, the first born gets to eat whatever is left. Talk about teaching manners to your kids. And it looks like the timeout in “quiet corner” did the trick.

female osprey feeding the chicks Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
The middle chick gets fed next. Big brother still on timeout in the corner.

Today I managed to wake up early and went for a longish walk at around sunrise.

sunrise over the clearwater bay Florida
Pre-dawn on the bay side.

It was quiet and peaceful around the salt marsh. Only me and the birds.

sunrise in the salt mars Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Sunrise at the salt marsh.

And there was lots of beauty to go around. I spotted many birds in the midst of getting their breakfast. Or just doing their morning meditation.

blue heron at sunrise Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
A Great Blue Heron doing his morning meditation…at the far end of the salt marsh.
a roseate spoonbill Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
A Roseate Spoonbill says good morning…
snowy egret hunting at sunrise Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
A juvenile Snowy Egret getting breakfast…
tricolored heron hunting Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
A Tri-colored Heron hunting at sunrise…

I thought (so little I know) that the Osprey family had already eaten breakfast. They seemed relaxed, so maybe Sandy had gotten them an appetizer much earlier in the morning.

a female osprey with her chick Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Mama Sandy and the middle chick say good morning…

After saying hello to them I continued my walk. But suddenly sensed something was different. I looked back at the nest and saw Papa Stanley had arrived with a fish. Breakfast was in full swing in the Osprey household.

Osprey family breakfast Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
Papa Stanley stays for a while after delivering breakfast…

And for once Stanley had decided he’d stay for a while with his family. He talked to his kids, scanned the environment and then left after a few minutes.

male osprey leaves after delivering breakfast Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Papa Stanley leaves for another fishing trip on the ocean…

He flew towards the ocean. Maybe finally getting his own breakfast. I took a short one minute video clip one morning while the chicks were eating, and added the Moorhen taking his bath this morning.  Be warned though, it’s truly clumsy as I’m definitely not a videographer. But I thought some of you might still enjoy seeing them “live”.  You’ll notice that the oldest chick is still last in the line. In the second take only his tail feathers are visible when the two others are fed by Sandy. But I have to say he took it with stride. Maybe he’s learned his lesson.

I also think we need to name the chicks soon. Looking forward to some creative suggestions! The winner(s) will receive a prize. Bumble suggested his book, and I agreed.

I walked home through the beach. It was still very quiet. And very cloudy, to Florida standards, of course.

Walking along the beach just after sunrise.

That’s all for this week from the salt marsh. I wish you all a wonderful weekend and Happy Memorial Day to friends in the US.  Be good now and travel safely.

63 thoughts on “Timeout. Fresh Deliveries. And Beauty in the Salt Marsh.”

  1. Such orderly eating in this Osprey family! Amazing. By the way our Osprey eggs have not hatched yet. Somebody said it will be two more days. I hope to get some photos if I have the occasion to swing by their nest.

    1. Mama has established the way things should be, and didn’t like one bit the way the first born was behaving. I hope you’ll get an opportunity to go see the chicks when they have hatched…and we’ll get to see baby pictures 🙂

  2. Its so cool to see and hear about parenting in the world of ospreys. There is definitely a strong Scottish / disciplinarian element here 😉
    Thank you for pulling it altogether pre-dawn and beyond. Some wonderful shots … And lively video … What a feast Tiny 🙂

    1. Happy you enjoyed their escapades, Val. And now I know where Sandy’s healthy sense for discipline may come from 😉 and it’s good as it keeps everyone alive and thriving 🙂

        1. Thanks – that’s what I saw when I had my rare pre-dawn breakfast. I wish I could get up early more often, but I’m such a sleepyhead and night owl 🙂

  3. I loved the video! I’m glad Mama is such a good mama. And Papa isn’t any slacker either. The young ones will grow up big and strong and wise just like them. 🙂

    1. That’s what I’m hoping too! And I’m glad I’ve seen Papa around lately as I was getting worried about him, not realizing his visits are only a few seconds now. This morning was a nice exception. I’m happy you liked to see them “live” even if the clip was so badly done…maybe I can improve if I practice a bit 🙂

  4. Oh my, they grow up so fast don’t they? But Miss Roseate is still looking her super model self, perhaps I should eat more fish, lol! 🙂

    1. Yes, we should eat more fish 🙂 and she’s always so well coiffed too. The osprey kids will fledge soon..ah, time flies!

        1. I need more time too! After they’ve fledged, they’ll stay around the nest for a month or so as they need to learn to dive for fish…not an one day course 🙂

    1. I know they are found in Australia along the coasts in certain spots. I hope you’ll find out there’s a nest somewhere not too far from where you are.

  5. I loved the video! I’m glad you took it. It was interesting in the picture above it how the birds fluffed out their “collars” and looked even more fierce.

    You’ve done a great job of recording this. I’ve enjoyed watching them hatch and grow up!


    1. Happy you like their story and the video clip, Nancy. The picture where Mama and chick are fluffed up was taken on a very breezy day, their collar feathers blew up nicely around their faces 🙂 Soon they will start their flying lessons. And after that they’ll need to learn to, dive for fish…

    1. The osprey is such an interesting bird and being big, they are easy to observe. Sometimes I’m lucky and get quite close…the spoonbill was on a small islet that’s fairly close to a thick brush on shore …almost like a hideout.

  6. Wonderful footage and photos again Tiny. It is a delight to watch with you these young Osprey growing through their stages, thanks so much for sharing this, and the video is excellent! I love all you present it is such a wonderful window into your local wildlife.:-)

      1. No they haven’t 😦 Although it’d take them only 0.95471 sec to get it back, they won’t touch it, {mrgreen} 😀

  7. Great little video, Tiny. So much fun to see the movement and hear the voices. Who needs a Miss Manners when one can get such excellent guidance from Mrs Sandy. 😉 Reading the comment from nrhatch makes me think that the first born could be called Squeaky. The littlie could be Sweetie and the middle child could be ??…..mmm, run out of inspiration. 😀

    1. Great suggestions, G! It would be good if the names of all the siblings in this year’s brood could start with S because they were born in a Sand Key nest…maybe the middle one could be Sunny – unless I get better suggestions 🙂 S/he always looks so happy and behaves so well. Happy you liked the video clip. I’ll practice a little and hope to have some clips from the flying lessons…

    1. Happy you liked the video, Susan. That encourages me to try to make a few clips when they start practicing flying. That morning at the salt marsh was truly beautiful.

    1. Yes, I know a few too. Not all behaviors are tolerated by Sandy…there are consequences…and she did it in such a cool and collected way.

  8. My Goodness! Those chicks are growing so fast! The do look strong and healthy Tiny! Great pictures, great post too! 🙂

    1. Thanks H.J.! Today I caught the oldest chick practicing flying as soon as Mama left the nest and had done her inspection rounds over the salt marsh. That situation was too funny. He got up in the air almost a foot 🙂

    1. Thanks Patrick! The Osprey is such an interesting bird to observe, very old species and different from other raptors in many ways. As they don’t pose a danger to other birds and are not territorial (only defend the nest itself) there’s such a rich variety of birds residing around the salt marsh, which I’m happy to be able to share 🙂

  9. The look on big brother’s face in that one photo is positively priceless! Who says birds don’t have personalities of their own?? I really enjoyed the video! Wonderful to get a real-time impression of life in the nest.

    1. I agree! Birds can express so much personality! These chicks are definitely very different. I’ll try to get a better hang on the video so I could share some of the flying exercises shortly.

      1. And then you will just have to hang out there on your balcony with your video camera to get a video of big brother’s first real flight! I mean, hey, you don’t have a job or anything, do you?? 🙂 LOL

        1. I’m my own boss (consultant) and work from my home office unless I travel to see clients abroad…so I have to have some discipline otherwise no bread, but these little guys don’t make it easy on me 😀

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