Sunday Extra! Breaking News. But Don’t Tell Mama Osprey.

I know. You’ve already clicked through this weeks Salt Marsh News. But a short weekend edition seems to be called for as there’s some late breaking news.

It was hot yesterday. On the better side of 90 degrees (F). In mid afternoon Mama Osprey left the nest. She flew a few rounds around the marsh checking for any dangers. Flying by the nest, she realized the chicks were moving about and watching her. She sounded a sharp two-part warning: Heads down!  And down they went like by magic.

osprey chicks watching mama fly around Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
The chicks are up and moving when Sandy has left the nest…
osprey nest Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
…and magically disappear on her command.

But that didn’t last long. As soon as Mama Sandy was out of sight, the oldest chick got up and flexed his wings. The middle chick next to him stayed down. The little chick lifted her head in amazement over the total disregard of Mama’s rules. The big brother flexed his wings vigorously. Faster and faster. And up in the air he went. Almost a whole foot.

osprey chick practices flying Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Flap! Flap! Flap! The big chick is in the air!

The middle chick next to him ducked further down. The youngest didn’t dare to watch. Big brother’s wobbly flight lasted only for a few seconds. And his landing was hazardous. An one foot operation.

oldest osprey chick lands Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
One foot down, the other almost on the middle chick…

But finally he gained his balance and got a firm footing. This reporter let out a sigh of relief.  Nobody hurt, nobody fell out of the nest. Weekend duty can be nerve-racking.

oldest osprey chick gains his footing Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
…an additional flap, and both feet land nicely in the nest.

After that show of emerging talent everybody was quiet. Until Sandy returned ten minutes later. She was wet, obviously from diving. But to the disappointment of the chicks, she didn’t bring a fish this time. She just needed a bath.

mama osprey returns from her dive Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Mama is coming back! Fish, fish, fish!
wet female osprey is back in the nest Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
You want fish? I needed a bath!

Mama was back. And nobody said a peep about the flying exercise that took place in her absence. And you won’t tell either, right?

Ps. If you have further suggestions on creative (and preferably gender neutral) names for the three chicks, please put them into your comments. Bumble will announce the winners in a special guest post he’s planned for Tuesday night. I think.

49 thoughts on “Sunday Extra! Breaking News. But Don’t Tell Mama Osprey.”

  1. A nail biting edition Tiny!! … and so funny 😉
    What a gift to be there at that moment!
    Maybe the oldest should be called Lofty or Chancer.

    1. I was so lucky to be there…it was like he’d planned it. Maybe wanted to surprise Mama 🙂 Thanks for the name proposals, Val.

    1. It was a beautiful moment to witness, like he’d been waiting for Mama to leave to do his first trial flight. He’ll be airborne very soon.

    1. Thanks Tish, I got lucky there. This is the beginning of the learning to fly series…all of them will probably learn to fly in the next couple of weeks. And after that they’ll need to learn to dive for fish. I’d love to get lucky enough to witness some of that 🙂

    1. He is! So determined to fly. I noticed how difficult it was for him to hold his balance, but I’m sure he’ll get it soon.

  2. That first born is a rebel! So, my name submission for the eldest is, Rebel. 🙂 The middle-born is smart (knows when to keep its head down),so I’ll name him/her: Cassidy (Irish origins, meaning intelligent), and the youngest is a survivor, so I’ll call him/her: Sindile (African for survivor).

    1. Thanks Andy. These chicks provide lots to “shoot” every time I go there. Nature never ceases to amaze me. Have a wonderful weekend too!

    1. I like the last shot too…Mama’s expression is priceless when she hears and sees the chicks asking for food again. I’m sure they had just eaten before she left. Thanks Amy!

  3. Great post Tiny! Very exciting moments until they’ll all soar together. To keep in memory forever! ThanksTiny! 🙂

    1. Thanks H.J.! You’re right, these are the memorable moments, big milestones we can observe. I would also love to see when they learn to dive for fish, but it would involve an amazing amount of luck since they will not fish in the waters of the salt marsh, but either over the bay or the ocean 🙂

  4. Oh, the eldest is a bit of know it all. LOL So glad you were able to capture the moments! I would name them, Omega, JoJo and Marsh. 😉

    1. They clearly have some personality traits already. The first born is full of confidence…I’m happy the smallest one is now a bit more assertive than s/he used to be. Thanks for the great name suggestions. How’s Bumble going to decide? That remains to be seen 🙂

  5. I LOVE that you were able to capture this first attempt!! And I’ve a feeling you will be a part of the learning to fish edition as well…it’s only fitting!! I think the oldest should be named, “Lindy” for Charles Lindberg 😉 ♡

    1. You made me smile! That’s great reasoning! Being able to do a learning to fish edition would require running back and forth between the bay and the ocean (half a mile one way)…and they fly much faster than I can run, but who knows 😀
      Happy you enjoyed his wobbly flight!

  6. Oh, that is exciting if not naughty of the eldest! Glad it went well in the end. For names – Careener, for the eldest, Aspire, for the middle one ( aspiring to be like the eldest) and Ducker for the wee one, for obvious reasons 😀.

    1. It was unexpected …and little naughty of him too 🙂 Thanks for the creative and well reasoned name proposals, Kathy!

  7. I did a short video for the previous post, but it comes out so small and I’m so clumsy with the videos 🙂 I will try to get a short clip though next time I go there. This “trial flight” came so suddenly that I just wasn’t prepared. Thanks Hien!

    1. Looking at them now, it’s hard to believe they were born less than two months ago! Two months from now they’ll probably be fishing somewhere else although they will not migrate for the winter.

  8. You knew it was going to happen eventually. The miracle was your photos! I am going to go put my thinking cap on for the names, because – clearly – winkin’, blinkin’ and nod won’t do!

    1. Thanks Susan! Bumble and I have scheduled a decision meeting on the names for tomorrow night…he has the last word on the winners who are going to get his book 😉

    1. I can see them from my terrace or living room window, but only with strong binoculars. Being right there is the best, and I go whenever I can, like just after sunrise this morning when Papa brought a fish 🙂

  9. flying alone – with hit-or-miss-wings, in the beginning – is a kid’s biggest dream, as well as a parent’s biggest nightmare, sometimes. for moms, all over the world, the moment of autonomy comes mostly a bit too early. 😉

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