Mama Osprey’s Two-front War. And Free Fish Tasting at the Pier.

Some of you might have noticed that I’ve been MIA for a while. All kinds of work have been interfering with life. When I finally got back up for air, my first priority was to take a walk in the gorgeous fall weather. I walked almost four miles around the park trying to get my walk-o-meter running again. Phew. I almost felt my age.

Sand Key Park Clearwater FloridaRight when I approached the beach end of the salt marsh, I knew something was up. Mama Sandy flew right over my head carrying a fish and sounded loud warning calls. Not for me, but for two other Ospreys circling high above her nest, a male and a female. It might have been Steve, whom some of you will remember, and his new bride.

male osprey

female osprey in flight Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida

I just had to zoom all out, point against the sun and shoot. Sorry for the grainy quality, but that’s the best I got. At least you can see Sandy caught a big fish. Osprey is the only bird that can carry a fish up to two times its own weight. And this fat one made Sandy work hard to get it into the nest.

osprey with a fish

I walked closer and saw the two Ospreys still hanging out in the vicinity of the marsh and looking down at Sandy. She didn’t like that one bit!

mama ospreys warning call Sand Key Park Clearwater FloridaWhen I reached the nest, I saw there was a visitor. A Fish Crow was helping Sandy to defend the nest against intruders. Working for food. Or so he thought.

female osprey and the crow watch the skies Sand Key Park Clearwater FloridaActually it was more like Sandy fighting a two-front war. I took a 90 second video clip so you can hear Sandy’s warning call and see how it all went down.

The salt marsh was lively with many birds, like this Tri-colored Heron and the Snowy Egret, all of whom went about their business pretending not to hear the loud exchanges of the Ospreys. And the Crow.

tricolored heron Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida snowy egret Sand Key Park Clearwater FloridaMiss Rosa was there too, of course. And said her customary hello.

roseate spoonbill Sand Key Park Clearwater FloridaThe young Muscovy Duck, who came to the salt marsh last year and disappeared as soon as he learned to fly, was back too. He was more interested in the photographer than the squabbles going on above his head.

muscovy duck Sand Key Park Clearwater FloridaNext I went to visit Papa Stanley’s resort. It looked like he already had his breakfast. He was cleaning his talons.  Or brushing his teeth. It was difficult to tell.

male osprey cleaning his talons Sand Key Park Clearwater FloridaFrom there I walked around the park and ended up at the fishing piers. Some of the marsh residents, like the two Great Blue Herons, were there too. Hoping to be invited for a free fish tasting.

fishing pier and a great blue heron Sand Key Park Clearwater Floridayoung great blue heron at fishing pier Sand Key Park Clearwater FloridaAnd a Snowy Egret with a broken toe inspected the nets and found a forgotten small fish. It pays to be diligent.

snowy egret at fishing pier Sand Key Park Clearwater FloridaAfter meeting so many of my feathered friends, I continued through the lush pine and palm forest to the north beach.

old tree in Sand Key Park Clearwater Floridaforest Sand Key Park Clearwater FloridaSand Key Park Clearwater FloridaWalking home, I was looking signs of fall in the nature. As most of our trees are evergreens, I only found some colorful beach grass, typical of fall here,  and some particularly eye-popping seed pods.

beach grass in fall colors Sand Key Park Clearwater Floridapalm seed pods Sand Key Clearwater FloridaWith that I wish you all a wonderful upcoming weekend, and hope to catch up on you blogs in the next few days.

62 thoughts on “Mama Osprey’s Two-front War. And Free Fish Tasting at the Pier.”

    1. Thanks Stephanie! There’s always something interesting happening around the salt marsh. And this walk was one of my longest, not so good photos but more foot work 🙂

    1. No, she just treated the crow as an annoyance, but was more serious about the two Ospreys. I heard Papa calling at them as well from his “resort”. Did you notice Sandy’s garden is gone? I think she cleaned it up and left only one long wine. Maybe she likes to watch it sway in the wind 🙂

        1. Me too. But then I realized she has just now started to eat at the nest again, so maybe the big garden was in the way. Previously she only sat at the nest, but didn’t bring her food there even once since the young ones left.

          1. It’s fascinating to learn about them and their habits. I wonder if this means something? Her cleaning up the nest and eating in it again. Maybe to keep dibs on it since other couples want to move in?

            1. I’m thinking her starting to eat at the nest might have to do with the upcoming nesting season. Can you imagine it’s only about two months until they start to court again at end December! And she’s certainly protecting her nest more now that other couples are around.

  1. Lots of chatter! Glad you got to be out and about to hear it. Walking in nature is a great change of pace. Love the colorful beach grass; I haven’t seen that on the east coast, so thank you for sharing!

    1. Yes, it was a lively walk! And I rediscovered the park too, but didn’t spot any owls or hawks that I know also live there. That beach grass is a sure sign of fall here and it’s quite beautiful. The color must have appeared only in the last week or so, with the cooler weather, as I didn’t see it on my previous walk.

    1. Thanks Sylvia! I thought they were funny too 🙂 And I’m sure the crow got some leftovers. The fish was too big for Sandy to eat in one sitting, and he seemed to be quite persistent 🙂

    1. Yes, they are definitely good for the soul! And I’m sure the crow got some leftovers from that big fish as an Osprey can only eat about 300 grams of fish in one sitting. And they don’t have fridges 😀

    1. That breakfast was not Sandy’s usual calm one! But I think she got enough…that was a huge fish! And I believe the crow got the reward for all his work at the end 🙂

  2. Thanks again Tiny for taking me on your walk, it is always lovely to see how your salt marsh is going, and to see your beautiful water birds. It is interesting why the Osprey can carry heavy slimy fish so well, even better then the sea eagle, because of its unique claws being equally opposed so it can grip securely around its catch..It was interesting to see your vegetation there also, looks somewhat tropic. Have a great weekend also! I have been chasing waders today, as they are back again, and I’m loving it!

    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed the post. Yes, the osprey is a master at fishing, dives down up to a meter, has a water repellant oil on its feathers and the reversible “toe” to grab the fish. And the “right footed” Mama Sandy is there among the best and fastest 🙂 Happy you have your waders back…looking forward to great pictures! have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

  3. I love your stories and all your wonderful images! I had to laugh at that video, Sandy should have at least offered that crow a bit of fish for his help…and is that a woodpecker I hear in the background? Life is always interesting in your neck of the woods!

    1. I laughed as well when I was “shooting” this unlikely pair. I’ve never seen a crow at the nest before. Since Sandy allowed the crow to come back, I’m sure the he got his reward at the end when she had eaten her max “allowance” of 300 grams 🙂 Happy you enjoyed the story, Susan. Have a great weekend!

      1. Oh, I forgot, you have a very good hearing! I saw a female Red-bellied Woodpecker when I was walking away from the nest, but she was too elusive for me to get a good shot.

    1. I love you side observation. This was the first time I saw a crow at the nest…his manners were a bit out-of-place for sure! Thanks for your visit, Bruce.

  4. Egret tail feather! 😀

    Great pics as usual, and good catch on the colors in those plants and seed pods at the end. I will have to wait until later to watch the video but definitely looking forward to it!

    1. Happy you liked the tail feather 😀 The video is really funny, the crow is working hard for a reward of fresh fish…and I’m sure Sandy gave him some after she was full.

    1. You’re right Susan, feeling MY age was not too much fun. But now I’m back in the groove thinking and feeling I’m much younger 😀 Have a relaxing weekend too!

  5. Oh,my new friend Tiny!What a wonderful post with a wide range of extraordinary bird species and bright plants!Invigorating walk,no wonder you had missed it.Loved the video,it was so clear,it made me felt I was there myself!The black fish crow,the helper,is so beautiful and so is Ms Rosa!Wonderful characters,I loved them all as well as the way you personify them!Have a splendid wekend,dear Tiny 🙂 xoxox

    1. Thank you dear Doda! My friends and I are happy you liked their adventures. I take these small video clips sometimes, despite my wobbly hand, to bring friends right there when things happen. These characters are lively and unexpected things can happen 🙂 Have a beautiful weekend, my friend ❤

      1. Great feathered friends,dear Tiny!You so pleasantly share wonderful moments with them!The video was just perfect,I so vividly lived the moment!Thank you,my friend ~ Happy weekend 🙂

  6. So many beautiful birds here, Tiny! Love. Sandy caught a big fish, wow! She looks good. 🙂 I can’t get the video to play, will try again later.

    1. Thank you dear Amy! I’ve seen Sandy bring in big fish before, but this was the fattest/heaviest one. She was not able to eat all of it, I’m sure, so the crow probably got his reward at the end 🙂

    1. Thank you Celestine! When you shoot straight up (like the osprey flying shots) it’s the deepest blue, little lighter closer to the horizon. Fall skies here in FL.

    1. Happy you enjoyed the action, Val! Sandy was pretty confident in handling the whole situation…but I heard Stanley warn the two Ospreys as well. That’s how I knew he would be home, and she knew he was monitoring the threat 🙂

  7. You are lucky to have ospreys to watch. If one comes to our corner of the world, it is such a rarity that no one is allowed anywhere near the nest and we have to watch them on nest cams. Beautiful pictures.

    1. Thank you! Yes, I am very lucky to have a nest so close to home. Ospreys are such interesting birds, and by watching them one can learn so much about them. I think Mama Sandy is starting to watch the nest more carefully now. She is eating there, and stays until late in the day. The courting process for the 2016 nesting season starts end December.

    1. Yes. Kind of. Osprey treated the Crow more as a nuisance, but I’m sure he got some leftovers. The real threat was in the air. Nice nests are hard to come by in this area.

  8. Hello Tiny,
    I’ve also been “MIA” but always enjoying your posts. Thank you for sharing this most recent adventure with us. I hope you’re having a great weekend.
    Takami 🙂

  9. Interesting picture of the snowy egret with a broken toe. Since I’m forever stubbing my toes (or dropping things onto them) I always wear close-toed shoes – too bad the egret seems to have the same problem. She has my sympathy!

    What happened to Sandy’s lovely garden? Hello there, Rosa! You’re still my favorite. 🙂

    1. I felt for the egret too, but she seemed not to be bothered by her broken toe. I have a small “theory” about Sandy’s garden. She has cleaned it all up, apart from one long wine. At the same time, she has started to eat many of her meals at the nest, which she hadn’t done even once since the chicks left. I think the garden was in the way of her landing there with a fish. Now it’s only little over two months until the nesting season…so she’s starting to prepare 🙂

    1. Thank you dear Amy! As you could see, I didn’t find much of fall colors in the park 🙂 So I will never ever get enough of your fall photos! Much love

      1. Tiny, it is for those like you I made such a great effort this year to capture the rapture in Mother this year. I still am so wiped from caring for Molly as long as I did, and then all that transpired afterwards, and then my mom so so sick. The colors have transported me into other realms. You are going to have such a treat ahead of you. My friend, wait till you see what Mother showed me. I wish I could have you visit so I could show all the images I have. Hundreds of Heaven on Earth pictures. I am pinching myself saying, did I really see what I did? ❤

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