Oops! I totally missed it.

Sitting here enjoying a hot after-dinner Christmas glögg.  A Swedish tradition. The spiced raisins and almonds at the bottom of my glass mug taste cinnamon and clover. Delicious. I’m off tonight from this month’s serious work crunch.

terrace christmas lights ud36But it’s already dark and too late to go see the birds at the salt marsh. Haven’t managed to get any such privileged breaks so far this week. No new pictures to share or feathered stories to tell. But since Thursday has (kind of) been my posting day, I thought I’d let it all hang out. We’re among friends, as Ben Huberman put it in his post about this week’s photo challenge: Oops! So here we go. My biggest oops in the history of salt marsh stories.

black-crowned night heron UD36It’s a beautiful day early March this year. Everybody is going about their business as usual. Mama Sandy is sitting on the eggs and Papa Stanley is keeping her company at the nest.

male osprey at the nestAnd I’m keeping company to both of them. Suddenly Stanley stands up. He turns around. Flexes his wings and talons.

papa osprey turns ud36He looks over my head intensely towards the bay behind me.

papa osprey faces the danger ud36I am still only focused on his move and wonder what that excitement is all about. What I don’t see is this (photo taken a few weeks later).

young blue heron coming in ud 36Stanley takes off, staring right above my head. His is talons are ready.

papa osprey faces danger ud36Action! Whatever will happen I’m ready! I see Stanley meeting a big bird in the air, just three feet above the nest. His talons are pounding the attacker. But my camera doesn’t see it. It needes a second or two to reset itself after I’d shot the full sequence. NO! Not now. Please. Come back!

Papa chaces the gbh ud36papa osprey in chase ud36When it finally wakes up after the two longest, most dramatic seconds in the world, it finds Stanley diving down to the marsh for the second time. To teach the silly young man a lesson.

papa osprey dives after the egg thief ud36What an event! Stanley successfully defends Sandy and the eggs in the nest…and I miss it. The trust in my photographic skills gets a bigger dent than the leg and butt of the young culprit.

blue heron the culprit ud36But I recovered. Oops happens. And just a few weeks later, when the eggs had hatched and the little nestlings (who’d grow up to three mighty birds) were in the nest with Sandy, I witnessed another impending attack by the same silly bird. But this time Sandy was on her watch and thwarted his attack before he even got off the ground. And this time my camera didn’t sleep.

mama osprey prevents attack by blue heron ud36blue heron goes down UD36But did the young Blue Heron learn his lesson? That remains to be seen when the nesting season starts again in a few weeks. I hope to get some fresh news for you over the weekend.

I think it’s time for another cup of glögg. You’ll find an impressive collection of oops and disasters here.