I hear a stern warning from the nest. I hear another warning from somewhere close by. Then I hear a perfect duet of loud Osprey warnings. And I look up and around. Up in the air a male Osprey is circling low over the nest, looking down and making sweeping fly-bys towards the nest where one of the parents is sitting on the egg(s).
The parent in the nest turns out to be Papa Stanley. Because Mama Sandy happens to be on her break. She is perching on a lamp-post at a parking lot just outside the park boundary. She has a straight line of sight to the nest and helps Stanley to warn the unwanted visitor.
The “Mayor”, a Great Blue Heron, happens to be just below the nest when all this unfolds. Being an old friend of the Osprey couple, he finds such a disturbance highly unfortunate too. Hair-raising in fact.
As the drama progresses, and the guy in the sky continues his stalking, Sandy decides it’s best to return to the nest, take over from Stanley and let him handle the defense department.
The shift change is fast, two-three seconds tops. Stanley leaves immediately to take care of the threat.
He chases the intruder away from the salt marsh. And continues patrolling the sky above the nest for at least 20 minutes afterwards. Impressive.
Peace returns and I can move on to enjoy the entertainment provided by the Reddish Egret at the other end of the marsh. The “Clown” has returned while I was away. He is as exuberant as ever and puts up quite a show. So please check it out.
He runs around, jumps, flexes his wings, covers his head from the sun so he can see the bottom, and has a generally jolly time in search of that perfect lunch item. I’m smiling. But I’m not alone watching the spectacle. A Great Egret is following the hunting party at a safe distance with great interest.
The newly returned Mottled Duck couple have their eyes nailed to the Clown’s performance as well.
In a nearby palm tree, the female Red-bellied Woodpecker almost twists her neck trying to see what’s going on.
But at the other end of the marsh nobody cares. The gracious Tri-colored Heron has the fishing waters all for herself.
Well, almost. The tiny Grebe and a few Moorhens are there too enjoying the sunny afternoon. But my buddy, the Muscovy Duck, has left the salt marsh – possibly to search for a mate, just like last year.
Another returnee, the Green Heron, and his cousin, the Yellow-crowned Night Heron, are both taking in the now peaceful scenery close to the Osprey nest.
And up in the nest, Mama Sandy is sitting on the egg(s) after her interrupted break. We may have some tiny hatchlings in a couple of weeks 🙂
Just when I am leaving, I spot the tiny Snowy Egret I first saw in January. She may be one of the many wading birds that were born here last year.
Walking back home, I find Papa Stanley close by on his new “nesting season perch” from where he can see and hear everything that happens at the nest.
I am happy I could finally visit my friends at the salt marsh (twice) after almost a month of absence and before my next work trip at the end of next week. I wish you all a wonderful weekend.