Premature Rewards and Other Natural Phenomena. But Where Is the Baby?

Every evening on our walk Dylan and I have passed by the Osprey nest in a quest to see the Baby. But nothing since the picture in my post last week. So one evening I took my camera along for the evening walk. I thought I might as well teach Dylan to sit or lay down completely still when I lift my camera so I can use both my arms as a “tripod”. Well. That was easier said than done. See, there are too many traces of squirrels and other small animals around the salt marsh. Sitting or laying still is not an option.  Although we do it very well in the house.

Dylan two weeks at home 3On that walk we saw Papa Stanley eating dinner on the very lamp-post where he used to keep an eye on the three chicks last year. Since we were on the sidewalk, Dylan agreed to cooperate and I got one relatively shake-free picture of Stanley. He was looking over to Sandy in the nest. He had already eaten the head of the fish and was now working on the tail. The best parts would go to the nest.

papa osprey at sunset ud56Mama Sandy was in the nest, but we couldn’t see the Baby. We walked around the marsh trying to spot a small head. But could only see Sandy half asleep, lit by the last rays of the setting sun (featured image). And we saw a Red-winged Blackbird. He was shaking a bit too. In the camera view, that is.

red-winged blackbird ud50Those were the three somewhat usable images I got with Dylan as my assistant. And believe it or not, I haven’t had a minute to go out there on my own. See, my big project has entered its final stretch. And someone I know fairly well being a terrible procrastinator, the final stretch always means a long spurt. Of the kind that keeps me clued to my computer for at least 12 hours a day. I’m driven by deadlines, and I think I’ll never learn to pace my work properly. There is always something more interesting to do when there is plenty of time. So instead of getting out to the salt marsh on my own, I have taken in the natural world by admiring the orchid blooming in my office.

my orchid 2 ud56.jpgBut I have to confess something. One day last week, when the deadline was still about three weeks away,  I decided to reward myself for all this hard work. Prematurely. Around midnight, after another grueling work session of about 13 hours,  I splurged on all new camera gear. I thought I had learned the basics and deserved something more than my super zoom birding camera. Or asking to borrow my hubby’s big Canon.

The five packages arrived this week. I had to open the boxes as they took up half the entry hall. It took about an hour. I placed my new treasures carefully on the living room table and asked Dylan to guard them. He took up his duty immediately.

my new camera gear ud56In that process I also discovered the Easter eggs next to the living room orchid. Remnants from the Easter party. They have since ended up in the trash, and Dylan has since been relieved of his guard duty. But my fingers itch. I want to try the new camera and all the new lenses.

Surprise, surprise. For once I have demonstrated I have a backbone. The gear will stay on the living room table, untouched mind you, until next weekend. Just like that. Because by then I should be much closer to the goal I rewarded my self for.

But despite nightly walks at the salt marsh, the mystery of the Osprey Baby remained unresolved. This morning I was observing the nest from my living room window with a cup of coffee in my hand. I saw Sandy’s back and nothing else. Suddenly Stanley flew in with a fish. I rushed to get my birding camera and ran out onto the very windy terrace. This is what I saw zooming all out while leaning heavily on the wall.

mama papa and chick osprey april 16 ud56Stanley was still there, and Sandy was tearing out small pieces of the fish feeding the Baby. Yay! It seems Sandy and Stanley have only one nestling this year, just like in 2014. And that means this little one will get a royal upbringing until it is completely ready to fly off and fend for itself. Much better odds to survive his/her first year than what the three chicks had last year. I am excited and feel privileged to be able to follow the childhood of this little Osprey.

orchid 1 ud56And as to my big project, I can now see some light at the end of the tunnel. And the delightful orchid still blooming in my living room. Have a great Sunday and a wonderful week ahead. Peace.

55 thoughts on “Premature Rewards and Other Natural Phenomena. But Where Is the Baby?”

  1. You already take such beautiful photos such as the ones shown in this post. Still I can’t wait to see what you could do with your impressive new gear.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Hien. I will not take my camera along for the evening walks any more as it doesn’t have a “dog stabilizer” 🙂 So much to learn with my new gear, but I am looking forward to experimenting.

  2. So happy that they have a healthy chick. I was beginning to worry something had happened to it. Super new camera stuff. Hope it’s not too complicated to fathom. Dylan is really such a cute guard doggie. I have an orchid just like your last pic, in our bedroom which is also our sitting room at the moment. Beautiful! Good luck with your deadline, Helen. 😃

    1. I am so relieved too. I think Sandy is keeping this one chick much more in the center of the nest than what she could do with the three last year. And she’s always covering the little one either from the sun or the wind. Dylan is a treasure, although he is not trained as a photographer’s assistant. Thanks for wishing me luck, Sylvia, I will need it 🙂

  3. My, my, Helen; little Dylan is looking super smart, and oh so dashing in his well groomed, tri-coloured coat. What a cutie! 😉
    Deadlines are monsters in disguise.. 😉 Wishing you all speed!
    And, how relieving it must have felt to ‘capture’ the little one, safe in the wings of his parents. 🙂

    1. Dylan brings so much joy on a daily basis… makes me relax even when life is stressful and the deadline monsters lurk around the corner 🙂
      Yes, I was very happy seeing the Osprey chick…being the only one will give him or her a wonderful start in life. In 2014 there was so much toting around the only girl they had. She was fishing by herself before she “moved out” 😀

  4. Aw, Dylan is such a good looking boy. 🙂 And look at all that treasure! Wow, you will be taking amazing pictures with all that gear! I have been good and not bothered you with emails while you have been busy. 😉 I will send one off to you tomorrow as today I am still getting over a case of food poisoning. Yuck.

    1. OMG, I hope you feel better today, Jackie! Dylan and I send you healthy vibes 🙂 I hope I will learn to use all the new gear by time. I am truly looking forward to practicing macro photography and some long-exposure landscapes/seascapes – the type of things I couldn’t do before. Time will tell. Many hugs!

  5. How exciting to have a new camera and all those fabulous lens – good luck with your deadline so you can finally touch and click, lol! 😄

    1. Thanks Joanne! I so much look forward to some clicking expeditions, and experimenting with a few new things, like real macros 😀

  6. How lovely to see the new chick, and see how the parent leans protectively over her precious offspring. Wow, Tiny, you look geared up for some serious photography! You photos so far have been wonderful, they can only get better, have a great week:-)

    1. Yes, it was wonderful to finally spot the Baby! S/he must be about three weeks now…and growing fast. By the end of next month we should be seeing flying lessons 🙂 I think I will use my super zoom for most bird photography even in the future because there is no substitution for getting close. I will try other types of nature photography with the new gear, which I couldn’t do before. Wishing you too a wonderful week, my friend!

    1. It was great to spot the baby. S/he has been very protected by Sandy and kept in the middle of the nest, no looking out over the edge 🙂 It will take time before I master the new gear but hopefully, by time, I can picture nature in ways that I couldn’t before. Have a wonderful week, Karen.

    1. I hope for more pictures of the little one this coming week. The new camera is very good, I just need to learn to use it properly.

    1. Thanks Nancy! We have always had Cannons, so I am a Canon girl. This camera is the new D80 and the lenses I got are the basic 50mm with great light sensitivity, a 17-55mm wide-angle zoom, a 100mm macro, and a 70-300mm zoom. That should be all I’ll ever need because I can’t afford the long telephoto lenses, all much north of $10k a piece 🙂 My “birding” Canon has a super zoom (focal/optical) up to 1200mm and that will continue to be my “staple” for quick walks and hikes. I hope you are not too stressed out by work and travel, and get some rest too. XX

      1. Haha! You picked the wrong day to ask me that question. I was up at 4:30 for a 7am flight to Houston. There til Wed, then onto Atlanta til Friday. Good times. 🙂

  7. Nice treasures sweet Tiny, I only have two lenses with my Canon. What gorgeous orchids you are not only talented in photography but also in growing orchids. Love the picture of the red-wing blackbird. I am so happy you found the baby and what a super picture you got of the whole family. Happy for you that you are seeing light at the end of the tunnel with your big project. Hugs for you and nose kisses for Dylan.

    1. Thank you dear Mags! I am very grateful I was finally able to get this particular camera and the lenses I need to do some different nature photography. I will need lots of practice though, it’s been a long time since I took macro or long exposure photos. I am hoping to get some close-ups of the Baby soon, but Mama has been so protective that the only way to see it has been from the terrace at feeding time, and that is far away. Hugs from me and nose kisses from Dylan 🙂

      1. I will be looking forward to seeing wonderful pictures that I know you will take with the new camera and lens. I still have not learned to use my Canon very well. I usually just grab my little Olympus and use it. I really need to get used to the Canon and use it.

        1. It takes patience and trial and error to learn a new camera. I did take pictures with hubby’s older Canon but this one has so much new tech that I will need to experiment a lot. We can learn together 🙂

          1. You will probably learn much faster than I do. I am so used to the little Olympus that the Canon makes me nervous…way more setting on it.

  8. Did the UF Gainesville Butterfly Rainforest yesterday…
    May be a little longer day trip for you that it is for us
    but it may be worth it to test out that new gear.
    Check out FB Iris Erb, Spring Hill, I’ll be posting pics
    from my little Nikon Cool Pic on her site later today.
    Our next outing will be to Sand Key in the very near future.
    Love, hugs and blessings … ME and the Boss

    1. Thank you for the tips! I will check out the photos on FB. I will need lots of practice with my gear because it’s been a long time since I took macros or long exposure photos, but with time I’m sure I will relearn the tricks 🙂 Right now we have less birds than usual at the salt marsh. I quite don’t know why, but maybe many of them are now nesting at the “bird island” in the bay and just don’t visit as regularly. Have a wonderful week ahead – Tiny

  9. You and the kids have quite a fan club (deservedly) here Helen! Kudos on the baby and your new equipment. I already thought your photos were wonderful. You’re reminding me that I would love to have a good camera. I guess I better get some income flowing. 🙂

    1. I think the new chick deserves a fan club 🐤😘…looked out from the nest tonight, starting to look cute. A new camera is a great reward to self after hard work 🙂 This one will enable things I couldn’t do before…so now I can’t blame equipment 😉

  10. Looks like I’ve missed out on a lot! Dylan! What a cutie. One chick, how wonderful…he/she will get to be spoiled! Your orchids are lovely…perhaps a post on any secrets to caring for them?? 🙂 I’m off to plant potstoes. I hope your Sunday is restful. Later I will read your past posts. Looks like I need to catch up! Hugs Helen! Koko:)

    1. Yes, Dylan joined the family two weeks ago, adopted from rescue. He is absolutely lovely. The little chick will definitely get spoiled, both parents dotting around him/ her 🙂 Unfortunately I had to work today, apart from walks with Dylan, but I hope you had a great planting day in the garden! XX Helen

    1. 😂 I will not lug these around on my walks, the old camera will do. But I will need these lenses when I want to do macro photography, or capture the movement of clouds or water in long exposure, or take wide angle landscape shots. Hence the lenses, they can do different things. All this requires learning, which my dear birding camera couldn’t help me with.

  11. I am among those who felt a good deal of surprise that you thought that you needed new camera gear such is the excellence of your photographs of your walks. You certainly seem to have covered most of the bases with your purchase. I hope that you have endless fun using it.

    Mrs Tootlepdal buys a lottery ticket each week. When our boat comes in it will be carrying one of those expensive birding lenses.

    1. I have been dreaming of doing more with my photography for some time now, but every time I wanted to try something new, my birding camera couldn’t do it. It has a great zoom, so it will still be my companion to the salt marsh, most of the time. A corresponding birding lens to this camera would definitely require a large lottery win. I hope your boat comes in!

  12. I saw the baby again tonight on our evening walk, it is getting little curious about the world now 🙂 I thought I’d get a lasting reward this time around, and now I just hope I’ll learn to use all that technology.

  13. OH MY GOSH!!! You got a Canon and so many lenses! I am so excited I am barely able to sit still! You are going to LOVE this camera, Tiny! It looks like you have a magnifier and if that is so, can you please let me know how it works out? I’ve been wanting to get even bigger with my macro but don’t want to invest in another lens, as they are so expensive. Most of my lenses are f/2.8 except for my long range lens (75-300mm) and they are EF lenses as well, so yes, they have a whopping price tag. Good glass produces excellent images so the investment is worth it.
    As for the baby … Oh thank heavens it is still alive! I was thinking at the beginning of the post that the baby didn’t make it.
    Dylan will learn eventually. He’s a good boy and he will want to please you. Time, patience, broken record lessons, (smile), all will work out to your advantage.
    LOVED your pictures, dear friend. I too have had LONG work days and for the first time since I started blogging actually went missing last week, taking some time off. I begin again tomorrow (Tuesday).
    Sending Much Love to you, Amy ❤

  14. Oh your new lens and camera!!! I can’t wait till you get your gear all set up and show us your new pictures Tiny! Dylan is a sweetheart and so obedient! Hugs from rainy-sunny Helsinki 🙂 Sharon x

  15. So much to look forward to when your project is completed! Thank you for sharing your shots, Dylan and your time with us.
    Its good to know there is one healthy chick in the nest who will get the royal treatment .. and some great photos to be created down the road 😊

  16. Yay! Congrats for having the new gears..that’s exciting! Looking forward to seeing the future images taken using the lenses 🙂 Dante, my dog, is also my regular assistant. He is not into squirrels, though, but he can’t stop greeting people who passed by – maybe he thinks I am that boring when taking pictures 😀

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