Mama Osprey’s Little Wingman. And Danger Lurking.

Happy Mother’s Day to Mama Sandy! Being a mother is wonderful, but also exhausting and full of trials. Mama Sandy knows. She looks weary. I am not sure this picture shows two chicks, but this is the closest I’ve come this week to confirm that there still are two of them.

weary Mama Osprey and 2 chicks ud59But that doesn’t mean that the younger chick didn’t survive. S/he could just be in the middle of the nest and not yet looking out much. And even in the next picture s/he could be right in front of Sandy’s head.

osprey chick ud59The bigger chick is certainly thriving. S/he is wingersizing already. That long, out-stretched wing belongs to him/her!

This morning I took a solo walk to check on them. See, Dylan is not allowed to take long walks until next Thursday. He had surgery to repair a Cherry Eye in his left eye, which is still red. He has a cone to protect his eye, and is on three medications. Needless to say he doesn’t appreciate his current restrictions.

Dylan after surgeryAnyway, this morning I heard Mama Sandy give a sharp alarm call several times. I looked up in the sky, but couldn’t see anything flying overhead. At one time she was making herself ready to fly out, but changed her mind at the last moment. I was baffled. What was making her so upset?

mama osprey ready to defend the nest ud59I walked closer to the nest and discovered the reason she was on edge. The young Great Blue Heron was watching the nest intensively from the other side of the deep pond.

young great blue heron ud59After being discovered, he flew across the pond landing almost below the nest. And Sandy gave another sharp warning.

gbh flying ud59

younger great blue heron ud59Sandy was on her toes and ready to defend the nest. Because Papa Stanley didn’t fly in to assist her, I gathered he was out fishing. So I walked around the marsh to see who else was at home. The first one I spotted was the small Tri-colored Heron. She was hunting and didn’t pay much attention to me.

tricolored heron ud59The tiny juvenile Little Blue Heron, whom I saw last week for the first time, was also there. I think she’s made the salt marsh her new home.

juvenile little blue heron ud59On the north side of the marsh, two baby Mottled Ducks were having breakfast. Diving so often that I had a difficulty in capturing both of them up on the surface at the same time.

two ducklings ud59Mr. Mallard was also visiting the marsh for the first time this year. He posed nicely for the camera.

mr mallard ud59Walking further towards the beach end of the marsh, I had to laugh at this Northern Mockingbird.

Mockingbird ud59As soon as I walked by his tree, he started serenading me in advance of Mother’s Day. I took a 30 second video so he can serenade you too. The master of the songbird universe.

Reaching the end of the marsh, my attention was drawn to a Great Egret, who seemed very upset.

great egret ud59He was vocal too, and soon enough I saw why. The young Great Blue Heron was flying right towards him. I guess the GBH had decided he didn’t want to get his butt kicked by Sandy again, and wanted another piece of land to conquer.

young great blue heron ud59The Great Egret flew away, and the young GBH soon was the King of the Hill at the west-end of the marsh.

younger Great Blue Heron ud59I walked back towards the Osprey nest on the south side of the marsh. The only bird I saw there was a Blue Jay. He was moving all the time and gave me a hard time to get a shot.

blue jay ud59While I was occupied with him, I saw Papa Stanley circle around the nest with a fish. Mama Sandy did not say anything so he flew away with the fish. After reaching the nest, I sat down on “my” bench to change the battery in my camera.

mama osprey ud59I could only see Sandy. Then I saw a dark shadow flying over my head. It was Stanley coming back with the fish.

papa osprey brings a fish ud59He landed at the corner of nest. But nobody was hungry. This was around 10 a.m. and I guess Sandy and the chick(s) had just eaten. So he took the fish and flew away, presumably to eat it himself.

papa osprey delivers extra fish ud59

papa osprey flies away w fish ud59I’m sure he’ll need that extra energy as he’s fishing at least four times a day now, and probably eats less than any of them.

It was a gorgeous day and an eventful walk. Reaching our driveway a Mourning Dove was welcoming me home.

mourning dove ud59

With that I wish all mothers and grandmothers a wonderful Mother’s Day tomorrow.



68 thoughts on “Mama Osprey’s Little Wingman. And Danger Lurking.”

  1. What an active day on the Marsh Helen! You really are the Mother of the Marsh and your presence and care for each of them is very nurturing. I hope Dylan recovers soon and you enjoy this beautiful Sunday. 🙂

    1. I am happy more people have started to get interested in the birds living at the salt marsh, we have conversations on what we each have observed 🙂 Dylan has recovered all his strength after the surgery, and can’t understand why the cone still needs to be there – or why mom puts in eye drops that sting. Luckily only for a few more days. Thanks Karen!

    1. Thank you Jackie! All characters seem to be doing fine, I’m hoping I will spot the second chick in the next few days ❤

  2. A lovely post for Mother’s Day. I particularly enjoyed the serenade. Jack sends his best wishes to Dylan and hopes he will soon be rid of that cone.

    1. Glad you too enjoyed the serenade. Dylan is counting days…4 more to go before he gets rid of the cone. It prevents so many things, even sniffing the ground for squirrels.

  3. Amazing pictures my sweet friend. I always so enjoy your trips to the marsh in pictures Hope sweet Dylan’s eye heals quickly and he can come out of the cone and walk to the marsh with you again. I enjoyed the mockingbird video I love to hear them sing. Happy Mother’s Day…all the pictures are perfect for the day. Hugs and give Dylan nose kisses for me.

    1. I love the Mockingbird song, and this one was really in the mood for serenading 🙂 Dylan will be fine in a few days – he already feels good and is full of energy, and therefore it’s more difficult for him not to be able to take long walks or go to the dog park and run. Happy Mother’s Day hugs to you too!

  4. Another fabulous collection of shots, Helen! Glad you got out to enjoy this glorious weather we’re having! Sounds like tomorrow should be the same. Perfect for celebrating Mother’s Day.

    1. This weather is just gorgeous! I think I will take another long walk today as there is likely to be quite a bit of eating later on 🙂 Have a wonderful Sunday!

    1. Thank you! Dylan cannot fathom why the cone and mean mommy putting stinging eye drops three times a day…although he likes the treats afterwards.

  5. So much drama.. on a Saturday no less. You’d think they’d all be relaxing what with it being a weekend. 🙂 And wingersizing; I even looked it up. Perfect word, Helen. Happy Mother’s Day to you!

    1. Yes there was quite a bit of drama going on thanks to the young feisty GBH. But I was amazed that nobody was hungry when PO brought in the fish – have not seen that before 🙂 Thanks Eric!

  6. A wonderful walk with great photos Tiny! We do pray Dylan recovers soon from his surgery, he does look a little sad. I think I made out the second chick partially visible in the nest, in front of the visible one, but with its eyes closed. Happy mothers day my dear friend! I do hope you were blessed by family today.

    1. Happy you enjoyed the walk, Ashley! I am hoping you are right about the second chick. I tried to take pictures of the nest from my terrace too yesterday, and it looks like there might be two chicks side by side in the middle of the nest. Yes, my day is very blessed 🙂

  7. A wonderful update, Helen; though, so sad for little Dylan. He certainly looks the little patient with his Elizabethan collar. Hahaa… so cute, too!
    There could be two little heads with Sandy; here’s hoping. As for all the other individuals in the Salt Marsh community, it is delightful to see them so robust and going about their business.
    The Northern Mockingbird is soooo confidant and charming. I definitely feel serenaded… 😉

    1. Dylan doesn’t feel too cute right now, the Elizabethan collar is not to his liking. It prevents sniffing the ground 🙂 I’m glad you too felt serenaded, the little fellow certainly gave his all! I will probably take another walk today, the weather is just fantastic, and hope to see both chicks.

  8. Poor little Dylan. They just don’t understand what it’s all about, do they? Hope his eye is healed soon. Your photos are really great and I especially love the Blue Jay. I’m really hoping that second baby osprey is doing okay. The young GBH looks quite cunning and determined to show what he’s made of. Thanks for the Northern Mockingbird song. It was so lovely 🙂 Hope you’ve had a very special Mother’s Day. xx

    1. Dylan thanks for your caring, Sylvia. He tries to get the cone off several times a day – and hates his eye drops with passion – even when he knows the reward is a treat afterwards. He will be so happy come Thursday afternoon. I will try to go check on the Osprey chicks again today. And see if I will get another serenade by the Mockingbird. He seems to live right there at the marsh. Have a great day XX

  9. So many awesome captures, the salt marsh is thriving with activity! Mama Sandy is a great mom! And poor ‘lil Dylan, no dog or cat likes to wear that awful cone. Our black lab actually acted like he was embarrassed when he had to wear one, lol.

    1. Your comment on your lab made me smile. Last night Dylan met an even smaller dog on our evening walk and he looked embarrassed as well. It was too difficult to sniff each other 🙂 As to the young GBH who attacked the nest several times last year, I hope he still remembers how badly Sandy kicked his butt (literally) and doesn’t try it again!

      1. Poor lil Dylan, when he gets it off finally, he’ll be doing jumps and flips! 😉 Our Osprey Mama Olivia from years back would attack the GBH and Egrets that landed near the base of our platform, and she too kicked butt! I always cheered her on! 🙂

        1. Oh he will! He’s trying to do flips now too when we’re going out and keeps hitting the cone to the things around him 🙂 Olivia and Sandy would have made a strong team!

  10. Happy Mother’s Day to you AND to Sandy Tiny. Someone told me today that the ospreys won’t eat the fish until they’re dead so that’s why they fly around with them and sometimes beat them against posts. Do you know if that’s true??

    1. I don’t know if that is true as I have seen Stanley eat on a fish that was still wiggling. I think what I saw on Saturday was a dead fish, but the family had already eaten just a couple of hours earlier and nobody wanted more fish at the time 🙂

    1. That is no fun, Dylan can tell. It’s not even possible for him to sniff the ground with this cone on, which equals not being able to read his daily newspaper. But now only for 3 more days.

    1. It is great to have the park and the salt marsh just one block away, and the beach and the bay surrounding us. I feel grateful for it every day, nature at my fingertips 🙂

  11. It’s great to see how the family is getting along. Great captures of the busy birds around the marsh Helen! I hope Dylan’s eye is better and he can practice being a good walking companion soon!

    1. The salt marsh is buzzing right now with so much bird activity. I am seeing the firstborn chick exercising his/her wings a lot. Flying lessons in two – three weeks. I have not been able to see the second much smaller chick and now I’m afraid it didn’t make it. Dylan is itching to take the cone off and has so much stored energy that we’ll be flying soon 😀

      1. Its a hopping time with nesting and brooding (if that’s what birds do !?!)
        I hope the small one made it … And then again, sometimes we have to trust that nature knows.
        Have fun with Dylan and all this excitement around ❤️

  12. Wonderful Mother’s Day post, Tiny. Your photos, as always, are such a joy. I especially love the osprey photos with the fish in the talons.

  13. How ungrateful after Stanley put in all that effort to find lunch… but hopefully he enjoyed the meal himself. Sending healing vibes to Dylan.

    1. Thank you Meg. No, Dylan still has the cone…they told me to keep it on until Monday when he has his check-up. But he feels fine and is very frustrated with the cone.

  14. Herons are so majestic. I was taking a closer look and thinking how powerful their beaks must be! Oh little Dylan! I’m sure once it’s all healed he will be springing about! Cones are so undignified! Cherry eye can be so frustrating. Were they able to leave the tear duct? I forgot to mention the Osprey family losing a member. I’m so sad. Life is interesting with its twists and turns. Hugs to you and Dylan.

    1. Yes, the heron have very powerful beaks. Dylan and I got a good look at this youngster this morning. He was standing at the sailing club and almost scared us 🙂 Dylan’s surgery went well, yes they were able to leave the tear duct, but the corner of his eye is still more red than it should be, hence another ointment with steroids for one more week. XX

      1. I’m glad…otherwise it would be putting drops in daily forever. So happy for him! If it stops raining here, a walk would be nice. Evan (My only male dog who looks like if Lady and the Tramp had a baby, it would be him), is who i’d take for a walk. The rest of the canine clan are pretty old. Hope you have sunshine! 🙂

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