The Osprey chick caught me completely off guard! She really did. Last Tuesday when I took my “birding” camera on the morning walk with Dylan, she was still a nestling. We walked past the nest and nothing much was up. The chick was alone in the nest, I guessed Mama Sandy had gone to run some errands after breakfast. Osprey moms do that from the time the chicks are 5-6 weeks old.
Right when we were leaving Sandy came back and gave us a friendly look. I think she has now accepted Dylan as a part of this paparazzo’s entourage.
We saw many smaller birds, like this Northern Mockingbird who lives at the marsh.
And a Brown-headed Cowbird, who doesn’t love dogs very much. I can tell from the sharp warning calls as soon as Dylan approaches.
A Great-tailed Grackle sang for us from a lamp-post along the walkway.
And the Mourning Dove sat on the driveway fence checking us out, just like she does almost every morning.
So late yesterday morning, after all the necessary morning chores, I set out by myself to check the beach and the developments at the salt marsh. I took my new camera with me and shot some macros in the garden before heading to the beach. This girl needs to get acquainted with her new gear.
I got my first tiny insect, a bee in the White Bird of Paradise flower, but he didn’t care to look into the camera. And a couple of flowers and buds too, of course.
I still have tons to learn, and have to start carrying the heavier camera and the lenses to experiment with macros and other more advanced types of shots. I’m sure I will get a hang of it by time.
Our beach was quiet. Idyllic, if I may say. But the public beach just off the salt marsh was already buzzing with activity.
All kinds of fun stuff was going on in the water and in the air. This is one of the busiest weekends of the year around here.
But the salt marsh was serene as always. I walked directly towards the Osprey nest. On my way I saw a Yellow-crowned Night Heron. He had caught something big, maybe a crab, and didn’t quite know what to do with it. It could be that he hadn’t been successful during his night shift and grabbed the biggest piece available for brunch.
I heard Mama Sandy’s alarm calls, and again didn’t see anything threatening in the air. But just as I arrived to the East-end of the marsh, something big flew by me. Yes, you guessed it. The younger Great Blue Heron made his entrance and landed right below the Osprey nest.
He has grown to a big handsome bird, and hopefully his manners have improved. But Sandy didn’t take any chances. She immediately flew down and swooped by this fellow. Just to make a point. It all happened in a couple of seconds and I only caught her when she landed back in the nest.
The chick was taking notes. Then I realized that apparently their brunch was late. The chick was fairly vocal about it.
I hadn’t noticed Papa Stanley fly by with a fish, but when both the chick and Sandy were asking for fish and looking in the direction of the woods on the other side of the trail, I thought I’d better investigate. And soon I found him in a pine tree with a big fish.
Stanley was soaking wet and had just started to eat the head of the fish. He looked in the direction of the nest where the chick was hurrying him along. And briefly checked on me too.
I walked back to the nest, took some portraits of the two ladies and waited with them. But still no fish delivery.
So finally I decided to go back home not to be late for my own lunch date. Just when I reached the street and looked back towards the nest, I saw the chick take off! She had fledged in the last few days! She flew a round high over the bay and also took a swing over the woods where Stanley was working on the fish. Sandy sat alone in the nest and watched her. Proud mama.
I decided to wait right there to see the chick come back to the nest. In a couple of minutes she approached. It looked like she might miss the nest.
Sandy got ready for action, but luckily the chick could work her wings and steer onto the edge of the nest.
And she landed safely next to Sandy.
She got some motherly advice from Sandy right away. I wish I would’ve understood what was said. But I’m sure it was something wise.
I had witnessed one of the chick’s first flights. And now I had to run home. I hope friends in the US are having a nice long weekend. All of us at the marsh wish everyone a wonderful week ahead. Thanks coming along on this long Memorial Day weekend walk.