We are Flying! But Are We Ever Gonna Eat?

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.

osprey chick ud62Right 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.

mama osprey gets something to the nest ud61We saw many smaller birds, like this Northern Mockingbird who lives at the marsh.

northern mocking bird ud62And a Brown-headed Cowbird, who doesn’t love dogs very much. I can tell from the sharp warning calls as soon as Dylan approaches.

brown-headed cowbird ud62A Great-tailed Grackle sang for us from a lamp-post along the walkway.

Boat-tailed Gragle ud62And the Mourning Dove sat on the driveway fence checking us out, just like she does almost every morning.

Mourning dove in the morning ud62So 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.

bee macro ud61I 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.

garden flower macro ud62

flower bud macro 2 ud62

new leaf opening 2 macro

flower bud macro ud62I 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.

our beach on Sand Key ud62All 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.

parasailing ud62But 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.

yellow-crowned night heron was hunting ud62I 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.

young great blue heron ud62 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.

mama osprey returns to chick ud62The 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.

papa osprey with a fish 2 UD62Stanley 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.

papa osprey with a fish ud62I walked back to the nest, took some portraits of the two ladies and waited with them. But still no fish delivery.

portrait of mama osprey ud62

osprey chick 2 ud62

mama osprey and chick waiting for fish ud62So 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.

mama osprey watches chick flying ud62I 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.

osprey chick approaches the nest ud62Sandy got ready for action, but luckily the chick could work her wings and steer onto the edge of the nest.

osprey chick landing ud62.jpgAnd she landed safely next to Sandy.

ocprey chick is back in the nest ud62She 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.

mama osprey advises osprey chick 2 ud62I 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.

79 thoughts on “We are Flying! But Are We Ever Gonna Eat?”

    1. Yes, it held up until the chick learned to fly! Now that she leaves the nest in about a month, and Sandy and Stanley get their summer vacation, I will try to find someone who can repair it.

  1. How beautiful is to watch the learning process of the fledglings, the importance of the parents instructions, passing the torch of life in the wild to their brood. Great captures my dear! 🙂

    1. You said it so beautifully, H.J.! It is truly a privilege to witness the teaching – learning process between the parents and the fledgling. I am sure one of them will take her on a fishing trip once she gets a bit more confident in flying, in a week or two 🙂

  2. Those macro shots are superb.You have nothing to learn in that area, Tiny!

    The Osprey photos were also perfect. I enjoyed viewing them, especially since the refuge I usually go to has closed off Wildlife Drive for at least a few weeks, no explanation given. So the Ospreys I have been following and their nests are out of reach now.

    1. You are too kind, Hien. I have so much to learn about the new camera and all the new lenses. I’ll give myself at least a year to get the best out of the gear – poetic but true 🙂 Sorry that you don’t have access to the Osprey nests right now, but if I remember correctly the fledging was a bit later last year so you may just be lucky to see the chicks when they are fledging.

  3. Wonderful illustrated marsh story and photography to die for… I bet momma was saying, “How many times do I have to remind you about that cross wind? You should have come in from the south end… Now, I’ll want to see you do that again, but not on an empty stomach. Dad’s being difficult, so you’n I are going to go fishing. You hover and watch, I’ll do the diving.”

    1. Now I’m laughing!! Yes, I imagine it all went down just like that! There was a breeze from the ocean and Sandy herself came in from that side when making that short swoop to warn the GBH. And as to Daddy, he took his time…eating the head and I guess a bit more. I’m hoping they would teach the chick to fish over the bay so I could get some shots of that exciting process, but usually they go further out over the ocean.

  4. How unusual of me to arrive so early …
    Fabulous post with a wonderful photo series and nice short stories,dear Tiny!The fish delivery video and Stanley’s catch are gorgeous!Loved the Mourning Dove with its iridescent plumage and the successful flight of the young birdie!Can’t leave without praising your floral macros and particularly the one with the bee nectaring in the White Bird of Paradise flower.What a special relationship between insects and flowers!Your beach photo is also fantastic,a real harbinger for the beginning of the Meteorological Summer.Best wishes for your Memorial Sunday,my friend 🙂 xxx
    PS:I have missed so many “episodes … “.May I ask who Dylan is?

    1. Happy you arrived in time to catch the flight of the Osprey chick, Doda 🙂 I also marvel about the relationship insects have with flowers, and I hope to capture more of those visits in the future. We already have summer temperatures here – about 28C today, and people have really been enjoying the unofficial start of the summer vacation season. I can still see a couple of hundred people on the beach at this hour (almost 6 pm). Dylan is our newly adopted poodle. Our dear Bumble died in February and he was urging us from the doggie heaven to give a home to another homeless poodle. So in April Dylan arrived. He is a wonderful dog and makes me walk 3 miles a day! And I already feel the benefits of this regular exercise 🙂 Have a wonderful week ahead, dear Doda XX

      1. I am happy about everything there and about the chick’s”first steps of life”in the vastness of the sky,dear Tiny!We have quite warm weather at the moment too and people have already started going to the beach.I suspected that Dylan was the new comer,but I then thought that Bumble’s loss was quite fresh.I am sure he is happy now,he knows that you will give love to another innocent soul … Enjoy your walks with him and please give me the link of the post you have announced the good news.I might see some of his photos there.Have a splendid week ahead,dear friend 🙂 xxx

  5. So glad you have this avid interest in photography! I love the beautiful side benefits! Plus, your storytelling always makes me smile! 😉 Enjoy the rest of this weekend!

    1. Thank you kindly Cyndi! This past week we got spoiled with dry weather, I hope you did too, but now the moisture is slowly returning. But Dylan takes me on long morning and evening walks regardless of temps and humidity 🙂

    1. I am happy you enjoyed the catch up…I had no idea the chick had fledged 🙂 I will practice and experiment with my new gear this whole summer and hope I can do some different kinds of photography as well.

    1. I almost missed her first flights! It is so much fun to see the chick has grown strong and healthy in just seven weeks 🙂

  6. There are some amazing photos here Helen! Love the macro buds – especially the first one.
    I’m so glad you caught most of the actions with the Ospreys and shared it here. When are we naming the chick? I was thinking a name similar to Dylan might be nice to commemorate his first osprey chick. Delia? Delilah? Diane? Dylis?
    I hope you continue to have fun with the new camera! xo

    1. Thank you Val. You did read my thoughts….I was thinking to write a short “naming post” this coming week. I would let everyone propose names in the comments and then put the names in a hat and let Dylan do the drawing. I have a good prize too… something completely new 😀

  7. I can’t believe how big the chick is! Their wings are enormous and I can imagine it takes some steering in the early days. Your new camera is creating some great shots too. I hope they all get to share that huge fish together. Thanks Helen. Have a great week.

    1. Thank you, Karen. I probably know 10% of what I need to master on the new gear…pole, pole 🙂 I am sure Stanly came to the nest shortly after I had to leave. Sometimes he eats the head and a bit more, and then brings the meatiest part to the nest. A few times he has just brought the fish and stayed there to enjoy it together. Have a wonderful week!

    1. It’s a long process to learn a new camera and the different lenses. The only one I have really experimented with thus far is the macro lens, the others I have just tried out to make sure they work. But luckily there is no rush.

  8. Tiny, I love how you’ve become a part of their community. With the chicks looking out of their nests ~ you knew perhaps Stanley was somewhere around with food, and sure enough, you found him with a big fish. Great shots, and great video. In looking through all these photos, there is a world of diversity around you: I love Mourning Doves, so to see those almost every day is something special ~ and now will be seeing some fine macro-shots as well 🙂 The photographer’s life is rich when there is so much to see and shoot. Wishing you a great spring Tiny, both with your work and your photography 🙂 Take care ~

    1. Yes, I have learned a lot about all of them, and it is now little easier to understand what is going on and anticipate their next move. And I believe photography helps us to observe better – in life generally and in the nature as well. Now I want to learn to see the smallest details 🙂 I wish you too a great start of the summer, and thank you on both counts, Randall.

    1. She might have said just that 🙂 It looked like the chick flew close by her dad, and I’m sure the fish was delivered fairly soon after that. Hope you’re having a great long weekend.

  9. What an exciting development in the Osprey family. I couldn’t help but smile the entire time reading this post. As always it’s lovely to catch up with everyone in the salt marsh. I wish you a good long weekend.

    1. It was a development worth witnessing 🙂 The chick took off effortlessly, but the landing is always tricky for them in the beginning. Thank you Takami, and have a wonderful week.

  10. Wow Tiny! what beautiful captures, including your macros. I love how you caught the birds landing shots so well. Love the little movie clip of the hunger call. Papa with the fish is a real classic pic, you have shared such an excellent post Tiny, always a great delight and enjoyable feast. Thanks again my friend:-)

    1. Thanks a lot, Ashley! I was lucky to see her take off, fly quite a big circle over the bay and the woods, and then land back at the nest. I actually thought she got impatient with daddy and wanted to go check on him. Last night at our walk, the chick was already asking for fish when Stanley had not even left on a fishing trip…teenagers can empty the fridge in any household 😀

  11. Oh, Helen, so much happening on your Memorial Day post!
    Firstly, so pleased that some of the Salt Marsh community are getting used to Dylan. Makes for better relationships, to be sure. Then there’s the magnificent images you’ve taken. My goodness, the macros are gorgeous! Next is the gigantic fish that Papa Stanley caught. That took me by surprise! And then to see the video, flight and landing of the chick. Mama Sandy must be so proud. What a wonderful capture overall. A feast extraordinaire! ❤

    1. Thanks for coming along, Carolyn, this was a longish walk. Yes, the fish was big, probably about the same or just over his own weight. But Ospreys can carry a fish 2 x their weight so he was just warming up on his weight lifting routine 😀 The parents will soon be taking the chick on fishing trips, that would be wonderful to witness…

  12. Awesome post!! I really enjoyed reading about your busy morning, it was so interesting. When my husband and I have gone bird watching on the odd occasion, we have never seen anything lol which is why I was so fascinated with your post. Awesome photos too!

    1. I have noticed that after I started to “shoot” birds, I spot them much better than I did before. At the first glance even the salt marsh may seem “empty” (apat from the Osprey nest), but when I really look, I always find not one, but many more birds 🙂 Thank you for visiting, Norma.

    1. Thank you from one “hawk mother” to another. I hope to see the chick learning to fish…might be wishful thinking 🙂

    1. Actually there’s only one chick (the other died very small), but she’s the size of her mother now. The only difference is that the ends of her flying feathers are white and her eyes are still more orange than yellow. She’s fledged and will be learning to fish in the next few weeks.

    1. Just 7 weeks ago, this chick was a new hatchling and now almost the size of her parents 🙂 but she has still lots to learn before she can manage on her own.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Lorrie! You are too kind about the macro shots. I want to practice and share a few every now and then…but my eye needs to get better in observing small things 🙂 I wish your week will be wonder-filled ❤

  13. I’m loving your stories of life in the salt marsh, Tiny, and the wonderful collection of photos that accompany them. It’s good to hear that the chick is finding his feet and his wings. Good luck with the new camera equipment. You’ve made a really great start with those macros. have a great week ♥

    1. Happy you came along on this longish walk, Isabella. The chick will probably be in the nest for about one more month while first leaning to fly confidently and then to dive for fish. Have a wonderful week too! Hugs ❤

  14. Those two pictures of Papa Stanley with the fish are just amazing, Helen! Many congratulations on capturing them. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your macro work – by the way, why do photographers call it ‘macro’ when it seems it really ought be ‘micro’?

    1. That fish Stanley had caught was about, if not more than, his own weight. It needed to be big to feed all three of them. I think that it’s called “macro” because it makes “micro” much bigger 🙂 That bee was no more than 1.5 cm and she looked fairly “macro” in the picture.

    1. I smiled too when Sandy started coaching the chick immediately after landing 🙂 The chick was impatient with daddy and went to check on him. Like any teenager would do if they feared daddy might eat everything.

    1. We are happy you visited. This chick has a huge appetite. Last night when Dylan and I passed the nest she was already asking for supper when daddy had not even left on a fishing trip, he was calmly perching in the same pine tree I saw him in on Saturday 🙂

  15. Your photography skills never disappoint! Wow, baby’s first flight. She’s a pretty one! I love the blossoms and a bee! We so need bees. I’ve noticed more bee activity this year. Super excited at that. Love the post. Take care Hellen. Enjoy the rest of the week! Hugs! Koko:)

    1. Yes, we need the bees! I have not seen very many this year, but it could be that I am not yet good at observing these small members of our community. Glad you liked the macro experiments, I will try to learn more by time. The baby is flying every day now, but still staying close to the nest. Take care, Koko, and many hugs to you too 🙂

  16. Fantastic action on the salt marsh! Great photos, Tiny, I especially liked seeing Papa Stanley and the big fish. But priceless was the discovery of the chick’s flight and near-miss landing on the nest. I find it so exciting when a new bird has learned to fly, and your photos here said so much. Thank you.

  17. Fantastic shots of the chick’s first flight! That’s an enormous fish that Stanley got! I hope he eventually shared it with the family. Much too big for one Osprey. 🙂 Love your macros, Helen, and your bird photos are superb as always.

  18. Oh, wow you captured the flight of the chick…amazing. That was a really big fish and what great pictures of Papa Stanley with his catch. Looks like you are doing quite well already with your new camera…the macros are great. I have tried taking macros a few times but mine did not turn out as well as yours. I so enjoyed this post and thank you for keeping us up on all the action at the salt marsh. Hugs for you and nose kisses for Dylan

  19. Oh gosh,dear Tiny.I had written a comment on your last post and when I clicked the POST COMMENT box.a page came out which said that the site is not safe …

  20. Oh,there was so much coming and going in the Sandy & Stanley family and so many family gatherings!Your recent photos are wonderful,I guess that your assistant does a good job there.He looks so eager to start shooting your friends in the Salt Marsh and so excited about the “naming event”.I hope he’ll put my choice into the hat.You know,I had a canary some years ago,her name was Calypso.Happy Thursday,dear Tiny & special hugs to Dylan 🙂

  21. Here is what I get:

    Αποτυχία ασφαλούς σύνδεσης

    Το έγγραφο δεν περιέχει δεδομένα.

    The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.
    Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem.

    1. I was so lucky to see her fledge! I have made it a habit to check on the nest through the trees when I get to the street. it’s funny how many times I have seen something happen right after I’ve left 🙂

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