Tough Love. And an Election Rally at the Salt Marsh.

I know, Lady Cawcaw gets disproportional coverage in the ‘Salt Marsh News’ right now. But for a good reason. We know she’ll be gone soon. That is, as soon as she learns to fish for herself. Her parents are using tough love to get her motivated.  This has been very clear over the weekend. The food portions are smaller and far between. And she’s hungry, her crop is empty.

osprey chick is hungry ud66Over the weekend she was away from the nest for hours, I assume hovering over the waters around here. But she always came back without a fish. And immediately upon return told her parents she had tried, but had not been successful.

osprey chick returns to nest ud66On Saturday, Sandy and Stanley demonstrated their strategy with the teen. Sandy was keeping an eye on the nest from a lamp-post close by. But I saw her finish the whole fish by herself. She had a full crop, as you can see.

mama osprey finished her meal ud66She was also watching Stanley fly overhead with his pal Steve. You remember him, right? Both of them settled on Marriott’s roof to scan for fish in the bay. I was hoping Stanley would bring lunch for Lady Cawcaw. But the guys were not in a hurry. They just chilled out in the breeze up there. I could hear friendly small talk, two guys catching up on a fishing trip.

stanley and steve ud66Although it was partly cloudy, it was very hot. I decided to check if the residents had moved back to the salt marsh. They had! The water had receded a bit and the egrets enjoyed being able to walk around the smorgasbord.

great and snoy egrets at salt marsh  ud66

egrets at the saltt marsh ud66The young Great Blue Heron was there too. I have a feeling that the Major has moved on (you remember him, right?) and the youngster is trying to secure this coveted office. He is always there, and I have to say his behavior has improved. No known attacks on the Osprey nest or others lately. He has cleaned up his rhetoric.

young great blue heron ud66But to his surprise another candidate had surfaced. A Great Egret was speaking to the crowds.

great egret making a speech UD66Some listened attentively and moved closer. Others turned their attention elsewhere.

two egrets 2 ud66The Great Blue Heron moved closer too. I was afraid he would confront the speaker right there. But he was quiet. Probably planning to tweet his counter arguments later on.

young great blue heron and great egret UD66The juvenile Night Heron had never heard a speech like that and lifted his head curiously from the grass.

juvenile night heron 2 ud66A young Brown-headed Cowbird was curious too. It looked like the speech spoke to younger voters.

brown-headed cowbird ud66But others, like Miss Rosa, who have seen and heard it all before, preferred to take a nap in the bushes.

roseate spoonbill ud66And some just didn’t pay attention to the speaker because they had some other pressing business to take care of, like this Snowy Egret.

snowy egret preening ud66And others simply moved away from it all, like this Mottled Duck couple.

mottled duck couple ud66Some protests were heard. The Moorhens are known to speak their mind. You just can’t come on their turf and get away with it.

moorhen ud66And in a nearby palm tree, a Common Grackle loudly added his voice to the mix too.

common grackle ud66Soon after that the speech ended. Everybody went on with their business. Miss Rosa had woken up and scanned the landscape carefully from her hideout.

Miss rosa is hiding in the bushes ud66Before leaving I spotted a fairly rare visitor, an adult Little Blue Heron. She had probably come to attend the rally. I was happy to see the smaller waders too had returned to the salt marsh.

little Blue heron 2 ud66Yesterday it was too hot to take a long walk, but I kept an eye on Lady Cawcaw from my terrace. I could hear her asking for fish, and I spotted Mama Sandy fairly close to the nest on the bay side. I assumed she was monitoring the situation and would intervene if it got critical.

Late this afternoon, while writing this post, I decided to go out on the terrace and check on the young lady again. To my delight she was eating what looked like a whole fish.

osprey chick eating fish mon june 13 ud66I hope she had caught it by herself. We will know soon enough. If this was her first fish, we will only see her in the nest for a few more days. But if Sandy or Stanley had brought it, she will probably stay a couple of more weeks.

Thanks for reading the ‘Salt Marsh News’. We all wish you a good week.


56 thoughts on “Tough Love. And an Election Rally at the Salt Marsh.”

  1. Here’s hoping Lady Cawcaw caught her own fish; and yet it’s also a little sad because of the future it foretells. Oh well, Helen; we do have to allow all creatures, great and small, to grow and mature and leave the nest… Albeit sweet sadness… I’m sure we’ll all miss her!
    Yes, I remember and miss the Mayor. He was a favourite of mine… Come back! Now look at all the commotion his absence has caused. Oh well, that’s politics… 🙂
    Wonderful images, Helen, and loved your rhetoric… Too sweet indeed. 🙂

  2. I too miss the Mayor, but it’s 2-3 months since I saw him last. It may be that he is a father taking care of many chicks on the “bird island” in the bay, and may have been asked to take on bigger responsibilities there 🙂 As the Lady Cawcaw, she’s still in the nest tonight. I just read from a local “Osprey site” on FB that many newly fledged Ospreys in the area are hungry and dehydrated (it’s really hot) right now and many have been found on the ground and rescued. So this ‘mama’ needs to keep an eye on the young lady 🙂

  3. Amazing how much goes on at the salt marsh, and we are so fortunate that you keep us informed both with information and the fantastic photos. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Genie. We locals call this little marsh a hidden treasure, but luckily all the birds know about it 🙂

  4. No-one gets it easy! How true this statement. Endurance, coupled with a little good fortune is needed right now in the Salt Marsh. I can’t help but think Stanley and Sandy have ‘done their job’; the rest lies with Lady Cawcaw’s ability to withstand the rigours of life. Sad to say many do not. Others have obstacles such as Mother Nature’s gusts of power to contend with. Lessons for us all, Helen. Such is your blog….. 🙂

    1. I know, only about half of the young Ospreys make it to one year – after that the odds improve greatly to reach maturity at around 3 years. I hope this young Lady becomes a great fisher(wo)man, just like Sandy who is really good XX 🙂

  5. Ah, I see there may be elections in the Salt Marsh as well. Your captions and photos of the candidates and potential voters are fun! You always have me chuckling. Hopefully, Lady Cawcaw will be around long enough to vote. 😉

    1. I hope she gives herself time to practice fishing before she takes off and is on her own. Happy you liked the mayoral election happenings, although it may be too early for anyone to run for that office – the Mayor might return one of these days 🙂

    1. In this heat it’s necessary for them to eat because they get most of their “water” through their food. Many young Ospreys have been found dehydrated in the last few days. They had left the nest but not been able to catch enough fish…I hope Lady Cawcaw will stay a bit longer and get her skills honed before she leaves.

  6. So Pure, yet I can’t shake “Election Rally” from the mind and all the gloom that “Election” brings. I shake my head like a dog shaking itself after a bath.

    1. But David! The salt marsh mayoral rallies are completely innocent and pure spirited. I suspect you have extended the thought to our human world 😉

  7. I’m with lady Rosa – keep a low profile and stay calm during the run up to elections.
    I’m sure Lady Caw Caw will find her way. Only children tend to be late developers after all.
    Thanks for the update Helen – and some wonderful shots of the salt rash getting back into I ts rhythm. 💛

    1. Miss Rosa is so wise and mature. She takes a nap and relaxes when others engage in touting their egos. As to Lady Cawcaw, I hope she gives herself time before she leaves for the big, wide world. Thanks for being here, Val ❤

  8. What a busy community! While I hope Lady Cawcaw caught her own dinner, it will be kinda sad when she moves out. Do the children typically go far or do they tend to stay in the neighborhood?

    1. It’s always a bit sad when the chicks leave, I hope this little lady takes her time. Although these Ospreys are non-migratory and stay in Florida year round, the chicks typically move quite a bit away from the nest – up or down the Gulf of Mexico coast – once they leave the nest. Some of last year’s chicks stayed close by for a few days and then left. I have a “theory” that the parents follow them from a distance for a few weeks, because they always disappear from their home territory for 2-4 weeks after the nest is empty. Then return to “watch the nest” in late July/early August. The “kids” usually come back and greet their parents in a couple of years. Particularly the males tend to settle somewhere not too far from their birth place when they are ready build their own nest at 3-4 years old.

  9. Sometimes you have to teach the young hard lessons so they grow and become independent. Lady CawCaw is learning this. Great pictures my friend. ❤

    1. Yes, she is learning! This is the most critical phase for her survival in the future, and I hope she takes her time. Thank you my friend ❤

  10. How nice is to see all these birds, looking beautiful and strong. Your salt marsh is like a paradise to them! Your photos are terrific Tiny! 🙂

    1. Thank you my friend 🙂 It certainly looks like a paradise now that everything is fresh and green. I just hope the heatwave lets up a little bit!

  11. I so hope Lady Cawcaw caught that fish! 🙂 When she can stop stomping her foot, she’ll soon figure it out she’s on her own. That’s what teenagers want anyway, to be on their own! lol Loved the latest on the Salt Marsh News. Fantastic update and storyline, Helen, very much enjoyed!

    1. Thanks Donna. You know how it is with Osprey chicks (and others)! Today when driving on the bridge to our island, fairly close to the salt marsh, I saw two Ospreys on lamp-posts next to each other and thought that one looked like a juvenile. I couldn’t stop the traffic to check on them more closely, but once I passed the nest it was empty, and finally I saw a third Osprey at Marriott’s roof. It could be that Lady Cawcaw was scanning for fish on the bridge with Sandy! That’s what I’m hoping for 🙂

  12. So many things going on at the salt marsh – I look forward to your news bulletins from the birds’ neighborhood. I hope Lady Cawcaw figures out a way to get started fishing soon. Only practice makes perfect. 🙂 It must be different being an only child – no siblings to share experiences or compare notes with. She looks very healthy.

    I’m with Miss Rosa – it does seem like we have seen and heard it all before…

    1. It’s was amazing how much activity there was last weekend at the salt marsh. Now it is so hot here that the birds are mostly in hiding, apart from Lady Cawcaw. She’s still sitting in the nest most of the time, but I believe she has really started to go out on the bay now. Usually they leave around 4-5 weeks after fledging and this her 4th…

  13. Oh, no! I hadn’t realised that Lady Cawcaw will soon be disappearing from the unfolding stories! And I also never realised that parenting birds will withhold food from their offspring to encourage their independence. You really have great insight into your feathered friends, Helen.

    1. Yes, the Osprey chicks usually leave the nest around 4-5 weeks after fledging. Lady Cawcaw is on her 4th week now, so she will move out soon. I just hope she has good enough fishing skills by the time she decides to go ‘to town’ on her own. The parents usually disappear from the vicinity of the nest too at that time for a few weeks…my ‘theory’ is that they keep an eye on the youngster some distance away until they are satisfied she can fish. But that’s just what I think based on my observations.

  14. Your amazing photos and commentary are always so entertaining, Helen. I hope Lady Cawcaw has mastered the art of catching her pwn meals. Time will tell. Thanks for keeping me up to date with all the goings on. What a fascinating community you have there in the salt marsh. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Sylvia! There was an unusually large crowd last weekend, now it’s so hot, as you know, that most birds stay in the bushes, and I’ve stayed more inside too in the comfort of A/C. Just feel for Lady Cawcaw who perches at the nest in the plain sun…we need more rains!

  15. Oh,I was reading The New York Times and missed your Salt Marsh Paper,dear Tiny and feathered friends.Election “climate” throughout U.S. from the Salt Marsh and up to every state and corner.

    I was so sad when I saw the Lady’s crop flat,in the first image,at least right now she has had a proper meal either provided by her “tough” parents or her hesitant fishing attempts.We are going to miss her soon but we will live with the hope that she will visit her parents over Xmas.
    Beautiful your telling photos as always Tiny,I am in love with Ms Rosa though.Oh that vermillion colour of her feathers,I just love it.
    If you All wish me a good week,it will be so & so many thanks my Salt Marsh friends from the other end of the world.Hugs to you All 🙂 xxx

    1. Thank you dear Doda! I am always a bit sad when the Osprey chicks leave the nest. Then I know we won’t see the parent either for a few weeks. I used to think they take a vacation, but now I’m starting to suspect they follow the chicks to check on them…kind of ‘working vacation’ 🙂 I hope Lady Cawcaw comes to visit. I have taken many pics of her ‘necklage’ and wing patterns to be able to recognize her later. Miss Rosa is wonderful, I agree. Did you know that her beautiful colors come from the food she eats? I find that quite interesting. Happy rest of the week to you dear from all of us. Hugs!

  16. Great to see the salt marsh is back to usual Tiny, and life is going well for all the residents. It is lovely to see the Little Blue Heron also. I do hope lady Caw Caw is a fast learner. I have in the past on a river in Tasmania, seen frustrated White-bellied Sea-Eagle parents trying to teach their youngster to fish, for weeks on end without success. In the end the parents gave up, I do not know what the outcome was. Have a great week my friend.

    1. I too hope Lady Cawcaw is a fast learner. I think she sat yesterday on a lamp-post on the bridge to the next island with Mama Sandy. I hope Sandy was successful in teaching her how to spot a fish and then dive for it. This is the most dangerous time for Osprey fledglings, they leave the nest and if they can’t catch enough fish they soon get dehydrated in the heat. Apparently many rescues have been done in our county last and this week. I hope you are having a good week, my friend.

  17. Thanks for the latest update on all your beautiful friends – great stories and great photos. I really must find out… How similar in appearance are brown headed cowbirds and female boat-tail grackles?

  18. Good news that the Great Blue Heron has mellowed some. It seems the politics at the Salt Marsh is in full swing. Hopefully Lady CawCaw did catch that fish for herself. She is getting to be a big girl and needs to learn to care for herself. The picture of the Snowy Egret taking care of business made me laugh. What a great capture. All the pictures as usual are amazing. Thanks sweet Tiny for the latest news at the Salt Marsh it is my favorite news to read. Hugs

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