Operation Osprey. The Fundraising Issue.

The Osprey couple of the Sand Key nest, Sandy and Stanley, can now be seen sitting together on the bay side during the ‘blue hour’ every evening. I am sure they are discussing the upcoming nesting season and the dismal condition of their home. Perhaps they are also worrying about the fact that they don’t have the $3000 required for a new home in their savings account.

mama-osprey-at-the-old-nest-ud85On Sunday I took a short walk at the salt marsh and found Sandy ‘babysitting’ the nest. I told her about my hope to have a modern and durable nest dish in place by end of November. Without them needing to take on a mortgage. I think she was listening. She must have seen quite a bit of action around the nest last week. The county did all the tree trimming required for the big truck to get close to her home. A big thanks to the wonderful rangers at Sand Key Park! They truly care about the salt marsh residents.

salt-marsh-trimmedSo now we just need to raise the funds. And we are working hard to get that done as soon as possible. We have approached two large and very successful hotels here on Sand Key, Sheraton and Marriott, to sponsor the nest project. Many of their guests walk at the salt marsh and enjoy observing the Osprey couple and their kids (picture from 2015).

papa-ospreys-fish-delivery-ud85Unfortunately we have not yet heard back from them, but many residents in the area have already sent in contributions. Some of you have asked me if there is a way for you, the friends of this Osprey couple, to contribute too. So here it is. If you want to help, please send your contribution (tax deductible in the US) directly to the local chapter of the Audubon Society at

Clearwater Audubon Society, P.O. Box 97, Clearwater, FL 33757 . Please include a note “For Sand Key Osprey Nest Project” on your check or money order. Thank you.

Now, I did also meet some other residents at the salt marsh on my ‘inspection round’. In fact, there was quite a bit going on. The Reddish Egret was performing again.

reddish-egret-hunting-again-ud85He was ‘dancing’ around all by himself. But he wanted an audience. So he moved towards the far end of the marsh where a family of White Ibis were minding their own business. Once there, he did a disappearing act. No applause.

reddish-egret-does-a-diving-number-ud85He was not happy. He sat in the water for ten minutes just sulking. That was not like him and I was getting worried. I walked to the far end of the marsh.

reddish-egret-3-ud85And finally he got up, shook his beautiful feathers and walked onto dry land to think about a better strategy.

reddish-egret-2-ud85And right away I spotted another diver,  a young Mottled Duck. He didn’t need an audience and was happy just getting a refreshing bath.


duck-ud85When leaving the salt marsh, I was treated to a ‘fly by’. A Snowy Egret had also decided to move on.

snowy-egret-flying-ud85I hurried home along the bay side and found a successful fisherman. The older Great Blue Heron, the Mayor, had just captured his Sunday breakfast. I am sure that, in his book, this catch was as delicious as a heap of pumpkin spiced pancakes.

the-older-great-blue-heron-fishing-2-ud85We all wish you a wonderful week and hope you can get a moment in nature, away from all stress. Peace.

67 thoughts on “Operation Osprey. The Fundraising Issue.”

  1. Good luck wit the funding Helen; I’m sure you’ll get there, and would hope the Sheraton and Marriot chains would see the good sense in sponsoring the entire project themselves. How much are we talking about – $1,000 to $1,500 maybe?

    1. I hope we do reach our goal in the next two weeks (the cost of the dish, including the perch and work is estimated at $3000) so that the work can be put on the busy contractor’s work schedule asap. We will continue our efforts with the two hotels for sure 🙂

  2. Oh my gosh these are astounding! The first is magical, like the ospreys control the city! The fourth with the fish is an amazing capture! The fifth with the heron running on the water and the other heron with a fish shot are first place prize winners. I’m impressed. Bravo!

  3. With so many residents, could your marsh become a national or state wildlife refuge, and benefit from federal or state funding? Or is it all private land?

    That’s a nice big fish that the Mayor caught!

    1. This is a county park now, but also officially part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. I guess this park is too small to get any other status…we locals call it ‘hidden gem’. The Mayor flew away with his fish, but he was so fast I only caught his feet 🙂

  4. Thanks again Tiny for a beautiful post! I just am in awe of your photos, especially the header picture of the two Osprey with view backdrop.I am thrilled that the Osprey nest landing is moving forward and pray that the local businesses will see this as a good investment, and maybe they need to see that by saying they had financial interest in the project they can capitalize on this as a feature in their hotel foyas of how the work progresses and how they helped. That would be my sales pitch, and get the local newspaper in on it so they all get their photos taken with it when completed. Stuff like that is good for business. Maybe you could put together a final poster with pictures of the birds and the new and old nesting platform and offer this to them if they contribute, for them to hang in their hotels.
    Your posts are always my favourite Tiny, I love what you do and how you present it. Have a great week my friend:-)

    1. Thank you, Ashley, for wonderful comment and excellent advice. We will certainly use your marketing ideas even more than we have done to date. Just this morning I contacted our great local paper hoping for their support. I am quite confident we will reach our goal and I hope we can do it in time before the osprey couple comes together at the nest to start rebuilding it, usually late December.

  5. Well done, Helen.

    Could the rangers at Sand Key Park post a sign at the park with the donation info you’ve given us?

    Something like:

    The Ospreys need a new nesting bowl. Everything’s in place except for the necessary funds. If you enjoy watching them and want to help, please send your contribution (tax deductible in the US) directly to the local chapter of the Audubon Society at:

    Clearwater Audubon Society, P.O. Box 97, Clearwater, FL 33757 . Please include a note “For Sand Key Osprey Nest Project” on your check or money order. Thank you.

      1. Thanks Nancy for your idea of posting a sign at the salt marsh! I will see what we can do!! I am not sure the donation box would work as this is not a protected area like some other places where I have seen cash donation boxes…the money might end up with “foxes” 🙂

    1. Thank you and so nice to ‘see’ you Cyndi! I hope everything is fine with you and your home after the hurricane passed so close to the east coast. My family was evacuated from Jacksonville, but thankfully their home was fine when they returned on Sunday.

  6. Lots of great ideas for funding the sanctuary upgrades. Kudos to you and the Audubon Society. I’m sure your great photos and stories help raise awareness too. Thanks for sharing your passion with us Helen. 🙂

  7. The picture of the snowy egret moving on is stunning, Tiny!

    I hope efforts to raise the money for Stanley & Sandy are successful – you are a true friend to these beautiful birds. You make me think of that admonition to ‘think globally, act locally.’

    1. I also thought the flying Snowy was beautiful. They are such gracious birds. We are working hard on all fronts to ensure that Stanley can carry Sandy over the threshold into their new home when that time comes 🙂

    1. Yes, their expressions were quite serious. They need a new home but have no money in the bank 🙂 We’ll try to take care of that concern.

  8. Helen, the Clearwater Audubon Society, being non-profit, would attract Tax Deductions for those companies/individuals offering donations. I have found this website that offers information regarding this. Tax deductions are always a great incentive!
    It’s wonderful to hear that work is progressing; well done to the County and the Sand Key Park Rangers.
    I have to add my compliments (as others have done). Your images are truly delightful. It was especially lovely to re-visit the Osprey Family 2015. 🙂

    1. Thank you Carolyn for your kind comment! Yes, all donations to Audubon Society are tax deductible, whether to the national one or to the local chapter as it has to be in this case. I am so grateful to the Chief Ranger and her staff that they did the tree trimming in record time ❤ I'm glad you liked my images – these birds are just beautiful. And quite wonderful to observe. I always love to look back to the events of the past seasons, this little family is so captivating 🙂

  9. Wow, it blows me away thinking they need $3,000 for a new nest. Are they going to relocate it? Add livecam? The pole is there right? I was fortunate with mine as a local Maryland non-profit installed mine for only $450.00 I wish great success for this beautiful couple.

    1. The materials for the nest dishes used here in FL are expensive as wood will rot quickly, and of course you then add the work for the contractor – a truck like the ones used for power line work is required to get up there. Unfortunately we do not have a non-profit here with those kinds of resources – I was looking for one for months because I wanted to pay for it by myself. But I hope we can still make it happen on time.

  10. It’s great to see all the excitement and anticipation about the new home for the Ospreys! Your first picture of today’s post is a beauty! How did you get that angle? Wow! 🙂

    1. I am hoping we can work very fast so that the ospreys’ new home will be ready before proposal time. On the lead picture I worked quite a bit in the ‘darkroom’ to make my friends stand out 🙂 Thanks, H.J. !

  11. I once organized a fund raiser for charity, it brought in 2,000 dollars (for the SPCA), it was a theme dance party to Elvis Presley’s music, people of all ages came and everyone had a great time. I called the dance party: Don’t Be Cruel To A Heart That’s True (it was for adopting shelter animals).

    Also, my internet service provider donates money to the local Osprey nest video cam every spring, maybe that’s an option too, Internet companies like to help out in local communities, but I don’t know if your provider is local or far off in your state.

    Great photos and update, Helen.

    1. Thanks for your great tips on a fundraising party and other good advice, Genie! If we do not have enough funds this week, I might do a party here for our neighbors 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

  12. It is always a pure delight to hear about the goings-on at the salt marsh, Helen. The mayor and all avian residents look as lovely as ever, and so great to hear the update on the platform project. Superb photos.

    1. Thank you for your visit and kind comment, Jet! The marsh is thriving now…it seems that the birds are visiting in families with many juveniles in tow 🙂

  13. Beautiful images! I hope those hotels will support the mission! If not, perhaps, an online fundraising project through media like Kickstarter could help. I hope the best for the birdies ❤

    1. Thank you Indah! I hope the hotels will help, they just need lots of “nudging” 🙂 Many neighbors have already pitched in and we hope to have enough to start the work shortly! Have a wonderful weekend ❤

  14. The ospreys certainly do look like they’re having a serious conversation! Great photos, and I’m glad the county has been so helpful with the tree trimming. Yay!

  15. That header shot is magical Helen! I came back to this post after reading the next one … so have my answer for sending my check. It will be going out today. 💛

  16. Oh, Tiny…you can see I’m a bit behind but I love your devotion to this family of ospreys. I can’t believe another year had gone by! Wishing you well…and hope the new nest and perch will be done in time!! ♡

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