Travels, Kids and Chicks.

Looking at the world through the eyes of a three year and a seven year old is a refreshing experience. Pretty much everything is a miracle, there’s so much awe and wonder. Look Farmor, a bird! Take a picture! And I did. Again and again.

great blue heron st Augustine ud122

great egret st augustine ud122We were on a cruise outside St. Augustine last weekend. It is a beautiful historic city, founded in 1565, and lays the claim on being the oldest city in the US. So much excitement on land and on the water. Like dolphins swimming by.

C and M on the cruise ud122

dolphins ud122And the seven year old knows an Osprey when she sees one. So proud of her.

osprey st augustine ud122We saw manmade birds too. Some were coming to old age already, but still flying high.

old planes st augustine ud122And the shores were sprinkled with historic buildings, like the Castillo de San Marcos from 1695, the colorful Flagler college with buildings from 1888 and the Lighthouse, which has a long history going back to early 1800’s.

st augustine fort ud122

Flagler buildings ud122

st augustine lighthouse ud122And, as usual, I did a ‘bird walk’ with the seven year old (and Dylan) every morning around their neighborhood. This time we only spotted a lonely Canada Goose, and speculated on where the usual birds might have gone.

canada goose ud122She also speculated on my age. I told her I was quite old being her farmor (grandma in Swedish). I told her my age was a secret, but she could guess. I asked her to write my age on her writing tablet. She wrote…20. She smiled and looked at me for confirmation.  I laughed and said she was kind. No wonder I was ‘carded’ by a young man last year buying wine at a local store 😀

sunset ud122Coming home at sunset time earlier this week, Dylan and I took a walk though the salt marsh – to and from the dog park. He had to see his friends. And I had to check on the Osprey nest. From afar, we could see Mama Sandy on the perch, but the chicks were laying low. I assumed Papa Stanley was fetching dinner.

mama osprey minds the kids 2 ud122

mama osprey minds the kids ud122We spotted a few friends at this late hour. Mr. Moorhen was around…talking to himself.

papa moorhen ud122And the Mottled Duck couple was getting some supper.

mottled duck couple at sunset ud122The Mayor was not at home. We decided to check the bay side on our way home. And right away, we spotted a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron …for the first time ever fishing on the bay.

yellow-crowned night heron ud122And then I saw a familiar figure flying high above the bay, scanning for dinner for his family. That was Papa Stanley.

papa osprey evening fishing tour ud122I followed him for about 10 minutes while Dylan sat patiently (he got a treat). I saw Stanley dive for fish twice. The Laughing Gull just below the seawall cheered on him vigorously. But unfortunately he didn’t catch a fish.

laughing gull ud122Stanley was close to the opposite shore so my pictures of his dive in the dim light are very soft.

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He then flew north on the intracoastal waterway and I could not see him anymore. But I’m sure he brought a fish to his kids just before dark.

Yesterday around lunch time I got a chance to take a short walk at the marsh on my own. I really wanted to confirm whether there were two or three chicks in Osprey nest. You see, I have not been able to get any “proper” picture of the 3rd chick I thought I saw in one of my grainy pictures taken from our terrace over two weeks ago. When I approached the park, I saw Stanley eating on a lamp-post at the Sailing Center.

papa osprey eats a fish ud122As I arrived at the nest, I could hear that the babies have learned to talk while I was away. They were singing the familiar song ‘bring me fish, daddy’ – and soon Stanley obliged.

papa osprey brings fish ud122He had eaten the head and brought the rest to Sandy. She started feeding the chicks. Two chicks. So now I prefer to think that I suffered a bout of vivid imagination when I thought I saw three chicks that day over two weeks ago.

mama osprey feeds two chciks ud122With the sun right in my face, I watched the feeding for a while and then walked around to see who else might be at home. And I saw a whole bunch of friends at this lunch hour. The Tri-colored Heron was obviously interested in the Ibis flying overhead.

ibis in flight ud121

Tri-colored heron ud121The Reddish Egret, the Clown, was performing his fishing dance and puffing up his red feathers.

reddish egret ud121The Ibis was alone with his thoughts.

white ibis ud121And the Little Blue Heron appeared bluer than ever. Yet upbeat.

little blue heron ud121And…surprise! The Yellow-Crowned Night Heron was out and about in bright daylight.

yellow-crowned night heron ud121When I walked home, I decided to take a few pictures of the Osprey nest from the street very far away…to see the chicks when the perspective flattens and almost the whole nest is visible. And they did not disappoint.

two osprey chicks at 4 weeks ud122

papa osprey and the chicks ud122They were talking to each other and flexing their little wings. I am happy that both of them are about the same size…about five weeks old now. In 3-4 weeks they will be fledging…and we will be able to tell whether they are boys or girls.

In a few days I will be off to some adventures at a much bigger marsh. But since it will be all pleasure and no work, I’ll be in touch. Have a wonderful weekend. Peace.

77 thoughts on “Travels, Kids and Chicks.”

  1. A truly wonderful post Tiny. How lovely it is to enter into the excitement of discovery in a small child! Your grandies have a great teacher to encourage them in the appreciation of the wonders of Creation. Loved you pics of the birds, that reddish egret is an interesting one, as is the night heron, but to see the three chicks was the most! How lovely to see them learning to use their wings and voices. A beautiful post all round, thanks so much Tiny, have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Yes, it was so wonderful to have quality time with “my” girls. The older one just turned 7 and the younger one will be 3 in 2 weeks so we celebrated both their birthdays 🙂 And at the Osprey nest the two kids grow fast…Stanley seems to be fishing non-stop. Sandy still feeds them, but in a couple of weeks they will start eating for themselves…and then at the end of May they will fledge, learn to fish and eventually leave the nest towards end of June. I will be away next week…watching birds and other wildlife…can’t wait 🙂 Have a good weekend, my friend.

  2. St Aug a place I regret never having visited. American history textbooks and common knowledge really under rate (if not omit completely) the role of Spain in settling America. Spain had erected over 400 towns and church centered settlements in what became the SW US 100 years before the English came. The birds probably speak Spanish, eh ?

    1. In St. Augustine the role of the Spanish influence is clear…The first Spanish person, Pedro Menendez de Aviles, to land there named the area “Florida” 🙂 Then the town it got its current name a bit later. I hope you can visit this beautiful small city at some point. My Spanish is not very good, but I think the birds are definitely bi-lingual.

    1. I am so happy that they really love nature. The older one is already very conscious about everything in environment…and she collects shark teeth 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend, Karen ❤

  3. Seems to me, Helen, that your enthusiasm for life and nature remains with you in spite of maturity. Your photos are so lovely, your friends at the salt marsh and familiarity with them is inspiring; and how lucky for the young children to be learning from you. Thank you for this delightful post.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Jet. I am so happy the 7 y.o. is already very knowledgeable about everything in our environment…when we were on another tour around New Year, she asked the tour guide a poignant question about protecting marine life 🙂

  4. Hi farmor Helen. It sounds like rural for farmer. 🙂 The joy of discovery with kids is so delightful and infectious. And I suspect your passion for nature is impacting them too. Thanks for sharing the fun. I look forward to hearing about this upcoming adventure.

    1. Hi Brad! Farmor comes from father=far and mother=mor and means that I am their father’s mother 🙂 I got a t-shirt for Xmas from the girls that says “my favorite people call me farmor”…and I’m proudly wearing. I am so looking forward to my new adventure ~ more of that later…

  5. Great post Tiny! I can clearly feel your emotion and love for those chicks and their parents. You are a good mother my friend! 🙂

  6. So pleased you enjoyed the delights of your loved ones (of the human variety)… little girls can be ever so sweet. (Lovely to watch them grow and learn.) 🙂
    A new addition to the Salt Marsh community; a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron. There’s always more love to go around! 🙂
    And two very big babies! I’m always amazed by the speed at which birds grow. They certainly keep Papa Stanley busily fishing.
    Loving all the images, Helen. Say hi to Dylan for me, and maybe give him a treat with my name on it… 😉 😉
    Enjoy your ‘bigger’ marsh adventure!
    xoxoxo

    1. Thank you for your wonderful comment, Carolyn ❤ Yes, I had a blast with the girls…already miss them! And the two Osprey chicks are now very mobile, they talk and they exercise their wings, but Sandy is still feeding them. When I come back from my 'huge marsh' adventure 😉 at the end of next week, I think they will be much easier to photograph as they get more interested in the world around them and start looking out from the nest 🙂 Have a wonderful week ahead my friend. XXX

    1. This was a special ‘birthday hang out’ for both girls with lots of activities that they enjoyed…one just turned 7 and the other will be 3 in two weeks. I am still not sure (honestly) whether or not there were 3 chicks or not, but now we know for sure that there are two, and that both are thriving.

    1. It is always so much fun to spend time with my two granddaughters! They appreciate the little things in nature (and elsewhere) much more than we adults tend to do.

  7. What fun to explore with your grandchildren! Ahh…if only everyone could see the world through the eyes of a child! Thank you for keeping us informed about the osprey family.

    1. My ‘grandies’ are a source of happiness to me. How they relate to nature is just wonderful. The two Osprey chicks are doing great…soon they will start eating for themselves! I hope to see some new birds on my adventure next week.

    1. That Reddish Egret is too funny to watch…he does so much acrobatics when fishing 🙂 This time all that happened behind some tall grass and I could only catch him all puffed up and ready to go.

  8. The children are so blessed with a farmor like you who shows them the magic of our natural world! Thank you for sharing these amazing photographs and we wish you a wonderful weekend ☺💜

    1. Thank you for your kind words Xenia. It is the best of gifts to see these little girls in awe of nature – be it a bird or other animal, or just a little flower. They are all ‘special’ 🙂 ❤

    1. Yes, I love the trail going through the salt marsh to the doggy park 🙂 I can always (with or without a camera) check on the osprey nest.

  9. Chicks and grandkids, what fun to see! And wow, the little ospreys sure grow fast. I’m glad we have more time to spend with our young humans before they fly off to explore the world! 🙂

    1. The time with my ‘grandies’ was precious – and so much fun! Their perspective on the world is refreshing. And the Osprey chicks provide a constant source of wonder 🙂

    1. Yes, these are my granddaughters. They spotted every single bird on that cruise, from a lonely gull on the sandbar to the Osprey flying overhead! Pure joy, as you say!

  10. I am so glad you are sharing your knowledge of nature with the younger generation. They are so much more advanced in that regard than most other kids glued to their video games, smart phones, and anything except what nature is offering for free, 24×7, all year round.

    1. I am happy about that too. The 1st grader is in a Waldorf School and they do a lot nature related activities, like growing their vegetables and going on discovery hikes while learning to read, write and count. She is collecting shark teeth from the beach and knows a lot about marine life 🙂 Thanks Hien.

  11. Oh, so wonderful to spend time with your granddaughter on a cruise. They are lucky as they are learning to appreciate nature from you!
    Beautiful photos, Helen! 🙂

  12. Dear Aulikki! Thank you once again! The pictures/ photos and stories are so amazing and great. Respect:-) Anja S. Finland

    1. Thank you, Anja! I am happy you are reading and enjoy the photo stories, my friend ❤ Off to a new adventure this morning 🙂

  13. Fabulous photos sweet Tiny. Isn’t it fun to see and hear things from the eyes and mouth of a child…so sweet and innocent. Happy to see the little osprey are doing well, my how they have grown. Happy and safe travels sweet friend. Hugs

    1. Thank you dear Mags! It is always a treat to spend some quality time withe the “kids” and have some deep discussion…their perspective is so wonderful. The Osprey chicks will be flying at the end of this month, they grow up so fast! Many hugs to you too!

  14. Oh my goodness, Helen!!! I’ve been in Paradise for a while as I gazed at your images. Glorious pictures!! You are really getting good with that camera and lenses of yours. And to live through the eyes of a child, oh yes it is so much fun! While with my “adopted granddaughter” I had fun putting bright pink highlights in my hair. I felt like a kid and still do!!! Great job on this post! 💞🌸💝

    1. Thank you, dear Amy ❤ I always love being with my grandkids…they have the best imagination…and they like mine too! Maybe one day they'll get me do pink highlights too 😀 Have a wonderful week, my dear friend.

  15. So many rich photos Helen. I’m glad you had fun with your granddaughters 💕🌼💕
    The ospreys are looking great! How kids grow eh?!?
    Enjoy your time away.

  16. Beautiful captures and such variety as always, Helen! Okay, we’ll settle for two chicks….. 😉 I really do love the new Osprey home, so much area for the chicks to grow in. So many times I’ve seen Osprey trying to survive on such a small nest on a channel marker or buoy, knowing how unsafe they are.

    I did get a giggle when your grandchild guessed your age. A few weeks ago my 5 year grandson was telling me that I was old, and I asked how old do you think I am? He said 200! At least your perceived as a young gal still! 😉

    1. Dear Donna, I don’t even know how to say this…but here it is: I think one of the two chicks has died. Since we came back from our South Florida adventures this past weekend, I have only seen one chick moving up in the nest. I still hope that by some miracle the other one is alive, but have not been able to confirm…. If that is true, it’s sad and I have no idea what has happened. I know both of them were well fed and looked healthy, but nature’s ways are what they are…we just have to accept them as is. Hoping to get time to go there today and see what I can find out.

      1. Oh no……how sad…. I surely hope both are still alive and will keep my fingers crossed. Nature is wonderful; but you’re right, sometimes it’s not. I’ve seen a whole Osprey nest blown off a platform in a violent storm, knowing the brood didn’t make it. Really tugged at my heart, as your possible loss has. Again, fingers crossed for you!

        1. I have now confirmed…only one chick alive. Even it was down and not moving much earlier this week. I was so worried it may die too, but now it seems to be moving more. I have no idea what happened that week when we were on vacation. Trying to get a post together over the weekend.

          1. I didn’t want to click ‘liked’ but did to let you know I received your comment. I wonder if a predator might have swooped down and taken one? We lost one completely one year, couldn’t see a body in the nest, we came to the conclusion that might have been what happened. There was a known Great Horned Owl nest in the trees across the water and they’re a big enemy of the Osprey. No matter what happened, it is still a sad discovery…. 😦

            1. I am thinking it might have been either A Bald Eagle or a Great Horned Owl – they too nest in the park, I’m told. Sad.

  17. Oh yeah, the photos of St. Augustine brought back wonderful memories from last September! 😀 Still as beautiful. I’m enjoying following your Ospreys, quite part of the family now!! I love how you still say Farmor..I’ve told my son I will be called Farmor when he has children (poor child looks at me in horror, he’s only 16!), nothing else would sound or feel right!

  18. You made me laugh with your comment about your son’s reaction 😀 It is so funny how my granddaughters pronounce Farmor…with very soft American “R”. I smile every time. Glad that my photos brought back happy memories!

  19. How lucky are we to have the chance to see the world through the wonder of small children? Such sweethearts and I love the guess of age 20. What a coincidence that’s how old I am too! 🙂
    Amazing photos! Oh my what gorgeous birds.

    1. It’s great to be of same age, Sue! I was waiting for her to write one more zero after the 20 😀 That cruise was great to take with kids and the St. Augustine area offers so much to see – life was full of ‘special’ that day.

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