On Friday morning I took my new ‘lens baby’ out for a long hike on Honeymoon Island. Dylan and I wanted to check on the progress at the many osprey nests we had spotted on our end January outing. And it was time to test whether or not the three of us would be able to hike together. Like last time, we followed the Osprey Trail.
We spotted several osprey nests. And in all cases found one parent incubating and the other guarding the nest close by.
To my delight, I discovered that this was the case even at the nest that an osprey couple had just started to rebuild when we last visited. It was a sizable nest now and the mom-to-be was sitting on the eggs.
As far as I could see, the osprey couples on this island were on the same time-table as Mama Sandy and Papa Stanley here at the salt marsh. All were still incubating. Then I remembered the nest that had been overtaken by Great-horned Owls. That explained the tight security around the osprey nests. In January mama owl had been incubating and now I wanted to see if there were owlets in the nest.
I soon discovered two lively owlets. They were having brunch. The older sibling was eating something white and feathered, while the younger one was getting its pickings.
There was some occasional brawl around the brunch table and I could see them flexing their little wings. But they were still far from fledging. After a while they finished eating and discovered us on the trail quite a bit away.
Both owlets were very much aware of our presence. Perhaps more Dylan’s than mine.
We stayed quite a while – treats for Mr. Dylan for his patience – as I was trying to locate at least one parent in the trees surrounding the nest. Finally I spotted a well camouflaged mama owl sleeping high up in a pine tree.
When we left the owl nest I noticed that the younger sibling had fallen asleep, while the older one was keeping watch.
When we approached the end of the trail, I found a female osprey perching in a tree that also housed a nest. Her hubby was nowhere to be seen.
Suddenly he flew up from the vicinity of the nest. She looked surprised.
He flew right on top of her. But despite a good effort, they didn’t quite know how to mate…and he flew down to a lower perch. They clearly had no eggs in the nest.
I found it unusual that they were trying to mate at this time, in mid March. Maybe this was a young couple who already occupied a nest, but had not succeeded to lay eggs as yet. Or perhaps their eggs had become food for predators and they were trying for a second clutch. Whatever the case, I wished them all the best.
We walked back to the car. My assistant was thirsty and my arms were tired of holding the ‘lens baby’ for almost two hours. A bit of a workout for both of us. But we had proven that we can hike together. We just need more practice.
For us this coming week means ‘hatch watch’. We’ll be hanging out on our terrace with binoculars and the superzoom camera whenever we have time. If we’re lucky, we might spot a hatchling or two at the osprey nest before next weekend. Dylan and I wish you a great week.