What a Party!

On Friday morning, I went to the kitchen to brew my second cup of coffee and suddenly remembered I had not yet checked on the Osprey Family. Mr. Dylan and I have been keeping a tight watch on the nest, particularly from the mid week on as the weather started to improve. At sunset time the previous night we spotted Bubbette sitting on her favorite high ‘chair’ in the nest looking out on the bay. She was clearly dreaming of flying.

osprey chick night before fledging ud161I picked up my binoculars and looked out through the living room window.Β  Just like previous mornings, I found Bubbette in the nest and Mama Sandy on the perch. I was about to put down my binoculars when Bubbette took off. Just like that! I ran to get my camera and discovered my battery was out of charge. Finally found my spare and ran out to the terrace with Dylan in tow. I spotted Bubbette right over the bay. She was at least 600-700 yards away, close to the opposite shore. She was flying low over the water. I couldn’t hear her, but it looked like she was singing her fish-fish-song.

Bubbette flies over the bay ud161I discovered that Papa Stanley was circling high up in the sky right above her, but couldn’t get them into the same picture. It was heart-warming to see Papa protecting her on her first flight.

Bubbettes first flight 3 ud161Then she flew higher up and continued her adventure towards the mainland. My heart was racing because I knew the Bald Eagle couple nests at the Country Club on the other side of the bay. Luckily Stanley was close by. Bubbette flew further away and I could hardly see her. Finally she turned back towards our island and I spotted her again.

Bubbettes first flight 2 ud161 I watched her fly. What a beautiful sight. A few minutes later she made a perfect landing almost in the middle of the nest! No second try, no landing on the ground. Sandy watched her proudly from the perch. And her ‘grandma’ on the terrace was equally delighted.

osprey chick makes perfect landing 2 ud161At lunch time Dylan and I went out to see her, after a dog park visit of course. We found Sandy on the perch and Bubbette in the nest.Β I was hoping she would fly out again.

mama osprey and the chick at the nest june 1 ud161But both of them were busy looking intensely towards the bay. Little did I know that Stanley had planned a graduation party. I had not seen him at the nest since Sandy chased him away from the perch almost two weeks ago. No kissing and making up as yet. But he had been doing fly-overs and checking on his girls every now and then. And he had flown with Bubbette that morning.

Mama osprey sees fish delivery ud161Next thing I knew Sandy started singing and flew down from the perch…

Mama osprey flies down from the perch ud161… and they started a frantic duet, eyes trained on something beyond my horizon.

anticipation of a fish ud161I could hear the wing beats when Stanley flew right over my head. Papa was in the house! Seeing that whopper of a fish Bubbette and Sandy were full of excitement.

papa osprey brings a fish ud161And it was a whole fish solely for the girls, delivered directly from the bay.

Papa osprey delivers a fish ud161Stanley steered to the right, grabbed the fish with both talons and placed his catch perfectly in front of Sandy. Perhaps as a combined graduation and reconciliation gift.

papa osprey brings a whole fish ud161While Sandy grabbed the fish, he exchanged greetings with Bubbette.

Papa Osprey in the nest ud161A few seconds later he took off again.

papa osprey leaves ud161I guess he didn’t want to overstay his welcome. Sandy placed the fish so that both of them could eat from it once she was done with the head part.

mama osprey takes the fish ud161We left them to enjoy their celebratory lunch and walked home.

Mama osprey and chick share the fish ud161That was a great graduation party. Always lovely to see the new generation take flight. Since then Bubbette has been out several times, including over three hours yesterday morning. And she’s out flying this morning too. I guess she enjoys her newly acquired freedom and is eager to learn how to fish. And her Papa is a great teacher. In about a month she will be ready to leave the nest and start her independent life somewhere nearby. We hope you enjoyed the party and wish you a great week ahead.

100 thoughts on “What a Party!”

  1. How time stops for nothing or no one. The speed at which Bubbette grew is astonishing, Helen! ‘Course life has been such I haven’t been here much (WP). Now for those pictures … stunning, just stunning! And how you told the “story”, to me is exactly what happened and why. I know how hard it is to capture birds in flight so you in my opinion deserve a huge round of applause. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ Most excellent post and I do thank you!!! ☺️

    1. Thank you for being here, dear Amy, and for your lovely comment ❀ Birds in flight provide a challenge, but when one knows what to expect it gets much easier to capture them. This time I knew from their behavior that something was happening…and was ready. The most difficult birds to capture in flight are the black skimmers…they are lightning fast and change directions all the time. I have probably taken a hundred pictures of a tip of their wing or their bill for one good shot πŸ™‚ I am delighted that the osprey girl grew up safely and now is learning to fish. Have a great day, my friend. XXX

  2. You unfold these stories in such wonderful ways! I’m happy to see the family is well even with all of the seemingly normal dynamics in play. Thank you for keeping us apprised of Bubbette’s progress!

  3. LOVED the party!! πŸŽ†β€πŸŽ† And what a nice large fish meal, head included, no less, lol. It’s hard to believe how much Bubbette has grown and is now learning to become independent…..time sure does fly by! I hope Bubbette does a fly-by of your place for you. πŸ™‚ To think how little ‘mine’ are now but will be Bubbette’s size in just 5-6 weeks. Congrats, Grandma, on getting to see Bubbette soar her first flight, I know she was a beauty, I bet you got goose bumps. Looking forward to updates!

    1. Thanks Donna! I knew you’d enjoy the party πŸ™‚ It was wonderful that I happened to witness her first flight…and their big party. As to the fly-by, Bubbette did just that…her way. Yesterday morning when Dylan and I were coming back from our morning walk, she flew right above our heads a couple of times when we were on the sidewalk. She came so low (20 feet or so) that I could clearly see her markings. She looked down and then flew to the bay. It was obvious she was saying hello to this duo she has seen since she first looked out from the nest. Gave me a huge smile as you can imagine πŸ˜€

    1. I’m guessing that the head is the preferred part of the fish, and Stanley gave it to Sandy to make up with her. Kind of like bringing your wife flowers and chocolate after having an argument πŸ™‚

      1. Hi Meg, I think you’re right. It was a special gesture, but the head is not really the preferred part and that’s why he normally eats it before giving the meatiest part to Sandy and Bubbette. But giving them the whole fish to share gave them more food and the delivery was fresh and much faster πŸ™‚

    2. I think he wanted them to have the whole fish…and deliver it fast (eating the head takes 20-30 minutes). I thought it was a gesture to both Sandy and the chick. I have seen him do this a couple of times on special occasions, like when he courted Sandy. Thanks, Hien.

  4. Love the story and your beautiful photos! How wonderful to be able to keep up with your osprey family from your house with a pair of binoculars and then take a walk for a closer look.

    1. Thank you kindly! I truly appreciate the fact that I live right next to this piece of nature…and the ospreys are family now πŸ™‚

  5. I always love hearing from β€˜grandma’ on the terrace about the Osprey family and their newest offspring. You captured some great moments for this graduation!

    1. Thank you Cyndi. This grandma was lucky to look out at the right moment. Now it is raining here and Bubbette is ‘guarding’ the nest single handed. Mama and Papa are probably both fishing…which is much more difficult in this weather than when the sun is shining. Have a beautiful day.

  6. Thank you for capturing and sharing the graduation party so vividly! I loved it!
    Congratulations to Bubbette ….and to the proud , of course!

    1. Thanks Kathy! Bubbette is now flying every morning and sometimes later as well, but she always finds her way back “home” at meal time πŸ™‚

  7. Thank you for capturing and sharing the graduation party so vividly! I loved it!
    Congratulations to Bubbette ….and to the proud parents and grandma too , of course!

  8. Now that was one hell of a picture you got, my friend. (the one with papa bringing the fish). So good to see Bubbette living up to my expectations. She has great teachers of course. πŸ™‚ ❀ And a wonderful grandma!

    1. I think Bubbette wants to make you proud! She is flying a lot, but always at home when it’s meal time πŸ™‚ Stanley is ready to teach her the skill of fishing…and soon the meals will be fewer and far between to encourage her to catch her own fish. Many hugs ❀

  9. Thank you for sharing these wonderful images Helen. So lovely to see Bubbette flying and Stanley watching over her, he is such a wonderful father. Great to see him deliver a celebratory fish too – I hope Sandy will welcome him back into the fold before too long. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and much love to you and Dylan :o) xxx

    1. Oh, Sandy let Stanley back to the nest two days later. And he’s landing there quite often now. I was so lucky to see Bubbette’s first flight and daddy watching over her πŸ™‚ Thanks Xenia! Dylan and I send you all best wishes for a great day and a wonderful weekend. XXX

      1. That is wonderful news! Thank you Helen and Dylan πŸ™‚πŸΎπŸ’–πŸΎ xxx

    1. Thank you, Karen. The osprey is the only bird that can carry a fish double it’s own weight…this one was at least of the same weight as Stanley πŸ™‚

  10. A great graduation party indeed and what a whopper of a fish Papa Stanly brought to his ladies. Absolutely beyond amazing captures sweet Tiny. Thank you so much for sharing this super party with us with some fantastic photos. Bubbette looks beautiful in flight and what a great landing she made in the nest. Big hugs and lots of nose kisses to you and sweet Dylan from us.

    1. Thank you for coming to the party, Mags! I feel so fortunate that I picked up the binoculars just at the right time to see her first flight…and that Dylan wanted to stay at the dog park exactly the right amount of time for us to be able to witness the party πŸ™‚ That was, indeed a huge fish so elegantly delivered! Hugs and kisses from me and Dylan to you all.

    1. I was truly lucky to witness all this and be able to share her graduation festivities. She is flying around a lot now, but always finds herself at the breakfast, lunch and dinner table πŸ™‚

  11. I had the feeling that she’s going to be an excellent flyer. She looks perky and able to do anything! My congratulations to Bubbette! I’m sure you’re smiling with all what’s going on at that nest. Your post is a very happy story. πŸ™‚

    1. I am happy about how things have turned out at the nest. Even Stanley is allowed “in” now, they made up two days after the graduation party. Bubbette flies a lot every day, but is sure to be at home when the meal time is approaching πŸ™‚ Thanks, H.J.!

  12. Excellent photography, Helen; the feature image is superb!
    This has been such a wonderful journey with you, Helen, and Stanley, Sandy and their offspring. Having been a part of this now for a few years; the continuance of Osprey life, through your insights and images, makes for a very real event; one that is happening all around the world in the varying bird and animal life. Yes indeed; you’ve made it ‘real’ for me and, I’m sure, for many!
    Say hi to D; give him a big hug; and here are a few for you… πŸ™‚
    xoxoxo

    1. Thank you for coming to the party, Carolyn. They are such a ‘real’ family. Sandy and Stanley made up soon after the graduation and we have seen him spending time with his girls in the nest πŸ™‚ Bubbette came to say hello to me and Dylan the other morning when we were walking on the sidewalk…she flew twice over us and came so low I could see her markings with my bare eyes. What a treat! Dylan and I send you many hugs and wish you a great weekend. XXX

  13. Thank you once again❀❀ So beautiful story and picturesπŸ’•πŸ© All the best! Anja & Hertta

    1. Thank you Anja ❀ Mr. D. and I are happy you came to the party πŸ™‚ The whole Osprey Family is doing great. Many hugs from us to you & Hertta! XXX

    1. Yes, it is lovely to see how well they are all doing. Bubbette flies a lot now, but is sure to be back home when the meal time approaches πŸ™‚

  14. Ahh…Tiny, thank you for taking time to photograph and tell this beautiful
    story. Without I would never have had a chance to see an Osprey family together like this. The growing and the party. The reliance and care.
    Not to talk about the beauty of their flight.
    ~ miriam

    1. They are such a wonderful little family. I feel grateful that we can observe them so close to home. Thank you for your visit and kind comment.

  15. How exciting! And timely! You & Dylan were able to witness her first flight. An auspicious occasion for all!

    1. Thanks Robin! I forgot to tell you that Bubbette came to say “hi” to me an Dylan on Tuesday morning when we walked along Gulf Blvd. She flew over us twice, looked down and came so low that I could see her markings, and then flew to the bay. That was a treat πŸ™‚

  16. Stunning captures and wonderful narrative, Helen. Bubette has certainly grown and progressed at a rapid pace. How generous of Stanley to donate the whole fish in celebration of her maiden flight. I love that you were able to share this whole episode with us. πŸ™‚ xx

    1. I was so lucky to happen to witness her maiden flight…and the party soon after. Sandy and Stanley have made up now and he’s allowed to stay at the nest with the girls πŸ™‚ Thanks Sylvia. XXX

  17. Another great story Tiny, how wonderful to see her fledged and doing so well, soon she will be fishing herself. I love the story in your photo series. How lovely that Papa brought the fish. Have a wonderful week 😊

    1. She will indeed be fishing soon, but for now she has made sure to be back in the nest at meal times πŸ™‚ Soon her parents will reduce the number of daily feedings to motivate her to fish…that shall be interesting to observe. I hope to see her fishing one day on the bay. Thank you, Ashley, and have a blessed weekend.

  18. If I hadn’t seen your amazing photos,I’d have thought that you were narrating a fantasy story as you’re a great storyteller,dear Helen.
    What a joy to see the new member in the Osprey family and enjoy Bubbette’s first flights and read about her fish-fish song you heard.Sweet and very tender scenes from the graduation party!Love & hugs to you and Mr Dylan πŸ™‚ xxx

    1. Thanks Barbara! It was the biggest fish I’ve seen this year, must have weighed as much as Stanley himself. Osprey is the only bird that can carry twice their own weight, so there was still some margin πŸ™‚

  19. How exciting and rewarding to see everything working out well for the family! You have some amazing shots there Helen. A great uplifting post for all of us osprey fans. Thank you πŸ’•

    1. I was so delighted to spot her first flight! And the party that followed. She is flying a lot now, but always returns to the nest at meal times. In a week or so her meals will be fewer…and she has to follow one of the parents on fishing trips πŸ™‚ Thank you, Val, and have a great weekend.

  20. Wow! Helen, your description of their lives is better than many fiction Novels! I’m reading on tenterhooks. Yeah! So glad Bubette’s first flight went so well, and phew, good thing you found the spare set of batteries. I’m touched by Stanley’s gift to the pair and their duet! Our lives pale in comparison almost…

    1. Thanks for coming to the party, Annika! I was truly lucky to spot Bubbette’s first flight and the graduation party that followed. She’s now flying around every day, but returns to the nest in good time before each meal πŸ™‚ She doesn’t know this yet, but soon her meal service will change. Fewer meals will be served each day to encourage her to learn to fish. I hope that will go well. Have a great weekend!

    1. Yes, all is well with the Osprey family. Bubbette is away from the nest flying around every. Yesterday she was flying with Mama and the nest was empty for hours. I guess she has started her fisher(wo)man training already.

  21. Oh Helen, spectacular party, thank you so much for sharing it with us. I am filled with joy when I witness a bird’s first flight, it’s a profound experience. How wonderful for you to see Bubbette’s first flight, and the celebration and reward. Your photos are exquisite, especially that one with Papa Stanley presenting the whole fish. Also really enjoyed your telling of the story. Fantastic post.

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