Goodbye Bubbette. Hello Vacation Time.

Last week was busy. After a few days of work in D.C. I came home, turned around and drove to North Florida for my son’s graduation. When I came back, I realized our osprey girl, Bubbette, had already left the nest. She didn’t wait for me, but that was not surprising. She was an advanced flier from the get go and spent her days diligently attending the Fishing School with Papa Stanley.

I also noticed that the whole osprey family had left the area. This happens every year at the time when a chick leaves the nest. The first year I observed this, I thought Sandy and Stanley had flown off to take a well-deserved vacation in the Caribbean. But now my theory is different. I believe that one or both parents follow the chick for a while to keep an eye on their fishing ability…and to teach them more if needed. So the nest has been empty, apart from the Blue Jay visiting from time to time.

empty osprey nest ud163Papa Stanley returned a couple of days ago, and I can now see him perching every evening on the Sailing Center’s wind device, one of his favorite places after the nesting season. I first spotted him while taking pictures of the bay just before a late afternoon storm. Can you spot him in the first picture below?

the bay before storm ud163

papa osprey ud163Mama Sandy is still gone. Usually she returns back home in about two to three weeks. Anyway, I wish Bubbette a wonderful life with plenty of fish to go around. May she be skilled enough to survive the first very tough year, and then live happily for the next 15-20 years!

I want to share a few pictures from my adventure on the Atlantic Beach last Friday. You see, this night owl was invited to tag along on a Sea Turtle Patrol. That was a four mile walk on the beach, just before and after the sunrise, to check if Mama Leatherback (world’s largest turtle) or Mama Loggerhead had laid any eggs overnight. Both nest on this beach. We arrived there before the sunrise, just when the sky started to get some color, but we could still clearly see the lights from the boats on the ocean.

first light UD163We started walking close to the water line, watching for any trails in the sand left by mama turtles. I snapped pictures of the gorgeous colors โ€ฆ thanks Mary for this evidence of the night owl being up before sunrise ๐Ÿ™‚ And soon the sun was up.

Tiny takes pictures ud163

sunrise at jax beach ud163

sun is up on Jax beach ud163We didn’t find any fresh signs of new nests, but inspected a nest from the previous night. It was high up among the dunes.

Turtle nest ud163Mary showed me the trails in the sand. How Mama Loggerhead had come up to lay her eggs and how she had gone back to the sea.

Turtle patrol 2 ud163She has been patrolling the beaches for several years now and knows all about these sea turtles. I learned a lot that morning. I appreciate and admire the work all the volunteers do to protect these nests…and later in the summer/fall to make sure the tiny hatchlings find their way to the ocean.

laughing gulls on jax beach UD163The morning was beautiful and we spotted many Laughing Gulls and various terns on the sand bars revealed by the low tide. Some had already been fishing in the golden waters.

laughing gull fishing UD163As the morning progressed more tidal pools were forming on the beach attracting fishermen, joggers and people with dogs. What a beautiful morning!

tidal pools 2 UD163In a couple of days I will be traveling to visit family and friends in Northern Europe for the month of July. This time I will be fully connected and plan to send some ‘postcards’ to my friends here along the way and do some reading too. Thank you for visiting and take care now.

74 thoughts on “Goodbye Bubbette. Hello Vacation Time.”

  1. Thanks for the updates from you, Bubbette and family Helen. I’ve always thought it would be lovely to watch turtles hatching in one of their mass migrations. The beach looks so inviting and reminds me that I’m overdue! Enjoy your trip!

    1. Thanks Brad. It was fascinating to learn from Mary about the sea turtles. I now know the signs that hatchings might come out shortly. I will try to watch this miracle later in the summer here on my beach. I hope you can get to the beach soon too ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I was so hoping Bubbette would wait for your return to see her off, but you’re right, she was a quick learner and and eager girl! ๐Ÿ™‚ Bubbette is soaring and fishing and having a blast, we know!

    Oh my goodness, what an absolutely beautiful morning for sea turtle patrol. That alone was worth the early rise! Thank you to your sea turtle volunteers; if it weren’t for passionate volunteers, much of our world’s wildlife wouldn’t stand a chance.

    Have a wonderful European vacation, keep in touch if you can. Be safe, Helen!

    1. I was hoping to see her again too! But since Sandy let her sleep alone in the nest already several days before my trip, I was prepared for her leaving. You know, of all 7 fledglings in the last five years, Bubbette was the one always on the go. No need for her parents to try to get her out on the bay and ocean…so I am very confident she’ll do well ๐Ÿ™‚
      Learning about the turtles was wonderful…I salute all these volunteers who get up before sunrise rain or shine and make sure the nests are in safe spots. When the little ones hatch Mary, my son’s MIL, carries a bucket every morning and collects hatchlings who have not found their way to the sea. Amazing! I’ll keep in touch. Thanks Donna!

  3. Seems the possibilities keep expanding; turtles, no doubt. Isn’t nature incredible!
    Farewell to Bubbette, or possibly au revoir. That would be nice to catch a glimpse of her throughout her life. Sandy and Stanley, like so many, are to be congratulated… ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have a wonderful vacation. It will be lovely to journey with you via your images. And, oh yes; I can’t leave without commenting on your new svelte figure – just gorgeous. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes, nature is incredible!! I, too, hope that we will see Bubbette again! I have seen some of the previous chicks from time to time…and think that the one of the ospreys nesting about a mile south of us might be Sandy’s and Stanley’s offspring. I smiled at you comment on my “tinier’ figure – almost 30 lbs/13.5 kg less of me now ๐Ÿ™‚ My step is lighter and I am healthier. I will keep in touch while up north! Hugs XXX

  4. Oh my …. so fascinating and such a privilege to be a part of the turtle patrol. I am so confident that Bubbette will carve out a wonderful domain for herself. Enjoy thus transition time before the parents co e back for some well deserved R&R ๐Ÿ’•

    1. The Turtle Patrol morning was beautiful – and a great learning experience for me. What great work these volunteers do…sometimes involving moving the nest with all the eggs to a higher ground….and so many other things. I will stay in touch while up north. Hugs โค

    1. Thank you Carrie! I so look forward to spending time with my sister and her family…and all the little outings we are planning to do ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Very nice photos Tiny! I wish too that Bubbette gets to live a long and happy life! Have a safe trip to Europe and enjoy your family and friends there. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you, my friend! Of all the 7 chicks I’ve observed since 2014, I think Bubbette is among the best prepared when leaving the nest. I’m sure she’ll manage well ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Thanks for the update on your adorable osprey family, which have abandoned their nest while you were gone! Your photos are as always great for visualizing the details of your story. Best wishes!

    1. Thank you, Peter! When I return from Europe, I am confident that I will see both osprey parents back in the area. Mama usually comes to the nest a little while almost every day, just to make sure everybody understands it’s their nest.

  7. Hello Helen,
    Many congratulations on your son’s graduation!
    And as always, thank you for sharing the latest updates. It’s bittersweet to see the empty nest, but also a good feeling to know that Stanley and Sandy did a superb child in raising their baby. I too wish Bubbette a long and healthy life. I hope you have a lovely summer, you deserve it ๐Ÿ™‚

    All best,

    1. Thanks you, dear Takami! It was a great graduation (honors and a special recognition) and a party with friends and family ๐Ÿ™‚ It is always bittersweet to see an osprey chick leave the nest, but it is good to know, Bubbette was so well prepared for her independent life. Have a lovely summer, you too ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

    1. Thank you Susan. This time I will bring my computer and will post some snapshots while up north in Europe. I hope the beautiful weather continues!

  8. Congratulations with your son’s graduation and with Bubette’s fully fledged journey into the big wide world Helen! She is a very spirited young bird and we wish her all the best for her next journey. Thank you for bringing us along on Sea Turtle Patrol, what a lovely thing to do! ๐Ÿข We wish you a wonderful time in Europe and please give Dylan a big pat from us all ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ’– xxx

    1. Thank you, Xenia! Bubbette certainly was in a hurry to leave the nest, but watching her for these last few weeks made it clear to me that she was well prepared…so many fishing trips with her Papa ๐Ÿ™‚ The turtle patrol experience was great! I know much more now, including when I look at the nests here at our beach. I look forward to spending time with family and friends in Sweden and Finland…and will stay in touch! Hugs from Mr. D. and me โค XXX

    1. I agree, Bubbette is well prepared for her independent life! I have never seen a chick out fishing so much…every single day since she fledged! Thank you Susan.

  9. Fascinating goodbye post to Bubbette,to us,and Mr Dylan,Helen.
    Wonderful your acquaintance with Mama Leatherback and all your magical beach photos.Enjoy your travels,dear friend โค xxx

    1. Thank you for coming to say goodbye to Bubbette! And for my rare early morning “turtle walk”. I so look forward to my month up north and hope the weather stays warm ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a beautiful summer, my friend โค

      1. Always my pleasure to read your beautiful nature posts and look at your narrative photos.I,too,thank you for everything.Happy travels,my friend โค xxx

  10. Gorgeous photography on this one! What a beautiful morning met you. The loggerheads nest on our beach as well. Nothing can match the thrill of watching the babies emerge from the nest to make their way to their new home in the sea. They return to the same beach to lay their own eggs years later. Amazing nature

    1. Thanks Tina! Now that I know what to look for at a nest site, I hope to be able to observe the hatchlings emerge from the nest here on our beach one night later in the summer. Nature is, indeed, amazing!

  11. Bon Voyage! Enjoy your precious time with family and friends. My niece lives in Panama City Beach on the Florida panhandle and volunteers to help the turtle mamas and babies there. She loves it.

    1. If I could get up early on a regular basis, I would volunteer for the Turtle Patrol right here on our beach, but being a night owl it’s not going to work. Thanks for your good wishes Barbara!

  12. Maybe you should wake earlier more often. These are such beautiful sunrise photos…including the one with you! Sorry you missed the turtles laying their eggs. Enjoy your vacation!! And congratulations to your son!

    1. Thank you Cyndi! I’d love to change my sleeping habits but seem to be ‘hardwired’ to be a night owl. But I hope to be up one night later in the summer to witness the turtle babies hatch here on our beach… My son’s 2nd college graduation was a delight! And now I look fwd to spending time with family & friends in Sweden and Finland. Have a beautiful summer my friend. XXX

  13. Such gorgeous lighting in the early morning. Your captures are exquisite. I will be sending positive energy Bubette’s way and wishing her well on her new life. Safe travels my friend and enjoy your time in Europe!

    1. Thank you, Sue! Bubbette sure needs all the positive energy she can get because the typical survival rate for osprey chicks during the 1st year is only about 50%. But she was exceptionally well prepared…I have never seen an osprey chick take her fishing lessons so seriously and be so full of energy. She has great chances. Have a beautiful summer with many new adventures!

        1. Me too! She will need all the skills and loads of luck to survive on her own. But somehow I’m more confident in her abilities than I’ve been for quite a while.

  14. Thank youโค We are waiting for you here in Finland. We know you have much to do but if you can come for a cup of coffee and for a hug๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿฉ

    1. Thank you, Otto! It is always a bit bittersweet to see the young ospreys leave the nest, but that’s how nature intended it. I am enjoying my family time in Stockholm and the fantastic weather ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Another full breeding cycle for the resident Osprey family and another youngster braves the world. You have again done well monitoring the process Tiny, and we appreciate your diligent surveyance. Bubbette is doing well I would imagine. Congratulations to your son on his achievement, and I pray it brings an enjoyable and satisfying vocation. I really hope you have a most enjoyable time back home. I guess it will be like Christmas in July๐Ÿ˜Š We are just waiting to fly home, have been out of signal contact for several days deep in rainforest in pouring rain. Have an enjoyable and peaceful weekend my friend ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. Yes, it is indeed like Christmas in July! I am being pampered by family and spoiled by friends ๐Ÿ™‚ So far the weather has been incredible here in Stockholm…we have been out a lot, including on the water. I hope you both have dried out now after the rains in the rainforest. I wish you a wonderful rest of the week.

  16. Congrats on your sonโ€™s 2nd graduation. You must be a proud mom. Beautiful photos as always. Sunset captures are always so special. I saw on FB that you are back from your travels. We are still in England. Iโ€™ll try to catch up with you when Iโ€™m back home before we leave again ten daysโ€™ later. ๐Ÿ˜˜

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