Flying in and out of the Nest. With the Osprey Couple.

In the past few weeks I’ve been flying in and out of my nest on this barrier island I call home. Several work trips to big cities. Lot’s of ‘osprey time’. And bird’s eye views.

Or views from my temporary nest high up in the air in the Big Apple late in the day…and night.

So after all this flying, I have enjoyed being earth bound this past week. Watching others fly. Like Papa Stanley, who recently flew in for some Valentine’s Day romancing with Mama Sandy. Dylan and I backed off to allow them some privacy.

I think Sandy is pregnant. Her belly is growing and Stanley is already feeding her. And she’s spending lots of time at the nest every day. Yesterday she was watching intently over the bay…

…I turned around and saw Stanley flying far over the bay with a big fish.

Sandy would get it, eventually. But first the head had to be eaten. Sandy was working on rearranging the furniture in the nest, but kept an eye from time to time on Stanley and the fish on a nearby lamp-post.

This morning my assistant and I visited the Taylor Park and spotted many familiar birds. It’s funny how the birds favor the same spot, like this Anhinga who always dries her feathers at almost the same place.

She always faces the lake looking for any signs of approaching gators, but turned to look at my assistant. She didn’t move. Dylan is already trusted by these birds. Next to the kayak launch pad we usually find the Ring-billed Gull. So also this morning.

And the blackbirds are chilling out there too. The dad Boat-tailed Blackbird was reading the sign warning about the presence of gators and warned his wifey who was wading in the water nearby. Wading is a no-no according to the sign.

At the north end of the lake the resident Osprey dad was trying to spot some fish and at the south end two Great Egrets were chasing each other amid a loud argument.

We walked around the lake and spotted our usual suspects, the Little Blue Heron and the Tri-Colored Heron.

A Double-crested Cormorant with bright blue eyes was windsurfing on the lake, watching the waters carefully for any signs of gators.

And he was right in being careful. According to my latest intelligence, there are at least five gators in the lake. So far we had not spotted any of them. But we saw a large flock of American Coots in the middle of the lake and a few brave individuals were cruising solo closer to the shore.

That’s when we saw him…sunbathing on the shore.

I tightened my grip on Dylan’s leash, but since the gator posed calmly I went for a portrait too.

He was quite impressive. We walked back to the other side of the park and before going back to my car, we spotted a little head coming up for air in the middle of the green slime in a small pond. That was our tiny friend, the Pied-billed Grebe.

Today being an outdoors day for us, we also visited the Osprey couple this afternoon. They were napping together in the nest. Stanley seems to have grown a short beard. Perhaps to mark that he’ll soon be a dad once again.

While Sandy was truly sleeping, Stanley was just nodding off. He opened his eyes and told us “I see you.”

The salt marsh was fairly quiet in the middle of the afternoon, which is not unusual. The Mayor was walking around and checking his territory…

…and Mama Moorhen was gliding quietly right below the osprey nest.

I thought that was it…until we found someone hiding deep in the shadows. I had to smile. It was the younger Great Blue Heron. He didn’t want to be seen either by the Mayor or Mama Sandy. His has some unfortunate history with both of them.

I’m hoping for evidence of eggs in the Osprey Family within the next two weeks. And this coming weekend I’m off for another little nature adventure in South Florida. Stay tuned and thank you so much for visiting.

69 thoughts on “Flying in and out of the Nest. With the Osprey Couple.”

  1. Positively delightful report, Helen, on the goings-on at your Salt Marsh. I’m thrilled to see the breeding/nesting activity of Sandy and Stanley, and so happy that you and your community worked so successfully on providing that nest platform a year or two ago. It’s working out so well. And always a treat to see your fantastic photos of the other waders and birds, and the alligator photos are excellent. Thanks for sharing the Salt Marsh with us, really great.

    1. Thank you, Jet. I am also very happy that the Ospreys have a safe nest platform. The broken wood platform would have blown off in 2017 when Hurricane Irma passed over here at Cat 2, but this one stood up and didn’t even lose all the materials carefully put together by Sandy. It’s delightful to watch this couple to start the 6th nesting season I have the privilege to observe and share here. I hope it will be successful and without much drama.

  2. Fantastic array of outstanding photos on two contrasting themes. life in the city and best of all life in the nature park. For some reason I have taken a liking toward gulls. I like your shot of the gull sitting so proudly on a post. Have a great start of the week, Helen!

    1. Thank you, Peter, for your visit and kind comment. I like gulls as well, and particularly enjoy seeing this one always on the watch in the same place when we visit that park. Have a wonderful week.

    1. Thank you, my friend. This spring will be busy, but I am determined to make time for nature…nothing better than sit on “my” bench at the salt marsh with Mr. D. and observe the life in the ‘village’ πŸ™‚

  3. Fabulous photos, Helen. Big A looks so relaxed in his close-up. Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. πŸ˜… Happy to see Stanley and Sandy are all ready for the upcoming season. πŸ˜ƒ The little grebe is a real cutie. Nice to see you back again. Hugs to you and Dylan. πŸ€—

    1. Big A was very relaxed…I think he enjoyed the warmth after such a cold winter – relatively speaking πŸ™‚ It is great that everything seems to go well for Sandy and Stanley…now I’ll be on ‘egg watch’ for the next couple of weeks. Hugs from Mr. D. and me. XXX

  4. No thanks for visiting needed, it is a great pleasure as always to scroll through your excellent post diverted by the text and admiring the photographs. You do get around.

  5. Hello Helen,
    It seems you have been very busy! Hope things are settling down some, and thank you as always for these wonderful updates. Sandy and Stanley look adorable when dozing together, and the little Pied Grebe tugs at the heart. I am glad Dylan is doing well too ❀

    1. Thank you dear Takami. Sandy and Stanley have news to share…first egg in the nest yesterday so now they are incubating ❀ We should have little one(s) at the end of next month. I am trying to keep tabs on them even when work takes a lot of time in the coming months…until June. Have a beautiful week, my friend.

  6. Amazing once again! You and your assistant are great! It’s always a pleasure to read your blog. Don’t go near the gators! Hugs from Anja and Hertta ❀❀

  7. Awe-inspiring photos from the Big Apple and you capture the magic of man made landscapes as beautifully as that of the natural world. Yay! Sandy and Stanley are preparing to be parents again and I love how your exploits in the Marsh have become so familiar. A joyful and vibrant post … perfect start to my Monday morning! Have a great week, Helen and hope you’ve a calmer time ahead! X

    1. Thank you, Annika. I was so busy with work while in NYC that all my pictures are taken from behind a window…at the hotel and from the plane. Luckily I had a great view of the East River and the city. My calmer time will probably only come at the end of June…but trying to keep some balance in the mean time. The fact that Sandy and Stanley started incubating yesterday will help in that regard πŸ™‚ Have a beautiful week. XXX

      1. Ahhh… I was actually thinking of Sandy and Stanley this morning! We need our wildlife to keep us grounded during the hectic moments of life! πŸ˜€ Thank you … I’m having a lovely start to the week. Amazingly warm weather during the day for England at the moment (18 degrees centigrade) and heavenly to feel the sun! I’ll just forget it’s February and hope straight over to May! Can’t wait to hear more about the happy couple!

        1. Great to hear you have lovely weather! We have exactly 18 C here now at 11 am and dry air with gorgeous sunshine as well – just like you πŸ™‚

  8. Some remarkable shots there Tiny, beautiful together shots of the parents to be. So good to read that they are preparing for their next brood. I love the shot of your Pied-billed Grebe, you caught some character in that look. It must feel very peaceful and refreshing to walk amid the marsh after a busy week in the city, and I am sure Dylan appreciates being with you. Have a wonderful week my friend!

    1. Thank you, Ashley. Sandy and Stanley started incubating yesterday evening. I think D & I witnessed the laying of the first egg on our walk past the nest in the afternoon. Haven’t had the time to look at my pictures as yet, but it looked like that to me. Have a beautiful week!

  9. Love is in the air with Sandy and Stanley again! Looking forward to another wonderful season with them. Beautiful captures of all your other local birds, especially love the little Pied-billed Grebe and water lighting!

    1. Yes, indeed love’s in the air and one egg in the osprey nest since yesterday. I’m hoping for more today πŸ™‚ I love that little Grebe as well and I usually spot her in one particular area of the lake, but this time she was diving in a little greenish ‘side pond’ right next to the trail. Have a great week, Donna!

  10. Sweet Tiny, I so enjoyed the pictures. Wow, I tell you I have to say those are some brave birds to be in the water with gators. Those are amazing shots you got of that gator. I am so happy to hear that Sandy and Stanley will be mom and dad again. The shots you got from the plane are great. Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful pictures. You and sweet Dylan have a great week. Hugs and nose kisses Mags and Chancy

    1. Thos birds are very brave and used to keep an eye on the gators. I think they eat fish predominantly…and right now in the ‘winter’ with the cooler weather they are less mobile and eat less too. Sandy and Stanley have great news: an egg in the nest as of yesterday! Thank you Mags. Hugs and kisses from Dylan and me.

  11. Quite an impressive head shot of the alligator! Yikes! Beautiful pictures, as always. The Pied-billed Grebe is adorable. Looking forward to seeing the next generation of the Osprey family.

    1. Thank you, Barbara. Sandy laid her first egg yesterday! I am hoping for more eggs this week so that chances of at least one offspring fledging are higher. Have a beautiful week!

  12. Lovely to visit the Salt Marsh again and to have such a lovely update with great photos too. The ones from the plane are extraordinary. Thank you, Tiny.

    1. Thank you and nice to see you Isabella! The salt marsh keeps me grounded when times are busy, like right now. Mama Osprey laid her first egg yesterday and is now incubating. Exciting times ahead…again.

    1. Thank you dear Cyndi! Sandy laid her first egg yesterday and this morning I saw her sitting on it in the middle of the nest with lots of soft materials around her πŸ™‚

  13. Such sweet pictures of the ospreys, and I enjoyed the commentary on the other marsh birds and their routines. Whether bird or human, we all have favorite places!

  14. So wonderful to see them sitting there, sweet images. πŸ’– They’ll be parents again…How exciting!
    Thank you for the update, Helen!

    1. Yes, it is exciting! And the excitement went up a notch yesterday when we discovered Sandy laid her first egg! Now she’s sitting on it, hardly visible in the midst of the soft materials they hauled into the nest over the weekend πŸ™‚

  15. What a busy woman you’ve been; coming home to Dylan and nature must be a real treat. Yet, getting out and about can also be so inspiring and uplifting! πŸ™‚
    Great to see all is well. Stanley and Sandy remind us that nature babes are on their way (in all manner of species). Dylan, I’m sure, is loving time with you; and the gators are seeming less dangerous. πŸ˜‰
    Enjoy the South Florida jaunt…

    1. Yes, it’s been quite a lot of work lately, but I only have myself to blame πŸ™‚ I try to keep some balance though…and the fact that Sandy laid her first egg yesterday will certainly help! I truly enjoyed my trip to the South…more on that shortly! xoxo

  16. Beautiful captures Helen, it’s so lovely to see Sandy and Stanley snuggled up on their nest and I love his new beard! Hope you and Dylan are having some quality time together and much love to you both from all of us here πŸ€—πŸΎπŸ’–πŸΎ xxx

    1. Sandy and Stanley have news! She laid the first egg yesterday! Now she’s sitting on it while Stanley brings in the fish πŸ™‚ Hugs and kisses to you all from Mr. D and me. XXX ❀

      1. Yay, that’s wonderful news! Hugs and kisses back from all of us here πŸ€—πŸΎπŸ’œπŸΎ xxx

  17. I love seeing the photos and reading the text that goes with them! I’m glad to see Stanley and Sandy are still around. Although that look Stanley gave you was way beyond “I see you”. It was more like “get the f*** out of here” type of a look. Not that he would every do that πŸ™‚


    1. No…Stanley would not do that πŸ™‚ Other than maybe when he was waiting for Sandy to produce the first egg…which actually happened yesterday! Thanks Nancy!

  18. Helen not only so I love your incredible photographs but the narrative . Giving each of the birds a name and reminding readers of their history is a storytelling technique I am all over. If you were just showing me the birds I would be impressed. However by weaving an ongoing tale of their adventures I always want to read the next chapter. Well done!

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