I like the sentiment of a quiet eye. An eye that not only sees the blessings we have, but also the blessings we can give to others. An eye that appreciates the message and the joy of the Season. And sees into the life of all things, much beyond the hubbub going on around us.
It’s been a busy week for many of us. But for the birds in the salt marsh it’s been a cool and quiet week. Lots of hunching and huddling, rain and winds early in the week, then cool temperatures throughout.
Walking into the salt marsh the other day, however, I was in for a surprise pre-holiday sing-out. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a beautiful song performed flawlessly by a Northern Mockingbird.
Next, I approached Papa Osprey’s nest. Eyes half closed, and looking like an opera singer, Papa was singing his heart out! It was a long and beautiful song. The chorus repeated twice. I wish I understood the lyrics, but I have a suspicion that he was singing for Mama Osprey. “It’s almost Christmas…Darling come home!” Or something similar.
Nearby, a beautifully dressed Snowy Egret was singing too. The subject of his affection might have been a shy-looking lady on the other side of the water.
Little further out an Ibis was serenading…someone. I’m guessing it was one or all of the girls in a tree nearby.
Then I heard another Osprey calling. And singing. It proved to be Papa’s friend Steve. Maybe he was calling for Mrs. Steve, whom I haven’t had the pleasure to meet as yet? Or just getting into holiday spirit? I have no idea, but he was certainly participating in the sing-out wholeheartedly.
A slow warming trend has been promised for the weekend and into next week, so the birds have something to look forward to even before the holidays.
I hope your weekend will be warm – in the home and in the heart. ❤ Tiny
This morning I approached Papa Osprey’s nest walking silently on the grass behind the nest. A surprise visit. I was wondering how close I could get before he’d discover I was there. I shot the first picture of his tail feathers. And was discovered right away!
In addition to sharp eyes, he has an excellent hearing too. He heard me despite a Blue Jay giving a high-pitched concert in a tree behind me. You know how they sound.
At the same time Papa was keeping an eye on a Turkey Vulture circling high overhead. This only confirms my earlier conclusion that he’s a skilled multitasker.
We talked for a while, as we always do. I told him I’d be away traveling for a few days, and he promised me to continue keeping watch on the skies for Mama Osprey.
Then I continued my walk around the salt marsh. In many places the ground was covered by “snow” from the flowering trees. Even the Moorhen was swimming in a light “snowfall”.
Next, I spotted a “long-time-no-see” Reddish Egret in the shallow waters. Initially, he seemed startled to spot me. But soon recovered and continued his search for some brunch items.
His relative, the Snowy Egret, was the third one to surprise me. He walked right up from the marsh and did an impressive shake-baby-shake routine on the grass next to me.
I decided I’d walk a bit deeper into the park to see if I could find any of Papa Osprey’s friends. I came to the dead palm trunk favored by all three ospreys around here. Nobody at home. Then whoosh! Stanley flew in with a big fish!
That impressive meal got all his attention. And I decided it was time to go home. Enough surprises for one day. Although quite wonderful ones.
Don’t you worry, this post is not about me. Luckily I haven’t gained any weight lately. Should it happen, I wouldn’t necessarily consider that a good thing. This is all about a certain distinguished Pandion haliaetus, namely Papa Osprey.
The other day I realized he might have gained a little bit of weight. No, I couldn’t get him to step on the scale, that’s still very much work in progress, but found this picture. It was taken just after the nesting season in early July, when Papa Osprey returned from his two-week vacation. Doesn’t he look pretty thin and worn out? Just bones and skin beneath the feathers?
If we compare this picture to how he looks now, in November, when perched on the edge of his nest with a nice variety of brunch items, I’m sure you agree that there’s some more of him now.
You see, Ospreys lose weight during the nesting season. All that hauling of heavy building materials needed for nestoration, and then fishing from sunrise to sunset to feed Mama Osprey and the nestling, made for a good workout. Combine that with the fact that his lunch hour was short, if he didn’t miss it altogether, and the dinner table might have been pretty empty by the time his work was finished , and you have an effective weight loss regimen.
Now Papa Osprey has enjoyed about five months of freedom. Warm, lazy days just gliding along the beach and fishing for himself. No stress. All his attention directed towards his own wellbeing. Full crop most times I’ve seen him. I think it shows. And that’s a good thing.
Yesterday I saw he had brought some colorful materials into the nest. He probably wants to make sure Mama Osprey will see the nest from afar whenever she decides to arrive back into this area. It could be any day between now and early January. He’s already preening diligently to look handsome for her.
Yesterday I also spotted a new, fourth osprey gliding past my office window, but wasn’t able to make an identification. Papa was perched in his nest, and I saw two other ospreys (Stanley and Steve?) circling above the bay. Might it be Mama Osprey, all rested and fuller figured too, waiting for Papa to perform his Proposal Dance?
Even when they stay together for life, Papa needs to please her with a special dance before she’ll start working with him on rebuilding the nest. Repeat every year. I personally think it’s a good practice 😀
I’m sharing a link to a beautiful two-minute trailer for a documentary about Ospreys. It’s worth watching, and you can do it by clicking right here. It pretty much sums up why Ospreys have a special place in my heart.
Hope your weekend has been great so far. Mine has been exceptionally good. I was able to watch Papa Osprey and the other residents in the salt marsh together with a blogging friend of mine, bird photographer and expert, H.J. aka Avian 101, and his beautiful family. I’m sure he’ll post some great photos from the salt marsh and elsewhere after his vacation.
We are having our best weather so far this year. It’s been calling me to go outside. Finally yesterday morning I got an opportunity to spend a couple of hours on the beach and in the nature reserve. I needed that quiet time in the midst of everything going on in the outer world. It was simply beautiful. I invite you to come along.
Just outside our garden, I was greeted by a Snowy Egret who was enjoying the beautiful morning at the top of a tree. Close by, two Mourning Doves were admiring the sun. I thought they looked like a happy old couple. Content with life. No worries of the world.
Once on the beach I was walking along the water line, watching the terns and gulls play and bath in the surf. And pelicans fly back and forth in search of fish.
I also found mama Royal Tern and her teenage offspring…arguing as usual. I had to smile. Some things stay the same.
I was just about to turn towards the nature reserve when I spotted two ospreys. They were on a fishing trip. Flying high above the waves and peering down on the water. They were far out so I couldn’t see who they were, but snapped a picture of both. And guess what?
That was Papa Osprey and Stanley! They have become pals, it seems. They flew further away on the ocean and I took the path to the salt marsh.
I walked on the north side of the marsh and was greeted by a Great Egret on the very top of a huge tree. I guess having an overview was trending among egrets yesterday.
I spotted many other egrets, a juvenile Night Heron, and Tricolored Heron, among others. And my pal, the Muscovy Duck, who tends to come and greet me whenever I rest and sit on a bench.
I didn’t expect to see Papa Osprey because I’d just seen him over the ocean. But when I approached the nest, there he was. All wet. But with no fish.
I guess he was disappointed that the dive in the ocean didn’t result in fresh seafood lunch. And he must have been hungry. He turned to look at me as if saying he can’t stay.
I assured him I understood, and that I’d wait for a while. Off he flew to the drive-thru fish place, aka the intra-coastal bay.
I wanted to see if he’d catch a fish, so I decided to take a run around the park. I approached his nest again after about 15 minutes. And he was already back! Soaking wet and with a fish firmly in the talons of his left foot. It looked like one from the lunch menu.
The second fishing trip was a success. Persistence pays off. After drying himself for a few minutes, he looked up towards the wooded end of the park and talked to someone I couldn’t see. In a friendly voice. Maybe he told his pal Stanley where he had caught the fish?
After checking the airspace around him he started to eat his lunch. Soon thereafter I said my goodbyes. I may not see him until after a couple of weeks due to my upcoming travels.
It was a great little outing. I hope you enjoyed it too. Be good now and enjoy the weekend. ❤ Tiny