Tag Archives: Heron

Papa Osprey Goes Fishing. And Other Serious Stuff.

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.

snowy egret, Florida, Sand Key
A Snowy Egret drying in the sun…

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.

mourning dove couple, Florida, Sand Key
Mourning dove couple

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.

sandwich tern bathing 2
A Sandwich Tern baths in the surf…
pelican flyinng low, Florida, Sand Key
A White Pelican glides above the waves…

I also found mama Royal Tern and her teenage offspring…arguing as usual. I had to smile. Some things stay the same.

Mom and juvenile royal tern
Mama and juvenile Royal Tern argue….again.

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?

 osprey fishing, Florida
Stanley, the second osprey, fishing with P.O.
 osprey over the ocean, Florida, Sand Key
P.O. on a fishing trip with Stanley on Mexican Gulf

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.

great egret at the very top of a tree, Florida, Sand Key
A Great Egret on the top of the world…

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.

tricolored heron Florida, Sand Key
A Tri-colored Heron hunting in the salt marsh…
muscovy duck Florida, Sand Key
A Muscovy Duck swimming in the salt marsh….

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.

wet papa osprey returns from ocean
Papa Osprey is wet…but didn’t catch a 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.

osprey Florida, Sand Key
Papa Osprey…says he’s hungry…

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.

osprey goes fishing Florida, Sand Key
Papa Osprey goes fishing…again.

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.

Papa osprey back with a fish
Papa Osprey comes home with a fish…

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?

papa osprey has a fish 2
Papa Osprey starting his lunch…

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

 

 

 

Birthday Birds and Engine Roar.

Last Sunday was my birthday. Not that I need to be reminded of the years piling up, but it was a great day. A balanced affair of spectacle and peace. The spectacle was provided by the annual Clearwater Speed Boat Race, and the peace by the birds … and other good friends and family.

After a night of torrential rains, the morning was beautiful.

Willet shore bird
A little Willet patrolling the beach…
rock pigeon
A Rock Pigeon, a rare sight on the beach…
royal tern flying
A Royal Tern returning from a swing on the ocean…

I took a long walk on the beach, where the birds were getting breakfast and people of all ages were preparing to watch the boating event of the year.

little boy on the beach
A little boy exploring the beach…

Some were more interested in other explorations, of course.

treasure hunter
A treasure hunter…

On the ocean, thousands of boats were lining up along the 2.5 miles long race track. And helicopters were circling overhead. Quite a spectacle!

speed boat race an overview
Boats lining up along the race route where boats are already practicing…

I decided to seek my peace in the nature reserve. On my way there I saw something remarkable. Papa Osprey was flying in after a swim in the ocean. When he approached the nest, he shook himself in mid-air, almost like a dog would do, to get rid of excess water. I had read that ospreys do this, but never seen it before.  Unfortunately my camera was in its bag as I tried to negotiate a path to the park that wouldn’t require a swim suit.

wet papa osprey
Wet Papa Osprey saying birthday greetings…

When I reached the nest, Papa Osprey was there. All spread out under the natural hair dryer. He was still wet and held his wings up to dry his underpants. He gave me a friendly birthday nod, but it’s difficult to say if he smiled.

great egret
A Great Egret…

I also spotted a Great Egret perched on a tree near the osprey nest. After posing politely for a photo, she flew away over the water.

great egret flying
…flying away.

It was getting hot and the Great Blue Heron, whom I’ve named the Mayor of the Marsh,  was seeking shade hunched down in the bushes.

great blue heron enjoying shadow
The Mayor, Mr. Blue Heron…

I stayed in the park for a while receiving calls from family abroad, and snapped another picture of him little later.

great blue heron 2 920
…all tall and handsome.

Herons were out in force that morning. I saw a Yellow Crowned Night Heron and a Green Heron too. While the latter is most often perched on a tree looking like he’s dreaming of some faraway place, now he was hunting and all stretched out.

yellow crowned night heron closeup 2
A Yellow Crowned Night Heron…
green heron 2
A Green Heron hunting…

And what would a birthday be without a Tri-colored Heron showing off his beautiful colors. This time I saw him hunting, diving right into the water.

tricolored heron diving
A Tri-colored Heron diving…
tricolored heron after a dive
…and then shaking off the water.

And then shaking his feathers. The gracious little bird was all buffed up.

So after getting my peace in the morning, I came home and we watched the speed boat race from our terrace. Luckily they raced at some distance. No water spray on our lunch, but the engine roar was clearly audible. I’ll put a few pictures here for the boat enthusiasts in the readership.

speed boat 4 3
A speed boat and spectators in thousands of boats…
speed boat 8
A racing speed boat…
speed boat 6
Another racing speed boat…
speed boat and spactators
A speed boat almost flying on water…spectators on Pier 60

The rest of the day was lots of fun, culminating in a sumptuous seafood dinner with friends and family. Bang Bang Shrimp, Rainbow Trout, and chocolate… I could do it again. Any day.

I will probably be posting/reading a little less than usual in October as I’ve a few travels planned before NaNoWriMo hits in November. I hope your week is going well.

Congested Airspace. Papa Osprey in the Control Tower.

Yesterday was the liveliest air traffic day in the nature reserve so far this year. Everybody was flying somewhere. At whatever altitude. Papa Osprey perched on the corner of his nest and watched the skies, much like an air traffic controller.

papa osprey alarmed watching the skies
Papa osprey watches the skies…

He was busy shouting instructions on when and where to land. And, in some cases, not to land at all. He was very clear about that. And loud. Landing permit denied.

papa ospey's warning calls
Papa Osprey controls his airspace…

The two gentlemen in question were ospreys. He saw these guys zooming into his airspace like fighter jets, one chasing the other.

two ospreys flying
Two ospreys zoom in…

The pursuer also had some questionable cargo. A half eaten fish was dangling from his talons.

other osprey or who
One osprey has become the hunted…he flies towards the ocean
another osprey with half fish flying
Another osprey with his meal in tow…is chasing the first one.

Papa Osprey must have concluded that something fishy was going down. Maybe the hunted, who strongly resembled the other guy hanging around the area, had tried to steal the cargo. And now had to flee to avoid punishment.

the cause for alarm the other osprey
Full circle, now flying towards the bay…
osprey with half fish
The pursuer doesn’t let up the chase…

They flew a couple of rounds above the nature reserve. You know, as in circling the airport. But got no permit to land from Papa Osprey. So off they went to settle their dispute on the bay-side. I could see Papa Osprey relax just a bit. But the congested traffic pattern continued. A Great Egret was taxing out and took off at the other end of the salt marsh.

Egret flying
A Great Egret jets by…

She reached her cruising altitude in no time and was shooting away like a small jet in the general direction of the bay.

egret landed
A Snowy Egret lands in the high grass…

In another part of the salt marsh, a Snowy Egret had a rough landing on a small island. She missed the airstrip and landed in high grass. Almost simultaneously, a Roseate Spoonbill landed on the neighboring island. Dangerously close to an Ibis waiting on the taxiway. But so far so good. No accidents to report.

A Roseate Spoonbill lands on a neighboring island...
A Roseate Spoonbill lands on a neighboring island…

In the meantime, the island hopper, a Great Blue Heron, took off from the runway closest to the ocean.

great blue heron bird taking off
A Great Blue Heron takes off…

He flew extremely low. Like trying to fly stealth under the radar.

blueheron flying 826
…and flies over the water, under the radar…

I’m sure Papa Osprey detected him anyway. But he let it be.  It was a short domestic flight from one island to another.  Soon the heron landed safely at his destination.

Blue Heron landed safely
The Blue Heron lands safely…

After that a pelican passed over the salt marsh at an unusually high cruising altitude. I guessed he was going on a fishing trip in the ocean as the landing gear was still up.

pelicAN IN FLIGHT

Then the traffic finally calmed down. The skies were empty and peaceful again. Well ahead of the Labor Day weekend. Papa Osprey took a well deserved break.

papa osprey says hi 826

Be well now…and if you’re going somewhere for the long weekend, please stay safe in air, on the road and in the water.  ❤ Tiny

 

Cheereek! Papa osprey and the fat fish.

I grabbed the binoculars and checked the osprey nest while my coffee was brewing this morning. It’s become a part of my morning ritual this nesting season.

empty nest on 620
The empty nest this morning

Nobody was at home. I assumed that the youngster, who’s been living there solo since early last week, had gone to fetch some breakfast. Maybe she was fishing on the bay-side, just behind the Dunkin’ Donuts shop.

Around midday, I decided some exercise would be in place. A quick walk on the beach and in the nature reserve would do. I was hoping to say hello to the young osprey and maybe spot some other birds too.

osprey juvenile at the nest
Hi Tiny!

I was happy to find the juvenile at the nest. She was not alarmed when I approached and sat down on a bench under some trees nearby. She’s seen me since she was old enough to peek out of the nest. I thought she nodded a greeting.

osprey juveniles alarm call
Cheereek! Intruders!

It was hot and I was thirsty. I put my camera away and opened a water bottle. Relaxed for a bit.  Right then the youngster gave out a loud and very upset alarm call. Cheereek! From where I sat, I didn’t see anything unusual.   Next that I knew, I saw papa osprey zooming in from the bay-side and sweeping over the nest! Checking that everything was okay. I was scrambling with my camera … and only caught the tail-end of him at a distance.

papa osprey came to check juvenile 619
Papa osprey checked on the youngster…

In the meantime, the youngster was already in flight following her papa. Talk about paying a price for putting my gear down. I missed all the action.

Soon enough I got an explanation to why the youngster was so upset in the first place. Three men came walking from the grassy area behind the nest pole! Walking there is a no-no in the osprey book. Some of you may remember the big alarm by mama osprey when the dogs and their people walked that way back in March. This time I sat in a different place and didn’t see it coming.

So there I was, mulling over my bad luck with the camera. While waiting (and hoping)  that the juvenile would return to the nest, I discovered some movement in the water. I went to check it out and look what I saw: a blue crab swimming happily in the murky water!

a crab in the marsh
A blue crab in the salt marsh

I went back to my bench and was about to pack up and leave when I saw the youngster return. She was holding  a fat fish in the talons of her right foot! Correctly positioned head first to diminish air resistance!

young osprey caught a fish
Fish! I did it!

I guess papa osprey took her right where the fish was congregating. The whole trip took less than 10 minutes. Good for her! She started eating immediately.

young osprey lands back at the nest
Perfect landing on the left foot…
young osprey eating lunch
Lunch time!

I left her to enjoy her food. It was fun to see how papa osprey is still keeping an eye on the youngster and that they go fishing together.

tri-colored heron
A tri-colored heron

On my way back I saw a tri-colored heron and several ibis birds. Thanks for coming along. I hope you enjoyed the lesson on how to transport a fish in the air. It could prove useful one day.

Have a wonderful Midsummer – celebrated this weekend in the Nordic countries. Love always, Tiny