Looking at the world through the eyes of a three year and a seven year old is a refreshing experience. Pretty much everything is a miracle, there’s so much awe and wonder. Look Farmor, a bird! Take a picture! And I did. Again and again.
We were on a cruise outside St. Augustine last weekend. It is a beautiful historic city, founded in 1565, and lays the claim on being the oldest city in the US. So much excitement on land and on the water. Like dolphins swimming by.
And the seven year old knows an Osprey when she sees one. So proud of her.
We saw manmade birds too. Some were coming to old age already, but still flying high.
And the shores were sprinkled with historic buildings, like the Castillo de San Marcos from 1695, the colorful Flagler college with buildings from 1888 and the Lighthouse, which has a long history going back to early 1800’s.
And, as usual, I did a ‘bird walk’ with the seven year old (and Dylan) every morning around their neighborhood. This time we only spotted a lonely Canada Goose, and speculated on where the usual birds might have gone.
She also speculated on my age. I told her I was quite old being her farmor (grandma in Swedish). I told her my age was a secret, but she could guess. I asked her to write my age on her writing tablet. She wrote…20. She smiled and looked at me for confirmation. I laughed and said she was kind. No wonder I was ‘carded’ by a young man last year buying wine at a local store 😀
Coming home at sunset time earlier this week, Dylan and I took a walk though the salt marsh – to and from the dog park. He had to see his friends. And I had to check on the Osprey nest. From afar, we could see Mama Sandy on the perch, but the chicks were laying low. I assumed Papa Stanley was fetching dinner.
We spotted a few friends at this late hour. Mr. Moorhen was around…talking to himself.
And the Mottled Duck couple was getting some supper.
The Mayor was not at home. We decided to check the bay side on our way home. And right away, we spotted a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron …for the first time ever fishing on the bay.
And then I saw a familiar figure flying high above the bay, scanning for dinner for his family. That was Papa Stanley.
I followed him for about 10 minutes while Dylan sat patiently (he got a treat). I saw Stanley dive for fish twice. The Laughing Gull just below the seawall cheered on him vigorously. But unfortunately he didn’t catch a fish.
Stanley was close to the opposite shore so my pictures of his dive in the dim light are very soft.
He then flew north on the intracoastal waterway and I could not see him anymore. But I’m sure he brought a fish to his kids just before dark.
Yesterday around lunch time I got a chance to take a short walk at the marsh on my own. I really wanted to confirm whether there were two or three chicks in Osprey nest. You see, I have not been able to get any “proper” picture of the 3rd chick I thought I saw in one of my grainy pictures taken from our terrace over two weeks ago. When I approached the park, I saw Stanley eating on a lamp-post at the Sailing Center.
As I arrived at the nest, I could hear that the babies have learned to talk while I was away. They were singing the familiar song ‘bring me fish, daddy’ – and soon Stanley obliged.
He had eaten the head and brought the rest to Sandy. She started feeding the chicks. Two chicks. So now I prefer to think that I suffered a bout of vivid imagination when I thought I saw three chicks that day over two weeks ago.
With the sun right in my face, I watched the feeding for a while and then walked around to see who else might be at home. And I saw a whole bunch of friends at this lunch hour. The Tri-colored Heron was obviously interested in the Ibis flying overhead.
The Reddish Egret, the Clown, was performing his fishing dance and puffing up his red feathers.
The Ibis was alone with his thoughts.
And the Little Blue Heron appeared bluer than ever. Yet upbeat.
And…surprise! The Yellow-Crowned Night Heron was out and about in bright daylight.
When I walked home, I decided to take a few pictures of the Osprey nest from the street very far away…to see the chicks when the perspective flattens and almost the whole nest is visible. And they did not disappoint.
They were talking to each other and flexing their little wings. I am happy that both of them are about the same size…about five weeks old now. In 3-4 weeks they will be fledging…and we will be able to tell whether they are boys or girls.
In a few days I will be off to some adventures at a much bigger marsh. But since it will be all pleasure and no work, I’ll be in touch. Have a wonderful weekend. Peace.