Tag Archives: Nanday Parakeet

Nest Takeover. And Nanday Chatter at the Salt Marsh.

Oh, I thought, now they have abandoned me. I have been buried under a huge project and not made it to the salt marsh for over a week, and now nobody was home. At the first glance, the marsh looked abandoned. Even the Osprey nest was empty.

empty nest ud45No Muscovy Duck and no Moorhens on the water. The sun peeked out and I decided to walk around the marsh. When I reached half way towards the other end, I spotted the Mayor! He was busy in his office on a Sunday, much like me.

great blue heron ud45Then I saw a bird from a distance. It looked like a Kingfisher. But when I raised my camera, it was gone. I looked around and found him – happily taking in the views at the Osprey nest (sorry for the poor quality as I had to shoot against the sun).

kingfisher ud45The Kingfisher was enjoying the big birds’ house! But that adventure came to an abrupt end in a minute. Mama Sandy arrived. She was wet and quite upset.

wet and angry mama osprey ud45And right after, Papa Stanley was there too. Where did they both come from so quickly?

papa osprey arrived ud45Nest occupations don’t last long at the salt marsh. I decided to continue my walk and spotted a cormorant hiding in the high grass.

cormorant ud45Walking back towards the nest, I met a beautiful Mourning Dove. She was busy having lunch in the grass.

mourning dove UD45And then, suddenly, there were more birds. Several Night Herons had come out from the bushes, juveniles and adults.

juvenile yellow-crowned night heron ud45

yellow-crowned night heron ud45And the young Muscovy Duck was back too, on his favorite spot at the water installation.

muscovy duck ud45The Moorhens were back too, and a squirrel was climbing up a palm tree to get a good look at it all. Now things were back in order.

squirrel 2 ud45I went back to say bye to the Osprey couple. They were as handsome as ever. And posed for a joint portrait.

mama osprey and papa oprey ud45Sandy was still wet…and now she was hungry too. She started asking for her lunch fish. Stanley pretended not to hear her. He was unmoved and stared at me instead.

mama osprey asks for fish ud45I was waiting for him to oblige, but couldn’t wait too long. I had to get back home. So, as usual, I walked home on the bayside. Some Brown Pelicans were flying at the distance, and the beautiful Snowy Egret (featured image) was at the same spot as I had found her a week ago. Suddenly I heard Osprey speak. It was Stanley. Probably telling Sandy he would get her a fish after all.

papa osprey flying ud45He settled on Marriott’s roof to scan the bay for fish.

papa osprey snanning for fish ud45But he didn’t stay long. He took off after a few minutes and flew over the bay.

papa osprey goes fishing ud45Finally I could witness his fishing expedition! But no. He flew far off to the south and I lost sight of him. A bit disappointed I walked home. Only to get a nice consolation prize right at our driveway. I heard familiar, loud chatter. Wild Nanday Parakeets were on the move. A family of eight landed on a palm tree right in front of me. All but one of them were busy playing hide and seek and impossible to capture.

nanday parakeet 2 ud45This one friendly individual was curious about me and posed nicely so I could capture her beauty from all angles.

nanday parakeet ud45Happy after seeing my friends had not abandoned me, I came back home. For the next 2-3 months I will not be able to post or read as much as I would like to. I hope all friends will be as understanding as these guys at the salt marsh. I will have some (work related) adventures coming up soon so I’m hoping to bring you a few posts that are a bit different, while still trying to keep up with the excitement of the nesting season at the salt marsh.

Have a great week ahead. Much love from all of us.

 

Exhibition At the Salt Marsh Town Hall (WPC Connected)

The older Great Blue Heron, the Mayor of the marsh, is always hatching plans to tighten the community connections at the salt marsh. Permanent marsh residents will need to manage the soon upcoming bi-annual migration conference as a team. Without a hitch. He’s expecting big crowds, like last year.

So he’ll be throwing a Labor Day party at the town hall, with a special exhibition in the tree gallery. Under the theme “Connected”, he wants to show portraits of all those residents who’ll be sharing the salt marsh smorgasbord with migrating visitors, and others just stopping by for a snack. I volunteered to help. And to ensure timely delivery, persuaded this older gentleman to accept digital paintings.

Here my friends, you’ll get a sneak peek of these portraits before we’ll hang them up later today.

older great blue heron paint
Martin, the Mayor – the older Great Blue Heron
portrait of the young great blue heron paint
Billy – the younger Great Blue Heron, also known as the culprit (particularly by the Osprey family)
Harry – the Green Heron
portrait of little blue heron3 paint
Lilly – the Little Blue Heron
yellowcrowned night heron portrait paint
Norbert – the Yellow-crowned Night Heron
black-crowned night heron portrait paint
Nelly – the Black-crowned Night Heron
tricolored heron
Trina – the Tri-colored Heron
great while egret portrait paint
Gregory – the Great Egret
portrait of a reddish egret paint
Rudolf – the Reddish Egret, also known as the clown
snowy egret portrait paint
Sally – the Snowy Egret
nanday parakeet portrait paint
Polly – the Nanday Parakeet
papa osprey portrait paint
Stanley – the Osprey, also known as Papa Osprey
mama osprey portrait paint
Sandy – the Osprey, also known as Mama Osprey
roseate spoonbill portrait paint
Rosa – the Roseate Spoonbill

I’m hoping it’ll be a nice exhibition. And I’m planning to join the party despite allergies that have hit me this weekend. Let’s stay connected, and thanks for visiting 🙂

You can find other replies to this challenge here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid – Natural and Manmade (9 Images)

This week’s DP photo challenge is “vivid”. Nature offers many vivid scenes and creations, and man can create a few too…so I rummaged my photo archives and selected a few images that represent “vivid” to me.

First a few images presented by Mother Nature:

nanday parakeet portrait vivid
This feral Nanday Parakeet has vivid green feathers…
gulf sunset vivid
The Gulf offers vivid sunsets on most nights…
hibiscus  closeup vivid
And a vivid hibiscus flower beautifies the garden…
roseate spoonbill vivid
…talking about vivid, one cannot leave out the hot pink Spoonbill.

And then a couple of vivid pieces of art, obviously manmade:

wolf and the moon sand festival vivid
Vivid colors light up this sand sculpture…
fire horse at Dali Vivid
Everything about this “fire horse” at the Dali Museum is vivid…
…and to complement the art inside the museum, this vivid dolphin sculpture lights up its garden.

To close this post on a humorous note, I’d like to present an image that combines natural and (wo)manmade vividness. Perhaps a trending, new hairstyle for this summer?

art natural palm hair style vivid
A vivid new hairstyle by Ms. Palm.

You will find other responses to this challenge here.

I’ll be taking a short vacation in a place where I hope to get some interesting photos, but that also coincides with a musical performance of four very vivid old men. There’ll be a scheduled post around mid-week to update everyone on the latest developments around the salt marsh. And I’ll try to be online some mornings and evenings to visit your blogs, otherwise will be catching up next week.  Have a beautifully vivid week!

Empty Fridge. Life Lessons. And Romantic News from the Salt Marsh.

Mama Osprey’s fridge has been empty many times this week. The chicks are growing fast and have an endless appetite. Like teenagers usually do. When the meal time is over, all that’s left for Mama Sandy can be some shreds of a fish tail.

fame osprey feeding her chicks Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
A shred of a fish tail remains for Sandy’s lunch.

I’m no longer wondering why female ospreys lose 15% of their body weight during the nesting season. Sandy is a good example of a mom who always puts her chicks first. Male ospreys lose about 10% of their weight too. I guess the fish heads are not that filling. When the chicks were smaller, Stanley either waited in the nest until everyone had eaten or came back for the remaining tail. More recently he’s stopped waiting, and he doesn’t bother to come back to check for any leftovers. He knows there won’t be any.

male osprey leaves the nest Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
Stanley leaves after his drop-off.

It’s been very hot this week, more like July-August temperatures. Luckily all three chicks are now big enough to be able to cool themselves. Sandy is still often protecting them from the hottest afternoon sun with her wings half-spread out. And the chicks are fluffing themselves up to let the sea breeze cool their skin.

Female osprey and an osprey chick Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
Sandy and one of the chicks managing the heat last weekend.

The chicks are also learning the skill of watching for any dangers. The oldest one, in particular, often sits upright and helps Sandy to scan the skies. And s/he is also able to eat directly from the fish now, once the smaller siblings have been fed.

Female osprey with a chick Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
Sandy checks out Tiny and one of the chicks scans the sky.

I haven’t spotted Papa Stanley making a fish transport since last Sunday. But that’s not so strange because his visits to the nest now are all about dropping off the fish, which only takes a few seconds.  I’m sure he’s still there. In any case Mama Sandy has started to fetch food too. It’s common for osprey moms go back to work as soon as the kids are big enough to be left alone for a while. There’s a need to complement what dad brings in.

female osprey returns to her chicks Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
Sandy returns to the nest from one of her short outings. The oldest chick was in charge 🙂

This morning Sandy totally surprised me. And I think she surprised the chicks too.  I heard the youngest chick ask for fish. She stretched herself up, looked over to the shallow part of the marsh. And off she went. I was taking a picture of the chicks alone in the nest – and whoops, she was back! With a fish. It took maybe about 30 seconds for her to pick up the fish from the water. I have never seen her fishing right there. Needless to say I was impressed.  Here’s the sequence of Mama Sandy going to the neighborhood seven eleven.

female osprey with osprey chicks Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
Sandy stretches up and watches intently…
female osprey with chicks Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
Then she just flies out … down into the marsh.
osprey chicks waiting for female osprey to return Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
The two oldest ones watch her, but the youngest one is just asking for fish.
female osprey is back with a fish Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
Sandy is back with a fish…
female osprey got a large fish Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
…and it’s a fairly big one.

Sandy started feeding them right away. Less than two hours later I checked on them from home with my binoculars and they were eating again. Stanley must have brought another fish right after they finished the first one 🙂

Otherwise everything is good around the salt marsh. The Red-winged Blackbird has made himself home and is busy singing his songs in one tree or another. I love to see him, but wouldn’t pay to download his songs.

redwinged blackbird 3 UD6
A Red-winged Blackbird sings to his heart’s delight.

The Nanday Parakeet couple still lives happily in their condo apartment. The balcony and the patio perch come to good use in the heat.

nanday parakeet in her nest Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
A Nanday Parakeet on her balcony (I’m guessing it’s the female)…
nanday parakeet Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
…and her hubby on their perch patio.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker is still there, but no longer alone.  He’s gotten hitched! It was impossible to persuade both of them to sit together and pose for the camera. I had to merge two pictures to show you how they play.

Red-bellied Woodpecker couple Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
The Red-bellied Woodpecker couple close to their home.

And the Moorhen chicks continue to grow. I’ve spotted them on most of my walks this week exploring their surroundings with mom and dad.

A Moorhen chick Sand Key park Clearwater Florida
One of the Moorhen chicks came out of the grass to explore a bit further.

That’s all from the Salt Marsh News for this week. I hope you’re learning good life lessons too, and that your week is going great.

Mama Osprey is a Tough Cookie. And Other Breaking News from the Salt Marsh.

He came closer. Walked nonchalantly in the direction of the Osprey nest. Glanced up a few times along his long bill.  A sharp warning cut the air.  The rebellious teenager he is, the young Blue Heron ignored it. And started crossing the last piece of shallow water still separating him from the islet housing the nest.

Great Blue Heron juvenile Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
The young Great Blue Heron approaches the nest.

Another warning. This time it was much longer, building up to a wavering squeal reverberating in the air. Mama Sandy was alarmed. Papa Stanley was out on the ocean fetching lunch, and she was alone in the nest with her three chicks.

Female Osprey in the nest with her chicks Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Mama Sandy keeps an eye on the approaching youngster.

She was serious. She wouldn’t tolerate yet another attack on the nest. But the young heron wouldn’t take her word for it. He came closer and closer. He had now reached the islet where the nest pole is located. He flexed his wings, but was not yet quite airborne when Sandy whizzed down from the nest. Her talons stretched out in front of her for a direct hit.

female osprey prevents an attack on the nest by blue heron Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Sandy’s preemptive strike.
blue heron on the ground Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
The young Blue Heron on the ground after his confrontation with Sandy…
young blue heron gets up
…and he slowly gets up…
blue heron stretches up
…stretches himself …
blue heron flying away Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
…and flies away.

It was a lightning fast attack. The youngster went down to cover his head. When he finally got up, the feathers on his crown were messed up. He stretched himself up and immediately flew to the far end of the marsh. I have no idea how many times this youngster has attacked the nest, but I have witnessed two such occasions previously. Mama Sandy didn’t want to take the chance of needing to defend the nest up in the air, putting the chicks at risk.  So she warned him twice, with no effect, and then took preemptive action. And after returning to her chicks, she continued to keep an eye on the young heron at the other end of the marsh.

female osprey with her chicks Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
After Sandy’s return, the nestlings help her scan for the young Blue Heron.

It’s funny how all other birds, like the two Great Egrets and the Reddish Egret pictured here just seconds before the attack, can walk and hunt close to, and even right under, the nest causing no alarm. This one individual’s bad behavior has gotten him banned from the vicinity of the Osprey family. I wonder if he’ll ever learn.

Two great egrets and a reddish egret Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
These three were fishing close to the nest just seconds before the strike. Note how fast the Reddish Egret moved away from the scene…he’s nowhere to be seen in the pictures above. Just rings on the water remained  🙂

Soon after the dust had settled, Papa Stanley arrived with a fat fish. He had already eaten the head, as he usually does with a big fish, and gave the best parts to Sandy and the chicks.

male osprey brings in a big fish Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Lunch arrives!

Sandy told him all about the attack straightaway. No secrets between the two of them. And then she took the fish and started feeding the chicks. Everything was back to normal. The chicks are growing fast and their appetite requires Stanley to catch a big fish, or go fishing twice for each meal to feed the whole family. I’ve seen him just leave the whole fish to Sandy and go right back onto the ocean or the bay.

A few days back, I also checked on the residents of the condo building. Everybody was fine. The Nanday Parakeet flew from his balcony onto his favorite pine branch to greet me. The European Starling was at home, and the Red-bellied Woodpecker was shopping for food in the huge supermarket just next to his apartment.

nanday parakeet Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
The Nanday Parakeet lifts his foot in a greeting.
eauropean starling Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
The European Starling enjoys nice weather on her balcony.
red-bellied woodpecker Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
The Red-bellied Woodpecker looks for food right next to his apartment.

One evening I visited the salt marsh again at sunset time. The Osprey kids were already sleeping, and I guess Stanley had gone somewhere to eat the leftovers from the family dinner. Mama Sandy sat at the edge of the nest and took in the calm of the evening. This is what she saw from her vantage point.

female ospey at sunset Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Mama Sandy just before sunset.
Sunset at the salt marsh…
sunset Sand Key Beach Clearwater Florida
…and over the ocean.

That’s all for this week from the salt marsh. Wishing you all happiness in the month of May. Peace, Tiny

Papa Osprey Hauls in Fish. Mama Bakes. Two Chicks to Feed.

Oh chick! Just after last week’s update I thought I saw two tiny hatchlings in the Osprey nest, but couldn’t get a confirmation until this morning. I was having my second cup of coffee on the terrace when I saw Papa Stanley fly in with a fish. I ran in to get my camera.  And discovered Mama Sandy was feeding not one, but two chicks! They seemed to be about the same size and must have hatched a day or two apart about 12-14 days ago.

Papa and Mama osprey with two chicks Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Papa Stanley is checking the surroundings…
osprey chicks sand key park clearwater florida
…while Mama Sandy feeds the chicks.

Two little heads came up every time Sandy took a bite. I guess they can now eat tiny pieces of fish, and seem to be growing fast! That means a fishing trip after another for Stanley. From what I’ve observed, he brings in three to four fish a day, maybe more.

osprey flies low sand key park clearwater florida
Papa Osprey flies low coming back to the nest.

That’s tiring. The other day I caught him dozing off in a pine tree near his man cave – with what was left for him of the fish. It’s a full time job to feed a family of four, and he seems to be doing it pretty well. I thought he deserved a nap on his lunch break so I didn’t go too close.

osprey with fish taking a nap sand key park clearwater florida
Papa Osprey takes a lunch time nap.

And Mama Sandy is not brooding the chicks anymore as they are now older than 10 days. But because the little ones don’t have any way to cool themselves as yet, she is still protecting them from the sun with her wings most of the time.

Mama Osprey protects the chicks from sun.

One morning I discovered she had started baking. There was a fish hanging on the side right below the nest, baking in the midday sun. Maybe dried fish was on the menu at a later date 🙂 I have no idea how she did it.

mama ospey bakes a fish sand key park clearwater florida
A fish is baking in the sun below the nest.

Sometimes Sandy flies away briefly to fetch something small for the babies from nature’s huge supermarket, and leaves Stanley to look after them. One morning, she left the nest twice and came back with something green, both times. It looked like a small bunch of leaves. I gathered the babies must be ready for some salad with their fish. Or maybe they just needed additional vitamins.

mama osprey leaves the nest sand key park clearwater florida
Mama Osprey leaves the nest to get some greens for the chicks.

This week I’ve also checked on the residents in the condo building. They seem to be doing fine. The Parakeet couple has chosen a particular pine tree for their hugging sessions when not in their apartment. It’s much roomier outside, of course.

parakeets sand key park clearwater florida
The affectionate Nanday Parakeet couple on their perch.
palm trunk condo update
Parakeet and Starling on their balconies.
red-bellied woodpecker in his nest sand key park clearwater florida
The red-bellied Woodpecker in his apartment on the other side of the building.

The Starling and the Red-bellied Woodpecker still live there too. And I’ve not seen any evidence of neighborly disputes, even when Papa Stanley still occasionally uses his penthouse-level man cave.

I’ve come eye to eye with many other salt marsh residents as well, like this Mockingbird who was imitating osprey calls. Big dreams in falsetto for this little fellow.

a mockingbird sand key park clearwater florida
The Northern Mockingbird imitates osprey calls and is surprised to see Tiny.

And the Reddish Egret, who put on quite a show for me and then paused as in waiting for the applause. But that’s for another post.

reddish egret sand key park clearwater florida
The Reddish Egret waits for the applause after his show.

That’s all for this week. Salt marsh residents, from the biggest to the smallest, wish you all a wonderful weekend. ❤ Tiny

Spring Break. Man Cave Rentals and Guard Duty.

This week has been warm. Spring-like. Birds are courting and building nests. Wild flowers are blooming in the salt marsh. And spring-breakers are everywhere.

spring flowers in salt marsh
Spring flowers are blooming…

The Osprey Family is not taking a spring break.  Sandy and Stanley continue to incubate in shifts. Mama Sandy’s shifts seem to be little longer, and she always takes a bath whenever she gets some time off. Then dries herself in the sun, sits on the egg(s) again and asks Papa to go fishing.

female osprey dries herself Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Mama Sandy shakes off the water after a quick bath…

They seem to have established a regular routine to be interrupted only by Papa Stanley’s guard duty when a potential intruder approaches the nest.

male osprey on guard duty Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Papa Stanley warns Steve…

I’m happy to report that the Great Blue Heron has not repeated his attack on the nest. He’s still keeping an admirably low profile at the opposite end of the marsh.

great blue heron Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Mister Great Blue Heron keeps a low profile…

But Steve, the young Osprey, has been around again. Several times. The other day he flew very close to the nest. Papa Stanley’s loud warnings scared even a Mottled Duck who was swimming close by. She literally ran on water 🙂

mottled duck runs on water Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Mottled Duck runs on water…

But Steve didn’t give up. He kept circling around the nest. And finally Stanley had no choice but to chase him away in person.

another osprey flies above the nest Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Steve flies above the nest…
male osprey flies out of the nest Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
…and Papa Stanley decides to chase him away.

Papa Stanley still enjoys his man cave, but spends more time in the nest now. And lets feathery spring-breakers rent his perch from time to time.

male osprey Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Papa Osprey in his man cave
nanday parakeet couple Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Two Nanday Parakeets visiting…

A Red-bellied Woodpecker has been working on his little apartment in the same old palm trunk for a few days now, and today he finally moved in. He appeared to be very pleased with his new home.

red-bellied woodpecker Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
A Red-bellied Woodpecker builds a home…
Woodpecker builds his nest Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
…and inspects the walls…
redbellied woodpecker in his nest Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Home sweet home…

I’m sure Stanley will be a good neighbor. And a good dad. Maybe already next week if my estimates are about right.

male osprey flies over the nest Sand Key Park Clearwater Florida
Papa Stanley flies over the nest to check on Mama.

And he definitely is a good hubby. Today, directly after the shift change at noon, he flew away. I’m guessing to take a bath. But he came back shortly and flew over the nest just to check on Mama before going to fetch some fish for lunch.

All is good. The salt marsh gang wishes you all a wonderful weekend.  ❤ Tiny

 

 

 

The Egg Thief. And His Punishment.

Last Sunday the weather finally warmed up and I’ve been able to take a short walk/jog/run to see my feathered friends in the salt marsh several times. It’s been quite a week. Events from high drama to comedy, and everything in between. But I’ll try to be short.

On Monday, the Osprey family’s peaceful life was interrupted by a lightning fast attack by an egg thief. It was the most dangerous event I have witnessed, and also one of the most humbling moments for my bird photography. I missed the main action:  Papa Osprey fighting off a direct attack on the nest. Such is life, I have so much more to learn about these birds. But I’ll tell you the story anyway.

an osprey couple in the nest Sand key park Clearwater Florida
Mama Osprey talks to Papa…

I was standing and watching Mama Sandy sitting on the egg(s) and Papa Stanley keeping her company. She was talking to him. Suddenly Stanley started flexing his wings. Silly me thought he was getting ready to fly out. So I zoomed in and started shooting. Little did I know that from right behind me a big bird was approaching the nest. I should’ve understood something serious was up. See for yourself.

osprey sees a danger approaching at the Sand kay nest Clearwater Florida osprey sees a danger approaching at the Sand kay nest Clearwater Florida osprey sees a danger approaching at the Sand kay nest Clearwater Florida osprey sees a danger approaching at the Sand kay nest Clearwater FloridaPapa Stanley turned around and in the next half second I saw a big bird above my head flying right towards the nest. Mama Sandy was already pressed tight over the egg(s)…not visible from the ground.

The next one second was crucial. While trying to refocus my camera, I saw a fight in the air just a feet or two above the next. Papa Osprey was defending the nest against the intruder with his talons and the intruder was attacking Papa with his bill. I didn’t even register what bird it was, only that it was much bigger than Papa Stanley. I got a shaky picture of papa and half of the bird 🙂 just below the nest where the intruder fled. Papa was right on his tail. Mama screamed. I think I might have too.

male osprey dives chasing an intruder
Papa Stanley dives down repeatedly at the far end of the marsh…

While the attack was thwarted in one second, Papa was chasing the egg thief over the salt marsh for several minutes. He was diving down repeatedly and I couldn’t see what was going on. Mama Sandy sat up in the nest and watched the drama.

female osprey in the nest
Mama Osprey watches the chase…

Finally after about 10 minutes Stanley returned to the nest to ensure Mama and the egg(s) were fine.  And it’s my understanding they were.

male osprey returns to the nest sand key park clearwater florida
Papa flies right up to the nest after he’s satisfied the threat is over…
male osprey flies into the nest sand key park clearwater florida
…and checks on Mama and the egg(s)

Now I looked at my picture of the half bird. I saw it was a Great Blue Heron.  On my way home I found him at the very opposite end of the marsh. It looked like he got his butt kicked pretty good by Papa Osprey. I hope he learned his lesson.

great blue heron sand key park cleaarwater florida
The culprit, a Great Blue Heron, got his feathers messed up…

The rest of the week has been rather fun. Sandy and Stanley have been taking turns in incubating the egg(s).  It seems that Sandy gets at least two long breaks every day, maybe more.

male osprey sits on the eggs while female dries herself sand key park clearwater florida
Papa Osprey sits on the egg(s) while Mama dries herself…

And now it’ll be only a couple of weeks before there should be a hatchling!

Papa Stanley still goes to his man cave to eat. He seems to be eating the head and the tail of the fish, giving Sandy the best part. He’s a good hubby and dad.

male osprey eats on his perch sand key park clearwater florida
Papa enjoys lunch in his man cave… with a white feather sticking up from his wing…

One day I saw him eating there, and the next day there was a colorful visitor borrowing his perch, a Nanday Parakeet, again. Stanley flew somewhere else close by to finish his fish.

nanday parakeet in sand key park clearwater florida
A Nanday Parakeet borrows Papa Osprey’s perch…

To tell you the truth, there were two visitors. A Red-bellied Woodpecker was hard at work to find food in the same dead palm trunk.

A red-bellied Woodpecker in sand key park clearwater florida
A Red-bellied Woodpecker looking for food…

Back in the marsh, many birds have been showing off their fishing skills, the most expressive being the Reddish Egret. He is the showman of the marsh, but that’s another story altogether.

tricolored geron gets a fish sand key park clearwater florida
A Tricolored Heron caught a fish…
reddish egret hunting in sandkey park clearwater florida
A Reddish Egret performs a traditional hunting dance…

I can tell you the Great Blue Heron has been keeping a very low profile. Staying at the other end of the marsh every day.

I wish you all a great weekend. Reporting from the salt marsh, Tiny

 

Battering Winds, Tireless Work, Love. And a Parakeet.

The Osprey Family’s nestoration project has now entered its 3rd week. Despite the extremely windy conditions in the last few days, the osprey couple has continued to work without a break to get their nest ready on time.

stormy ocean wave2
The ocean was angry on Saturday.

Most other birds hunkered down taking shelter from the wind as you can see in this gallery. It was so windy that keeping myself standing steadily enough to shoot acceptable pictures was challenging.

On Saturday when I decided to dare the winds, I found Mama Sandy balancing on the edge of the nest facing the wind. She was calling on Papa Stanley to bring her fish…but he was busy. Eating on a dead palm trunk nearby.

osprey holding on in the wind
Mama Osprey balancing against the wind…
osprey eating fish
…and Papa Osprey on “his” palm trunk eating lunch.

He heard her calls and looked in her direction, but I couldn’t stand the wind long enough to see how much of the fish Mama would get. It looked like a lunch for two, and I assumed he would share.

Yesterday I found the nest empty when I arrived, but just a minute or two later Mama Osprey zoomed in with a huge swath of soft nursery materials flying in the strong wind.

osprey delivers nest materials
Mama Osprey has gone shopping for nursery materials…
mama osprey eager to build
Mama Sandy is eager to finish the nursery design.

It was clear to me she was eager to get the materials secured in place and was calling for Papa to help.  In a very determined manner. But where was Papa Stanley?

osprey calling
Mama calling for Papa…

You guessed it.  I found him on “his” palm trunk eating fish.  Mama’s crop was fairly full, so she had already gotten an early lunch. Now it was his lunch hour.

osprey eating fish
Papa Osprey eating lunch…
osprey with a fish
…but looks who’s there.

He looked at me, then continued eating. I walked back to the nest and saw Mama Sandy had started to prepare the nursery on her own.

 osprey redecorating
Mama Osprey redecorating the nest…

Then last night, just before sunset when the winds were at their strongest, I went out on our terrace to check on them. I saw them huddling together in the nest. Looking at each other. Love birds.

Papa and mama osprey together in the nest
Love birds daring the wind together…

The wind had finally calmed down this morning, and I took a longer walk in the salt marsh and around the park at lunch time. Birds were out and about everywhere, and I found Mama Sandy alone in the nest. She had not finished her lunch, but it looked like all the nursery materials had been put in place.

osprey with a fish in the nest
Mama Osprey has a fish for lunch…

Just when I was taking pictures of her, Papa Stanley flew into the nest. Only for a second or two. I guess to show her his lunch catch. He flew away in the direction of “his” palm trunk nearby.

osprey flying away w fish
…and now Papa osprey also has a fish.

So I walked over there expecting to find him. But found something completely different.

Nanday Parakeet
Nanday Parakeet says hi…
Nanday parakeet 2
…and checks on Tiny.

A Nanday Parakeet had reserved Papa’s perch for herself! I have never seen this pet bird in the wild before, but apparently there is a sizeable feral population here in our area.

So where did Papa Stanley go with his fish? Mama helped me in that regard. She called and he answered. So finally I found him just beyond the park’s border on a lamp-post. He had almost finished his  fish.

 osprey finishing his fish
Papa Osprey has eaten fast…

That’s when Mama Sandy sounded a long alarm call! Even I knew what that meant: another osprey was approaching the nest. Papa Stanley didn’t waste a second, he flew to the nest with such speed I couldn’t even snap a picture. That’s love. I jogged back to the salt marsh.  Getting good exercise with these guys 🙂

osprey flies by the nest
Osprey Steve flies around the nest…

The osprey flying above the nest was Steve, normally friends with both Mama and Papa. But it all changes when they start nesting, so now he was a threat.

When I arrived Papa Stanley was already there, and both of them were scanning the skies together.

mama and papa osprey scaning the skies
…Mama and Papa osprey scan the skies together.
Papa protects the nest while Mama finishes her lunch.
Papa protects the nest while Mama finishes her lunch.

When everything calmed down, Mama Sandy finished her lunch while Papa Stanley stayed there protecting her. That’s when I decided it was a good time to go home.

Hope you enjoyed the adventures of our couple.  Reporting from the salt marsh, Tiny