Tag Archives: nesting Season

The Paparazzi and the Baby.

As many of you know, Mr. Dylan and I have been stalking the Osprey Family for first baby pictures for a couple of weeks now. Yesterday at lunch time we finally succeeded. Dylan’s persistence to go to the dog park, for first time since my work trip this past week, paid off. We are all smiles.

osprey family with chick ud157When we arrived at the marsh, Stanley had just brought in a fish. Sandy was eating and feeding the chick, whose little head was sticking up in front of her. Stanley decided to fly up to the perch to have a better overview. He often stays at the nest or close by when Sandy is feeding. The provider and guardian that he is.

Papa osprey flies to the perch ud157

papa osprey flies UD157Sandy continued eating and feeding, but soon told Stanley that more was needed. You better go fishing again, she told him with determination. But Stanley stayed put.

Mama osprey asks for more fish ud157We went to the dog park. When we returned Stanley had left. I wondered whether he had gone fishing or just to chill out a bit in his man cave. We walked around the marsh and spotted Miss Rosa.

miss rosa ud157For the first time this season she was there in the middle of the day, beautiful as ever.

roseate spoonbill ud157At the far end of the marsh, we also spotted the older Great Blue Heron. He was walking confidently, his head high, inspecting the marsh. He is a tall, handsome bird. And, indeed, a great Mayor.

the mayor ud157Of course there were some smaller birds flitting around as well. We spotted several European Starlings…

european starling ud157…and a very skittish Blue Jay. One look at the paparazzi and he was gone.

Blue jay in the grass UD157When we approached the osprey nest again, we noticed that the little one had moved closer to the edge. Unfortunately we had to ‘shoot’ almost right into the sun, but you can see that the chick seems curious about the outer world already. At less than three weeks of age. A future explorer for sure.

osprey chick ud157The baby had also discovered its little wings and was flapping them right in mama’s face.

mama osprey and the chick ud157The paparazzi are almost sure that there is only one chick this year. But they have been proven wrong before. What we know for sure is that this little chick is alert and energetic. It’s not yet ready for beauty competitions, but will be very soon. Its feathers will grow out and its eyes will turn from dark to beautiful bright orange. With these happy thoughts we said our goodbyes and walked home.

papa osprey arrives with fish UD157Reaching our front yard we saw, from a block away, that Staley was landing on his usual lamp-post with a new fish. Two fishing trips in about 90 minutes! No wonder the poor man looks a bit exhausted.

Much love from the paparazzi, the Mayor, Miss Rosa and the Osprey Family.

Breaking News. Of the Good Kind.

But hold on for a minute. The breaking news will follow in the next segment – after our reporter, embedded at the salt marsh, gives you the back story. No commercial breaks or partisan views. Promise.

I was exhausted when I returned from my ‘fully loaded’ work trip to the big city up north. I carried one of my cameras all the time, but couldn’t get a breather to focus my mind on anything but work. Zero pictures. So right after returning home, I took a walk at the salt marsh. I realized how lucky I am having this small enclave of nature one block away from home.

salt-marsh-morning-ud107Arriving there, I saw things were lively at the Osprey family home. Papa Stanley brought a fish to Sandy, who had been busy decorating the nursery in the middle of the nest.

papa-osprey-brings-fish-ud107She took the fish, and I thought she would fly away to enjoy it. Like she had when I last saw her before my trip.

mama-osprey-takes-the-fish-ud107But this time she stayed at the nest. Just flew up onto the perch to eat her lunch. When you are close to the time, you better not go too far from home. She new that.

mama-osprey-takes-the-fish-ud107

mama-osprey-eats-the-fish-ud107I left Sandy to enjoy her fish and walked around the marsh to check on the other residents. The Mayor, the older Great Blue Heron, was standing guard right below the osprey nest. It seems to be his new favorite spot.

great-blue-heron-ud107And the Reddish Egret was hunting nearby, his long red hair flowing with his movements.

reddish-egret-ud107I noticed the Mourning Doves had returned. Several of them were foraging in the grass and flying around in the trees.

mourning-dove-ud107And the ducks were back too. A family of three Mottled Ducks was enjoying a pool of water next to the rest area in the park. They usually nest at the salt marsh and I was delighted to see them.

two-males-and-one-female-mottled-duck-ud107I am hoping to spot new little ducklings in June, like I did last year.

mottled duck mom with 7 ducklings ud65I continued my walk and saw another permanent resident, the Little Blue Heron. He was looking for something to eat in the grass, and was not shy when I approached. We have no trust issues. As far as he’s concerned, media is all good.

little-blue-heron-ud107Another old friend was present too. The Tri-colored Heron was busy doing bird yoga. And showing off her beautiful colors. I took that as a hint. It’s high time for me to start improving my flexibility 🙂

bird-yoga-by-tricolored-heron-ud107Walking back towards the osprey nest, I spotted Sandy returning from her perch – via a short exercise round. She had finished eating and probably knew that opportunities for after-lunch exercise would be limited in the weeks and months to come.

mama-osprey-returns-to-the-nest-ud107When I arrived back to the nest, Stanley was working on rearranging the soft materials around the nest cup. Papa putting the last touches on the nursery. Something was definitely in the making.

papa-osprey-builds-the-nest-ud107When I left them, the parents-to-be were perching side by side in the nest. A handsome couple, I thought.

mama-and-papa-osprey-in-the-nest-2-ud107I walked home on the bay side and spotted this Anhinga drying her feathers in the sun.

anhinga-ud105Then, looking out towards the nest from our terrace this morning, I saw something was different. Eggs had been laid last night. Sandy was incubating. Hatchlings expected in 35 to 40 days. Yay!

sitting-on-the-eggs-mama-and-papa-osprey-ud107You can see the design of the nest is centered on the nursery in the middle of the open floor plan. I hope you’ll also notice the soothing, earth-toned color scheme and the subtle decorations. All natural materials apart from the small piece of blue nylon rope, hardly visible next to the edge. It has followed the family from their old home into the new. Sandy’s favorite color.

mama-osprey-sitting-on-the-eggs-feb18-ud107In the next few months, you will see more of these ‘soft’ pictures, when I’ll zoom into the nest from a block away. It is the only way we can follow what’s happening in the nursery.

Thanks for visiting the Osprey family and our other friends at the marsh. I hope you enjoyed the breaking news. We all wish you a peaceful weekend and a good week ahead.

Nest Watch. Abundant fish. And Long Plumes Galore.

This weeks report from the salt marsh is all good news, but no breaking news as yet. No eggs in the nest for Mama and Papa Osprey. Not that they haven’t been trying, but I guess it’s not yet the time.

Babies in works...
Osprey babies in works…

It’s been great seeing the two. Now that the nest is all repaired, and the nursery done, they have devoted time to each other, mating and feasting on all kinds of fish. And they share, too.  When Mama is done, Papa eats the rest, and vice versa. Like another honeymoon, yet again.

papa osprey flies away with the rest of the fish by tiny
Papa Stanley flies away to his “man cave” with what’s left of the fish…

Papa Stanley does most of the fishing now. The other day I saw him fishing far out on the ocean, ready to dive. But then I lost him in the bright blue skies.

osprey fishig over the ocean by tiny
Papa fishing far out on the ocean…

Papa does most of the shuttling too. He comes and goes, Mama stays at the nest most of the time.

osprey flying out from the nest by tiny
Papa leaves the nest…
osprey flies away by tiny
…and flies around the salt marsh…
osprey landing in the nest by tiny
….and returns to the nest.

This morning, however, I was surprised to find Papa Stanley alone in the nest. He was on guard duty.  Scanning the skies with a sharp eye. I was wondering about Mama Sandy. Where did she go?

male osprey in the nest by tiny
Papa Osprey guards the nest…

I walked away from the nest to see other birds. Then saw Mama Sandy fly in with a huge fish, half eaten. She had either been fishing by herself or gotten a fish from Papa, but had preferred to “eat out”. I guess variety is the spice.  Both of them were too full to eat more, so she just held on to it and dozed off. Under Papa Stanley’s watchful eye. With the fish still in her right talon. I guess that’s what pregnancy does even to the ospreys, lots of napping.

female osprey with fish dozing off by tiny
Mama Osprey with a fish takes a nap…
Mama osprey dozing off while papa is keeping watch by tiny
…under Papa Osprey’s watchful eye.

The breeding season is getting closer for many other residents as well. I noticed the Great Blue Heron, the Mayor of the Marsh, is sporting longer plumes now. Quite impressive looking, even when hunching like this.

great blue heron with long plumes
The Mayor in his best attire…
...and all handsome.
…and all handsome.

And so is the Reddish Egret, the showman of the marsh. He is loud and very expressive, to say the least. And he’s a good hunter.

reddish egret hunting by tiny
Reddish Egret starts his hunt…
reddish egret hunting 2 by tiny
…and here he goes…
reddish egret with a fish  by tiny
…then proudly shows off his catch.

So the circle of life in the salt marsh is slowly turning towards spring, many nests will be built under the mangroves and in the bushes close to the water. And in the next couple of months we may spot some little ones, in the osprey nest and around the marsh.

Have a wonderful week. Reporting from the salt marsh, Tiny

Romance in the Osprey Family. And Plans for a Nursery.

It’s extremely windy today.  Another cold front is approaching. Daring the wind, I wanted to check how the osprey family was doing.

windy on the bay

windy

When I arrived in the salt marsh, Mama Osprey was sitting in the nest with only the top of her head visible, not perching on the edge as she usually does. I noticed the nest had grown a lot since last week.

Mama osprey greets Tiny

When she saw me, she got up a little bit to say hi. Her crop was full, so Papa Stanley must have brought her a fish earlier in the morning. I stood under my “observation tree” for a while keeping her company. Suddenly Stanley flew in, as it were, for a brief romantic interlude.

stanley arriving 1 stanley arriving 2 osprey romantics stanley leaving

Afterwards Mama Sandy instructed him on what to bring from his next trip. I’m guessing it was some specific materials for the nursery.

stanley leaving2

Then Papa flew away for yet another visit to Home Depot.

papa stanley flies away

After coming home I checked on the nest from our terrace. It clearly had some soft nursery materials already in place.  And Mama Sandy was busy arranging them to her liking… in the gusty wind.

mama osprey preparing the nursery

I hope they and their nest will fare well through the storms that are supposed to pass overnight.

Have a wonderful weekend!  Love always, Tiny