Tag Archives: Osprey

Lunch. Fresh Seafood.

I couldn’t keep myself from checking on the osprey family again. You knew that, right? I had been spying on the nest from our terrace using binoculars …unfortunately it’s too far for me to get sharp pictures with my current camera gear.

The nest as seen from our terrace (almost half a km away)

So yesterday, after shoving down half a salad late in the lunch hour, I ran out to the nature reserve. Ok – I didn’t really run, but that’s how it felt in the afternoon heat.

Approaching the nest I only saw the mama.  She was observing me. The nestling was laying low, but I could see little movement of his head every now and then. They were not eating lunch as yet.

mamaosprey and nesting lying low
Mama osprey observes Tiny while the nestling is resting (head visible in front of mom). Note the balcony flowers still blooming.

It was about 2 p.m. and papa osprey was nowhere to be seen.  That’s until mama osprey thought I had been too sloppy with my camouflage. She gave out a few short high-pitched whistles, cheep cheep.  The calls were not the kind of frenzied cheereeks I had heard earlier when the dogs approached the nest, but papa osprey appeared almost immediately! He flew over the nest, looked down on me and tipped his hat (sorry, I missed that picture). That’s old Tiny, he seemed to think, no danger from her. He didn’t even circle the nest, just continued to fly high towards the beach. He has great intuition.

ibis flexing
An ibis bird fluffing her feathers
small heron wet 2
A reddish egret drying herself

I decided to turn and walked around the marsh to the other side of the nest  where the ospreys are more used to see joggers and other loose folks like me. I was still a bit away, busy watching some ibis birds and egrets washing and drying themselves in the marsh, when I sensed something in the air. I looked up and saw a huge fish hanging from the talons of papa osprey’s right foot high up in the air!

papa osprey bringing home fish for lunch
Papa osprey brings in fresh seafood

Lunch had arrived, fresh from the ocean! There was activity in the nest. I guessed the fish was portioned out. But I got a surprise! The nestling was being fed by his mama again!

gimme food says baby osprey
Mama, gimme food!
here you go baby mama osprey feeding
Here you go, baby…

I left them to enjoy their lunch in peace and quiet.  It was not yet the time for flying practice.

Fly high now – Tiny

 

Preparing for Graduation?

Today’s lunch time assignment in the nature reserve was exciting. Gorgeous weather and lots going on with the osprey family. Their house was clearly in need of repair and cleaning after the rains and winds we’ve had recently.

papa osprey flying to get stuff
Papa osprey going to Home Depot

Papa osprey was busy bringing in new twigs while mama osprey was doing repairs and cleaning the nest. She (I’m sure it’s her) had also potted some flowers on the balcony as you can see in the pictures. Green plants with white flowers.

papa osprey brought a stick_edited-1
…and coming back with a twig

I wondered whether the flowers were in preparation for the nestling’s graduation. It’s about that time, isn’t it? The youngster had grown so much in the last few days that it was difficult to tell who was who. He was almost the size of his parents now.

osprey nestling flexing
Whatever you say pa, I don’t agree!

I think it’s him here flexing his wings and talking back to his papa.  Stereotypical teenage behavior. He doesn’t have as much white on his head as his parents do, his head and beak are little smaller, and he’s still a little “fluffy” at the edge of his wings.  Did you notice the little white feather in the air?

osprey family all three
“We see you” say the parents. “Whassup in the reserve?” says the youngster.

And he wasn’t doing any chores. His papa was flying back and forth bringing in needed materials from Home Depot and his mama was busy repairing the nest.

Did you also notice that both papa and mama are looking straight at me, while the youngster had no clue that a budding ornithologist, although carefully camouflaged, was present? So it must be him.

osprey landing back to nest
Mama osprey returning to the nest, Nestling is laying low.

This was also the very first time I saw both papa and mama flying away from the nest and leaving the nestling alone there for a couple of minutes. When mama osprey executed a short flight (for exercise, I’m sure), she didn’t go far from the nest. She just circled it a few times and went straight back. But the fact that she did leave him alone speaks volumes. He’s approaching independence! I hope to be invited to the graduation party. And if I am, I’ll vouch for you too.

Take care now, Tiny

Solid Food!

Today is gray and rainy. I am happy I was “on assignment” in the nature reserve yesterday when it was hot, windy and just very cloudy. I half expected to see the osprey nestling standing on the edge of the nest ready to spread his wings so that a wind gust would take him up in the air. But he was not quite “there” yet.

When I approached their nest, I saw the papa osprey flying out for a fishing trip again.

papa osprey going fishing
Gone fishing…

The mama osprey and the youngster soon discovered that I was approaching. Both were peering out in my direction.

Mama osprey and nestling have discovered Tiny
Mama osprey and nestling have discovered Tiny

That’s when I saw that the nestling had grown a lot from last week! He was almost two-thirds of the size of his mom. And he was no longer been fed by the mama osprey. He had graduated to solid food! His head was bobbing up and down as he was happily eating from the fish that papa osprey had brought in a little earlier.

nestling and mama osprey ed
The wind was airing the young osprey’s feathers…

I stayed with them for quite a while. It was funny to see how the mama osprey always moved to the side of the nest closest to me. She was protective, but not alarmed. I hope that means she knows by now that Tiny is a friend 🙂

I might miss the exciting flying lessons as I have a grand baby of my own to welcome to this world any day now…

Take care and have a wonderful weekend – Tiny

 

Nature Reserve Neighborhood News

In this weekend edition I’d like to introduce to you our next door neighbor, the Great Blue Heron. He calls our beach and the nature reserve home. Like we do.

When he’s not at work –  fishing in the marsh, he likes to go to the beach. Like we do. He usually checks out  the scene from the rocks at the end of the reserve. His preferred pastime is to watch people fishing. Sometimes he even volunteers to guard the fish bucket. And he doesn’t mind company. Provided it’s of the right kind.

Blue Heron and a Pelican on the beach
Blue Heron and a Pelican on the beach

I also have to update you on the situation regarding other important residents, namely the osprey family. I now know for sure that the couple has one offspring, not two. He is growing fast and seems to be hungry all the time. The papa osprey is away on fishing trips most of the time and the mama osprey seems to be responsible for grooming and feeding the nestling.

Faster mom I am hungry 2
I’m hungry, mom!
Thanks mom! The fish is delicious!
Thanks mom! The fish is delicious!

Sometimes I hear her talking in loud voice to the little one. School starts early! I witnessed such a teaching session earlier this week.

See, I'm flexing my wings!
See, I’m flexing my wings!

At the end of the session the youngster flexed his wings…probably dreaming of the wind carrying him out of the nest.  One of these days he’ll be lucky. I’ll try to keep an eye on him and report on any new developments.

Have a wonderful weekend!

On assignment 🙂

Tiny

Osprey Baby News!

That’s right! Those of you who have followed my adventures in the nearby nature reserve will remember that about a month ago I witnessed a drama in the resident osprey family. I then thought that the female was laying on the eggs – and I was right!

Mama Osprey
Mama Osprey

This afternoon I went there again and saw at least one nestling, maybe two. A brown feathered nesting, almost half of the size of the mother lifted his (or her) head when I approached their nest pole. And there might have been another youngster on the other side of the nest. I was too slow with the camera so I can’t be sure.

osprey mom with baby 2
Mama Osprey with a nestling…or two?

The nestling I saw clearly was already flexing his wings. That means he’ll fly in 10-15 days! If I am lucky enough to catch on camera some of the practice sessions, where the parents apparently drop fish in the water for the youngster to catch it, I’ll be sure to share those pictures with you. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

 

Alarm! Collaboration. And Love.

I have an alarm event to report. I witnessed it all yesterday on my walk in the nature reserve. My regular readers remember the resident osprey family, right?

park spring green ed

So after making my rounds in the park marveling at the clear signs of spring, like the tiny light green leaves on some of the trees, I wanted to end my walk by greeting the osprey family. I was curious to see if the nest would be ready and if the female bird would already sit on the eggs. From the distance the nest looked empty. I hoped that was good news. I also noticed that it was well-built. Nothing moved around and nothing fell down despite the strong winds that had already thrown a few palm branches on my path.

osprey alarm 1

After I walked around the marsh and stood up on a bench nicely camouflaged under a tree, I could see her sitting in the middle of the nest. Her head would pop up to check the surroundings every so often. She was there, happily sitting on her eggs! Her hubby had probably gone to fetch some fish for lunch. All was good. I was just about to leave my observation post when I heard her high-pitched alarm.

osprey alarm 2

You can see her here sounding the alarm while looking away from me towards the left side of the marsh where nobody usually walks. I looked down too and saw two people with two huge dogs approaching on the grassy strip. Her alarm sound intensified for a few seconds.

osprey alarm 3

Suddenly she flew off – towards the “intruders”. In that moment I saw her hubby approaching like a fighter jet from the bay-side of the reserve. He had heard her cries and was coming to support her!

osprey alarm 4

He flew straight into the nest. To check on the eggs, I assumed.

osprey alarm 5

He then checked around quickly to scan the situation. No danger from anywhere in the air.

osprey alarm 6

He waited there for a few seconds, until the mother-to-be returned to the nest.

osprey alarm 7b

He then flew off and patrolled around the nest platform in an aggressive manner. He came down towards the people and the dogs a few times. Like here when the dogs were just passing the spot where I stood under the tree.

osprey alarm 8

The “intruders” hurried away! The father-to-be circled the nest a few more times. He looked straight down at me and apparently decided I did not pose a danger.

osprey alarm 9

He then returned to her in the nest. I thought he was looking at her to ensure everything was alright, while she was looking down in the direction behind me where the dogs had gone.

osprey alarm 10

I remained silently under my tree observing the harmony return to the nest.

osprey alarm 12

The female was soon feeling safe and returned to sit on the eggs, but the male kept an eye on me from the edge of their home. He had decided to interrupt his fishing trip until everything was absolutely safe. So I said my goodbyes. I thought their collaboration in protecting the offspring was exemplary. And the speed with which the hubby came to her side was admirable. An alarm call responded to in less than a minute! True love.

I hope you enjoyed the reporting despite the fact that during this tense, less than ten minute intermezzo, I didn’t have the time to think of camera adjustments. I just kept shooting. These are the few pictures where you can actually see a bird 🙂

Have a wonderful week filled with collaboration and love.

Witness

Yesterday was a beautiful, yet extremely windy and chilly day. For Florida I might add. But since I have made a promise to move my old bones every single day this year (thanks Nancy at http://myyearofsweat.wordpress.com/ for the inspiration), I decided to take a walk on the windy side.

stormy ocean 2 edx

The ocean appeared angry! White hats dominated the scene. The wind was hurting my eyes despite huge shades. The normally lively beach appeared deserted. Pelicans who usually provide free acrobatics lessons were nowhere to be seen.

stormy ocean 4 edx

A few brave gulls were defying the wind and strolling impatiently on the beach. One had found a dead fish and considered whether or not it was wise to feast on it.

ocean gull bird edx

Another one gave me the look. What are you doing here in this wind?

seagull ed

That was about everyone I encountered on the beach. I decided the wind was too much to endure and hoped it would be a bit calmer in the nearby nature reserve. So I turned and walked away from the beach to the relative calm of the park. That’s where I became witness to a domestic dispute in the resident osprey family.

female osprey waiting ed

First I saw the female waiting alone on the nest platform. She was keeping a good eye on everything, including me. It seemed she had guard duty. Or maybe she was supervising the nest-building project?

male osprey landing 2 edx

Then I saw the male return to the nest. Empty-handed. No building materials. She started to look fairly agitated. Probably asking where’s the stuff. High pitched discussion ensued already before he landed and settled on the opposite side of the nest platform.

female osprey angry edx

It’s anyone’s guess what he did next, but she became very angry very quickly. She flexed her wings and let him have it. He responded in a harsh tone. Twigs were flying out of the nest. Luckily I couldn’t understand what they were saying. But it wasn’t “I love you”.

osprey couple 2

After a while they both calmed down and the dispute was over. I could see them sharing the nest in relative peace for a good five minutes. They appeared to be discussing something in a more civilized manner. Maybe they agreed on colors and specifications of the building materials he should try to find.

IMG_1495

Then the discussion was over, the male flew away and disappeared towards the bridge far beyond the reserve. She continued to guard the nest.

male osprey flying away edx

I thought he looked fairly determined.  Assembling a nest can be stressful. The pieces have to fit together just the right way. I wished them good luck.

I continued my journey for another hour and found many other birds hiding in the bushes, seeking shelter from the wind. But that is for a later post.

Thanks for joining me, I hope you enjoyed the walkabout. Have a fabulous and peaceful weekend ♥ Tiny