Tag Archives: Running

Reunion. Finally. With Papa Osprey and His Two Pals.

Returning from my trip last week, my hands were full of “stuff” that needed immediate attention. Like catching up on Bumble’s ear massages. Then NaNoWriMo kicked in gear on Saturday. And on Sunday night our air handler decided it was time to quit. I have to say it picked the best possible time to go silent. No need for heating or cooling in this gorgeous fall weather we’re having right now.

beach grass fall colors
Fall colors on the beach…

Anyway, I had checked on Papa Osprey using my binoculars. He was alive and well, doing his eat and rest routine in the nest for a few hours every day. But we he hadn’t actually met since long before my trip. He might have spotted me though when gliding high up past my office window on Sunday, enjoying the high winds we had over the weekend. I waved vigorously, but there’s no way to tell whether or not he actually saw me.

ocean waves on the beach halloween
The Gulf was a bit stormy over the weekend…

So finally yesterday morning, I stole an hour to go see him. Running on the sidewalk towards the park, I saw two ospreys sitting on street lights in front of me. They were turned towards the sun, their backs towards me.

papa osprey sees tiny
Papa Osprey on a lamppost…

The one closest to the park entrance was Papa osprey. He was a little wet, but had no fish. I was delighted to see him! And he didn’t seem terrified seeing me either. He said something short, one syllable only. Like “hey”. That made my day and I greeted him as well. After an appropriate time, I continued towards the other street light to see if the osprey with a fish was papa’s old pal Stanley or his newer pal Steve .

osprey stanley and fish
Stanley with a fish…listening to the message from the park.

But before I reached that light, I heard osprey talk from the forest at the East border of the park.  Steve was having a loud monologue on the dead palm trunk, sometimes also favored by P.O.

steve the third osprey is talking
Steve talking loud to his pals…

So the third osprey was likely to be Papa’s fishing pal, Stanley. I was right. And what a scary fish he’d caught! Check it out, huge teeth. Stanley looked at it somewhat warily as well, don’t you think?

osprey stanley with scary fish
How do I eat this scary fish?

I marveled at seeing all three ospreys together for the first time. And decided to take a swing in the nature reserve, even just to run around the salt marsh. Passing Papa’s lamppost again, I saw him fly away towards the ocean.

wood stork
A Wood Stork visiting the salt marsh…

After snapping a picture of a visiting Wood Stork and completing my run around the marsh about 15 minutes later, I approached Papa’s nest. He was there. With a fish! A red snapper? And he wasn’t even more wet than I’d just seen him. Must have skimmed the fish right from the surface.

papa osprey with a fish

This was the second time in the last one month he’s gone fishing after meeting me and then come back to show it off at the nest 😀 He definitely gets my Fisherman Badge!

I hope your week is going well. Warmest regards, Tiny

Morning Run. Pure Sunrise Magic.

Good morning! You up already? I’d like to invite you on a sunrise walk this Saturday morning. We’ll follow one of my regular routes, if that’s ok.  And jog or run a little too.

We’ll take the walkway from the garden to the beach. Right away we’ll see the magic of sunrise: the usually white sand now has a pretty pinkish hue.

on the beach at sunrise

And the ocean is bright blue. We jog north towards the nature reserve. The sand is packed tight by overnight rains. It’s easy on the foot, we start running. Over a long stretch of sand leading to the park, we turn around and take a funny selfie. Nobody is tiny this early in the morning.

Tiny sunrise walk

The sun is rising over the tall trees (featured image), and we jog into the park at the west end of the salt marsh.

nature reserve at sunset_tonemapped

This little path, a shortcut, is flanked by cheerful wild flowers and takes us right to the water.

nature reserve morning_tonemapped

It’s completely still. And the morning air is fresh.

sunrise salt marsh_tonemapped

The first rays reach above the tall trees and paint the grass and the water in beautiful hues. Most birds are still sleeping.

blue heron at sunrise2_tonemapped

But we find that the Great Blue Heron is an early riser. He prefers to hide in the high grass and doesn’t want to pose for pictures. So we continue our walk. We’ll actually run for a little while.

roseate spoonbill 2 at sunrise_tonemapped

And stop in our tracks when we see the only other early bird in the marsh.  A Roseate Spoonbill. She looks like she’s just waking up. Maybe trying to decide what she wants for breakfast.


We then continue to the east end of the marsh, now half lit up by the rising sun. Beautiful, right?  We stop for a little while to enjoy the painting. We take a few deep breaths. And a sip of water. But we must continue if we want to get breakfast at some point. And coffee. So we decide to take the fastest route back home, the street.

birds at sunrise all varieties 3

We now jog south on the bay-side. On a street light next to the Sailing Center, we find a dozen smaller birds of several varieties worshipping the rising sun. And enjoying the quiet of the morning. It’s going to be a busy day on the beach and on the bay too.

We’ll be home in another ten minutes. Thanks for keeping me company this morning. Take care now and have a great weekend.



New Duck on Papa Osprey’s Block. And a New Rival.

It’s been a lively week in the nature reserve. And I’m quite proud to say that I’ve run there on five days out of seven. In 90 degree weather. My reward has been that I don’t walk like a duck anymore. Although there’s nothing wrong with the walking style of this new resident, a male Muscovy Duck. Duck walk fits him perfectly.

Only small populations of this duck, native to Mexico, Central and South America, have established themselves in North America. It makes his company quite special. And I’ve seen him around on every run. Just like I’ve seen Papa Osprey. On Monday he was eating his lunch at noon on the top of his favorite dead palm trunk. The big fish got all his attention.

papa osprey having lunch 818
A large fish for lunch…

The next day he was having lunch, again around noon, on the top of a street light next to the bay.  When I arrived, he was just about done. And greeted me with an expressive look. I wonder what that means.

osprey finishing his lunch
Howdy…I had a good lunch…

Since Thursday, he’s been perching on the corner of his nest every morning. And on some evenings I’ve seen him there (from my terrace) close to sundown as well. I’m not sure whether he just likes to rest there, do some maintenance and plan for the upcoming nesting season, or whether he’s protecting the nest from the new male who appeared in this area mid July.  He might be making sure the other guy knows who has the leasing contract on the nest.

Papa osprey looks at tiny 822
Yesterdays greeting…
PO say hi 823
Today’s greeting…

This morning I could sense some tension in the air when the other osprey suddenly flew right over the nest,  and then settled on the top of a cypress tree nearby. In Papa Osprey’s park!

the other osprey flying over park 823
The other guy flying over the nest…
the other osprey on a tree top
I’m just sitting here…

They were not saying a peep, but clearly kept an eye on each other. It’ll be interesting to follow these dynamics in the coming days.

I have seen many other birds as well this week, but want to share only one more picture with you today.  We have Moorhen chicks again! What a nice surprise. I love these black fuzzy babies. Do I get an awww?

I'm following Mom...
I’m following Mom…

This time the nest is in the middle of the salt marsh, where they have lots of long grass to hide in.  Yesterday I saw two chicks from a distance when Mom Moorhen took them for a short swim. Today no such luck, but something to look forward to…

With that I wish you all a wonderful weekend. Peace. ❤ Tiny


Papa Osprey. The Maintenance Man.

My  regular readers know that Papa Osprey is a good man. Last January-February he made numerous trips to Home Depot fetching materials for nest renovation. Then tirelessly brought home fish after fish on a daily basis to feed Mama Osprey and the nestling. After the young one fledged, he sent Mama Osprey on a well deserved vacation. He cared for the youngster one more month, until she was completely independent and knew how to fish for herself. Remarkable achievements.

Papa osprey from Sand Key, Clearwater, FL
Papa Osprey on his favorite palm trunk

After he moved out of the nest and left it for the youngster to enjoy, I didn’t see him for about a month. Maybe he needed to recuperate and went on a cruise in the Caribbean? Or had some fun in Key West? Mid July I discovered he was back in his “township”. Since then he’s been hanging around. I’ve spotted him perched on the top of a dead palm trunk on the eastern edge of the park. Or on one of the street lights next to the bay. And even on Marriot’s roof. He’s looking after his territory. Managing his assets.

my bench 712
This bench has my name written on it…

But that’s not all. Yesterday, when I got out for a run, I was looking forward to greeting him again. I jogged north along the edge of the park and passed “his” palm tree. Not there. Then I checked the lamp posts where I’ve spotted him previously. Even took a swing around the Sailing Club grounds, but he was nowhere to be seen. A bit disappointed I turned around and headed into the nature reserve. I needed a short break to drink some water. And to dig out my camera. Just in case something interesting would happen around the salt marsh. So I sat down on my usual bench under the trees. I had some water. Then I looked up.

papa osprey visiting the nest 812 clearwater, FL
Surprise, surprise! Papa Osprey is at “home”…

Papa Osprey was perched right where he always used to be, on the edge of his nest! And he was looking at me. Approvingly, I thought. Like saying nice to see you’re exercising in this heat. So we enjoyed each other’s company quietly for a good while. He even allowed me to walk right under the nest without saying a peep.

papa osprey at the nest 0812 Clearwater, FL
Check the underside of the nest, fairly heavy stuff…

That was a nod of trust right there! He was in no hurry to leave, but I had to get back home and back to work. So I continued my run through the park and the beach. When I finally came home, I took my birding binoculars and went straight onto the terrace. To check if he was still there. Can you guess what I saw?

papa osprey lifting sticks
Papa Osprey inspecting the nest and finding it in need of repair…
maintenance papa osprey
And this needs to go here…

Papa Osprey was doing maintenance work on the nest! Busy moving big sticks and twigs, then securing them better. Structural adjustments. I was too tired to set up my tripod so the quality is grainy from camera shake, but you can see him demonstrating great maintenance skills. He couldn’t allow the nest to fall apart. It would be their home again come January.  He undertook maintenance work in the summer heat. Needless to say I was impressed.

papa osprey saying hi 813 clearwater, FL
Hi Tiny, you want a picture?

I saw him again on today’s run, perched on a lamp post next to the bay. He posed nicely for about a minute, as if waiting for me to take the picture. Then he flew up and soared high above the bay.

papa osprey in flight 813d
Papa Osprey soaring over the bay…

I felt like soaring too. Little lighter on my foot. That’s what a “medicine bird” (in Nez Perce tribe’s mythology) does to you.

Stress Relief Routine. Instructions.

Morning run on the beach…

On my morning run (I did run for a bit!) I spotted a Tri-colored Heron in the salt marsh. She was doing a fascinating new exercise routine.  Or maybe it was bird yoga? Whatever it was, I caught it on camera and will share the instructions, frame by frame, right here. In case you want to try it at home.

tri-colored heron Sand Key Park Clearwater
Stressed out and tense…

When I first saw her she was looking really stressed out. Her pose was hunched and her neck was nailed onto her shoulders. She clearly had some tension in her otherwise gracious body.

tri-colored heron Sand key Park Clearwater
Letting loose…

She started by shaking loose. Vigorously. The whole body.  Her feathers became fluffed and her hairdo instantly went from old-fashioned sleek to a modern pixie look.

tri-colored heron
Starting to stretch…

After loosening up a bit, she stretched her neck down and to her right. Streeetch.

tri-colored heron
And now to the right…

Then, still holding her head down, she stretched to her left.

tri-colored heron
Then down, down…

Next, she stretched down, down. Now her bill was hardly visible. She was immersed in her feathers.

tri-colored heron
Completely immersed…

And then she let her head go completely.  It disappeared. Mind over body.

tri-colored heron
Coming out of it…

Finally her head reemerged, her neck still twisted and the feathers on her shoulders fluffy. And she stretched up.

tri-colored heron
Head up, far up…

After this exercise routine, I observed her head was high above her shoulders. No more hunching. She appeared happier and more balanced. Maybe something there.

More like this duck...
More like this duck…

I continued my run (more of a walk now, to be honest) inspired to exercise more. Losing one’s head once in a while can be beneficial both for the body and the soul. Maybe I’ll finally try yoga. As recommended by my friend Nancy. I know I’m not as flexible as this heron, rather more like the duck I met later on my trail.  It might still be worth a try.





Blue Suede Shoes

I was organizing my closets today, clothes and shoes, you know. Trying to shift from the almost-nothing-on Florida summer wardrobe to the just-a-little-bit-on fall set-up. Nothing strange with that, but somehow I found myself reflecting on my shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a shoe freak, have just enough pairs to get me around to the places I need to go to. But I reflected more on the experiences my shoes have taken me to.

I looked at my blue suede boots and remembered the time last winter when I was running to change planes at Frankfurt Airport. Those of us who have had the pleasure to visit that airport, know that it is huge! The minimum safe transit time is 90 minutes. But my plane was late, I barely had 45 minutes to spare before my next flight. So I had to run. But I didn’t have running shoes! I had given into the vain desire to have a matching attire. Silly me! And now I had to pay for it. So there I was running in my high heels, dragging my carry-on behind me, half in the air.  Can you see the sight? My fellow passengers certainly did – and got a good laugh. I could see the looks they gave me and hear the whispers…poor old lady running for her life in those heels. Remember that to the younger crowd, anyone over 40 is really old…My feet were hurting and my poor ankles were sore for the duration of that whole trip. But I made it, despite my blue suede shoes.

Next I saw my old walking shoes. They have a funny story to tell and I’m lucky to be here telling it. A few years ago, I was walking on a big city street in a very distant country. I was going to get a hamburger for lunch. The street was not crowded and I was walking fast. Suddenly three young men appeared in front of me. I started to walk past them when I felt that the guy on my right stuck his hand to my jacket’s side pocket in an attempt to become the new owner of my tiny cell phone. Without a conscious thought, my right arm went up and my elbow jammed a karate-like strike into the guys rib cage. And down to the street he went. He was down – and I was outta there!

His companions were so stunned by this dangerous old woman that they didn’t try to catch me when I sprinted away.  Instead they marvelled at the fate of their friend, I heard them laughing at him.

I’m not a karate-kid, but just a few months earlier, I had visited one of the self-defence courses my department was giving to staff working at psychiatric hospitals. Being the main sponsor of that training course, the instructors wanted to make sure I got some practice as well. And there it was, the skill was still in my subconscious mind. I reacted instinctively. My good shoes took me away from the scene with lightning speed.  And with my phone still in my possession, I could call a friend to pick me up from the restaurant. Needless to say, I was pretty much incognito for the rest of my visit to that city.

Then there were my new shoes. They have not yet brought me any adventures, but I bet they will. I just hope those escapades will be on the calmer side. I don’t want to sprain my ankle or be accused of using excessive force in defending myself. Maybe I’ll get an invitation to an art exhibition or even a soirée one evening. That would be nice.