On Saturday night the heat was oppressive, even close to 8 p.m. Dylan and I found the Osprey chick alone in the nest. Mama Sandy was no longer babysitting her. That means she has mastered flying and is ready for her fishing lessons. Now she was asking for fish, fish, fish! We continued to the doggy park so Dylan could run around with his pals.
When we walked back, the salt marsh looked completely deserted by birds. But Dylan spotted a Yellow-crowned Night Heron hiding in a tree next to the deep water. I’m sure he was hoping the night would bring some relief from the heat and he could go hunting.
The sun was about to dive into the ocean when we reached the Osprey nest. The chick was eating a big fish! Where did that come from?
The mystery was soon solved. Papa Stanley, still wet from his dive, was perching on a lamp-post at the sailing center watching the chick. Just like he often did last year. Proud papa developing his parenting strategy. I’m sure he wants to make sure that the chick, to be named on Wednesday, will be ready for independence in the next few weeks weeks.
Late this morning, the thermometer read F92/C33 and the humidity was high. But I went out for a short walk to find out what was going on with the Osprey chick. You see, we’re under a tropical storm warning for tomorrow and Tuesday. And it will be impossible to go out. Although it’s unlikely that Colin will make landfall right here in the Tampa Bay area, all the rain will be on the east side of the center. Right over us. And we will certainly see tropical storm force winds too.
A juvenile Mourning Dove greeted me as soon as I got outside. She still had some of her baby feathers. I hoped she wouldn’t stay too long on the hot roof.
Approaching the salt marsh, I found the chick in the nest. It was almost 11 a.m. and she was asking for her brunch. None was forthcoming. You see, by no longer bringing in fish as frequently as they used to, Osprey parents want their chicks to get interested in an going to fishing school. And that’s what’s going on here too.
After a while, the chick flew out to check on her parents. And I walked around the marsh. I could hear many birds, but didn’t see them. They were all hiding from the heat in the bushes. Apart from the White Ibis. About eight of them were foraging in the grass.
When I reached the nest again, I found the chick had not returned. I decided to go home. Right after crossing the street from the park to the bay side, I found Mama Sandy on a lamp-post next to the Sailing Center. She was wet from a cooling bath, and was looking towards the nest. Keeping an eye on the chick.
That’s when I noticed the chick had returned – after flying around for about 20 minutes. I returned to see if she had a fish. She didn’t. Instead she continued to ask for her food. And checked on me too.
I waited with her. There was no delivery. I was feeling the heat and decided to walk home. While on the sidewalk, close to my home, I heard Osprey speak.
I raised my camera and zoomed out. I realized Papa Stanley was circling above the nest. He was asking the chick to come along for a fishing trip. The chick responded, but didn’t fly to her papa. So Stanley turned around and flew solo towards the ocean.
I had to get inside to the comfort of our A/C. Phew. Shortly afterwards it got windy, the sky darkened and it started raining. With my binoculars I could see the chick perching upright in the nest.
At about 3 p.m. when there was a break in the rain, I looked outside and saw that Papa Stanley had finally brought a fish. He was perching at the edge of the nest and the chick was eating. I’m sure they had a chat about the necessity of fishing lessons sooner than later.
I am glad the chick can fly now. I hope she doesn’t stay in the nest, but hides from the storm somewhere safe with her parents. Who knows whether the platform will withstand Colin’s 50 m/h (80 km/h) winds. This ‘bird mama’ will certainly be looking out towards the nest many times in the next 48 hours. And will let you know how it all went down. Have a great week.