Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Two days of Osprey observations

On Monday, I stopped by the osprey nest on the way home from school. I was a bit worried for the little one, exposed to relentless sun and extreme temperatures. Mom seemed restless, flying in and out of the nest, looking for nesting material. Dad was there when I arrived, but left a few moments later, and didn't return. Lately, he is staying away for much longer periods. Bill's sister, Phyllis, kindly suggested some names for the osprey juvenile. Olive, Alice, Rosie or Penelope if it is a girl, and Oliver, Andrew, Rupert, or Pierre if it is a boy. Does anyone have any preferences? It's hard to make out details unless you click on the pictures, but this one really shows the mother's talons gripping the stick.
She comes back to the nest, and appears to be teaching Junior to help her with nest building.
Junior has mastered the art of pooping clear of the nest.
Off she goes. Look at those talons!
A shadow under her..
...and she's got it. A great stick!
She seems about to lose it.

A balancing act.It was thrilling to watch her, but right after this shot, she dropped it. I left shortly after that, but as far as I know, she didn't make an attempt to recapture that stick. Maybe she realized it was a bit too long for the nest.
Yesterday (Tuesday), I met "Grandpa Wayne", a gentleman who has spent even more hours observing the osprey than I have. He was there for the mating dance, including a spar between suitors, and finally, for the successful nest building and eventual birth. He watched me with my camera, and asked how long I had been there. When I told him, he thought I might be thirsty, and went back to his vehicle to get me some ice cold bottled water. Man, did that ever hit the spot! Thank you, Grandpa Wayne. I looked for your blog, but wasn't successful in finding it, but your company was great fun, and your obvious love for the osprey touched my heart. I particularly loved your admission that you were tempted to gather up nesting material and deliver it for the parents, when they were struggling to create a home for their baby. I, like you, hope that Junior will fledge successfully, and feel relieved each day to see him gaining strength. *Has anyone noticed how quickly he is growing?!

Grandpa Wayne and I both came to the same conclusion that, with the heat on Tuesday even worse than the day before, Mama was doing all in her power to shade Junior.

She seemed to move around the nest with the sun. Junior was happy to stay under her wing.
Papa arrived with a fish. He took it to his personal pylon.
He worked on it for a while, making sure that it was dead. We thought he wanted to be certain there was no danger of it flapping around and falling out of the nest. We didn't see him eat even one bite of it.
A heron flew in, and settled behind the seals to do some fishing.
Papa delivered the fish to the nest.
Before greeting Junior, he made sure to whisper a private message to Mama. i had a picture of this which I loaded this morning before work, but it has suddenly disappeared, and there seems to be no way to recover it. You will have to use your imagination.

Suddenly, there seemed to be unrest, and then we saw two strange osprey arrive. Here is one of them, showing off the beautiful patterns on the back of its wings.
Then, I saw its front, and with the mottled necklace, as explained by Ship Rock (See previous message), realized it was a female. There is a second nest near my school, visible from the second floor window at, but too far away to see any detail. I think this pair, for some reason, decided to do a fly by, and check on their neighbors.
There was lots of parent-child action to observe from my viewing spot. I wonder if the osprey ever compare notes with the seals.
A view of the area. Osprey nest at the left, some geese swimming by, seals near the back pylon. Seabus on the way to Vancouver in the far distance.
Meanwhile, Mama fed Junior..
..and went back to her shading duties as he slept peacefully, on a full stomach.
I headed for home, happy to have had the privilege of sharing thoughts on wildlife with Grandpa Wayne, and well hydrated, thanks to him, for my trip.


  1. Wow! Junior IS getting almost as big, body-wise, as his mama. picture him with feathers and he'd be an adult!

    I like the name Rosie (good Jackson Browne song) for a girl. Rupert sounds too "Deliverance" to me, Pierre sounds sophisticated...

    Great pictures!

  2. Hey how nice of you to capture all those photos of ospreys! Birds are one of those who are really hard to capture. Birds are getting bigger.

    I suggest Penelope but wouldn't it be a long name for an osprey. Alice is okay.

    Pierre is okay, it reminds me of my friend hahaha.


  3. Uh...your new camera is incredible!

  4. Lots of great shots Carol. I especially liked the wide shot with the Ospreys, Seals, Herons and Ducks in the foreground and the Seabus and dock cranes in the background. Imagine all that just moments from your school. Lucky for us that some animals are willing to live amongst us humans.

  5. Thanks for comments and suggestions, EvenSong, Al, dp and Bill. I think I'll go with Rosie if it's a girl and Pierre if it's a boy. Good solid character names:)