Sunday, August 30, 2009

Osprey adventures from Wednesday to Saturday

There have been some really good times in the last week of my holiday. A one-stop long "trip" on the Canada Line, an enjoyable 30-year (or so) reunion at the airport with Bill's classmate and friend, Lynne, who was on a stopover between Winnipeg (where she visited Bill's sister, Phyllis, who was also in the same class) and Auckland, New Zealand, where she works as a child psychologist and lives what sounds like an absolutely fascinating life that I'm hoping to learn much more about, a day trip to Squamish with dear Bill, a birthday celebration for my good friend, Jock, and lots of wildlife viewing apart from the osprey family. I hope to post some of these stories and photos. However, Rose and her parents will be the focus, once more, for this post. This is the update as of yesterday (Saturday), when I watched from about 8:00 a.m. until noon.

*Just a reminder that clicking on the picture will give a full-screen view for anyone wanting a closer look.

Wednesday, the 26th

When I arrived, Rose was hanging out on the log. When she fledged on Saturday, the log was her first landing, and although her parents do not make a habit of spending time there, Rose is her own self. She really does seem to enjoy that log and the surrounding action. Here, she does a handstand, and she no longer ends the pose with a face plant, as she used to do.
Rose and this crow spent a bit of time flying (playing, asserting rights, squabbling?). I wonder if the crow was thinking, "This log is for seals and cormorants and seagulls and crows - but not ospreys." Sometimes, Rose chased the crow..
..and sometimes, the crow chased Rose.
In the end, Rose flew off to her nest, looking strong and beautiful.
I did not see Dad at all on Wednesday. Here, Mom flies in with a fish.
Mom has been slowly cutting back the feedings, but it is a gradual process. Here, she "handfeeds" Rose.
The ospreys are spending much less time in the nest. I suspect, with the smell of rotting leftovers, and therefore constant bee and insect harassment, the newfound freedom away from the nest is refreshing. Here, Mom is on the closer pylon, and Rose behind her.
Mom and Rose are also spending much less time together, I suppose in preparation for the independence Rose must gain. According to the information I have been able to find, Rose will spend the next four to five years on her own, before she will be ready to mate. In this picture, Mom was in the nest, but is leaving when she sees Rose coming to visit.

Rose continues to hang around the log area although she doesn't land. She and the seagulls, seals, and cormorants seem to coexist with no problems.
A seagull flies by Rose, who watches closely, but doesn't challenge it.
Mom flies in without a fish. I believe she is hinting strongly that Rose consider finding her own.
Mom in the nest. Rose watches, cries a bit, and stays put, since there is no fish.
When I leave for the day, Mom is sitting in the nest, watching for Dad and looking strong. If all goes well, she and Dad will remain partners for life. I have been told that ospreys can live at least 20 years, and come back year after year to the same nest. I picture myself in my 80''s, still keeping track of Mom and Dad. However, once Rose leaves, something I expect to happen in the next week or two, there will be no way to recognize her, let alone follow her progress. Just the way it is.


On Friday, Bill takes me for a beautiful day in Squamish, and suggests that we stop by in North Van on the way home. Thank you, Bill!! For the first time, I see that Rose has flown across the water to land on the barge. A new step, something she has watched Mom and Dad do for months.
She continues to worry me, flying around the boat masts.
However, she makes a successful landing. Imagine that, barely a week after her first flight!
Here, Mom flies off as Rose comes to visit.


I get up early Saturday morning, and Black Jack is happy to travel with me, as I cycle over to North Van.

Just an aside: Someone passes me on the Burrard Bridge, and calls out, "Hi Carol." I have no idea who it was, but enjoyed the friendly greeting.

We arrive in time to spend a few minutes on the sandbar, before the tide finally drives us back. Here, Mom brings in a fish, as Rose demands she hurry up.
Mom delivers the fish and leaves immediately.
She watches from the neighboring pylon, keeping an eye out for Dad..
..who does a flyby, but doesn't stop.
Rose is now proficient at tearing up the fish. She seems to really be enjoying her meal. She occasionally watches Black Jack and the camera, but..
.. goes on calmly eating. I believe she is enjoying every bite.
There was an exciting first on Saturday. At least, I heard that she tried this for the first time on Friday, but it was the first time I observed Rose skimming the water.
She didn't catch anything. I guess that comes later, but the first time I saw her do it, she looked really expert.
Here, I am seeing her second try. It is my impression that it does not go quite as well.
Her head seems to go rather clumsily in the water. However, I am wondering now if perhaps, this is the next step in looking for a fish?
She comes up, and goes for another try..
..again, dunking her head.
This picture isn't the greatest, but I don't believe she has caught anything. However, she flies along, looking strong and back in control (if she wasn't before).
No picture of this, but Rose then flies among the yachts and sailboats, landing too far in for me to get any sort of decent photo. I worry about her, as she is out of sight for some time, and I am always concerned about the many dangerous objects in there. Finally, I manage to locate her, sitting on a post, and she looks okay. However, I worry again, when Dad brings in a fish. It is the first time I have seen him do more than a flyby in days.
He delivers the fish to Mom..
..who accepts it, but doesn't appear to be happy. (You can see Dad's wings behind her, as he flies off.) Instead of eating it, she calls and calls. I think she is calling Rose. Here is my concern. I'm sure Rose can hear her, and I'm quite sure she knows there is a fish in the nest, but she doesn't come to get it. Mom finally takes the fish to another pylon, where she eats some of it.
Much later, Rose, to my great relief, finally flies into the nest, and Mom delivers what is left of the fish.

Rose acts quite protective of the fish, spreading her wings around it as Mom watches. She eats, and Mom seems to approve.
However, as I leave for the day, Mom takes back the fish, perhaps wanting to remind Rose to be respectful. Rose has learned her lesson well and does not object.
It is past noon as I finally conclude this post. I don't know if I will make it over to North Van today. I think Black Jack is due a good long walk around this area, and after that, Bill and I are thinking of going to a movie. Back to work tomorrow, and since school is a five-minute walk from the nest, will check on Rose then.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rose, the osprey chick, continues life lessons.

When I arrived on Sunday (the day after Rose fledged) she was sitting in the nest, demanding that Mom feed her.
Mom complied. Rose is well able to eat on her own, but perhaps, as with humans, there are times when it is comforting to backtrack to the tried and true safety of parental control.
Rose was showing a lot of confidence taking off and landing.
I like this picture of her flying free. The white feathers (pin feathers) that Ship Rock tried to point out to me on Saturday are quite clear. I am one of those people who seem to learn in retrospect. I hear, when taught, but can't quite absorb the information until I go over it again later, usually when I'm alone. Thanks, Ship Rock.
To me, it seems that Rose now has that "It can't happen to me" attitude of an inexperienced adolescent. I worry that she still flies lower and closer to the seals than I believe is completely safe. One person told me, before she fledged, that she had only one chance to succeed at flying. If she missed it and fell into the water, the seals would get her. In fact, the seals haven't shown much interest in Rose, but I guess those words have stayed in my mind.
This action caught me by surprise. I was having fun watching Mom in flight, but could hear some frantic goose squawks, and suddenly became aware that I was witnessing an "incident" between her and this only partially seen goose. A lesson for Rose? Did the goose threaten in some way that I missed? So many unanswered questions in wildlife observations.
You're my hero, Mom!

On Monday..

I arrived to find Rose flying low again. I know she will need this skill for hunting, but I wish she would move away from the many dangerous looking objects.
She also spent much more time than I would have liked flying in and amongst the boats and sail masts.
Here, she flies onto a light standard behind the wall by the park lookout. I have never seen her parents do that. She perches for a few minutes, and then flies off.
My heart was in my mouth as she flew across the water, and seemed to be tangled in this mast.
But, she flew away, looking strong and none the worse for wear.
Rose-observation is causing me a fair bit of stress! Stay away from all sail masts, will you please, dear girl?
This was taken in the last-minute glow before the sun disappeared on Monday evening. I was disappointed that only one of her eyes has light in it, but still happy with her confidence and free flight.
Taken a second later. Again, a disappointing shot, lacking detail, but as with the last one, thrilling to see her freedom.
There was to be one more lesson before I left for the night. Mom brought in a fish.
Another picture of Mom and the fish, just because I think she is so stunning. I have never seen Mom hunt, but somehow, I think she may have caught this one herself. No reason for that suspicion except intuition. Normally, she will carry a fish, but it is always one that Dad has brought to her. I didn't see Dad in the area, did not see a transfer, and did not see the fish being caught.
Rose flies to the nest from the neighboring pylon. Her manner is aggressive. She expects to be given that fish.
Perhaps it is just perspective, but it seems to me that she lands on top of Mom. Whatever her exact position, it is clear that she is being rather rudely aggressive.
This is the first time that I have witnessed Mom being very assertive. Enough is enough!
Perhaps, Mom is saying, "This fish is mine! If I choose to share it with you, you will show a properly appreciative attitude. Soon, no one will bring you fish at all. You will have to find your own."
Rose gets the message, but doesn't particularly like it.
When I left, Rose was sitting quietly, and Mom appeared to be satisfied with her conduct.
I don't know if Rose was given any of that particular fish. Bill, ever appreciated and loved, came to get me, and we walked along the waterfront with Black Jack as darkness fell. A non-Rose post to come soon, showing some of the sights Bill and I have enjoyed lately.

I did not go to see Rose on Tuesday. I am always aware that things can change in an instant. I head off to see her today, hoping to find that all is well and that she is choosing to stay around the nest for at least another few days.