Friday, August 21, 2009

Big Air

I am guessing that our chick may in fact be a female.  Admittedly, the only evidence to go on, at this point, is an emerging necklace mark across her breast.  EvenSong and Phyllis (Bill's sister) agreed on the name Rose for a female, and I feel it's a good, strong name, so, unless I learn differently, Rose she shall be, for purposes of this blog.

Rose gained considerable height yesterday, as she practiced her wing flapping.  My heart was beating wildly, as she hovered over the nest.  I waver between hope that I will be able to witness her first flight, fear for her safety, and sadness that, if all goes in her favor, Rose will soon be leaving the area.

This "Big Air" photo shows her talons extended.  I wonder what you see in her expression.  My interpretation is based on experiences of being almost ready to try something, desperately wanting to go for it, but not feeling quite ready.
I guessed her to have gained about 3 feet above the nest, but perspective is tricky.  I may be quite far off in that estimate.  Here, her talons are pulled in.
One more "Big Air" view.
This photo of Rose shows her tongue.  It was very hot yesterday.  I'm not sure if this is an example of gaping.  More research to do here.  Perhaps, a reader can tell me.
Here comes Mom.  I believe she is holding part of a much-mauled fish. She flies right by the nest and goes to a nearby pylon, appearing to eat the fish.  I saw Rose working on a fish in the nest.   I think Mom may have taken that fish out of the nest earlier, in an effort to stimulate Rose to fly.  Again, I must emphasize that I may be reading what I see incorrectly.

Here is Dad, bringing what appears to be nest-building material.  He is beginning to look small to me.  I have read that males are generally smaller than females, and this is one more tiny bit of evidence that Rose may indeed be a girl.  
A father-daughter portrait?
Geese often fly by.  Sometimes, I wonder how they manage not to get their wings tangled up.  
I left the osprey area around 2:00 in the afternoon, heading off to Bridgman Park, where Black Jack, my friend, Dianne, her two grandchildren, and her dog, Haley, all had some fun cooling off in the water.  Dianne is the best of grandmothers, careful to watch out for the children's safety, but determined to make sure they have a great time exploring their world.  When I came back, later in the evening, Rose was very quiet.  Here is the big picture, Rose in the nest on the front pylon, Mom on the second pylon, Dad away (perhaps fishing or perhaps just enjoying some time on his own), and some geese swimming towards them.  Bill again brought me supper, and we drove home together, enjoying an absolutely beautiful, summer evening together. 
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending time with Martin, a 13-year-old photographer, with several prestigious prizes under his belt.  It often strikes me that we underestimate youth, and I have always known that, as a teacher, I learn at least as much, and probably more from young people, than I am ever able to pass on.  if ever there were a shining example of potential and talent and positively channeled exuberance, that would be Martin.  He is also modest and great fun to spend time with.  As Ship Rock mentioned in yesterday's comments, Martin has his own web site, and it is well worth your time to take a look at it. Thanks, Martin.  You, along with Bill, and several other photographers, have become a part of a very memorable and I would even say, life-changing experience.


  1. This is so exciting - your photography makes me feel like I am right there watching with you! Fly, Rose, fly!

    My 92 year old mother's name is Rose. She hiked BC mountains until well into her late seventies, loved the outdoors and all nature. Her own wings have been clipped through loss of her sight and mobility, so I'm sure she would be honoured to think there is an osprey named Rose about to take her first flight.

    Martin is one very talented young man - I look forward to seeing more of his work!

  2. I agree with Jean, seeing Rose with her wings spread out and gaining air is really exhilarating.

    I wonder if Rose already "knows" how to fly but is delaying her fledge. Maybe she likes living with Mom and Dad and doesn't want to leave home (and all her new photographer friends).

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  4. Your Ospreys pictures are really stunning...
    It's a beautiful bird:I love it.
    Thank you for sharing.


  5. Thank you for commenting, everyone!

    Jean, I am so pleased that your mother and the chick have the same name. Somehow, that just seems perfect.

    Bill, it's interesting that you mention that about Rose. Yesterday, Ship Rock talked about a bird needing to be not only physically ready, but also psychologically able to deal with leaving its parents, and the life it has known in the nest. It comes home to me how abrupt and permanent that separation is for birds, in comparison to the more gentle emergence into adulthood for humans.

    Andrea, thanks so much for commenting. I have had a look at your blog, and would highly recommend it as a fascinating glimpse of wildlife that we don't get to see here in Canada.