Wednesday, August 19, 2009


It seems to me that the osprey parents are working hard now to make sure Junior has all the skills needed to survive, once the big day comes when s/he flies on his/her own.  Some of the lessons seem to apply to my own life, and the gift that was waiting, just around the corner from where I work, is very much appreciated.  Not only the wildlife observation, but the people I have met, will leave an indelible impact.  Again, I must mention Ship Rock, who has taken time to show me things I would never have understood on my own.  There are others as well.  Pervez Iqbal, Lenscape, Mark, the Bangladesh photographer, a man by the name of Osbourne, Grandpa Wayne, Jean, Black Jack, Iputts, and last but for sure not least, Bill.  Each has added something magnificent to this whole experience, and I thank them. 

But, on with the ospreys.  First, a picture of Dad, taken yesterday. 
And, one of Mom, taken on Monday.  This one shows what I think of as braking action, as she prepares to land.
Another of Mom, with a fish.
Mom, with Junior.  The lesson, perhaps, is that even as Junior gains independence and learns to eat on his own, it is still okay, sometimes, to go back a few steps.
Here is Junior.  I am beginning to see a necklace form, and so wonder, more and more, if Junior is a female.  This is the greatest height I've been able to record, as he practices flapping his wings.
This is Junior with Dad, his wing patting Dad, as he does more wing flapping.  The lesson?  Patience, perhaps.
More flapping, Dad's head behind Junior's wing.
Yesterday, Dad left an entire fish for Junior.  Junior has to work to kill the poor thing.  A sign that he is almost ready to leave the nest?

Mom's lesson on Monday
On Monday afternoon, Mom must have made 40 trips around, and around the nest.  I wonder if she was teaching take off/landing technique, nest building, or perhaps just encouraging Junior to do what he must, and leave the nest.  She must have been exhausted, but she seemed tireless.  Junior did not always seem to be paying attention, but she carried on.  Perhaps, she understood that that is the way, sometimes, with adolescents, and even when they appear to resist, the lessons come back to them when they are needed.  

Here is one sequence of her flight path.  
1. Leave the nest.
2. Fly to the right, past Dad, who sits quietly.
3. Grab a stick from the water.  (Just below the nest, so Junior can observe.)
4. Continue on.  Pay no attention to the seals.
5. Pass by the yacht club.
6. Ride the stick like a broom.
7. On the way back now.
9. Turn to the left.
10. Pass by the nest and around the yacht club.
11. Make the turn to complete the circle.

12. Heading to the nest.
13. The landing, with the stick dropped beside Junior.

Dad's lessons on Tuesday
Dad seemed to take over the teaching on Tuesday.  I had a hard time catching the shots and was never completely successful.  It seems like the drop down comes out of the blue, and by the time the camera is ready, the action is lost.  Here are a couple of sequences.  

#1. He drops straight down from the nest..
..catches a fish..
..comes almost straight back up, through his own water splash droplets..
..and then takes the fish to his own pylon, to work on it.  (My emotions are always mixed: happy for Dad and sad for the fish.)
#2: Looks down.  Head bobs to the right and to the left (sort of like a dancer, with the body still and only the head moving)  just before the drop down.
Drops down.  Grabs the fish.
Straight up with the fish.
#3. Nest building lesson?  Both parents have been sort of prodding Junior with sticks.  Here, a stick lies on Junior's head..
..delivers the stick, as Junior watches.

Seals give lessons too.
Mother and child approach log.
Climbing up requires that they lean to one side.
Baby is upset about something and bawls.
The lesson?  Maybe: comfort your child when needed.

For the first time, I saw otters.  I knew they were around, but yesterday, they gave me the gift of an appearance.  Here, a successful catch.
The lesson?  Maybe, to have fun while you work.

Black Jack
It has been wonderful to have Black Jack with me for all of my wildlife observation excursions.  Every moment with her is precious.  She makes me laugh when she plays.  She makes me smile when she meets new people (except for post people, or anyone resembling a post person.  Why is that??  Still a lesson to learn, I guess.)
Here, she lies on the beach, where she has been happily exploring, while I take pictures.  But, enough is enough.  She is bored and ready to go.  The lesson?  Let mom know how you feel.
We're off again today.  I'm wondering if Junior has taken his first flight, maybe even as I was doing this post. Whatever we find, I send my thanks to the humans, animals, birds, otters and seals who have made this learning experience so much fun. 


  1. Junior is getting HUGE! Her wingspan rivals that of Dad's! Some more great shots--Thanks!

  2. What a fantastic sequence of shots. Now we know the answer to the nature/nurture question. For example, I always believed that Junior's ability to fly would be imprinted in the genes. Now I see from these teaching moments that nurture plays a huge part.

    Your shots of Dad catching a fish and then shaking off water are just so beautiful. It seems a camera, a dog, new friends and urban wildlife makes for a very satisfying life.

  3. Such a happy blog - I smiled through every sequence. I feel like I am right there watching Junior with you and holding my breath awaiting that first flight.
    Nature indeed teaches us many lessons if we take the time to listen, watch, and learn.

  4. Hi Carol:

    Well, you certainly have some super shots here. It is brilliant that you are able and willing to keep track of Opee (yeah, I've named her that). What a treat it is to have this marvel of nature to observe. We are very fortunate.

    You have a great blog too. I've bookmarked your site and will check back often. Congrats on the new camera as well.

  5. Thanks, EvenSong:) That tiny little head peeking over the nest seems to have turned into a majestic raptor overnight.

    That's true, Bill. It's a good life, and having you to share the fun with makes it just that much better!

    Jean, I saw my very first jelly fish yesterday (I would have missed it if Ship Rock hadn't pointed it out), and thought of you, as I often do when I'm out and about. I don't know if I will catch Opee/Rose in her first flight, but I really hope that I'll at least be able to give you good news of a successful fledge. No guarantees in the tenuous world of wildlife, but the parents have done everything they can to start her off on the right path. (I am referring to her as a "she" for now, but the only thing I have to go on as the beginnings of what I perceive to be a "necklace" marking.)

    Henrik, thanks for your comment. Opee, huh? I'll have to check with my readers. The vote was for Rose or Pierre, depending on the gender. Have to admit, I do like Opee, as well. What a dilemma! I checked your site last evening, and was, once more, blown away. Today, I will bring the manual with me:)

  6. hey Carol, I left Vancouver and wasable to see Rose in full flight mode !!!
    cheers from Jeddah,Saudi Arabia...check out some of the Osprey pics