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.


  1. This has been a fascinating description of the birth and education of the heroine!! (English teachers will understand the allusion!) I am very happy that ospreys mate for life!

    Happy return to school. I gather you have more classes... perhaps some English? Phyllis

  2. Very nice record of the first seven or so weeks of this young Osprey, CC. I spent some time over there yesterday afternoon, and watched Rose doing multiple splash-downs and lay-arounds in the water, and taking off again, and all the while delighting herself with the water.

    Same thing is going on with the "Platform" ospreys. The young family there is doing splash-downs, lay-arounds, dry-outs; the best place to see this is from the Bodwell observation platform. On the west side of the Mosquito there, there is a dead tree with the lower half entwined with English Ivy, and the Platform Ospreys and Belted Kingfishers use the tree as lookout post. Cheers, Shiprock.

  3. Oh, I do hope "we" (well, you, but the rest of us who are enjoying Rose's maturation vicariously through your blog) get to see Rose catch her own fish! I wonder if that is why she hangs around on the log - observing the fish who likely hang out in its shade?

    I'm sorry your vacation is over and wish you all the best with the new term. I'm very thankful you will still be able to keep up with the Adventures of a Young Osprey. :)

  4. Thanks for the comments, everyone. Again, I have to repeat that sharing this experience has been part of the pleasure.

    No literature, Phyllis, but I enjoyed the allusion. (I'll be teaching International Studies.) I can see physics, biology, poetry, creative writing, drama, geology (Shiprock's lessons), geography - so much teaching potential in this story. I'm thinking there must be a lesson or two, even for International Studies classes:)

    Shiprock, I must have just missed you on Saturday. (Thanks for delivering the leash:) I did see an osprey in that tree, and saw four flying around together on another occasion. I haven't see the kingfisher for several months. Glad to know it's still around.

    Jean, there's a good chance I've already missed the first catch. Rose flew all the way over to the shore by the lighthouse at Stanley Park yesterday. She sat on the pylon crying for some time (I only could spend about 30 minutes watching), and then suddenly took off. I would like to see one catch, just to reassure myself she'll be able to feed herself once she is on her own. I hope to spend a little time watching today around low tide.