On a Saturday morning in February, I walked out on beach trail and saw this massive osprey nest above. It must have been here for years but on this particular morning, I noticed how much bigger it had gotten. Maybe it was sinking in and the osprey kept adding to it. On Sunday, someone had posted on the Facebook Fort Desoto site that the nest had completely collapsed and fallen to the ground. The osprey couple did not let this get the best of them. They spent an entire week bringing sticks back to the nest, starting from scratch. They were seen all over the area bringing sticks back (although if they were that smart they would just fly down to the ground underneath the tree and bring the same sticks back up). The next Saturday morning I went back out on the beach and saw the below. The birds had already built a pretty good size nest.
Even a week later, they were still flying in with sticks. They didn’t want to waste anymore time. As I was leaving and heading back to the parking lot, I took one last glance back and saw they were mating.
Farther down the trail, this guy was just starting breakfast and didn’t seem to mind me standing on the trail watching him eat.
True to its name, the Osprey Trail on Honeymoon Island is known for having a lot of Osprey along the trail. There are many nests along the trail and when I was there in late January, the osprey were working on refreshing the old ones.
Both eagles were sitting in a tree near the nest which was a bad sign. They were sitting on eggs earlier so something must have happened to cause them to abandon the nest. They might try again. It was still early.
Towhees, catbirds and yellow rumped warblers were all along the trail.
Lots of vultures here.
New growth in some of the prescribed burn areas.
This guy walked right in front of me on the trail.
I hadn’t been to Honeymoon Island since last spring. I wanted to see if the osprey were nesting yet. Honeymoon Island is a barrier island north of Clearwater Beach. In the 1940’s the island was a place known for people to spend their honeymoon in the cottages on the island. Once World War 2 started people stopped coming to the island and later the cottages were torn down.
Linking to Wednesday Around the World
This is the 2nd year in a row that an osprey couple is raising a family in the light post at work. The babies were pretty big by the time you could see them peeking out over the nest. I finally remembered to bring my camera to work and took the above after work. At first I thought there was only one baby, but there were two.
A few days later I was able to catch one of the babies being fed.
A few days after that, I caught the other parent flying in. He didn’t have a fish with him so I’m wondering if that’s why she was screaming at him.
The next week the babies were fully grown and looked just like the parents except they still have the white spots on their wings and orange eyes. Now the babies are flying around and every morning when I drive into the parking lot I see them on different light posts. When I leave after work, they are both back on nest for the night. Soon they will be gone for good and we’ll all be empty nesters in the parking lot.
These two female red breasted mergansers are still hanging around the fishing pier. They should be north for the summer by now.
A ruddy turnstone on the rocks.
A royal tern brings her a fish. Since she’s eating it, I guess they are an official couple.
The laughing gulls are pretty this time of year.
Having a conversation about something. All of the gulls are pairing up.
The juvenile reddish egret is still hanging around the pier.
Two baby osprey on the smokestack tower nest.
Someone got their snack stolen. Or maybe, the bird is being paid to advertise.
Saturday morning at Fort Desoto.
This black bellied plover was washing his face.
Is this a Cooper’s hawk or a northern harrier? It was flying across the north beach.
White pelicans all in a row.
Stumpy getting a snack.
The osprey was not going to share his meal.
The osprey nest at the fishing pier. I guess that trash makes a nice cushion.
Low tide at North beach.
A few shots from a recent morning walk at Fort Desoto.
I was looking for the white-faced ibis so I took a picture of all of the far away glossy ibis I saw. All of them looked like this. No white-faced in the preserve that I could see.
Spoonbills and black bellied whistling ducks hanging out together. Most of the whistling ducks have left for the summer but there are a few that hang around all year.
Spoonies close to the trail.
Black necked stilts are back at the reserve for the spring. Most stay far away from the trail.
Juvenile blue heron right along the trail.
Two eagles were sitting in a cypress tree far across the lake. They were probably congratulating themselves on their succesful parenting before heading north.
A few white pelicans have stopped by the preserve. They were all the way across the lake at Wading Bird Way. Skimmers were on both sides of them.
Osprey fighting. Not sure what’s going on here. Is the one on the nest sitting on eggs?
No luck on the white-faced ibis this trip. Or the fulvous whistling ducks that were sighted there days earlier. Oh well, all was not lost. I still saw some fun things on my 4 hour walk.
Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday