It’s the start of osprey nesting season.

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.

Photographing New Zealand

 

The usual suspects at Chesnut Park.

Lots of different birds at Chesnut Park in early January but nothing new.

Bigger birds flying overhead.

I was trying to get some shots of the deer on the baseball field, She looked at me for a second and then took off to join her friends who were heading into the woods. Oh wait, that’s why they call them “white-tailed deer”.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

In the backyard

Monarch caterpillars in the backyard this past couple of months. In late December, they all disappeared and the leaves were stripped so we cut back the milkweed plants.

Our milkweed plants were overrun with the above bugs. The caterpillars didn’t seem to mind. We didn’t want to spray the bugs since the butterflies would be on the plants. Since we cut the plants back the bugs are gone, although I’m sure they will come back once the plants start to grow back this spring.

This little guy was watching me take pictures of the bugs. I kept asking him why he didn’t eat them all. He said he preferred fries.

Wasps on the Bismark palm tree.

Usual visitors in the backyard, an osprey on our neighbor’s sailboat mast and a phoebe with a snack on our fence. The phoebe is pretty skittish so I had to take the above through the bedroom window.

A full moon in December from the driveway.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Birds on the beach during red tide

There were few birds out on the beach at Fort Desoto when I visited during the peak of the red tide algae bloom. The few there were busy eating breakfast. Some were eating the dead sea life that had washed up on shore. I didn’t see any birds acting sick during this trip. Volunteers were out on the beach every day looking for sick birds that could be affected by eating too much of the dead fish. I kept yelling “Don’t eat that.” but they weren’t listening.

A cormorant and osprey were fighting over a lamp-post on the pier.

Even the crows were eating the dead fish. The park rangers kept raking up the shoreline but the dead fish kept washing up on shore.

Royal terns in the air.

The sandbar spit across the channel was full of birds.

Still a beautiful day out at Fort Desoto.

Quiet walk in early August

Plants and critters at Chesnut Park and Possum Brand Preserve.

Not many birds around in early August. It was so hot I wasn’t getting out much for a few weeks. A 2 hour walk early on Saturday mornings was all I could handle in the heat and humidity before heading home for a nap.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Babies getting big at work

Watching the baby osprey grow up at work. The nest in the light post in the parking lot was big. There were 2 babies turning into adults quickly. The above were taken on May 24th.  We are thinking they were born in early May. It was May 16th when we could first see the little baby head pop up over the nest.

By June 1st they looked like full-grown osprey. I caught Mom feeding them both one night leaving work.

By June 16th, they were flapping their wings and sitting on the nest without a parent nearby. It was only a matter of days before they were gone.

On June 26th I was heading to my car and noticed both babies were gone. I found one of them in a nearby tree. He still has those orange eyes and white spots on the end of his wings. They still hang around the area and I see them occasionally hanging around the trees near the nest when leaving work.