Osprey nestlings

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It is late, and I should be sleeping, but really some things must be done to keep one’s soul from getting too ragged.  So I’m sitting at my desk with the lights off to keep the bugs out, since they manage to work through the screens so that they can dance on my computer screen.  I have opened the window that is closest to the lake side of the house quite intentionally – I want to hear what is happening.  Loons are calling to each other intermittently, and once again I promise myself that as soon as I find those extra fifteen minutes in a day I will commit to memory the meaning of each call.

I wonder about the loon I watched this morning.  Is she back on her nest?  It was while I was watching that loon this morning that I captured the pictures of the osprey feeding its young.  Take a close look – you’ll see nestlings with their tongues reaching for more, more more food from the adult who brought home the morning meal.  I’ve provided the photos in the order they were taken.  The juvenile appear to be listening for the adult to return:  note the cocking of the head to the side, and then the open beak, which was in fact the juvenile calling out for the parent (or so I surmise).

Too close for comfort


Two nights ago my husband said coyotes woke him out of a sound sleep sometime before dawn.  A conversation later in the day with our neighbor confirmed that at about 3:30 am on Memorial Day the field on the opposite side of our private road had at least several coyotes in it.  And last night hubby’s sleep was somewhat interrupted by “my owl friend.”  By this he means the owl (surely there is more than one, no?) that I was hoping to photograph several nights ago on a sunset paddle along our waterfront.  We are both terribly light sleepers, in truth, and we wouldn’t trade our slice of heaven for anything, rowdy owls notwithstanding.  (Okay, maybe we would trade it for something, but let’s not quibble over my use of hyperbole.)

Last night  I watched while a rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) landed on what appeared to be an osprey’s head.  (I was counting on my camera to tell me the truth once I uploaded photos at home.)  There was a slight breeze on the lake and so my kayak was bobbing just enough in the waves to make shooting hard.  I quickly paddled backwards into a small grove of trees to anchor myself and spent about 90 seconds watching this small bird drama unfold.

The osprey was a good sport about this small indignity, although I believe her expression post-blackbird gives us a sense of how she really felt.  (Thanks to  Bernd Heinrich – nature writer and scientist – for making it okay to anthropomorphize.  I can’t spell it or pronounce it but I know what it means, thanks chiefly to Bernd’s honest and tireless defense of attributing human behavior and emotions to other animals).  And even better was the confused expression on the face of the juvenile osprey.