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Observations & Images
10 March 2006
6th day of incubating

Today was a tremendous day of observing on the eve of the Pelican Island Wildlife Festival to celebrate the 103rd birthday of Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System!

The female Osprey was sitting on her eating perch when I arrived. She soon flew back to the nest where the male Osprey could be seen sitting on the eggs.

Once the female landed, bottom left in the image, the male Osprey took wing and flew off. The female settled into the nest within moments of the male's departure.
The male soon returned from gathering more nest building material.
He had picked up quite a load.
He carried the material straight into the nest. The female can barely be seen over the nest wall.
The male's arrival with the material caused the female to stand up. The male simply dropped the material into the nest and then took wing again heading off over the Lagoon.
After a long interval, the male returned carrying a half consumed fish.
The female used her bill to take the fish from the male as soon as he landed in the nest with it.
Flying off with the fish, she performed a short loop to land on her eating perch.
Here she can be seen eating with great enthusiasm.


Many of the Ospreys' neighbors were out and about this Friday afternoon. A Great Egret landed in the water near the nest and caught this small fish. The fish struggled to escape the Egret's tight grasp but it was to no avail. Within seconds the luckless fish disappeared down the Egret's throat.
The threat posed by Raccoons to the Ospreys is shown here. Once again accompanied by Susan Boyd and her friend, Angela, we traveled down to the Great Horned Owl nest. While searching for the male Owl which we believed to be hidden somewhere in the pines we discovered this Raccoon up one of the trees. Comfortable with climbing trees, Raccoons will raid Osprey nests for the eggs which makes one more thing to worry about in the long weeks ahead before the eggs hatch.
We stayed long after the Sun set. A beautiful but strange sight that Susan pointed out was all the large white flowers opening everywhere in the darkness. Another sight was a flock of at least 30 gangly Great Blue Herons flying with little coordination toward the north.
In the darkness the silhouette of the male Great Horned Owl was finally discovered in an oak tree. This is a short time exposure which came out much better than expected given how little light there was. Note the blur of some of its feathers and the "horns" due to the wind and slow shutter speed. The Owl's head was constantly moving as, we presumed, it searched the landscape for its prey.
This is a much longer time exposure taken after the Great Horned Owl had flown to a new perch. Thankfully the Owl kept still during the long exposure which collected enough ambient light to really light up the scene.
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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
www.lunarcabin.com - - - - www.ospreywatch.org