Observations & Images
The female Osprey was keeping a lonely vigil in the nest when I arrived at the refuge with my friend Bob Killick late in the afternoon of 13 February. She entertained herself with a steady stream of loud, piercing cries that went unanswered by her mate who was nowhere to be seen for some time.
In looking at the nest, note the brightly colored rope to the left of her. Osprey expert Alan Poole and David Gessner both write that Ospreys will incorporate into the nest almost anything they can carry up to it. Gessner writes about observing a Barbie-like doll sticking out of one of the nests he observed.
|After a long while the male Osprey appeared as if from nowhere sweeping up from behind the pine trees to land in the nest.|
|The female changed her tone and began a long, low chattering directed at the male who stood on the edge of the nest for a few minutes looking a bit downcast. Then, in a surprise move, the pair mated.|
|Immediately following the act, the female, seen here, abandoned the nest but stayed within sight. She was observed making big loops around the area. The male joined her briefly. The two of them flying together but the male eventually left her and set to work on building up the nest.|
|Here the male brings a stick back to the nest. He shows great dexterity in moving the sticks around in a seemingly complex way and, then, when he seems satisfied with the arrangement he stamps on it with what looks like great force to test the strength of his soon-to-be nursery.|
|On one of his trips for material he attacked a bare tree trying to break off a branch with much beating of wings without success.|
|Here the palm frond branch is a poor choice for use as building material though it was quite a sight to see the bird carry that big stick. He had to make two approaches to the nest before finding how he was going to land with his burden.|
|As said before, he is quite adept at moving the material to where he wants it. Note the rope is visible again in this shot.|
|He put in a lot of time and effort manipulating that unwieldy stick around the nest but, ultimately, it was all for nothing. Either by design or accident, it went over the side of the nest and fell to the ground far below.|