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Observations & Images
24 June 2006
North Nest/South Nest

North Nest

The weather at the Refuge at dawn was marked by waves of rain showers passing through interspersed with sunshine. Though looking a bit sodden the female north nest Osprey was taking it all in stride.
When she was sufficiently dry she flew off over the Indian River Lagoon to fish. The male north nest Osprey flew off his perch and followed her.
Both Ospreys soared around together intently searching the water below for fish.
A fish catches the male Osprey's attention.
He hovers with his legs extended in preparation for diving down on his prey. Unfortunately, the fish must have disappeared because he resumed flying around searching the water.
Something made me turn around from watching the Ospreys fishing to look back at their nest. Standing in it, bold as could be, was a Turkey Vulture!
The female Osprey must have spotted the Vulture at the same time for she came screaming in to chase the Vulture off the nest. I scrambled to get around the trees to see their conflict clearly but made it only in time to see the female Osprey breaking off her pursuit as the Vulture winged away.
This is one brazen Turkey Vulture for it went straight from being chased by the female Osprey to looping around and landing in the nearby abandoned Great Horned Owl nest. This started as an Osprey nest that was taken over by the Owls but their nesting attempt failed around 28 March which is the last day the Owls were seen in the area. The Vulture must not have found anything to eat for it began a lengthy preening routine.
The female Osprey returned to hunting for a brief period but soon returned without a fish to perch in the pines beneath her nest.

South Nest

Ospreys will often consume indigestible parts of a fish as they eat which they eventually regurgitate in a lumpy looking ball. Here the south nest female Osprey can be seen discharging an unwanted part of her last meal.
Though I spent a good amount of time with the south nest Ospreys it was mainly in a driving rain that soaked right through me and turned my observing area into a miniature swamp. Unable to take pictures I closely watched the nestling who seemed irritated by the rain and spent most of the time beating its wings and hopping up and down apparently trying to fly off the nest. For a moment, perhaps caught by a passing breeze, it lifted about six inches off the nest and hovered for a few seconds before slowly descending back down again.
I left the wet nestling when the first break in the rain allowed me to pack up all the gear and hike out.


The trees around the north Osprey nest are becoming very popular with Night Herons as a place to spend the day. Numerous adults and juveniles were seen as they flew to the trees like this adult Black-Crowned Night Heron.
An adult Black-Crowned Night Heron at left chaperones a juvenile to the trees.
White Ibis were a common sight flying back and forth through the area either singly or in flocks.
Two Black Skimmers fly by heading north following two others ahead of them. A Black Skimmer's lower bill is longer than the top bill. Flying just above the water the bird will let the long lower bill "skim" the surface of the water until it makes contact with a fish or some other prey which it will snatch up and swallow while flying along.
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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
www.lunarcabin.com - - - - www.ospreywatch.org