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Observations & Images
31 December 2006

Only rope caught in the branches along with a small fragment of the nest is all that remains of the hard work the Ospreys put into building their home last nesting season. Time and neglect have caused the nest to fall out of the tree sometime in the last six days. See 30 December for more on the discovery of the fallen nest.
A side view showing the small mass of sticks which is all that is left of the giant nest the Ospreys had built in the tree.
Looking up the nest tree at the bottom of the remnant seen in side views above. The Ospreys will have their work cut out for them if they decide to rebuild at this site. Currently, no Ospreys have been seen taking an interest in any of the nests used last season.
A wide angle view looking up the nest tree. The small triangular platform of sticks shown above in detail can be seen at center.
A close-up of one of the many long pieces of rope that are still caught up at the top of the tree. The rope is a lasting legacy to the male Osprey's interest in this improbable nest building material.
A view of the shattered nest shows the immense collection of sticks that went into its construction. Other items mixed in were more odd pieces of rope, brightly colored ribbon with balloon fragments still attached, and a diverse assortment of fish bones. A cursory examination did not reveal any Osprey remains which would be too much to expect to find at this point. The mystery of what happened to the nestlings continues. It was also apparent I was not the only visitor to the nest judging from all the piles of Raccoon scat concentrated around the tree.
The Ospreys picked a very tranquil spot for their nest with the tree being almost at the end of a little peninsula of land surrounded by a swampy pond.
Missing getting a picture of this Otter from when I first saw it completely out of the water watching from the base of a nearby tree, I was only able to get this shot as it swam past in the dark shadows of the trees. The Otter was glimpsed briefly moving quickly between the trees as it crossed the peninsula into the marsh on the other side.
This hunting Osprey was visible fishing in the distance over the Indian River Lagoon.
Another disappointing discovery was finding another Osprey nest missing from another Refuge tree. A large nest used to reside at the top of this tree but is now gone. Ospreys were seen nesting here last season but they abandoned the nest after a month or so.
The nest that fledged an Osprey last season is still in its tree but it looks like part of it is falling out in this distant view. That is a Vulture in the upper right hand corner. Ospreys have yet to be seen showing an interest in using the nest again. A juvenile Bald Eagle was seen on 16 December perched in the nest tree.
What appears to be a female Osprey, based on the brown necklace of feathers, looped around a couple of times watching me with interest. This would make it the first female seen at the Refuge in many months.
One of many Turkey Vultures soaring around the Refuge this day.
Three of four Turkey Vultures perched in a tree.
A Red-Shouldered Hawk was found actively hunting from a perch atop a dead palm tree.
The beautifully plumaged bird seemed ready to pounce on something down below.
The bird of prey lost interest in whatever was below it.
The Hawk made a short flight to land on a new perch atop another dead palm tree.
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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
www.lunarcabin.com - - - - www.ospreywatch.org