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Observations & Images
3 April 2006
30th day of incubating

A hot, dry afternoon at the Refuge filled with all the summer insect sounds that foretell the warm, lazy days ahead. The male Osprey appeared heading for the nest with a live fish. The female Osprey caught sight of him long before I did and warned me of his approach by her excited cries.
Although this was not a large fish, it was still putting up quite a fight in the male's talons. The fish's energetic struggles actually threw off the male Osprey's approach to the nest to the point where it looked like he had lost his balance in midair and it was only by aborting the landing that he kept from crashing into the tree trunk.
He pulled out of the landing and made several wide loops around the nest site staying clear of any obstacles till the fish's struggles had abated.
He was able to make a normal landing in the nest. The female Osprey's tail feathers are visible in the right hand corner.
The female, in the foreground with her wings open, happily received this fresh meal. The male's continuing fascination with collecting rope for the nest is still obvious in this shot.
The female Osprey lifts off the nest with the fish.
She swings around to her eating perch where she ate her meal.


A Great Southern White Butterfly is pictured with its proboscis deployed in a flower. The insect life at the Refuge is as varied and exciting as the bird life though, at times, far more difficult to photograph. I spent quite some time during the long periods between Osprey activities trying to get a picture without success of a monstrous Bee that orbited around me a good part of the afternoon.
The other pair of nesting Ospreys that I knew were in the area have finally been located. It is my belief that this is the pair that the Great Horned Owls had chased from their nest and moved on to a new location in the Refuge. My impression of them is as the poor relations of the nesting pair being followed. Note the ragged wing of the female Osprey.
The nest itself is poorly located and low to the ground thus easily reached by predators such as Raccoons or, worse, disturbance by wayward humans. The discovery of the nest was due to human intrusion in that I was suddenly aware of a screaming Osprey right over my head as it tried to scare me away from the, as yet, unseen nest. Respecting their territory, I immediately retreated. Their life must be hard enough in the spot they chose without me interfering.
After examining an enlargement of the image above, I thought at first this might be a hatchling peering at me but now I believe it is an adult Osprey sitting in the nest wondering what I am doing.
Amusingly enough, a few days ago I was hoping to catch a good view of a Pileated Woodpecker and now, I believe, they are fast becoming the most common bird in the area. This Pileated Woodpecker was quite bold in ignoring me as it worked the palm tree.
Today the pines around the Osprey nest were full of Pileated Woodpeckers. Two of the birds were observed mating so, possibly, there will soon be a nest of them close by.
Here is a Pileated Woodpecker with a Great Egret.
It would be a fantastic sight if this was an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, especially for all the attention it would bring the Refuge, but it is simply another Pileated Woodpecker making the rounds.
The last few days pairs of Mottled Ducks have been observed flying through the pines directly past the Osprey nest. Of course, it may be the same pair but they are a new addition to the neighborhood never the less.
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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
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