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Observations & Images
8 June 2006
North Nest/South Nest

North Nest

I arrived at the north nest early in the afternoon with the intention of watching the north Ospreys closely to see whether they truly are beginning to mate again or if their activity on 6 June was just some aberrant behavior. Unfortunately, nothing conclusive could be drawn from the day's observations. Neither Osprey was present but the nest showed it is still in a growing phase.
Shortly after my arrival a Great Blue Heron fluttered in to perch on one of the Ospreys' favorite spots. The Heron looked out of place atop the dead pine tree so often used by the Ospreys but had no problem balancing on the small perch. The Heron soon became part of the landscape for me and my attention turned away since the bird's relaxed pose changed little for the next twenty minutes or so before things heated up.
A series of high pitched screams coupled with loud squawks brought my attention back to the Great Blue Heron who had ducked down to keep from getting a close shave from the razor sharp talons of the female Osprey as she streaked by at high speed.
The female Osprey swung around with enmity in her eyes as she heads back toward the Heron.
The Great Blue Heron put on a most fiercesome display but all the squawking and wing flapping did not deter the female Osprey. Note the usually flat dark crown of feathers on the Heron's head are standing straight up as the bird fluffs up in a defensive posture to try and appear bigger than it really is. Compare this picture, especially the feathers on its neck, with the relaxed picture of it from above when it first arrived.
The female Osprey, with her talons extended, passes over the distraught Heron. This is about the closest the two birds ever got to one another. The aggressive displays appeared to be enough to satisfy both birds without coming to actual physical blows.
The female Osprey comes up from below the Great Blue Heron on this pass.
The female Osprey was intent on showing the Heron it had no business being near the Osprey nest.
The Great Blue Heron has had enough. Slipping off the perch it gracefully soars away. The female Osprey turned away and did not follow the Heron as it headed out over the Indian River Lagoon.
As the Heron made its escape, the male Osprey dropped out of the sky into view and both Ospreys rode the thermals over the nest area as they circled up, down, and around. The two Ospreys eventually landed in the pines near the nest.
The female Osprey began a long preening regimen which soon bored the male who headed out to find some excitement of his own. He returned after a short flight with a load of seaweed and what looks like twine to add to the nest.
The male joined the female for a short period on the same branch.
The male flew off again in search of more action.
He returned carrying a small stick which he deposited in the nest. It also appears that if there was ever anything wrong with his legs he is over it now.
The female Osprey joined the male as he left the nest and they flew off together over the Indian River Lagoon. During an almost four hour visit with them today they were not observed attempting to mate like on 6 June though, then, it had been much later in the day and things had been a lot quieter.
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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
www.lunarcabin.com - - - - www.ospreywatch.org