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Observations & Images
9 April 2006
36th day of incubating

I arrived at the nest before dawn to keep up the vigil for the missing male Osprey not seen at all yesterday. Thunderstorms began to move through the area before daybreak causing lighting strikes all around the Refuge. Here lightening may be seen discharging near the nest which is the dark mass at the top of the trees at left.

All of today's pictures were taken with a handheld camera due to the stormy conditions so along with the low light levels available due to the time of day and weather these are not the best exposures.

At 6:57 a.m., in a lull of the storm, the male Osprey came rapidly flapping his way from out over the Indian River Lagoon. He flew into the pine trees near the nest where he rode out the storm. After the storm passed he flew up to a perch near the nest to dry out.
The male Osprey sat motionless on his perch uninfluenced by the cries of the female Osprey to attract his attention. Finally, taking matters into her control, the female Osprey forced the male Osprey's hand by flying off the nest and circling around him.
As she circled she did the characteristic Osprey shake which the birds are noted for to shed water from their feathers. This is commonly seen during hunting as an Osprey lifts off after striking at fish in the water.
She begins to ruffle her feathers.
Then, in a slight hover, she shakes her body all over like a sort of airborne dog throwing water off its fur.
The male Osprey can not help but note the departure of his mate. He immediately flies into the nest where he settles down in the nest cup.
The female Osprey flew to various perches around the nest. Here she can be seen as the dark shape in the upper center of the image on the bare limbs. Like the male yesterday she was in no hurry to return to the nest which she remained away from for over three hours. But, unlike the male yesterday, she never left the area and was always in sight of the nest.


A soaked Pileated Woodpecker's red pompadour here now looks more like a Mohawk.
The weather did not seem to bother the Otter family.
The Otter quickly lost interest in watching me.
A Black Vulture perches with its wings open to dry off from the storm.
In a strange incident, a Turkey Vulture flew into the area. One has to wonder if the Turkey Vulture was still half asleep or whether it was flying with its eyes closed from what happened next a few seconds after this image was taken.
The collision can be seen here as the Turkey Vulture flew straight into the perched Black Vulture viewed drying its wings above. It did not seem a territorial confrontation or some other act of aggression because the Turkey Vulture dropped away and soared around to another nearby perch where it, also, began to hold its wings open to dry them. The stricken Black Vulture quickly recovered and went back to drying its wings as well.
I have been watching what may turn out to be another active Osprey nest on the Refuge. Here two Ospreys can be seen near a nest located along the left hand side of the image. Previous to the past week activity around this nest has been sporadic but now a pair of Ospreys are seen around this nest on almost a daily basis.
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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
www.lunarcabin.com - - - - www.ospreywatch.org