The following photos are some of the favorites that you, my WordPress readers, have either liked the posts where they were posted in, clicked on their images to see them in larger size, or mentioned them in your comments.
This year rain has been plentiful in our area, and plants everywhere have been responding gleefully. Last week I went to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park and was surprised to find more than half of the beach covered with vegetation. Here’s what it looked like.
Various plants were thriving in the sand. In normal years they grew further inland, but this year you had to walk through them to get to the ocean.
While taking these photos, I heard wings flapping up in the sky. It was an Osprey carrying a freshly caught fish back to its nest.
In yesterday’s post, I wrote that I did not see the Osprey mother while the father was feeding the chicks. Today, with more time I saw the final picture I took of the father and the chick, and he was looking up at the sky.
He had seen his mate! I did take a picture of her right after that, but she was so far away that I almost discarded the shot. However, as you can see below, she was flying in with an even bigger fish.
Yesterday I arrived at the refuge, near the nest of the Ospreys I have been following this year. The two chicks were not visible, but the two parents were there, with the mother making loud calls.
He seemed oblivious to her calls. After about twenty long minutes he finally flew away. She watched him soar toward the marshes.
Some twelve minutes later, he was back, with no fish!
In no time she sent him back out again. Another half hour passed during which she flew around to look for him, leaving the nest without adults protecting it.
The two chicks were making noises and eventually stood up in the nest.
Finally, the male Osprey came back with a big catfish.
The father proceeded to tear out pieces of catfish and fed them to one chick while the other waited for its turn without complaining. It would not be fed until the first chick had finished eating.
I did not see the female Osprey again, but she was probably somewhere nearby either fishing or eating her fish. I had spent roughly an hour and a half watching the nest and it was time for me to go.
I arrived at the nest just as the male Osprey brought in a fish it had caught that morning, presumably after it had eaten the head. The female Osprey was waiting with two lanky and hungry young chicks.
Having delivered breakfast, the male Osprey flew up to his perch, but he seemed to be nibbling something at his feet.
I saw the first Ospreys for this year at the refuge less than a week ago. One of them was very busy building her nest on a platform.
At another part of the refuge, a pair of Ospreys was making distinct noises. Was the female telling her mate to go fishing?
After several minutes, he had enough and flew away to land on half of a fish that he must have brought in earlier and left on the ground not far from their nest .
He just stood on the fish for a long time as she kept calling out to him. Was she still hungry?
He would not budge, and at times appeared to take a nap!
She flew up to a top pole of the nest platform, and kept calling for him.
He did not move until a Crow flew in.
Another Crow showed up.
The Crows definitely wanted the rest of the fish but the Osprey held on. The female Osprey kept calling out.
He held on firmly.
One of the Crows started cawing, perhaps calling for reinforcement. The standoff went on for much longer, but I had to leave. Crows are known to attack Ospreys at times, so I am not sure whether these two Ospreys were able to keep their fish or not.
In my first Osprey Drama post, I wrongly attributed selfishness to the male Osprey who denied food to what I thought was his mate. As Donna pointed out, that younger Osprey was in fact an Osprey chick, his child. Adult Ospreys, male or female, encourage their fledglings to go find their own food by intentionally denying them the food they usually bring back to the nest. Once hungry enough the young ones have to fly out and find fish on their own.
Today I went back to the nest and found the father with another fish in his talon.
He kept looking around, as if searching for the young one.
I too waited for the young one to return to the nest, for almost 20 minutes. When I left him, he was still waiting.
This post is now updated to reflect the correct information given by bayphotosbydonna in her comments below. Thank you Donna!
This morning I drove to the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Many of the Osprey nests were empty, perhaps because the young chicks have fledged and have begun migrating South with their parents. At one nest, however, the male Osprey had caught a big fish.
He ate the head of the fish while I could hear the young chick clamoring for food at their nest nearby. It called out to its father, asking him to hurry up and bring the fish back to their nest.
Ospreys stay at the refuge from Spring to Fall, making their nests on platforms built for them. Last week I saw a pair at one of the nests which can easily be seen from Wildlife Drive. She was eating half of a fish that he had brought to her. He observed her for a while, then took off flying. He flew around the nest before circling back to her.
All of this love making lasted just a few seconds. In about two months I may be able to have pictures of Osprey chicks at this same nest. Note that the female was banded on one leg.
At another nest, a pair of Ospreys had already finished their breakfast and were just enjoying some down time.
Ospreys have been back at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge for at least two weeks already. Yesterday, I saw four nests that had been built up by them with twigs and branches. At one of them, the male Osprey was eating a fish on a perch not far from the nest where the female was incubating. By the time I got set up with my camera and tripod, he had finished eating the head and took the rest of the fish to her.
Eight weeks ago at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, the Osprey chicks were still small.
This past Monday, all three chicks have grown up. They appeared to be waiting for their parents who were out looking for fish.
It was a hot day with lots of mosquitoes and flies attacking me constantly, so I didn’t stick around to wait for the parents to come back to their nest.
Yesterday I finally saw young chicks in some of the Osprey nests at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. The one shown below had two, possibly three, chicks who were very hungry.
After a few minutes, the mother reminded her stoic mate that more fish was needed.
A pair of Ospreys that I have been observing every time I drive through the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge must have young chicks by now, although they remain unseen in their nest. Yesterday, the mother was not incubating but standing guard at one side of the nest.
About a minute later, her mate, who is quite a handyman (handybird?) returned with some twigs to build up the nest even higher.
He started rearranging things as she watched.
Suddenly, she jumped in.
She grabbed the remaining part of the fish which was her meal, after he had previously eaten the head.
Holding the fish with her feet, she circled the nest.
Then she landed back.
She proceeded to eat the fish while the handyman kept working on their nest.
The refuge has seven or more Osprey nests, but this couple has the best looking and well-built fortress.
Yesterday at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge I stopped to check on an Osprey couple. At the same time, the male Osprey flew back to the nest with a sizable fish in his claws. He glided by the female who was sitting in the nest incubating.
Then he went to a perch and proceeded to eat the head of the fish.
After about 15 minutes, the male Osprey probably had its fill, stopped eating and defecated!
Then he took the fish to his patient mate. She saw him flying to her and rose up in their nest.
He gave her the fish.
She grabbed what remained of the fish and flew away to the same perch he had used.
At the perch, before she ate, she looked back one more time to make sure that he was going to sit on their eggs.
He of course sat down and took his turn incubating.
Only then did she start eating.
Yesterday, driving toward the end of Wildlife Drive at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, I saw this Osprey perched on top of her nest.
A photographer who had been there since sunrise told me that the Osprey was part of a pair at the nest. They had breakfast earlier, and then he had flown away somewhere. The gentleman told me that he was due back “soon”, and as he said that I saw the male Osprey flying toward the nest. We both clicked away with our cameras, but I was not expecting to take the following kind of photos.
Total elapsed time: 12 seconds.
Today I saw this couple of Ospreys at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge building a nest. At first, he was just watching her arranging their nest.
Then she told him what she needed, and he took off.
He soon flew back clutching a branch.
More odds and ends, photos that did not make it to this blog during the past year. I took all of the following photos at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.
Finally, a flower I could not identify. If you know what it is please tell me in a comment.