My Travel Rig

The ancient VW EuroVan and my trusty steed.  Perfect for bird chasing on the Gulf


He’s My Hero

As much as I love that young female I’ve been following so closely for the past two months, I think her new mate has got to be the most beautiful Osprey I’ve ever photographed.

Here he is doing his share of the nest building. He has not only become a good stick gatherer, he is now actually working to arrange the sticks just so – which is something only she was doing a few days ago.


A Confession

I have to admit that sometimes I break off dead branches along the bike trail and leave them there on the ground in plain sight, hoping that my favorite couple might find them and use them as building material.

The female seemed to be having a hard time finding stuff for a while – before he joined in – and I just felt sorry for her.

As you can see here, he’s doing his best now that he’s part of the team.


Finally! A Nest

Visited my favorite young couple Sunday, 4/17, and here they are.

He’s on top of the nest, she’s on the limb beside the nest. (You can tell which is which by the speckled feathers. Only females have them. Males’ chests are usually pure white.)

I followed them off and on for a couple of hours, and they were busy with nest construction.  He was bringing in sticks and stuff and she was arranging things.

Occasionally, she would take off and come back with a huge stick. Then she worried with it for a long time because it was almost too big to handle.

I don’t think we’ll have eggs this season – they’re too young.  But I’m going to keep a close watch.  There are also several young, unattached males still in the area who zoom near the nest now and then. She tolerated all of them until this particular guy brought her the first stick. Then he was the man she’d been waiting for. And if one of the others gets too close, they team up and chase them away.

You can see the progress of the nest by checking earlier posts.


Just Before Sunset

As the sun was getting lower in the West the young male is working hard, making trip after trip to bring more nest materials. She sat quietly and watched.

Then he brought in this bunch of soft material, probably grass. Ospreys will line their nests with soft things just before it’s time for the eggs to be laid.

Since that is obviously not what’s happening here – they’re both too young – apparently he just wants to show her that he does know what to do … when the big event occurs.and-here's-some-soft-stuff

The Boyfriend

He’s finally arrived and is helping the young female build her first nest. Together, they’re actually making progress. Yesterday (Sunday, April 10) I watched as they worked together to bring more sticks to the nest. He delivers, she arranges, and sends him out for more.  Of course, he also takes occasional breaks to practice his mating skills (He’s still pretty clumsy), and she tolerates his advances.da-boyfriend

Another young male – actually three of them – are still soaring about, showing off and occasionally taking a swoop at the nest. But these two seem determined to fend them off.

And Then, I Saw the Eagle

I was out shooting for several hours yesterday afternoon (Saturday, April 9). Mostly Ospreys as usual, following the activities of the five nests I’ve chosen to watch this season.

Late in the afternoon, as the sun was setting, I was tracking one of the Ospreys as it searched for nest building material, when I scanned past this guy just sitting in a tree watching all the activity. He was obviously not happy to have that Osprey soaring so close to his perch.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen a mature Bald Eagle at Fort Pickens, although others have reported many sightings.

Not a great shot, to be sure, but now I’ll keep a closer watch and see if I can get more images that are better and, maybe, closer.

(Meanwhile, the saga of the young female determined to build a nest in an unsuitable tree continues. And it appears – possibly! – that a young male has joined her in her building efforts. Stay tuned …)


Frustrated Young Osprey

I’ve been watching this yearling female for about six weeks, ever since I saw her perched on top of this dead tree with a few tiny sticks, indicating that she was trying to build a nest. The top of the tree is just a bare stump and there’s nothing to hang stuff on, so it’s been a hard go for her.  But I’ve watched her persist, and admired her determination.

At least two, probably three young males are more than interested in hanging out with her – and, of course, mating. But none of them will step up and help with the nest. So she fends them off constantly and goes back to her task.


Here’s one of the drop-in boyfriends.  He’s so dumb and clumsy he doesn’t know how to approach, so he just lands on her back, flops around for a while then hops away.  But he’ll be back to try again, I’m sure.  If the fool would just bring a few sticks and twigs and try to help out I’m sure everything would be all right.


Meanwhile, all I can do is watch, and root for her to get that nest built. Here, she’s off on another foray to find  good building materials.