Big Mama’s BACK!

(Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted)

 

Yesterday at Fort Pickens I finally got what I was hoping for – the return of Big Mama to her traditional nest. This is the seventh or eighth year I’ve followed her from season to season.

Big mama is here(?)

As always, she was bossing somebody around. And this time it’s her new beau, who’s busy trying to get the old nest repaired to her satisfaction. But then he gets a little excited by the sight of her, and he just can’t resist.

But it’s way too early, sonny boy, just cool your jets for a while.

this is my favorite place

Still, she seems to like him just fine. And I’m sure he’ll learn. And once he gets that nest perfect … well …

BM says here's my guy

I’m still concerned about that old tree though. It’s sluffing off bark and part of the trunk’s core. And I’d swear it’s leaning more than it used to. A good wind could come along at any time and take it down.

But, for now, Big Mama’s back. And life is going on as usual in Osprey country.

She told me so herself.

I'm the top bird. Any questions?

Ms. Gertie Greenbean

There is quite a size difference between Ruby Throat Hummingbirds and full-grown Ospreys.

Here we have Ms. Gertie Greenbean of Wayne, PA (my northern home):

ms greenbean

She’s maybe 2 1/2 inches from stem to stern, unless she’s sticking her tongue out. In which case, you can add at least another inch.  Perhaps more!

lulu tongue

She needs that long tongue to reach the nectar we’ve provided in the feeder on Jerri’s balcony. And the feeder is positioned so that Jer can watch her from indoors, sitting on the couch.

gertie feeding

 

Ospreys, on the other hand, are BIG.

bm-takes-a-break

I’m guessing the wingspan on this adult female Osprey to be at least 4 and a half feet. And some are even larger! In fact, this is my favorite Osprey of all time. I call her Big Mama because I’ve followed her for at least five or six years, as she returns to the same nest over and over. She’s changed mates a couple of times. And her brood has varied from 1 (this year) up to four.

By the time We get back down to Florida this year it’ll be mid-September. So I’m pretty sure Big Mama and all the rest of the Ospreys will have left for the Caribbean or South America.

The Hummingbirds are building up and preparing for their big migration too. Down to Mexico most likely, although some will be traveling as far south as Costa Rica.

A “Love” Story

Saturday, July 20, and I went in search of Least Tern activity at Opal Beach. It was apparent that the recent over-washing along Fort Pickens Road (again!) had seriously disturbed the chick population there. So I was hopeful that the area around Opal Beach (being a bit higher) might have fared better. I only spotted one fur-ball chick, and a couple that had already fledged. But what was most interesting was their apparent intention to start all over again, even this late in the season.

Nowhere was this more apparent than this dramatic series:

(I’m imagining the dialogue. And somehow it works better if you affect a French accent.)

may I offer you ...

Hello, my beauty. May I offer you this nice fresh fishy I just caught?

It's really quite a nice one

It’s really quite a nice one. See how fat it is? Now if you’ll just …

If you will just turn this way, it can be yours

Yes, that’s right. A little lower perhaps, and turn …

carefully now ...

Perfect! Now just hold steady there. And this little fishy will soon be yours.

Damn! Dropped it too soon.

Damn! I let it go too soon. No! No! Not yet …

but darling! I'm not ...

But, Darling. I wasn’t … 

And, so it goes. Another day at the beach.

Morning on the porch

Since I’m (we’re) not in Florida for a few months, I’ve had to figure out another way to enjoy taking pictures of birds. And since Jerri’s apartment has a wonderful porch where we can sit with our coffee in the morning and drinks in the afternoon, this has become my shooting perch. (By the way, we’re in Wayne, PA – a beautiful community just west of Philadelphia.)

We hung up the hummingbird feeder a few days ago, and almost immediately got our first visitor.  And it wasn’t Gertie Greenbean, our favorite from last year. This one we’ve named Lulu. She’s a beautiful (and I’m pretty sure very young) female Ruby Throat.

lulu posingShe has just about emptied the feeder in only five days. This morning she sat on her favorite perch, which is the top of an artificial tree on the porch, and stuck her tongue out at us.

lulu tongueJerri had never seen this before. So Lulu did it again.

lulu tongue 2

There is also a privet hedge just across the driveway from our porch, and it’s filled with nesting House Sparrows. Apparently, the little ones are fledged out and fliting around, so I discovered one sitting in the middle of the drive, waiting for someone to come along and feed him/her. It was Dad who came to the rescue.

house sparrow feeding the kid

feeding the kid 2

More later …

I must go to get an eye exam and new glasses.

Some Goodies

I haven’t had time to post much lately. But I HAVE been able to get out and take some pretty neat photos.

So, since I still don’t have the time or inclination to write much, here’s a collection of images that have shown up in the past month. Call ’em “pretty birdie shots.”

Green Anole on a cactus next to the trail (obviously, NOT one of the pretty birdies)anole-on-cactus

Big Mama has chosen a mateBM-&-much-smaller-mate

This guy just looked so lonely out there in the fog that morningloner-in-the-fog-2

Big Mama gives an intruder an unwarm welcomego-away-2

The boyfriend is trying to learn the ropes. But she’s not ready yet.foreplay-1I

I think she was just showing off for me.bib-m.-wings-sread

One of the two adult Bald Eagles I’ve seen so far this year at FP.adult eagle

Big M’s boyfriend makes sure this juvenile Eagle knows he’s not welcome here. In fact, when he cruised through, every Osprey that was nearby went after him, all at once.dive bomber

 

Thanks for visiting. I hope you’ll choose to share my site with your friends. And, of course, I always like to hear from you: jimmcdade@mac.com

 

It’s A Start

Finally! It appears that Big Mama (I’m pretty sure it’s her now) has found a mate. Or maybe it’s the old guy from last year. But this one looks very young and very earnest, and determined to please her.

Today (Sunday, 3.31) was very cool and windy. But they were sticking together and very friendly. I’ll have to tell the whole story later, but here’s a shot of the pair. She’s sitting on a stump above the as yet un-repaired nest, and he’s down in it, trying to figure out where to put one of the sticks he has so rapidly brought in to prove he is worthy.

well, what?

They’re also playing at the mating game, but he seems too clumsy  to do his part.

More later. Hint: There’s a new juvenile eagle in the neighborhood …

 

Morning Light

This’ll be a short post.

The other morning, as I was walking into the Veterans Clinic in Pensacola, I glanced over to a flower bed just before I got to the door. The VERY early morning light was just raking across the flowers, and this particular one caught my eye.

morning-light-on-flower

Luckily, I had my latest camera purchase ($20 at a local pawn shop!) in my pocket, so I decided to snap a pic before losing that wonderful warm sunlight. Also luckily, I just grabbed the first shot without checking the camera settings. So this image was greatly underexposed.

But that’s what I like about it.  Whatta you think?