There’s a fenced lot near the NW corner of the A. Max Brewer Memorial Parkway and County Road 3 in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. An old utility pole there has a nesting platform near the top. I’ve seen Great Horned Owls and Ospreys using the box before: (https://edrosack.com/2015/01/11/merritt-island-national-wildlife-refuge-172015/).
It’s probably way too late in the year to see the Owls nesting, but there’s a chance that the family could be near so I drove by hoping to spot something. When I slowed down and saw a bird on the nest, I was a bit disappointed that it was “just” an Osprey and almost didn’t stop. They’re common and seeing one isn’t as exciting as finding owls.
But I stopped anyway and waited a bit to see if the chicks would pop up a little so I could get a better photo of them. It was hard to see the chicks and I was thinking about leaving when I saw another bird off in the distance that turned out to be:
One of the chicks did show itself then, but neither one made a fuss and they weren’t calling out for food, so I think they must be pretty well cared for. I watched a little longer hoping to see them feeding and when that didn’t happen, I thought about leaving again. But then this:
I din’t have clue why she left. It turns out she must’ve discovered a weak spot in the nest, because it wasn’t long before she came back:
And landed in the nest with the stick, very careful not to poke one of the chicks.
Which she moved into place to repair the flaw she’d found.
I was there for about a half hour and these six photos cover a total time span of only 5 1/2 minutes. I was very lucky and excited that this family shared all this activity with me. Maybe Nature was trying to teach me a lesson: Slow down, stay a while, observe. You might see something wonderful. And it doesn’t have to be an owl!
*I’m not an expert when it comes to telling male and female Ospreys apart. But I think I’ve got it right in this post based on behavior and markings. See this link for some more info: https://hawkwatch.org/blog/item/1016-telling-osprey-sexes
Winter Park Osprey nest: On a related note, Jean Thomas commented (in this post: https://edrosack.com/2022/04/24/busy-birds/) that she went by that nest on April 25th and there was one chick that seemed about two weeks old. She’d heard that there were two seen there earlier. I went by on May 3rd and the nest was abandoned. Sad to know, but not all nests are successful every year.
Tomorrow is Memorial Day in the US: It’s our opportunity to remember those that have sacrificed so much to defend our country. Please honor them with a moment of silence, a reverent act or a thoughtful gesture of thanks.
Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. Honor the fallen. And whenever you can, stay for a while and make some photos. Nature might reward you!
©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved
6 thoughts on “Glad I Stayed!”
I was disappointed the owls did not nest there this year.
I was too, Jim. Maybe next year.
Ed, great story with corresponding images! I enjoy reading your newsletters. Sorry that I hardly ever comment, but want you to know I enjoy them!
Thanks so much, Lisa. It’s very nice to know people enjoy them!
We’re glad you stayed, too!
This time of year is terrific! Observing the cycle of life, nest building, rearing chicks, young birds fledging … It’s why we do what we do!
Thank you, Ed, for sharing some special Osprey moments that we all could have missed had you decided to move along right away.
I too am glad I stayed – I almost missed it.
Thanks for your kind words Wally. Much appreciated.