Last February, I wrote a piece about favourites and focused on my favourite raptor, the Osprey. I promised I would say more about a special relationship that developed with the neighbourhood fledglings of 2015. Well, it’s time!
First, let me acknowledge that, after having a completely different experience this year (2016), I now appreciate now more than ever how cool it was to get to know Railbird last year. He (I’m pretty certain of Railbird’s gender, not quite so much of his sibling, Sal’s) fledged near the end of the first week of August. I’d been waiting patiently for the big day and was prepared to take photos, but quite unprepared for what transpired with the twins.
When it came time to fly, Sal had no problems. Fly a bit and return to the nest.
Railbird, on the other hand, didn’t quite get it for a couple of days. He allowed himself to drop down and to perch on the rail fence around the ball park at the base of the huge field light where his parents had nested and reared their pair.
I was surprised;
in fact, I haven’t seen any other Osprey in this location repeat his behaviour—certainly not this year (but that’s another story). The first day, August 8, I approached but didn’t press my luck.
All of my photos were taken at a respectful distance.
Click images below to enlarge them. Close by clicking the small x in the top right.
I took my time, and Railbird took his. He did move to another section of the fence, but clearly wasn’t sure if he could make it back to the nest: Click to enlarge.
I stuck around as long as I could, but eventually, I needed to go back to my own nest, and left my young buddy pondering his options.
Next morning I returned. I’m pretty sure Railbird hadn’t spent the night on the fence, but, as I was to discover over the next few weeks, he was a methodical learner who built on experience. On this day, I was determined to take advantage and see how close he’d let me approach for some intimate closeups. He obliged beyond all expectations! Click to enlarge.
These were, to say the least, the most amazing moments in my birding experience!
Click to enlarge.
I must admit that there was one moment when he turned away from me, and my instincts told me to back up a bit. Good thing, too! His poop stream missed me by a couple of feet!
After he gave me the “Railbird salute,” I still got a couple of character shots including the one below.
Our relationship continued, but not so intimately as in those first two days, until, eventually, the whole family headed south for the winter. I’ll add another post on those subsequent developments a bit later with more scientific information about Ospreys.
Let me just add, in conclusion, that I certainly don’t believe any of the anthropomorphic blather I’ve indulged in above, but I hope you enjoyed playing” make believe” for a bit, as I did.
Larger views of the three small photos at the beginning of this post: Click to enlarge.
For Part 2 of this two-part series, click this link.