Taking a break this week from the Critters on the Castle series; while selecting the Rookery Bay sunset photo for yesterday, I came upon this shot of two osprey posing rather prettily for me in their nest. I’ve published this one before, I believe, but I thought it bore repeating.
If you’re an amateur photographer like me, you will know the feeling when I tell you that it’s one of those shots that you get home and put it up on the computer screen, and you cannot believe that YOU took it! So happy to share this with all the Camera Critters fans out there 🙂
Sunset Cruise on Rookery Bay, Southwest Florida Saturday 26 April 2008 Part 5: The Osprey (aka, the “sea eagle”)
The rookery was practically teeming with osprey. They make their nests on top of the channel marker signs, and boats can cruise by them and even stop at a respectful distance to observe them. There were generally two juveniles in each nest we passed, waiting on a parent to come by with a meal.
Visual: Osprey chicks in the nest (bad light angle, sorry!) Audio: Feed me, feed me!
The exception was a beautiful, regal pair that Carol said had been nesting there for years, and a parent watching from a distance as the offspring practiced his “mantling” behavior over a meal in the nest.
This is one of those “OMG!” shots that you don’t know how good it is until you get it home and up on the computer screen. It’s the pair of osprey that have been nesting there for a while.
Visual: Osprey high on the branch. Companion to one of the “mantling” photos Audio: Describing the appearance of the Osprey.
Osprey “mantling” his food; another, probably the parent, observes from a tree in the background.
Visual: Osprey in the nest eating. Audio: Dr. Jackson describes “mantling” behavior
Dr. Jackson talked about DDT poisoning and how it nearly destroyed the osprey population. He said that DDT lasts FOREVER in the body of invertebrates; it gets stored in fatty tissue, the brain and the liver. A sudden dramatic weight loss can release the poison into the system and cause all sorts of serious problems.
Visual: Young osprey waiting in nest. White-headed brown pelicans fly by Audio: SW Florida, mercury pollution, talking about osprey’s coloring, etc. This one is a very good length.
Sunset Cruise on Rookery Bay, Southwest Florida Saturday 26 April 2008 Part 3: More About The Mangroves
Dr. Jackson told of a time he went to Costa Rica and visited old growth mangroves, which were a hundred feet tall and 3 feet in diameter. He said we don’t have old growth here in Florida any more because mangroves had been cut down and used to make furniture, but they’re starting to make a comeback. Anyhow, he described walking UNDER the roots of the old growth mangrove trees in Costa Rica, and he said that for him, it was like walking through a cathedral.
Video: Cruising by some mangroves. Audio: Early explorers faced the tangle of the mangroves – and lots of skeeters!
There are a variety of mangroves, and they grow in a sort of wave depending upon how far you are from the shore. Red ones grow in the water, then the black ones, then the white, and finally the buttonwoods grown the furthest inland.
Video: Bookin’ along at a decent speed. Audio: Lots of wind, but beginning of Dr. Jackson talking about Kleptoparasitism which is a kind of piracy amongst living organisms. I believe he was referring to the Magnificent Frigatebird
Dr. Jackson explains that estuaries are shallow, and this allows mangroves to take root and rise to the skies, as well as allowing other plant life to thrive in the water; the shallowness allows for sunlight to reach the bottom, giving rise to photosynthesis.
A new baby mangrove island just starting out
Another mangrove island
And yet another mangrove island
Because photosynthesis can happen in the shallow waters of this bay, grasses and other plants can grow here, providing food, hiding places, and nursery grounds for many, many forms of wildlife. This includes the mangrove islands.
Video: Panning a mangrove island where lots of birds are settling down for the evening. Audio: talking about clam seeds that start out as parasites
Video: Cruising by mangroves. Audio: Describing fish farms/hatcheries
Many of the life forms that thrive in the rookery and the mangrove islands can also thrive elsewhere, but there are a few that are found exclusively in the mangroves. The one that Dr. Jackson mentioned was the the mangrove cuckoo
Many, MANY thanks to all of you who have posted encouraging comments and sent really nice messages regarding the Rookery Bay Sunset Cruise series. We’re about half through, and it’s nice to know that this sort of blogging is appreciated.
Today is just a little pause for Wordless Wednesday; there’s more of the series to come tomorrow and Friday. Hope to see you here again!
Sunset Cruise on Rookery Bay, Southwest Florida Saturday 26 April 2008
Part 2: Into The Rookery
Dr. Jerry Jackson
Dr. Jerry Jackson is a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. He’s kindly and energetic, and demonstrates a keen, bubbling-over enthusiasm for his subject, namely – birds! Dr. Jackson doesn’t always do this eco-tour; I have the impression it was a special treat for all us public radio geeks who listen to his radio spot on WGCU every morning.
Dr. Jackson displays a bird’s skull
What’s a Rookery?
He started off by telling us about the word “rookery”, which he points out has “rook” at it’s root, which is a European crow. Indeed, dictionary.com tells us that this is so, and also points out that “rook” can also mean “to swindle”. Perhaps the verb arises from a crow’s proptensity to swipe things. So if a crow is a “rook”, then a crow’s nesting place is a “rookery”, a term which came to be more broadly applied to places where any types of birds have their colonies.
The Importance of Mangroves
A little mangrove island with some critters hanging out
Dr. Jackson apparently loves words nearly as much as he loves birds, for he went on to expound upon the word “mangrove, remarking that the roots look like the legs and feet of a “man”, and that they grow in a “grove” or tight grouping.
A display of mangrove roots
A tricolor heron rests in the tangle of the mangrove roots
An egret wades for his dinner among the mangrove roots
NEXT TIME: More about the mangrove islands and their inhabitants.