Full House

Little Blue Heron

It was an avian party at Rose Creek this weekend. Hosted by a couple of Little Blue Herons, the invitation list included American Coots, Western Grebes, Cormorants, Snowy Egrets, Mallard ducks, gulls, and a surprise guest visitor who arrived fashionably late after I had packed up my gear.

Little Blue Heron

American Coot

Click to enlarge

Western Grebe


Snowy Egret

Click to enlarge

After two hours and 400 photographs, I packed up my gear and headed for home. Following the bike path towards the Mission Bay inlet, a large blur swooshed by towards where I had just been. This was not to be missed. The guest was late arriving, but it would be worth the return trip to capture a photo. Did you guess the surprise visitor who crashed the avian party?

Great Blue Heron

Across the creek sits the first of two Osprey nests that I followed in the series “Project Osprey”. One of the Osprey was home, but my 250mm lens just isn’t long enough to capture a decent image as seen below.

I have a suspicion that it’s the younger of two chicks that hatched this Spring. Dad and the oldest chick left the area months ago. Mom and the youngest stayed behind, but I haven’t seen Mom since early September.

It’s not unusual for a youngster to stay at the nest after it has fledged if a parent remains in the area, and/or if there is an abundant source of food. I suspect it’s the youngest sibling because it was always loud and noisy — you can see it chirping and squawking — and because its eyes have not yet turned the bright yellow color that is common in adult Osprey.

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14 thoughts on “Full House

    1. I trust your expertise, and understand that a juvenile Osprey does have white spotting on the upper neck and wings which this bird clearly does not have. In some of the images there is an orangish tint in the eyes which is typical of juveniles who are born with reddish-orange eyes. Adults have bright yellow eyes, but I suspect that the tint could be caused by poor lighting, camera settings, or post processing.

      Still, the absence of white spotting is pretty clear evidence. I sent a copy of the image to an ornithologist. It seems that it is common among juvenile raptors to develop subadult plumage depending upon the region as in the warmer climate of Southern California. A juvenile Osprey typically matures within 2-3 years, but a hatchling (I have been told) can display this plumage by late Fall, or early Winter of its first year.

      Osprey in this region are typically year-round residents due to the climate and abundance of food which also influences the maturation process which, I have learned, is not uniform across the northern latitudes. Basically, I took my best guess, but I agree with you … it looks like an adult Osprey.

      Liked by 1 person


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