Tift Preserve

July 21, 2020

It’s not easy hauling my old butt out of bed at 4:30 in the morning on my day off. I stare up at the ceiling and try to think of any excuse to stay in bed. But once I get in the car with coffee in hand everything changes. Early morning is by far the best time to be out. Not only because birds and other creatures are at their most active at sunrise but also early rises give me at least a couple hours to be alone before other people start showing up on the trails. When they start filing in I’m on my way out.

The people at Tift did a good job placing their Osprey pole and it appears to be paying off. It’s far enough away and shielded from any foot traffic which reduces stress on the birds while they’re rearing their young. It’s horrible for a photographer, much too far away for anything but an ID shot, but this Osprey couple seem to be raising healthy fledglings and that’s good news. I was hoping to maybe get a chance at a dive but it appears that the birds are fishing somewhere off near the lake. I watched them come back with a couple fish this morning but they weren’t fishing at the Tift pond directly below the nest.

In the photo below from this morning, you can see that the head is gone from the fish the male is delivering to the nest. Although this is very common, it’s not exactly clear why the bird consumes the head and then brings the remainder to the nest. Some say the head contains the most nutrients. Some say devouring the head is the quickest way to kill the fish, making it easier to carry. Others say the male removes the head so the fish won’t thrash around in the nest and harm the chicks. There’s a reason for everything in nature, it’s just not always clear and consistent. .

I shot the two photos below at Fort DeSoto State Park in Florida. After killing this fish and eating the head, pretty gruesome to watch, he presumably flew off to the nest.

So pretty much just the usual suspects this morning except for a nice surprise as I was leaving.

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