Wow…the weather! And three great bird dads.

At 5:24:46 pm Diane, the mother of the three osplets on the Achieva Osprey Nest almost got blow off!

There are several thunderstorms coming and going with the winds gusting very high to the wee hours of the morning. The little ones were well fed before noon.

Just so you can see precisely where this Osprey nest is on the western coast of Florida, here is a map:

I hope that your screen will enlarge this image so you can see it better. If not, I want you to look on the left hand side of the state about halfway up to the panhandle. You will see an inlet. That is Tampa Bay. Now continue up the coast. Find Clearwater. The Osprey nest is actually in Dunedin, Florida which is slightly north of Clearwater. [Note: The toxic dump that made the news last week is around Sarasota, south of Tampa Bay.]

Ospreys are, of course, not afraid of water but Tiny does not have all of his grown up feathers yet. The older siblings will want to snuggle too but I hope that Tiny got right in under Diane. Thank goodness it is not cold.

Around 6:09:59 there was a break in the water. Diane and the babies are soaked but, bless his heart. Jack arrives with what looks like a Gar – long needle like fish. It isn’t big and it won’t feed everyone but, gold stars for bringing that in. The seas had to be very rough.

The weather indicates several more hours of thunderstorms. Maybe Jack can get out and get another one before dark. It’s raining now but there is to be another thunderstorm in 45 minutes, a break and then another storm at 8pm (if the weather is correct). Sunday looks like another stormy day. Then two good days. Hopefully the weather will not disturb the feeding schedule too much on this nest. Things have been going really well for Tiny Tot.

You can barely see Tiny Tot’s back behind the chick on the left. It doesn’t look like anything will be left. We all hope for another fish to come in. A glimpse at Tiny Tot shows that he does still have a crop from the huge feed this morning. Still, it is much better if he eats because of the bad weather in the area. With the rough seas who knows when Jack will be able to bring another fish in – or what size it will be.

You can see that crop on Tiny Tot better here after that Gar disappeared. Tiny didn’t get any food but he is still full from the morning. One of the nicer things that is also happening on this nest is that Tiny Tot is being accepted more as being part of the family. When he was ‘starving’ (is there any other way to put it?) and many felt that Tiny Tot would not make it, he was ‘apart’ from the family. Sleeping alone, etc. It is good to see them together.

There is another fish delivery at 8:01:48. The light on the nest is going and it is hard to tell who specifically delivered it as Jack and Diane landed on the nest at the same time. It is also hard to see how big it is. Hopefully there will be something for Tiny Tot. He appears to have been trying to cast a pellet all day. That can sometimes interfere with any interest in food. But, let us hope the little guy is up to eating if there is fish for him. Tomorrow looks like thunderstorms again in the area.

Tiny is up to take advantage of the feeding if there is fish left. You can just catch Tiny’s head at the far right of Diane.

So hard to tell. No IR on this camera so the light can cause great difficulties in trying to tell who is who. One thing that did happen is that 1 and 2 have been at one another. #1 was always dominant but #2 is trying to take top position. #1 is not going to give it up easy. As long as the two of them battle, that is fine. They are nearly the same size. Tiny Tot is too small. It needs to eat and the older ones battling could work in its favour. The thunderstorms have started again and Diane has stopped feeding.

It is worth having a look at a different problem. Let’s head over to Loch of the Lowes. If you follow my blog, you will remember that the male, Laddie LM12, inadvertently gave a female intruder who was sitting on the nest cup a nice size fish. Laddie intended it for NC0. Why would he think another female would be in her place on the nest, right? Well, there was one. NC0 flew in madder than a hatter and kicked Laddie from the nest. To make up for his indiscretion, Laddie has been bringing in nice sized fish for NC0 to make up.

Look at that nice big fish! Laddie wants to keep NC0 happy.

Awwww. Blue 33 (11) is giving Maya a break from incubating their three eggs. What a hair cut! He is such a sweetie. Loves to cuddle with Maya and is just one of those super dads.

Thank you Jack, Laddie, and Blue 33 (11) for taking such good care of your mates – regardless of the weather.

And thank you for checking in again. Send positive wishes to the Achieva Osprey nest because this is not the end of the bad weather for them, it is just the beginning.

Thank you to the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Achieva Osprey, Scottish Wildlife and Friends of Loch of the Lowes for their streaming cam. That is where I get my screen shots.

Cosmic Joke?

I was so looking forward to getting out of snowy Winnipeg that I couldn’t think of anything but green grass, lochs, dramatic hills, daffodils, and Scottish shortbread.  The weather reports were for ‘rain, rain, and rain’.  That chill to the bone cold is something that we got used to I was a student at the University of Leicester.  And speaking of Leicester, I was going to get to connect with one of my friends from that era, Hazel, from the Shetland Islands now working for Scottish Museums.  Our original plan was to walk through the Old Town part of the city with its cobblestones, public statuary, and beautiful stone buildings.  The icy wind and rain meant that we shifted from one sitting spot to another during the course of the morning.  Our first stop was for tea and scones (OK, Hazel had an elephant-shaped piece of shortbread).

The Elephant House is located in the old part of the city.  It is easy to find and any local can give you directions because this lovely boutique cafe claims to be one of the cafes where J K Rowling wrote Harry Potter.

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The Elephant Cafe is one of a few coffee and tea shops that Rowling visited with her baby daughter so that she could write.

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Rowling is a true rags to riches individual.  As a single mom struggling on welfare in Edinburgh, she had, of course, no idea that two decades later people would travel to Edinburgh to visit the sites of her stories.  Rowling’s home was full of books and from a very young age, she wanted to be a writer.  Her website says that she wrote her first book at the age of six called ‘Rabbit’ while she finished her first novel five years later at the age of eleven.  Rowling went on to University, spent a year in Paris while she was a student and eventually marries a man from Portugal.  But, in 1995, that marriage fell through and she returned to Edinburgh only for her mother to die shortly after.  In the midst of two tragic events, the divorce and the death, Rowling took the skills she had learned in her Classics courses and set about to finish a book that she had started years before.

In 1990 on a delayed train from Manchester to London King’s Cross, she conceived the idea for the Harry Potters series.  She built up the outline for the series of seven books on odd pieces of papers.  In 1997, Bloomsbury Children’s Books published the first of the seven books.  For many, it is like a fairy tale and it is easy to see from all of the shops selling Harry Pottery memorabilia that the books continue to have a great following.  If you travel to Edinburgh, you can go on the Harry Potter tours.  But if you just want a great scone or shortbread and a pot of British tea, then step into the Elephant House Cafe.  One bit hint, this is a very popular bistro cafe amongst the locals as well and tables at the normal busy times of day can mean a lineup.

We then spent our time catching up on our lives for the past two decades sitting amongst the Titians at the National Gallery.  What a beautiful gallery.  It was Valesquez’s Old Woman Cooking Eggs that caught my attention after the colossal images by Gainsborough with fabrics you can reach out and touch – it sure feels that way.  The Museums in Scotland are free admission and those in Edinburgh are located within walking distance of one another.  If you stay in this part of the City, you never have to hire a taxi but you can simply walk from one venue to another with ease.

There are a number of ways to get to Edinburgh.  In fact, this trip taught me a lot.  If you live in Canada, you can fly via Halifax to Glasgow with WestJet Airlines.  You can also fly to Edinburgh via either London Gatwick or London Heathrow.  When I booked, Gatwick was the cheapest option.  Then you take the Thameslink to London San Pancreas International.  The return ticket is 21 GBP.  Today that is roughly $42 CDN.  It takes about 40 minutes.  In San Pancreas you can find some lovely food shops – much better in my opinion from those at King’s Cross.  Then you take the LNER train to Edinburgh.  Now here is also a big tip:  If your train is delayed by 30 minutes you will get some compensation.  If it is delayed by an hour you can get the entire cost of the ticket refunded.  My train was 78 minutes late in arriving.  Bingo!

Edinburgh is a very cultural city and there are festivals throughout the summer.  Most of the big manor houses or even Balmoral Castle allow for visitors.  They open April 1.  There are even cottages to let on the grounds of Balmoral Castle.

I am leaving for Arbroath tomorrow instead of today.  The snow is tapering off and melting so I have hope that the 8 degrees C is for real.