The Siesta Key Chronicles – A Sunrise in April

Mornings like this are all-too-brief.  I rolled out of bed early, quickly got dressed, and proceeded up the North Dock towards the osprey nest.  My primary objective was to photograph the sunrise, which was going to occur at 6:59 this morning.  I only had my lowly IPhone with me, which was a strategic error.  I should’ve taken the time to grab my trusty Nikon D40 with its terrific telephoto lens.

I had some time to kill before sunrise, so I began checking out the mother osprey (Olivia) and her two chicks (Ralph and Alice).  The fledglings are nearly able to fly, and I want to make sure I catch this momentous event.  Without warning, the osprey burst into their telltale group screeching.  When I used to hear this, my first thought was that I did something to spook them.  I have learned, however, that this generally means a meal is coming.  I looked up behind me, and, sure enough, the father (Oscar) was doing a flyby with a fish in his talons.  The family evidently had seen him coming, and knew breakfast was at hand!  The father flew into his favorite tree near the shore end of the dock, presumably to eat the head of the fish.  (That’s what male ospreys do before feeding the family!)

In the meantime, flying practice: first one fledgling, then the other.  (The mother is on the right-hand perch in both photos below.)
IMG_0416_crop    IMG_0420_crop

 I even filmed a short video of one of the fledglings trying to fly, using the IPhone “live photo” feature.  At this time, however, I cannot post videos to my blog.

After a few minutes, the male osprey returned with the rest of the fish for the hungry family.  The group screeching recommenced, as the mother and fledglings eagerly anticipated their meal.

Finally, sunrise!  Currently, the sun rises a little to the right (i.e., to the south) of the Bay Village building across Little Sarasota Bay:

        ​IMG_0421      IMG_0426

After getting a few pictures of the sunrise, I then noticed two sets of wing tips barely protruding from the surface of the water off the North Dock.  Each set of wing tips bobbed up and down together.  I have seen this before, and these are stingrays gliding along just beneath the surface, at times cavorting with each other.

All this took place in a time frame no longer than about an hour.  A nice start to the day!

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