Monday, January 19, 2015
THE OSPREY IS IN THE NEST!
Drove all day over at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park: tram, boat, tram tram tram, boat boat boat, tram. Have several good shots and things to share but have to get this up right away- very exciting!
On Pepper Creek, there are two islands, the second of which is named for one of the very large birds that has a very large and old nest on that island in the tallest tree in the park. It is called Osprey Island. The Osprey is a very elegant bird, with a 6 foot wingspan, and they mate for life. The current pair have been using this nest for 20 years that we know about. They usually return in early December, the male first, to repair and improve the nest. The female comes in about two weeks later and inspects his work. If she's happy, they get busy, if she's not, she gives him a 2DO list and comes back every day to check up on him. Once she's happy, they will raise one or two chicks for about 6 months, then take off, on seperate vacations until they come back and do it all over again next year.
Well, it's January already and no sign of the pair. I did spot an osprey high in a tree down near the western dock last week, and today, I again saw him in the same place as I piloted the boat down that last section of the creek. But next run, I didn't see him.
On the return run, my last of the day, I looked high up in that tree for him, but again, no sign- and then way ahead in the air I saw him flying over the creek as he passed from one side to the other. A moment later, he came into view again, and was heading toward the nest! I got very excited, hoping that he was indeed heading for the nest, and alerted my passengers that we may be here at a very special moment.
There is a point on the return trip where we get the best view of the nest on the creek, and as we made that turn, we all watched and though I didn't see any sign of the bird, one of the guests called out that he had caught a glimpse of his head sticking up above the nest. (Osprey nests are very deep.)
As we headed into the last turn that would take us away from Osprey Island, I paused the boat and zoomed my camera and clicked away, hoping my camera could do what my eyes no longer can, and again, one of the passengers assured me he had peaked out as I was clicking. I wouldn't know for sure until I got home and looked at the picture, and there he is!
The Osprey is in the nest!
4X crop to show clearly, though low rez, show the Osprey sitting atop the nest in the previous shot.
And here's a link to my Osprey Nest Highlights video from the end of last years nesting season: http://youtu.be/rkDdeX-OBpc