Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Osprey--Pandion haliaetus

Osprey in Flight Courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service Osprey in Flight -- Courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service

When I began working in Long Beach by the Golden Shore Marine Biological Reserve Park, I often came early, sat on the benches behind the office and if I were lucky ate breakfast with one of the resident Osprey. I would have yogurt, and it would eat fish. Sometimes alive and wiggling. I would bring my zoom binocular and watch as the Osprey landed on the light post and wrestled with its breakfast. Surprisingly, I never lost mine.

Osprey with a fish at Newport Back Bay.

It took at least 20 minutes for it to eat the fish, often longer. Sometimes the terns and Brown Pelicans would be splashing into the water already. The Black-crowned Night Herons would be sitting on the dock, peering into the water. The Osprey would eat, look out over the Catalina Express dock, check out the Chancellor's parking lot trees, and glance over at me to see if I were still there. We would listen to the docks creak and the Great Blue Herons croak. Then it would get back to business and have another beak full. It was a great way to start the day. I was always in a better mood after having a breakfast meeting before work.

Osprey in pine tree Courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service Osprey in pine tree-- Courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service

I would often see them flying over the area by the Catalina dock and up the LA river to the Golden Shore Marine Biological Reserve Park. They caught plenty of fish, but I never saw the actual catch. I loved to see their black-and-white markings and the way they often looked like they were having a bad-hair day--or I guess I should say a bad feather day.

Osprey landing courtesy of NASA
Osprey coming in for a landing-- courtesy of NASA.

The Osprey eats mostly fish and more fish. It spots a fish, hovers, and dives talons first into the water and grabs its prey. I often see Osprey at Bolsa Chica, flying overhead, and at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. They are also at the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge, the Newport Backbay, and Central Park West at Lake Huntington. In fact any body of water with fish whether fresh or salt mixed with fresh, Osprey are probably somewhere around.

Osprey on the nest at NASA Courtesy of NASA Osprey on the nest at NASA. (Courtesy of NASA )

Where can you find Ospreys in Orange County. You can find them where there are fish: Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Seal Beach Wildlife Refuge, Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve aka Newport Back Bay , San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, and Central Park in Huntington Beach to name just a few. I have even seen an Osprey at Tewinkle Park.

Immature Osprey at Tewinkle Park in Costa Mesa.

When you think you see a hawk at an estuary, bay, or lake, look at it with your binoculars and see if it is really a hawk or an Osprey hunting for fish. Then keep an eye on it and maybe you will see the Osprey hover, dive, and catch a fish. That would be something!

Note that I have added some new photos and links. I have been getting good Osprey Photo Opportunities.

Here is a great video that Jane from Dorset, England posted to You-Tube of an Osprey in Florida flying close to their boat.

Check out Jane's blog about her village's fight against urbanization and her great articles on wildlife and nature in Dorset. It is called Urban Extension.

OC Birder Girl Links

Good detailed article with range map, photos, and information about habitat, similar species, and cool facts.

Project to understand Osprey and prevent aircraft-Osprey collisions.

Osprey Nest Cam from Earth Cam

Osprey Cam showing nest.

Snake River Birds of Prey: Osprey

Detailed profile of Osprey.

The Return of the Fish Hawk: Project Osprey Curriculum

Thirty-six page teacher's curriculum all about Osprey from the Friends of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

The Peregrine Fund Osprey Page

Good information. Includes a quiz.

Mono Lake Bird of the Month: The Osprey

Good descriptions of Ospreys.

Osprey Videos

Bird Cinema: Osprey

Great selection of videos of Osprey in different situations.

The Internet Bird Collection: Osprey Videos

Good videos. Especially check out the Osprey with the fish.

National Geographic Educational Video about Osprey

Very good video about Osprey. Good footage and facts.

You-Tube Osprey Videos

See OC Birder Girl Store on Amazon.

Subscribe to My Birding Blog: Posts (Atom)

Back to the home page

Newer Posts Older Posts

No comments: