Osprey

If you build it they will come. That is certainly the case with platforms and osprey. Ospreys are another bird of prey you can find in New York. I saw a few on a trip in June to the Thousand Islands and Lake Ontario region near the Thousand Islands. In every case I found them on a platform that they built a nest on.

Nests

In that part of New York in different places platforms have been placed on top of telephone poles by people. Soon after Osprey have come by and build nests on them. Other places they may nest include channel markers and dead trees over water.

A nest on one of the Thousand Islands
I could not tell if any of these nests had eggs or chicks, but since there was always one parent on the nest, or going for a short fly nearby, I would think there may have been at least eggs.
Mate hanging out below.
Habitat

Osprey will live around a variety of water locations: rivers, ponds, salt marshes, lakes, etc. I have seen a few on the Hudson River, including one on a channel maker where a creek meets the Hudson. The ones in this post were on Lake Ontario or on one of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River.

Heading to a nest near Lake Ontario with a fish
This Osprey seemed to be so proud of his fish. He kept taking it out of the nest to fly around with it in circles only to return to the nest again. It was not ideal lighting conditions as it looked kind of dreary on and off, but still find to watch them.
Fishing

Osprey eat mainly fish and they are known as being excellent at fishing. Osprey circle high above shallow water before diving feet first to catch a fish. It takes an average of 12 minutes for an Osprey to catch a fish.

If you you visit the Thousand Islands or Lake Ontario region, look for their nests on top of telephone pole platforms or channel markers. They are interesting birds to watch.

Owlets

Do you like surprises? It depends on what it is I guess. For almost week I saw one baby owl in the tree hole, so I thought there was only one. However, one day I arrived one was in a neighboring tree having most likely fledged that day, and one was looking out the hole. Later, another head popped next to the owl in the hole. So all in all there were three owlets.

It was a suprise to see another head pop out.
The second one fledged and hung around the nesting tree. One left to go. It took him another two days before he flew out of the nest.
I think he was trying to figure out what to do next. Or maybe he was waiting for his sibling.

Seeing three owlets was definitely a surprise and a good one at that. Be quiet on your walks through the woods. It is amazing what you can witness.

Self- Isolating Barred Owl

I have always wanted to see an owl in the wild. This past week or so I got my chance. I have caught sight of one each day on a walking trail in a nearby park. I wasn’t sure which kind of owl it was, so I asked my birding friends. The conclusion was a barred owl. The call I have been hearing was not the typical call a few days into finding them. The ones I have sighted use a different call.

Barreds owl have brown eyes and a small yellow beak. It is named after the bars on its chest.They have no ear tufts.

Standing at attention, but more likely stretching his legs.

Barred owls live in older growth forests where they have a better chance of nesting in a tree cavity. This park has lots of trees that fit that category. They also like to be near water. This park is on the Hudson River in New York. They will take over nests of other birds though as well.

Yawning or craving dinner?
Sun-bathing

I am so happy I had the chance to see an adult and the baby owl. The who-oo of a parent led me to see them and the baby. I kept a respectful distance. While you enjoy nature, be quiet and be observant, you never know what you will see.

Self Isolation- Great Egret

Have you ever had bad lighting conditions, but thought it may be your only chance to capture something? This was one of these times. Luckily, I am still employed. Morning light in this area separated from the river by the Metro North Railroad tracks would be optimal as it would be behind you. Late afternoon light is not good in this area. This is the first time I have seen one of these. I am sure they are quite numerous, but others times I have been to this location I have not seen this solitary bird including the following days.

It caught several fish while I was there.
Bon appetit!

This is the great egret or sometimes it is known as a white heron. I thought it was a heron, but a few people passing by said no, but they did not call it an egret either. I will admit I am not a bird expert. I have trouble differentiating different kinds of hawks. It kept a distance, these photos were taken from quite a distance, but it pretty much ignored me and other hikers.

Maybe someday I will find this bird again with better conditions. We can always hope. Stay safe and stay healthy! Surround yourself with positive things. Go out in nature.

Caught a Fish

It has been raining a lot in New York. I have been working from home. Mornings, which are the best time to go out and view these birds of prey, have been out. Many times on the weekend, like tomorrow, the weather will be bad. Sometimes I am able to go down after work and view for a half hour or an hour. I have not seen them bring in a fish this Spring. Normally I spend my Easter Break watching this nest, but our break was taken away from us. These pictures were on one of those not so great weather days around 6 p.m. Although the lighting is far from optimal, I feel lucky to have seen this eagle bring one in from the Hudson River. Enjoy the parks! Enjoy wildlife!

They have one eaglet in the nest. So I don’t see them bring fish in as much as last year.

Tale of Two Nests

A few decades ago there was only one nesting pair of eagles in the New York. Today there are close to 500. Environmental policies banning DDT enabled this increase.

This first nest is along a major commuting highway that takes many drivers to New York City. They allowed us in to work for a little while on one day so I stopped briefly on my return. These first pictures are taken from the shoulder of the highway.

When the leaves are off the trees this nest is viewable as you are traveling south on the highway. It is on land that juts out into a lake. Since one parent seems to linger a lot in the nest I assume there may be a young one.
One parent briefly joined the other on a nearby tree.
It is the other one’s turn to sit in the nest.

This second nest is next to the Hudson River south of me. If you are lucky as I was today you will catch one of the eagles on a tree near the hiking trail in the woods as I did. The nest is too far away and more protected for some reason than the other nests are that are in parklands.

This pair’s nest is a few miles south of me next tot the Hudson River. You can not get near the nest, but I was able to see them perched on a tree together briefly near a hiking trail. They did not leave the nest unattended for long, so I assume this nest may have young ones as well.
This one was vocal.

It is good to see the population thriving in recent years. The Hudson River seems to draw them to build their nests. If the weather is nice next weekend I hope to see another local nest I have heard about. Stay safe and stay healthy.

Eagle Baby in the Nest

What do you call a baby eagle? An eaglet. Last year my favorite nest to watch had two eaglets. This year I am seeing only one head at a given time.

Luckily this nest still seems deep. It has high enough sides to keep the eaglet safe inside.

It has rained a lot. I did get a chance this past weekend to watch the nest near the Hudson River in New York for a little while. I finally saw the head pop out. I only saw one. I will have to ask the retired people who hang out there all day if they have seen more than that.

The parents took turns watching over the eaglet. A week ago a hawk was trying to get in the nest and the father eagle chased it away.

Parent coming in to rotate babysitting duties.

Unfortunately, as it usually does in April, it has rained a lot. That makes it hard to view the nest on the steep side of a hill. The window to view it is also rapidly closing with buds on the trees turning into leaves. More excitement awaits around June, when we may see the eaglet flying around near the nest.

Self Isolating in the Wild: Do Hawks eat Eagles?

Do birds eat other birds? Would a hawk eat an eagle? I know birds will eat other birds. I am still not sure I know the answer to the second question.

Mother eagle was sitting in the next with the young baby eagle (maybe a week or two after it hatched). Along came a hawk circling over head then proceeded to buzz around the nest. As he got near the nest the mother eagle started loudly screeching.

The hawk is doing a fly over. The mother eagle’s white head is just visible a tad in the bottom center of this photo near the tree trunk. The eagle’s nest is at the bottom center of the photo.

Arriving quickly was the father eagle. Father eagle chased the hawk away then proceeded to sit on a neighboring tree. After a while, the hawk returned and the father eagle chased him away again. Father eagle hung out for a while for good measure, then flew away.

Arrived to help protect the nest.
Father eagle chasing the hawk away from the nest.
Standing watch
Coast is clear so off to go fishing

I have seen videos online of eagles defending the nest. One shows an eagle killing and eating a hawk that attacked. Eagles and hawks it seems are natural enemies. Will an hawk eat a baby eagle? Will it just try to kill it? Do you know the answer?

Self Isolating in the Wild-Eagle Watching

What travel restrictions do we currently have in New York? They want us to stay at home as much as possible and only go out for essential items like food, business at home related purchases, pharmacy trips, and we are also allowed to go to parks and wildlife refuges to exercise. I decided to see if I could catch the eagles after working at home a couple of days ago.

These eagles live quite close to me. In fact there are more and more nests near me. I found another one near a walking trail this week. However, for some reason they restrict the land around the nest of that one more than any of the others. Out of respect for what they ask I did not get close to that nest. The pictures below show one nest one afternoon in order.

One parent in the nest. At least one egg has hatched. The parent keeps looking down and appears to feed little bits of food to an unseen youngster. So the guesstimate is the youngster hatched in the past week or so. We won’t know how many babies until they are big enough to see the heads popping above the top of the nest.
The other parent arrives to switch places babysitting.
The parent who had been in the nest flew out to a neighboring tree for a bit. Then decided to fly off.
Lift off!!!
The eagle then flies off towards the Hudson River. Possibly it was on its way to get a fish for the family.

It is always fun to watch the eagles after the babies hatch. There is a lot more activity coming and going from the nest. They bring in more grass, and they bring in fish or other land animals like squirrel. If you are working at home and self isolating, go out to observe nature. It can bring joy to your day.

Self Quarantined in the Wild

Do eagles self quarantine? Do they know about Corona Virus? They mostly keep a distance from other animals unless they are looking to eat them.

I was told to not report to work Monday or Tuesday. On Friday we set things to work remotely, online and otherwise. I am sticking around my area due to Corona cases in the area I work.

I was not told to quarantine. We don’t know if we had any close contact with someone who has it. I will try to stay away from shopping as much as possible, gatherings and otherwise. Church service is online Sunday though a Utube channel. I am sure most of you are going though the same circumstances. I spent a little time today looking at the eagle near my place.

It appears they have an egg as one is always sitting in the nest. Last year they had two babies.
She was as interested in me as I was of her.

Let’s hunker down if we are told to. Think of others. Take care of yourselves. Let’s hope this situation turns around soon for everyone. I look forward to traveling in the future. If you can, spend time enjoying nature.