About a month ago, I was walking along the San Diego River in Ocean Beach. I saw some photographers with very professional equipment taking some photos. As I passed them, I asked if they had seen unusual birds. They asked me if I had know about the Osprey nest. The female photographer showed me where it was. Of course, the nest rested on the highest light in the middle of Robb Field. This area is a collection of baseball fields used by the residents and is located along side the San Diego River near where it flows into the Pacific Ocean at Ocean Beach.
The photo below (left) shows that the female left the nest and brought back something to something she seemed to need. Since the nest is so large, why she did this is a mystery, since they don't usually leave the nest unattended. I met a photographer who arrived by bike. As he dismounted, I noticed his camera with a very large lens. This man gave me some background on the birds. For the previous two years, the Ospreys had three eggs. This year there were only two. The chicks had hatched five days previous to my visit. Later I wondered how the locals know this, since the nest seems to be about 30 feet off the ground. This man also advised me that the male does the fishing for food, takes it to his perch about three light poles away. After the male Osprey has been feasting on the fish for a while, the female begins to call to him and he brings what is left to the nest for her and her chicks. The man giving me the information, opined that the male is slowly learning. These birds are monogamous and share responsibility for sitting on the eggs until they hatch. The photo below on the right shows the mother Osprey sitting on the nest. The chicks are too small for me to see them.
|Female Osprey with something for her nest|
On my trip to the field last Tuesday, a man passing me on a bike advised me that the chicks are more active early in the morning. I choose to check on the Ospreys late in the afternoon. I expected to see them feeding. I stood there with nothing happening for about twenty minutes. Then a few heads popped up. A man with a camera passing on his bike stopped to ask if I was able to see anything just before the chicks popped up in the nest and came into view. He told me that a local TV station had covered the Ospreys and said that there were five nests around San Diego Bay. He said that he knew of two, one on Shelter Island and the other nest near Chula Vista. A short while later, I was able to witness the mother Osprey feeding her chicks from a piece of fish laying on the side of the nest (Photos below) Unfortunately, I think I stretched the camera to its limits in distance resulting in grainy photos. The male photographers I've met use a very large lens. Still, watching her feeding her chicks was a special moment.
|Mother Osprey feeding a chick|
|Mother Osprey feeding a chick|
I returned to Robb Field yesterday and was able to see one of the chicks trying out its wings. I saw the chick jumping up and down while trying out it's wings. It didn't leave the nest though. Another photographer standing in the field told me that when the chicks are ready to fly, they will move out to the lights beneath them, and then fly to lower light posts near-by.
The mother flew away for a few minutes. I learned that you can tell it's a female by the coloring around the base of the neck, which looks like a necklace.
|Osprey chick trying to jump up and down|
|Osprey chick trying out its wings|
|Mother perching on a light below nest|
I plan to visit Robb Field soon to see if the chicks are ready to fly.
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Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook)
The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook)