Monday, July 15, 2013

Come Back

 "The fish-hawk, too, is occasionally seen at this season sailing majestically over the water, and he who has once observed it will not soon forget the majesty of its flight. It sails the air like a ship of the line, worthy to struggle with the elements, falling back from time to time like a ship on its beam ends, and holding its talons up as if ready for the arrows, in the attitude of the national bird. It is a great presence, as of the master of river and forest.
Belle Isle State Park, VA
 Its eye would not quail before the owner of the soil, but make him feel like an intruder on its domains. And then its retreat, sailing so steadily away, is a kind of advance. I have by me one of a pair of ospreys, which have for some years fished in this vicinity, shot by a neighboring pond, measuring more than two feet in length, and six in the stretch of its wings.
Belle Isle State Park, VA
Bethel Beach Mathews, VA

Sturgeon Creek
Nuttall mentions that "The ancients, particularly Aristotle, pretended that the ospreys taught their young to gaze at the sun, and those who were unable to do so were destroyed. Linnaeus even believed, on ancient authority, that one of the feet of this bird had all the toes divided, while the other was partly webbed, so that it could swim with one foot, and grasp a fish with the other." But that educated eye is now dim, and those talons are nerveless. Its shrill scream seems yet to linger in its throat, and the roar of the sea in its wings. There is the tyranny of Jove in its claws, and his wrath in the erectile feathers of the head and neck. It reminds me of the Argonautic expedition, and would inspire the dullest to take flight over Parnassus."
Henry David Thoreau from "Natural History of Massachusetts"

Sturgeon Creek sometime in the 1980's
When I was a kid, one of the boat rides I liked to go on
 was to travel to the other side of Sturgeon Creek
 to see the ospreys' nest. 
 It sat atop a tree hanging over the water.
Back then, there weren't many osprey around.
Nests were scarce and seeing one was a treat.
It's a great thing to see the comeback they've made. 
The above nest isn't there anymore (the tree finally succumbed to gravity)
but there are several nests in the area.
And every day you can hear the distinct cry of a fish hawk. 


  1. Lovely!

    The cruise to Tangier passed by a nest. I'm used to passing by nests in high places but this time the boat was higher than the nest, so it was a treat to be able to look down into it.

    Great photos.