Monday, 16 June 2014

A Celebration of Ospreys

Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus
15 June 2014

     Ospreys have made a remarkable recovery since the dark days of organochlorine pesticides, when thin-shelled eggs threatened the very survival of the species.In the area where I live there is a healthy population with several active nests not far from our house. Even though we see them every year, there is nevertheless always a sense of excitement when the first birds appear in the spring, and reclaim their former nest sites. I never tire of seeing them plunge dive to catch a fish; it is one of the great natural spectacles anyone can witness with relative ease.
    This nest is at the Fountain Street bridge in Cambridge and has produced young for several years. We saw the male deliver a fish to the nest and we observed two young birds excitedly receiving it, even though only one can be seen in the picture below.

   Another species that has been making a recovery along the various waterways in our area is the Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus and the nest shown below was occupied for several weeks, but it has subsequently been abandoned. It is located no more than a couple of hundred metres from the Osprey nest and various aerial disputes were observed. Perhaps the eagles simply decided to move to a more secluded spot.

    On the rare property in Cambridge, very close as an Osprey flies, another nest has been successful and even though one sees only the two adults in this picture, young birds are present.

    As can be noted from the pictures, Ospreys take readily to man made platforms which serve as a fine base for a nest, and most of the nests around here are located on such structures. It's nice that we can help in the recovery of a species which our disregard for the environmental consequences of pesticides almost destroyed.


  1. Beautiful photos of the birds of prey.
    The picture with the two young birds is amazing.
    Greetings Irma

  2. Great captures! There is an active Osprey nest at an intersection in our city as well. I couldn't get any photos, so it's really good to see yours!

  3. It's great to see your Ospreys, David. Where do they over-winter? Ours tend to spend their winters in West Africa. It looks as if your super photos were taken at a closer distance than I've ever been to an Osprey, in spite of this being my eighth year of being a volunteer on the Rutland Osprey Project! Sadly, in spite of the Osprey being a protected species in UK, we are relatively certain that at least two of our breeding birds have been shot dead in the past four years.

  4. Our Ospreys winter from the southern United States all the way down into northern South America. What a tragedy that some of your birds have been shot. The world has far too many yahoos with guns. As for getting close to them it is not at all difficult. Many of the birds seem to have become quite habituated to humans.

  5. It is a very rare bird in our country. We saw it only few times. When we were on our holidays (march/april) in Egipt, every day many Ospreys flew along the coast of Red Sea to Europe (they were returning on breeding sites).
    Great shots, David. Greetings

  6. It's good to hear that you have a number of nests close by and I can imagine how you look forward to them joining you each year.

    Here in the UK most pairs are still in the remoter parts of Scotland with just a couple of pairs in England (Lake District) and Wales. When I read blogs from North America and Canada it does appear that your Ospreys are more tolerant of man than our own.

    It might seem starnge, but I see more Ospreys on holiday than I do in the UK.

    You took some lovely pictures David.

  7. Great to see a nest. Osprey
    Even with the little ones in it.
    Really great!