Osprey, Fish Hawks and/or Sea Hawks

We left our anchorage this morning in a light, misting, almost cold rain. The ICW through northern North Carolina into Virginia runs through the Currituck Sound and then up the North Landing River.  It's a winding narrow channel through swamp and marsh land.  The bird life was plentiful and so, as usual, I let Steve do the navigating while I sat with my binoculars and camera.   The osprey were abundant, with the babies just getting big enough to poke their heads up and out of the nests to check us out as we went by.
Osprey build huge stick and debris nests on almost anything close to the water. They're large birds, 24 inches long with a 71 inch wingspan, white on the body, with a cool black eye patch and black wings  They are found on all continents except Antarctica. They are mainly fish eaters. (Although, at one time we had an osprey hanging out and hunting from a neighbors mast. He was there so often,  and was so interested in Adjima on her walk-abouts on the deck that I called the Florida Fish and Wildlife to see, if by chance, he would eat a small mammal.  The answer was a definite 'yes'. I had to start accompanying her on her daily constitutional.) Osprey, along with the owl, are the only birds whose outer toe is reversible, letting them catch fish with two toes in front and 2 behind. 

Osprey mate for life and return to the same nests each year. There are nests that are recorded to have been used for 70 years by succeeding generations. I like the one on the left with the spanish moss added for a little softness.

This was the biggest nest we saw, about 3 feet by 5 feet, the baby is just visible on the top left.
You lookin' at me??

As some of you may have noticed by the numbers on the channel markers, we've reached the northern end of the ICW, red buoy #1 is just outside the window here in Norfolk.  We'll go a little way up the Chesapeake Bay early next week and haul Celebration on Tuesday or Wednesday. Fun fun fun.


Anne and Chris said...

Woo hoo! Love the incorporation of biology into the blog.

Also, if you're in Norfolk, does that mean that you ate El Toro Loco on your way through Great Bridge?

Lynn said...

Si, muchos margaritas were consumed.