Yes, a cheer escapes my lips and a smile follows, as I announce that once again Opal and Oscar Osprey have succeeded in securing a rather higgledy-piggledy nest to the hazardous heights of the U.S. Naval Academy’s outer-most light post.
As you may recall, our intrepid osprey couple returned in early March to a blustery spring and defoliated nesting area along the Academy’s football field. (Far right in this photo.)
In past years, the rebuilding or construction of their nest took about a week, based on my observations over the last 15 years. This spring, and a very chilly, wet one it’s been, Oscar and Opal did not progress well in their efforts to build a new nest on the new and very precarious light pole. They began building on one pole, then started again on a neighboring pole. Branches and twigs, large and small, littered the road beneath both poles, and still after two weeks, no nest was discernible on either pole. (See my March 16, 2016 posting.)
I left town for sunnier climes, fearing that I would return to find the Academy grounds bereft of any osprey. (The younger generation, Pearl and Pablo Osprey made no attempt this spring to rebuild after last summer’s rout by the Academy’s electricians.) However, when I resumed my morning walks after being away, I saw, to my delight, that a nest had been secured to one of the poles! Opal seemed to be brooding, and Oscar swooped proudly over his domain.
In fact, they’re so into this nest-building that they seem to be trying to attach a lower-story beneath their new nest, on a slender metal bar of perhaps 5′ in length! (You may recall that Oscar is a two-story builder, having built a new nest atop a nest destroyed in the 2003 Hurricane Isabel. Since then, they’ve built and rebuilt two-story nests.)
Our courageous couple is keeping watch over their nest, and my heart sores with them! Whatever the coming weeks and months hold for Opal and Oscar, they are a strong, determined couple, and they’ll weather the storms together.
Oh, almost forgot to add, recently I’ve watched a group of four, young osprey practicing their diving and fish-capturing skills on the river. They swoop and call to one another, enjoying themselves immensely. A few days ago, I saw these four youngsters perched on the light poles along the soccer field, where Pablo and Pearl once nested. These osprey-kids were playing leap-frog along the lights and having a grand time of it. The last bird would fly up to the first vacant pole, then the third would move up and dislodge the second, and the second would dislodge the first, until the first bird flew up to the next vacant pole. And so it went…
Like my friends the osprey, both the young and the old, I know I must keep moving – forward, I hope. with determination and a bit of playfulness thrown in for good measure.
Oliver Wendell Homes observed,
The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.
Love this blog, Jan. I can truly “see” the dear osprey through your descriptive words. Thanks for your love of nature and writing! Hope the osprey have a successful nesting season.