Okay! Sound the trumpets. I’m delighted to announce the arrival of Opal and Oscar, senior resident ospreys at the US Naval Academy for what will be 16 years.
Based on the birds’ schedule in years past, I’d been watching anxiously for their return since St. Patrick’s Day, but their nest remained empty. Was this to be a summer without our old friends?
Finally, after the storm called Stella blew up the east coast, our favorite osprey couple returned.
Both birds look hale and hearty, and they got right to work, repairing their nest atop light post #3. Those repairs included, I was happy to note, the removal of the almost-lethal loop of detritus that last summer trapped one of Oscar and Opal’s chicks and almost caused the chick’s death. (See my Oct. 2016 post for the harrowing details.) All winter I watched to see if that loop of rope or netting would fall away. But in early March the dangerous loop still hung beneath the nest. Apparently, the osprey couple’s memory of that mishap was as keen as my own. On their to-do list of items for their spring spruce-up was “Remove dangerous loop.” It’s gone now.
Our handsome couple seems to be wasting no time; they’ve taken up their brooding posts. On my morning walks, I usually see one bird on the nest, and if I’m lucky, I see the other bird approaching with either a twig to add to the nest or a wiggling fish for breakfast – osprey eat only live fish. I might be accused of romanticizing, but it seems to me that Oscar and Opal swoop down and give me a chance to admire them as I pass by.
I’m looking forward to reporting back to you on Opal and Oscar’s 16th brood of “Navy Brats” in the months ahead.
Oh, and an added note: For the third spring running, I’ve encountered the brief stop-over of Liam Loon! Indeed, it is unusual, but Annapolis’s harbor seems to provide a satisfying rest-stop for at least one North American or common loon, whom I now will call “Liam.” I’m guessing he’s making his way north to the Great Lakes region after a relaxing winter in Mexico. I’ve listened carefully for a sample of his memorable vocalization, but no luck. He has delighted me with an iconic stretch of neck and back, displaying his distinctive black-and-white mantel. In past years he’s only stayed a few days, and today marked the third day that I’ve spotted him this spring. So, I suspect he’ll be on his way soon.