Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Harbingers of Spring - the Osprey!


Here on Martha's Vineyard we all wait for signs of Spring...longer, warmer days and shorter, warmer nights, the Snowdrops poking their heads up, often through a new layer of snow (called "Farmer's Gold" as it is thought to be especially nourishing to fields waiting to have seeds sown in them), the reddening of the forests as buds on the trees begin to swell, the pairing up of ducks and geese in our ponds as they begin to search for the ideal nesting places, and the increasing hustle and bustle on our towns. But, probably one of the most heralded signs on the Vineyard is the news that the Osprey are back from their winter retreat in warmer climes. There was a new early record this year for the sighting of an osprey over the Island. It was reported in the Vineyard Gazette (http://www.mvgazette.com/article.php?20150) that Will and Sue Geresy of Chappaquiddick spotted a very high flying osprey over Poucha Pond on Chappaquiddick on March 1. The bird was heading north and the Geresys heard the bird call once as it flew by. Also reported, in the M.V. Times, was that Lynn Silva had spotted one on March 12th calling and soaring over the Martha's Vineyard Hospital (http://www.mvtimes.com/marthas-vineyard/calendar/2009/03/19/birds.php).

For those that are curious to know more about the Osprey and their migration routes there is a very interesting web site created by Richard O. "Rob" Bierregaard (a Distinguished Visiting Research Professor in the Dept. of Biology at the University of North Carolina) where you can watch the tracking of the movements of the ospreys who bear transmitters - http://www.bioweb.uncc.edu/bierregaard/ospreys.htm.

Also, for some incredible photographs of these wonderful raptors take a look at http://www.miguellasa.com/photos/sspopup.mg?AlbumID=1001578 . I can't even begin to imagine how Miguel Lasa, the photographer, positioned himself and/or how long it took to get these shots...... unless he was in a blind, on a trout hatchery, with an huge population of ospreys.Its a slide show, so you don't have to do anything except click below, sit back and watch! (the slides advance automatically) You're in for a treat!

Happy Spring!

PS. A Special thanks to R.O. Bierregaard, JR for the wonderful photo of the Osprey.
PSS. Mark your Calendar for the Osprey Fesrival on April 4th.
http://www.massaudubon.org/Nature_Connection/Sanctuaries/Felix_Neck/news.php