August 9, 2010

Osprey in New York’s St. Lawrence Valley



 …Atlantic salmon are the glamorous aristocrats (of the sea, as viewed by human eyes)…From 1865 to 1910, an habitant by the name of Napoleon Comeau was employed to guard the salmon in the rather inconsequential Godbout River on the north shore of the St. Lawrence estuary…Napoleon’s task was to make sure that nobody and nothing took so much as a smolt from the waters that belonged to (his employers, a handful of Montreal businessmen and politicos who had leased exclusive salmon fishing rights on the Godbout River)…For forty-three years, he and his assistants waged war up and down the river and in the adjacent waters of the estuary against “Those base enemies of the regal salmon: white whales, porpoises, seals, bears, minks, otters, mergansers, kingfishers, ospreys, and loons.”***(bold inserted).***


Osprey Nest     “What’s that?” my husband Monte and I wondered as we saw what looked like a bird nest on top of an electric pole on our route between Black Lake in Edwardsville, New York, and Edwards, New York.

     When Monte spotted a second nest, I proclaimed “STOP!” I put my camera strap around my neck as he compliantly pulled over. Pointing my camera, I put my trigger finger to work, and capturing a large bird flying from its nest. Then I moved in to record the nest itself, also dangerously constructed atop an electric pole.

     We arrived at Sunnyside of Black Lake, a nine-room series rooms, attached behind a house, nicely located on the lake. We mentioned the nests to the business owners, Karl and Carolyn Geiger. He explained that what we saw were osprey nests.  

     My interest in ospreys began with a visit to Googins Island, Maine, an osprey refuge. I’d researched them on the Internet, and was preparing a post on them (to read, click on: Googins Island, Maine: An Osprey Sanctuary).


Photo by Karl Geiger

     Ospreys can be considered Eagles based on their size, and certainly have overlapping behavior and habitats with eagles, such as the Bald Eagle. Ospreys, specifically, are very well adapted for living near shore, and feeding on shallow-water fish…

eagles, hawks and falcons differentiate based on size, shape, color, and method of flight, but there are many minor differences in behavior, habitat and feeding that can help with the differentiation.*

     Ospreys are typically found in New York’s St. Lawrence Valley between April and September—they migrate to South America for the winter. They catch their primary food, fish, by plunging into the water feet first. With needle-sharp hooked (more…)

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