Monday, August 25, 2008

Osprey and Northern Mockingbird on Cape Cod

These pictures are from my trip to the beach with my mom last Thursday. I was hoping to get some pictures of the Osprey (and her fledglings if they were still around) and sure enough she was out making some passes over Shore Road.

I was also following this Northern Mockingbird, who was very active. I followed it down to this dead tree where some sparrows were also hanging out. The Mockingbird was jumping and climbing about the tree like a monkey until finally perching atop one of the tallest branches of the tree, shown in the right-hand side of the picture.
Here's the close-up of that shot.

Later on I heard the Osprey, which alerted me to get my camera out quickly.

I wish I had had it with me back in July when the fledglings were out for practice flights. Their "bleating" calls caught my attention and there they were- probably four or so- flying in the exact same spot over Shore Road. About two minutes later their mother came from the other side of the road (where there are woods) and met them. Shortly after they made their way back to their nest atop the man-made perch. We have lots of these perches around Bourne (and other parts of the Cape).

According to an article in The Enterprise, Ospreys were almost completely wiped out in Massachusetts due to DDT. Apparently ospreys and other birds of prey are extremely susceptible to pesticides. There were just a dozen of them left before agencies stepped in. As a child I remember my grandmother and mother pointing out and explaining what the giant perches were. It was several years before I actually noticed the birds out flying around.

One particularly memorable encounter occurred at the same spot as Thursday- Monument Beach. This was back when I was babysitting in high school and I took the kids down to the beach to walk around. We oblivious to the fact that the perch was even there, and were wading in the water near the marsh and to the left of the road out to Tobey Island. All of a sudden the mother appeared, fervently protecting her young up in the nest, screeching and diving at us. Needless to say, we made that a short trip to the beach.

The Enterprise article goes on to share other interesting information about the osprey's nesting habits and conservation history in Massachusetts.


Bennet said...

Great pics!

Larry said...

It's great to see that the Ospreys are back and doinso well.-You did a nice job of tacking down The Mockngbird and Osprey.-Very Good photos!