Most people admire the power and majesty of the Bald Eagle. Others prefer the grace of Egrets and Great Blue Herons. There are even those who enjoy the areal displays of Gulls (Rattus airbornicus in my opinion). There are a variety of birds that we see as symbols of springtime.
I await the piercing call, molted black and white, and steely golden eyes of the Osprey. This raptor is unique among it’s kin and far different than it’s neighbors. Unlike the larger symbol of our nation, it doesn’t feed on land dwelling carrion at all (that’s right, eagles and hawks aren’t ashamed to eat “buzzard food”). Nor does it stoop to stealing a meal from others. No, the Osprey are fishermen to the highest order. It’s talons are specially designed to hold its slippery prey and dives in feet first from great heights to snatch a meal.
I thought that I’d find my first one of the season would be found at Croaker Landing or, at least at the mouth of Taskinas Creek as it flows into the York. I saw none at either place. I left my desk to photograph a rookery of Great Blue Herons. As I took Beaver Trail to get a closer view of the nesting area, that is when I heard the call of my talisman of warm weather. Ducking under tree limbs and twigs, I found the Osprey on a dead tree. Because of the twigs, I had to switch the Pentax K-x to manual focus. I could have waited a few days to get one on the nesting platform down the cliff from the visitor’s center. But, who waits around to greet a good friend?
Be sure to look for my latest post on the Virginia State Parks Blog (http://blog.virginiaparks.org/blog/dcr-virginia) to read about the rivalry between the Bald Eagle and Osprey.