“It is a most beautiful spectacle although often difficult for us to observe. After catching a fish, the male gains height as he returns to the nesting area and while still several kilometres away he starts his display. To me the display call is very distinctive; it’s a high-pitched ‘pee-pee-pee-pee…pee’ and if I search the skies I will see him soaring majestically, maybe a thousand feet above, as he moves in sweeping circles closer and closer to the nesting site. He climbs several hundred feet upwards with rapidly beating wings, then hovering briefly, with fanned tail, he performs a breathtaking dive showing the fish grasped in outstretched talons. He pulls out of the dive and powers sky-wards to repeat the performance. All the time his calling can be heard by his mate and finally his last stoop takes him in a long power dive right to the eyrie, where the fish is presented to his mate.”
(Ospreys, by Roy Dennis, Colin Baxter Photography Ltd, 1991, p13)
There’s no sweeter sound in late March than an amorous Osprey, save perhaps, the lonely peeplo calls of Piping Plovers. To those of us who love the shore and its birds and who miss them for the months of their absence, both are enough to bring tears to our eyes.
There was a bit of female rivalry taking place at this northernmost nest on Sandy Hook yesterday. A female interloper repeatedly interrupted the male’s courtship flight… whether to steal the fish he meant to present to his mate below or perhaps to steal him away from her.
Click on the pic for a slightly more satisying view. Can anyone name the channel marker thingy for me?