Thursday, May 13, 2010

Around the osprey nest

Stopping by Lawrence and Olivia's nest is rarely dull. Yesterday (Wednesday) was the first time in quite a while that I didn't see them, but even then, a conversation with Robert (a photographer and keen follower of their story) revealed that they had had an active morning.

Just over a week ago, on Tuesday, was the last time that I saw Lawrence's handiwork at its best. Shortly after this picture was taken,

a huge section of the nest fell away. It looked pathetic. No other way to describe it. Many of us worried that Lawrence and Olivia were giving up on it, and perhaps even leaving the area.

Added to our concern, the seals haven't come back to the area as they did last season. Some time during the winter, someone must have ordered the removal of the pylons and resting places where up to forty seals used to bask in the sun with their pups. Last Friday, I watched this lone seal approach one of the only two logs in the water.

It checked out the possibility of climbing onto it, but soon gave up and swam away.

We were all happy to see Lawrence and Olivia begin rebuilding the nest. This time, they are leaving very little around the edges, but are perhaps doing a better job of packing in the middle section. To me, this seems wise, as they no longer trip and fall into the gap that used to be at the centre of the nest. I had worried about that gap possibly trapping any future chicks.

On Monday of this week, Olivia looked for all the world like she was nagging at Lawrence, and he was looking positively browbeaten.

He responded as directed, though, and began working on the nest.

Olivia didn't seem particularly impressed. She kept up a running commentary that, to my ears, was anything but encouraging.

Lawrence seemed okay with her bossiness. He went about his work with what appeared to be enthusiasm.

On Tuesday, there was lots of entertainment. I loved watching this mallard with her babies.

All nine of them!

I enjoyed the geese as well. This one was foraging for weeds (I guess) around the edge of the shoal where I stood.

Lawrence arrived with what appeared to be a crab. He went to the nest, but soon flew to the pylon. You can just see his eye peeking over the top of his right wing.

He looked up, saw Olivia, and flew very high in the sky,

where he hovered for what seemed like a long time, wings fluttering way too quickly for my camera to capture.

Olivia responded to his show, and flew past him. I missed the shot of them together, but they did a bit of a dance, before disappearing. It occurs to me that although many of us watch Lawrence and Olivia's story, there is still a lot of guesswork in recognizing what is happening. My friend, Dianne, walks in the area most mornings, and she was told by two avid bird watchers that Olivia actually arrived long before most of us realized she was there. I describe things as I imagine them to be, and believe they could still be in their courtship phase, but whether or not I interpret their actions correctly is definitely up for debate.

In other action around the nest, "my" blue heron often visits when I stand on the shoal. On Tuesday, it flew in, and caught three small eel-like creatures in the space of about fifteen minutes.

And, a first ever sighting for me. This Cedar Waxwing was not around the osprey nest, but spotted last evening during a walk at Jericho Park.

I haven't figured out if this is a couple. There were quite a few flitting around in this tree, but they were high up, and often behind branches.

I love their masks (although it sure is difficult to see their eyes), their little topknots, and their beautiful colours.

One other bit of very important news. There has been a possible sighting of Luger, the dog who disappeared on Vancouver Island. If any of you happen to be in the Crofton area, every bit of help in bringing him back to Karen would surely be appreciated! (That link will take you to more information as to how you could be of help.)


  1. I love reading about other Osprey pairs! Can I ask where you are located? We recently put up a webcam on an Osprey nest here in Montana and are waiting for them to lay eggs. Since it sounds like your pair haven't laid yet either, I was wondering where you were located.

    You can see our webcam at (there is also a link to our blog on that page).

    Sorry to see the nest destroyed by wind like that, but glad to see them rebuilding it!


  2. Glad to see Lawrence and Olivia are rebuilding and likely to stay in the area … they seem like a happily busy and communicative pair. Interpreting the species is a fun occupation that requires some guesswork. But I think you’re probably right that Olivia is a bit bossy. The butter yellow birds are so pretty and I felt I could touch the feathers on the blue heron. I also went to the webcam Tracy mentioned. How great is that! Thanks again for sharing pictures and stories of the natural world. Also, best wishes for Luger’s safe return!

  3. Love the cam, Tracy! Just had a look and one of the ospreys was on the nest. Thanks so much for sending the link. I'll keep checking on it, and will read your blog as well. I am in North Vancouver, British Columbia, and the osprey pair, Lawrence and Olivia, are on a pylon near the shore, easily seen and photographed, especially at low tide. There is a second pair, Jewel and Jonny, very high up, on a platform in a shipyard. It's much more difficult to see them, but I did watch Jonny fly with a fish yesterday.

    Thanks for the comment and good wishes for Luger, Penelope. Glad that you saw the webcam. Amazing, isn't it? Technology sure does have its benefits!