On Sunday, I received a much appreciated comment on that day's post from MarianneBill telling me that Olivia had arrived. I did not see the comment, and with the weather alternating between lighter periods of rain and full out downpours, I felt a bit less keen than usual to ride over to North Vancouver. Still, Lawrence and Olivia were on my mind, and when Bill offered to drive me to check on the nest, I was quick to accept his offer. Thank you, Bill!
When we arrived, the tide was low. I saw a lone osprey in the nest, and assumed it was Lawrence. As I made my way down the rocks to the shoal, I mumbled once, feeling silly as I said it, that I wondered if that could be Olivia. I thought for a moment that I saw the telltale brown markings across her breast, that are known as the "necklace" and considered a distinguishing feature to identify female ospreys. I stayed as long as I could brave the rain and somewhat coolish temperatures, taking pictures, but never realizing, except for that brief moment of questioning, that I was indeed seeing Olivia! This picture isn't bad, considering the rain and plastic cover on my camera. She flew off the nest only once while I was there. Can you see the necklace?
She flew very high in the sky, towards what I could barely make out to be a raptor. It was so faint, I thought it might be a Bald Eagle, and still thinking I was watching Lawrence, wondered if he was about to fight. Then, I wondered if he had spotted Olivia in the sky, and was about to start his mating dance. The two birds flew out of range, and I was left standing alone in the rain, thinking I was definitely obsessed to be there on such a day, when it was so difficult to make out what was happening. Now, I realize Olivia had been waiting in the nest, and Lawrence was out hunting. Apparently, in this time of courtship, the male will usually do most of the hunting, bringing food to the nest for the female. When she flew off, perhaps she just wanted to check how he was doing with the food search.
The crow followed Olivia for a bit, but then gave up. I wonder if it immediately recognized that Lawrence's mate had arrived.
I tried to find some pictures to compare the markings on Lawrence and Olivia. To me, they seem to be quite subtle differences. One thing that seems more clear to me than the "necklace" is the dark marking that goes back from the eye. On Olivia, that mark is quite even, with no indents. Lawrence's is even on the lower edge, but the upper edge has a very definite indent.
Knowing that Olivia has made her long journey safely makes me very happy. She and Lawrence still have a long road ahead, with courtship (apparently, this could last up to three weeks), egg laying, egg hatching and chick raising each having their own challenges. I look forward to seeing them together, and to the privilege of learning more about their world.
In other news, I saw a Wood Duck yesterday, for the first time at Jericho. A young man, and very knowledgeable bird watcher, had kindly told me about it on Saturday, and although I couldn't seem to find it then, was happy that it stayed over for at least another day. It seems extraordinary to me that any bird could be this beautiful.
Another young man told me that there is a Canvasback in the area. I took a picture of this fellow, thinking it could be the Canvasback, but looking in my book, realize the colouring is wrong. It was the only one of its kind in a flock of ducks, and appeared to be much larger than the others. Actually, it almost seemed like a duck/goose hybrid. Could there be such a thing?