May 192016
 

This is the sixth year that I have observed  this Osprey nest. It is located in the Whatcom Creek gorge, just downstream from Whatcom Falls Park, Bellingham, Washington. For more background, please see my previous posts about the 2015,  2014,  2013,  2012, and 2011 nesting seasons. The small images can be clicked for bigger images. Click your back button to return to the post.

This year, the female was the first to arrive.

On March 31, 2016, Ma arrives. This is the exact same date as her arrival last year.

Osprey * Whatcom Falls Park

Osprey * Whatcom Falls Park

 

  April 1, 2016

Ma waiting for Pa.

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April 2, 2016

Somehow the unattached males have figured out that Ma is alone. Several males are flying around the nest and fighting. We saw one pair lock talons and tumble into the trees. Eventually they disengaged and flew off.

Ospreys * Whatcom Falls Park

Ospreys * Whatcom Falls Park

 
Ospreys * Whatcom Falls Park

Ospreys * Whatcom Falls Park

Ospreys * Whatcom Falls Park

Ospreys * Whatcom Falls Park

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Ma with a fish

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April 4, 2016

One male seems to have dominated and been accepted by Ma.

Ma at right, new male at left.

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However the battles continue as others compete to be the dominant male. I saw as many as eight Ospreys in the air over the nest at one time, with much screaming and threatening flights.

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Ma’s new partner

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April 7, 2016

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April 8, 2016

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April 15, 2016

The pair bonds, mates and starts working on the nest in between the continuing drama of several other males still competing to be king of the nest.

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Ospreys * Whatcom Falls Park

Ospreys * Whatcom Falls Park

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April 25, 2016

For obvious reasons, the new male has been named Bigeyes.

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Ospreys * St. Clair Nest

Ospreys * St. Clair Nest

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Osprey * St. Clair Nest

Osprey * St. Clair Nest

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May 1, 2016

Several males in the area are still fighting for dominance and the privilege of being with Ma and this desirable nest. The chaos continues. At one point I counted seven Ospreys flying around, screaming and chasing one another. Ma repelled unwanted advances, and any bird that landed on the nest was dive bombed.

…. one enterprising male appeared with a nice fish. He hovered, swooped, and vocalized, showing it off to Ma in an attempt to impress her. Unfortunately he attracted the wrong kind of attention. An adult Bald Eagle was in the area and had designs on the fish. Chase ensued. Surely an Osprey could out maneuver a Bald Eagle, and he did for a couple minutes. The Eagle was persistent and showed flying prowess that matched the Osprey. Eventually, the Osprey gave up the prize, and the Eagle snatched it out of mid air. Kleptoparasitism. A closer look at my photographs revealed fishing line and a weight or swivel still attached to the fish. It appears that the Osprey is also guilty of kleptoparasitism. Some fisher person on Lake Whatcom or Lake Padden has a story to tell about the one that got away, snatched by an Osprey.

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May 9, 2016

Bigeyes and Ma on the nest. Eggs may have been laid.

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May 20, 2016

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Water from Lake Whatcom and drainage from Alabama Hill, that filters through Scudder Pond creates a lagoon across from Bloedel Donovan Park.

This lagoon is the headwaters of Whatcom Creek, and is about 3/4 mile from the St. Clair Osprey nest, as the Osprey flies.

While birding the Scudder Pond area, we spotted two Ospreys circling over the lagoon, apparently looking for fish.

They didn’t want to share the fishing grounds , so much screaming and chasing ensued.

One perched in a cottonwood at the edge of the lagoon, only to have the other fly in and perch right next to it.

The standoff lasted a few minutes. One bird left. The apparent victor of this skirmish was our Bigeyes.

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May 30, 2016

BIGEYES with a flounder

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He ate his share, then took the rest into the nest for Ma {sitting on eggs}. However, there was an intruder in the area, so he removed the fish from the nest, perched nearby, and screamed at the intruder.

At one point, Ma left the nest for a minute, leaving the eggs unprotected. She returned and after the intruder was vanquished, Bigeyes returned with the fish. Bigeyes stayed on the nest and Ma took the fish to a perch where she had a meal.

 

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Ma

June 10, 2016

Bigeyes brings a stick into the nest.

Ma stretching, preening and taking some time off of the nest.

June 16, 2016

Bigeyes yelled at an intruder. There is another Osprey pair in the area that get the wrath of Ma and Bigeyes every time they fly by.

June 22, 2016

Bigeyes delivers another stick to the nest.

While on a break from nest duties, Ma stretches.

June 26, 2016

Ma on her favorite perch.

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June 28, 2016

Though the chicks have not been seen, I’m fairly certain they have hatched.

Bigeyes is still improving the nest. He carefully places the twig at the rim of the nest.

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An intruder buzzed the nest, possibly hoping to steal a fish that was cached in the nest.

Bigeyes saw it coming and defended the nest.

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                                    Ma quickly returns to the nest. After the threat has passed, she flies over to her perch.

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Osprey * St. Clair Nest

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June 30, 2016

 Both parents off of the nest, another clue that the chick{s} are getting bigger and don’t need constant attention.

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July 6, 2016

Bigeyes still working on the nest.

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 Posted by at 3:06 pm

  One Response to “2016 St. Clair Osprey Nest”

  1. Doug,
    These osprey photos and the story with your captions are fantastic !!! I really enjoyed viewing these, and appreciate the chance to enjoy them. Thank you for sharing your work. The clarity and close-ups are really great ! And the osprey themselves are so impressive in this snippet of their lives and acrobatics !
    Thanks again,
    Susan

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