NATURE NOTES – OSPREY SIGHTINGS AT WEEKS WETLAND

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–Amanda Wedow, Lopez Island Preserve Steward

Photos courtesy of Beth St. George

Next time you are in the village, bring your binoculars!

The Osprey is a large fish-eating hawk and is one of our seasonal residents from spring to fall. Around Fisherman Bay, Osprey may be seen near the water and in spectacular dives to catch their prey with their talons before flying to a nearby perch.

Osprey platform Close UpLast fall, the Land Bank installed a nesting platform at Weeks Wetland with the hope that in spring, returning Ospreys would take up residence. Around mid-April, Osprey started returning to the island and then two weeks ago, the first sighting was reported at Weeks Wetland. Observers have reported seeing a pair of Osprey, sometimes carrying a fish or a branch up to the platform. One bird, likely the female, is perching on the pole regularly. The raptors are smaller than an eagle, with a dark back, white undersides, and white head with dark streak.weeks osprey on perch

Ospreys nest in other locations on Lopez Island, around Fisherman Bay and north of the village. While reviewing potential locations around Fisherman Bay that would be suitable for a nesting platform, wildlife biologist Jim Kaiser identified Weeks Wetland as an ideal site. The Land Bank Preserve is on the shoreline with plenty of open space. It is also an excellent opportunity for wildlife viewing from multiple locations.

weeks osprey landingThe cedar-frame platform features an elevated perch and is attached to a re-purposed utility pole. Before attaching the platform, a few sticks were tied in to ‘seed the nest’ and attract Osprey. If the Osprey choose to nest on the platform, they will bring many more sticks and branches to construct a nest. For now, they are frequently seen on the elevated perch or perching on the frame.