A fellow raptor-lover / naturalist friend of mine lives on a boat by Point Richmond, and this winter she convinced the harbor master to install a platform on the breakwater in hopes that osprey would nest there. They did! Osprey have been continuing to be present in increasing numbers here in the Bay Area, and I was able to get to see the nest last week, just a week after the two babies hatched. It was difficult to see them because they are still so small, but I hope to return to see them in a couple of weeks when they are more visible.
Right when I got there, dad (named Lee) had just caught a nice sized striped bass and was looking for a place to start eating. The fish looks like it is saying “oooooooohhhhhhh shit.” Valid.
My friend said that he typically has been the one hunting, and the female sits on the nest with the young since they hatched. Evidently he seems to always get this size and type of fish, and there were reports about a year ago of a surge in the density of striped bass in the Bay. He usually finds a spot to eat the head, before he delivers it to the nest. Today though, he left a nearby perch possibly due to the high winds and he went right over the nest. But not before the gulls harrassed him for his dinner.
The gulls are always looking for an easy meal, and two great-blue herons that were on the breakwater were not pleased …
A double-crested cormorant popped up right by us on the dock, beautiful creatures.
Pops decided to re-locate after mom (Eileen) had fed herself and the tiny little hatchlings. He went on a perch just to the side of the nest to keep working on dinner, as the sky turned to pink and purple with the setting sun.
Special thanks to Shirley for all the work she does and her love for these birds.
Evidently I was late to the party Sunday, but for almost two weeks there was a huge herring run at Ferry Point on Pt. Richmond. It attracted large numbers of gulls (in the thousands) – including some rare species – as well as sea lions, seals, other shore birds and humans with their cameras and fishing boats. I was a day too late! The fish come in every year to reproduce and lay their eggs. Many end up as dinner for the creatures listed above.
Despite being late for the climax, I was however able to see some of the left-over roe (eggs) that hadn’t been eaten and were attached to sea weed and other vegetation exposed at the low tide when I was there. I’ll have to wait for next year to catch the action.
In Europe these fish are known as “silver of the sea” because of their long-standing role in the economies of many cultures there, and they continue to be a staple source of food that humans harvest from the sea and many animals depend upon them as part of their survival.
As I left I saw a beautiful quarter-moon with Jupiter shining right by it.