Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Raptor updates: White-tailed Kite and Osprey

Well, Scott just let me know that the White-tailed Kite was not seen tonight by the small group of kite-spotters waiting patiently at Stratford Point, nor was it detected in its regular hangouts at Milford Point. However, several people got great looks this morning and the bird was unusually visible on-and-off all morning as it hunted over the coastal grassland management area at Stratford Point. I guess it just deviated from its routine a bit - which was not entirely unexpected after hunting unsuccessfully last night. The cooler weather this morning allowed it to chase prey for a longer time and perhaps it just called it a day with a full stomach by lunchtime? I last saw the bird around 11:30AM flying past my office window, but did not have time to keep an eye on it after that. Hopefully it will be back again tomorrow morning. Time will tell...

Meanwhile on the other side of the river, daily routines are getting crazy too. The young Osprey at Milford Point are getting rowdier with each day as they learn to catch fish or fight over the food that mum and dad bring in. Of course these babies are now the same size as their parents and things are getting a little crowded in the old homestead (keep in mind that an adult Osprey has a 5+ ft wingspan!). As you can tell from Kevin Doyle's photos below, their nest is slowly starting to fall apart from all the use and abuse it suffered in the last few months.... all signs are there: the time for these guys to head south on their first big journey is approaching rapidly!

Chunks of debris fall off the Osprey nest as one of the birds takes off
The rowdy bunch!

Another quick Osprey update is in place here too: I spoke with one of the owners of "Wildlife in Crisis" this morning to get a status update on the Osprey that Scott and I rescued from Pleasure Beach a while ago. The bird suffered a dislocated shoulder and is recovering but only slowly. Apparently it spent a long time early on escaping from its bandages, which slowed down the recovery process. Even though the shoulder is now healing well, the bird has been in a fairly small cage still to facilitate its feeding (it has to be hand-fed, which is hard to do in a larger enclosure!). As soon as its shoulder has sufficiently healed it will be allowed to move into a flight cage where it can rebuild its strength - which will hopefully be very soon. At this point it is not clear yet whether the Osprey will be fit to be released before its migration window closes, or whether it will need to sit out the winter in its temporary home in Connecticut. We'll keep you updated here!
Photographs by Kevin Doyle

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