Happy Spring! Ospreys Are Here!

March 20, 2022

Happy Spring! Today is the spring equinox which marks the astronomical first day of spring around the Northern Hemisphere. The spring equinox is when the days start to get longer.

The ospreys are back in town for the start of nesting season here in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Seeing the ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) back in town has also been a sign of springtime for me. Ospreys usually return to their nesting site in March. Therefore, I went out yesterday to do my first photographing of the osprey’ nesting season for spring 2022.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) with fish after taking off from post taking half-eaten fish to mate in the nest nearby on a early spring morning at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Osprey with fish after taking off from post to take half-eaten fish to mate in the nest nearby on a early spring morning at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia. When the ospreys return to their old nesting site, the male will catch fish and bring to female at nest as part of the beginning of their courtship behavior.

One of the best places in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia to photograph and observe several osprey pairs nesting is at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia. Fort Monroe is encompassed by Mill Creek and the Hampton Roads.

On Fort Monroe along Mill Creek there are several osprey nests that are built on osprey platforms and light poles. This is a great location for photographing nesting ospreys during their spring arrival until their migration back to their wintering grounds in South America. The ospreys travel up to 240 miles in a day during their migration times.

In March, the male osprey will return to the nesting site first. The female osprey will then show up at the nesting spot a week or two later.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) in flight to nest with half-eaten fish for mate seating on nest on an early spring morning at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Male osprey in flight to nest with half-eaten fish for mate seated on nest on an early spring morning at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia. The male osprey sat at a post eating half of the fish that he caught before carrying the half-eaten fish to the female osprey waiting at the nest.

Once the pair of ospreys have return to their nesting site, they will rebuild their nest. They both will gather sticks and an assortment of items. Even a facemask has been used to freshen up their nest for the new nesting season. The female osprey will generally spend the time arranging the items on the nest.

Female osprey (Pandion haliaetus) sitting on nest waiting and for mate to bring back fish on an early spring morning as the pair begins the mating season at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Female osprey sitting on nest waiting for mate to bring back fish on an early spring morning as the pair begins the a new mating season. Osprey pairs are generally monogamous and often mate for life.

It seems all the pairs of ospreys nesting at Fort Monroe National Monument along Mill Creek arrived back to their old nests. I am looking forward to photographing and observing how this year’s osprey nesting season goes. As a wildlife and nature conservation photographer, I am always looking for a new story or new way to capture the ospreys. I will be sharing a lot more osprey images this nesting season.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) male bringing fish to female on nest during an early spring morning as the ospreys return to their nesting site to begin a new breeding season at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Osprey male bringing fish to female on nest during an early spring morning as the ospreys return to their nesting site to begin a new breeding season. Male ospreys sometimes perform an aerial display near the nest site as they bring a fish back to the nest. This display is preformed during the early part of the osprey courtship. In addition, this display by the male osprey is to attract their mates and to threaten any intruders.
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) pair hanging out on nest on a very windy spring morning at Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia.
Osprey pair hanging out on nest on a very windy spring morning. Ospreys migrate separately and return to the same existing nest structures each year to start a new family.

Happy spring! May you blossom with the season.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes Blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

Copyright © 2022 Lori A Cash

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