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Jun 21, 2015

Ospreys reclaim old nest sites

Ospreys have have returned to nest in two King Township places that were abandoned for the last year or two.   Pictured above is an Osprey occupying the huge nest that has been used for several years at the northern end of Bathurst Street, on the Holland River.   The nest is a couple of hundred metres or so beyond the actual end of Bathurst Street and vehicle access is usually not available because of a chain across the laneway which goes into private marsh garden lands.   Sometimes, as was the case today, the laneway is accessible while the farm vehicles are working the lands of the Holland Marsh, and I was able to drive up to and right below the nest...otherwise I would have had to take a short walk in on foot.   These Ospreys are fairly calm but the photo below does show the reaction I got when I approached the nest.   The Osprey gave a somewhat subdued screeching cry, as if to say: "You have come close enough".   I took a couple of pictures, retreated a bit, and then went on my way.      

 All photos by BarrytheBirder

The sign pictured at right marks the the end of Bathurst Street North in King Township. If you spot this sign, you can pull over to edge of the road and walk a couple of hundred metres, angling to your right, where the Osprey nest can be seen atop a hydro pole in the distance.   There are also a couple of abandoned buildings beneath the pole that also act as landmarks for the nest site.

Meanwhile, a few kilometres south and west, on the south side of the Holland Marsh, where Keele Street crosses the south canal (north of Hwy. 9), Ospreys have once again occupied a long-time nest at the Spray Lake  Watersports and Activity Centre (see photo below).   The nest is on the north side of Spray Lake and has been re-occupied after an absence of a year or two.   The nest and ospreys can be seen from the parking lot but you need binoculars or a spotting scope to get a good look.   Of course, if you're lucky, the Ospreys may soar right above you.   Spray Lake is a commercial venture, so dropping by for a free look at the birds should be limited to a short time.   Otherwise, there may be a fee to visit the park.

These two reclaimed Osprey nest sites are great news because they mitigate loss of two other Osprey nest sites that have been abandoned in recent times.   One is the longtime, but now missing nest, on a tall light post, in the parking lot at Seneca College's King Campus, on Dufferin Street.   The nest site was nearby to the Eaton Hall Lake.   The other now unused site is the huge communications tower at Temperanceville.   The tower is on the south side of the King Road and west of Bathurst Street.   The nest of the last few years there has been removed and has not been rebuilt yet.   I have seen Ospreys inspecting it however.   Of course there are private sites in King Township where Osprey occupy nests on or near to small kettle lakes, but they largely unknown to anyone but the landowners and a few lucky observers.
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