More Ospreys, great videos and a rescued Painted Turtle

I took the Parental Unit out for a drive, today.

This time I had the foresight to bring along my REAL video camera, my Sony Handi-Cam. I wanted to see if I could get better video of the Ospreys than I have been getting on my little Canon digital. AND HOW! I can’t get as close up as I would like with the camera before it gets blurry but I am very pleased with the resolution.

I can’t get any closer to the nests without risking a poo shower (you’ll see why from one of the videos!)

The young are getting much bigger and are really stretching their wings. It won’t be long before they start practicing and exercising their wings for the day when they leave the nests for the first time.

We were adding up the nests that we know of and have figured that we know of 8 nests. Each nest has two adults and two young, which means that there are 32 Ospreys that we visit each time. And every time we go out, we discover another nest (or two, even!).

What I can tell you about Ospreys is that:

  • The female is generally larger than the male
  • It is difficult to tell the sex of an adult unless you see them together
  • They eat mostly fish, caught live.
  • The Osprey has four toes, unlike other raptors
  • They both sit on the nest, the female doing most of the sitting and the male taking over when the female wants to go off and feed
  • When the young come along, they take turns on the nest. When the young get bigger, one sits nearby and watches the nest while the other is off feeding or hunting.

I filmed 5(?) of the nests today. One is too far off the road to see much even with binoculars. You can just barely distinguish the young in that nest. In the other nests, the young are very visible and active. The only problem in seeing much is that the poles on which the nests sit are so tall. If you are too close, you can’t see the action and too far way… well, the action is too small to see.

As mentioned, the trip also involved the rescue of a Painted Turtle.

Unlike last week, I managed to avoid killing any wildlife and it more or less made up for killing the woodpecker that we were able to rescue a Painted Turtle from the middle of the highway. He was pretty fortunate because he was right in the middle of the oncoming lane when I spotted him and he narrowly missed getting crushed by one car. I managed to get a (very) short video and a couple of photos of him before I took him down to the swampy area near Nicholson’s Locks to release him.

Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle

Two years ago, we “sort of” rescued a HUGE Snapping Turtle from the middle of another highway. “Sort of” because all we could do was force it off the road by bulldozing it with a large piece of plywood. It was two feet long and about a foot high and by extending it’s neck, it could reach out almost another foot. Snappers have formidable beaks that can sever fingers and even a hand.

Without losing any appendages, we got it into the ditch but there wasn’t any real water about for it to head to on either side of the road. If it went back on the road, it wasn’t as much a danger to itself as any car coming along could have been badly damaged hitting a turtle of that size. It probably wasn’t going to do the turtle any good getting hit but it could also have killed or severely injured an unwary motorist hitting it.

Had I had anyone with me strong enough, I might have tried the old method the Indians used for capturing Snapping Turtles. They would take a sturdy tree branch or axe handle and make it bite it. Once it has it’s jaws clamped shut, it won’t generally let go and they would carry it hanging from the branch. At least that it the theory. It would have been worth a try. Of course, as I say, there wasn’t anyplace nearby to properly release it, I had no one with me to help me carry it, and I had no tree branch or axe handle….


  1. azahar said,

    July 10, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Have you seen this?

    How The Turtle’s Shell Developed

    • sledpress said,

      July 10, 2009 at 11:21 pm

      This is just the kind of thing that gets me all excited. Connective tissue structures! Evolution! Pectoral muscles! Kinesiology!

    • mudhooks said,

      July 11, 2009 at 4:15 am

      Really interesting!

      I was listening to an edition of Quirks and Quarks and they were talking about the dinosaur/bird connection. It was called “How to Build a Dinosaur” (also an excellent interview what “Watching Giants” on the same program!)

      You can listen to the various segments at the link above.

      According to Dr. Jack Horner (Yeah, I thought it funny, too!) in the initial stages of the chicken embryo’s development, it has a tail, a faily long one, too. At a certain point, the gene for tail development is tuned off and the tail disappears. The same goes for teeth.

  2. July 8, 2009 at 12:30 am

    I envy you being able to see ospreys. THe nearest ospreys here are in northern England and Scotland

  3. July 7, 2009 at 4:16 am

    I love ospreys, and I saw a huge nest with an occupant this weekend! They’re fun to watch as they fish.

  4. sledpress said,

    July 6, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    I once spent a pleasant hour watching ospreys who nest off the shore of the Potomac, on a rocky eminence out in the middle of the water. It’s such a busy river I was surprised at them, but they didn’t seem the least perturbed by boaters and offshore commotion. The river area was crummy with debris from St. Patrick’s Day, which DC, like everywhere else in America, makes an excuse for a lot of inane “partying” and green folderol. The osprey nest was marvelously festooned with emerald decorations. They seemed to be taking turns working on it, but of course it was too early for there to be young.

    • mudhooks said,

      July 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm

      That is hilarious… I am picturing it all!

    • mudhooks said,

      July 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm

      I just added several videos to the post (there are two more to add), including the one demonstrating why one shouldn’t get too close to an Osprey (or any bird of prey) nest.

  5. nursemyra said,

    July 6, 2009 at 5:07 pm


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