Breaking Bird News….At Least to Me!

A couple weeks ago, we left Gallup, New Mexico, and arrived to our present destination in Williams, Arizona, a charming mountainside ‘western’ town designated as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon” and nestled in Kaibab Forest, one of the largest Ponderosa Pine Forests in the world.  We’ve been to the Grand Canyon and Sedona & it’s surrounding areas where I’ve gone crazy with photography; I have so many to go through and attempt to condense down to just a few of each to share with you.

But first, I really REALLY needed to share this post. This is excitingly special to me!  🙂

There are four lakes around Williams, which is at an elevation of 6800 ft.  I’m indeed loving the surrounding landscape but wanted…..no, needed to photograph some birds, so I visited 45-acre Kaibab Lake, just a couple miles north of our campground.

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Walking along the lake, taking photos, I heard a distinct series of high-pitched calls, followed by a succession of chirps, then the high-pitched squeals again.

What?  No way!  An Osprey?  One of my loves of the Chesapeake Bay, here in Arizona??

I started scanning the skies and look who passed on by me….

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I quickly moved around, scanning through the treetops where the male Osprey was headed and “bingo!” spotted the nest on a tall dead tree surrounded by live pines a couple hundred feet in to the forest where the “Mrs” was impatiently waiting and calling.

I was so excited and couldn’t believe my eyes.  What a special treat!!

And what an impressive nest!

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Can you also see a chick looking up at Dad as he’s coming in for the landing?

The pair of Osprey have two chicks.  Here’s my best family portrait so far, one chick is on each side of Momma in the nest, while Dad is on his perch.

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See the two chicks?

The chicks are young.  On occasion, I could see a wing stretch out and over the nest but no flapping as yet.

A few more photos, angling around the live pines surrounding the nest.

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On my second visit, an even more special find!  I arrived to a loud ruckus overhead.  There were four Osprey in the sky, circling, while the Osprey pair were on their nest, squealing their distaste for the intruders.  Dad first took to the sky to chase, and then Mom.  The chicks stayed down low inside the nest.

With all the trees, I couldn’t get any really good shots, but did get these of the female returning back to her babies while her partner continued to push the other four Osprey further from the area.

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That was a total of six adult Osprey!  How cool is that?!!  I was in awe and shock.

Two of the Osprey flew across the lake and over the pines.  When I left and drove around to that side of the lake that borders near Rt. 64, I located a second nest right on Rt. 64.  It was empty, making me wonder if the two Osprey I had seen fly this direction occupied it but were still out and about.  It’s a solid nest that appears to be season fresh, but lacks a brood it seems.

My third visit, I chatted with a local who came over to ask me what I was photographing (a Great Blue Heron at the time).  He fished Kaibab Lake & had come to see the water level, which I could tell seemed quite low.  Even as low as it looks, he told me the lake was still a good 15-20 feet deep with an abundance of fish including rainbow trout, largemouth bass, sunfish, carp, and channel catfish.  Per Wikipedia, the average depth of the Kaibab Lake is 37 feet.  With the summer’s average temps in the 80’s F, along with an excellent food supply, Kaibab Lake does make for a good home for the Osprey.

Who knew I’d see Osprey in the Southwest?!  I certainly did not expect it!!

Have a Happy 4th weekend, be safe and enjoy!

 

35 thoughts on “Breaking Bird News….At Least to Me!

  1. An excellent find, and excellent photos! When I was younger, the best place to still find osprey was out west, it’s only because of the breeding programs of the 1970’s and 80’s that they have become common in the east again.

    • Thanks Jerry! I was hyped on trying to find new birds out West, so seeing the Osprey really through me for a loop. I thought maybe they were following me from the Chesapeake Bay! 🙂

  2. Terrific photos – and great lighting for them. Lucky you! I can just feel your excitement in your comments, and totally understand! Brings back memories of when we made our trip to the north rim and stayed at Jacob’s Lake Inn, about 45 min. north. The drive through the Kaibob forest to the park was lovely — but I wasn’t even ‘thinking’ ospreys! Thanks for sharing. Right now I am enjoying our osprey chicks on our nest in Shipping Creek Cove.
    Check out my video of mama feeding the chicks on my Chesapeake Scenes facebook page.

  3. How amazing, Donna! Your photos are outstanding. What a wonderful surprise for you. That’s a very impressive nest, for sure. Love the one of the mom, dad, and two youngsters. 🙂

    • Thanks Sylvia, I loved the surprise! I haven’t had a chance yet, but do plan to return to the nest in next day or so. I’d love to see the chicks do some wing flapping. 🙂

  4. Your photos are excellent Donna! I glad that you found the ospreys. I can tell that you miss the ones you left in Chesapeake. Great post! 🙂

  5. What a delightful find and such great photos to share with us. I am thoroughly enjoying your travels. Sounds like you are, too! Happy 4th weekend to you!

  6. What a wonderful find Donna! You got the blessing of the complete package, nest, babies and all. You are having a an exciting adventure, it is so exhilarating for the soul and spirit:-)

    • It was such a blessing to me, Ashley! Although we are enjoying our adventure, I am missing the Chesapeake Bay and all the shorebirds…..and, most importantly, the grandboys. 🙂

    • Thanks, Hien! I’ve got my eyes to the sky constantly now anywhere we ride but no sightings any where else as yet. I’m going to revisit the nest tomorrow and just sit and watch them. 🙂

  7. Oh this is great news! I know how you have missed having an occupied nest right there in front of you. So glad you got to see them and got some good photos…and what a nest! Happy 4th! hugs

    • Thanks Elizabeth, I do miss the daily adventures of the CBay Osprey. The CBay is so lucky to have them return in large numbers! Seeing the Osprey here in Arizona was beyond thrilling to me. Happy 4th to you to! hugs

  8. What a wonderful find! They are your bird, alright. And aren’t the clouds beautiful in summer? Happy to say i am getting out again and seeing babies too! All the best to you.

    • I felt like seeing them was a sweet reminder of our life on the Chesapeake Bay that we loved so much. I’m kinda in the north part of Arizona in Kaibab Ponderosa National Forest that extends all the way above the Grand Canyon. The ponderosas are gorgeous!

  9. WooHoo!!! That must have been a thrilling experience, Donna! That nest is truly impressive, I’ve only seen those on my Honeymoon Island hikes – all other nests here are on some kind of platform or even on lamp-posts. I’m sure the nest needs reinforcements as the chicks grow 🙂 When defense is going on, the chicks always lay low in the nest – and this threat was so big both parents had to do their part. What a great thing to witness 🙂 Sorry, I’m reading your posts ‘backwards’ as I am a bit sporadic now with my reading…hope you’ll get more pics of these Ospreys!

    • I know you know what a thrill it was when I found these Osprey, Helen! I have since talked to a local at the park about the nest, he said it’s been there for a few years and always active. I since found a third nest at another lake a couple miles away but it was at such a distance, the photos weren’t the greatest. I had hoped to see Osprey at some point on my trip figuring more north, but certainly didn’t expect to find them so far Southwest. 🙂

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