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.
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….
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!