Since I saw the Osprey in the Park last Thursday, I have made a point of visiting the park near sundown on my way home. Every evening the bird has appeared, and while in many instances it was too late for good photography, I have enjoyed his antics so much that visits will probably continue for a while. This evening was foggy, but the previous evening was sunny and cool. On both occasions a couple of reasonable images were produced, and the bird ate about 6 fish while I watched.
It seems that Griffin's Pond is full of Carp and Goldfish! This pond was not purposefully stocked, and no one is sure how this happened. The most popular hypothesis is a Maritime version of the Crocodiles in New York Sewers Urban Legend (i.e. some people wanted to get rid of their goldfish…). Regardless, the pond is a one-stop takeout for Ospreys. Except for some Gulls, there are no other predators for these fish.
The pond is named after a young Irish lad named Griffin, who was hanged on the east side of the pond. It turned out that he had been falsely accused and convicted, so they named the pond after him. I'm sure his ghost appreciates it. This may be a viable path to everlasting fame, but since most people just know of it as the fousty duck pond, it is probably just more evidence that fame is transitory and that entropy always increases.
Being a bit curious, I hunted up the etymology of the name Osprey. It sounded a bit unusual to me, and I was hoping for some interesting Greek or Roman legend, or that it was named after a hero or god. Much to my bemusement, it is Latin for "Bird of Prey"! For a species that is significantly different from any other raptor to have a name meaning raptor is a bit surreal. I also found out that it is the provincial bird of Nova Scotia. So much for making it the provincial bird of Newfoundland and Labrador. Newfoundland's is currently the Atlantic Puffin; this was instituted in 1991, and one suspects the main reason for this choice is advertising for the tourist trade. It would be have been nice to have something a bit more majestic, and more representative of Newfoundland experience and traits. A common name for it on the Northeast coast of Newfoundland is Seahawk.
The Osprey has a unique fishing style. Some birds, including Cormorants and Puffins, land, then dive after the fish. Others, like Gannets, dive in headfirst. Ospreys locate a fish just under the surface, then dive towards it. Before hitting the water they stick their feet forwards then bellyflop into the water. A couple of seconds later they fly back into the air, then perch somewhere and eat. This bird has caught a fish every time I have seen it dive.
Crow trying to force the Osprey away from the pond. Two crows in the Gardens harass the Osprey regularly. They are trying to defend their nestlings nearby. The Osprey, who only eats fish, tries to ignore them. Sometimes the crows chase him around until he gets annoyed and takes a turn chasing them. It also reminds me a little of Hitchcock's "The Birds"
a quickr pickr post
Griffin's Pond, the largest body of water in the Gardens, was named after a young Irish man who was hanged for murder on the east side of the pond in the 1830s. They named it for him after discovering that he was falsely convicted.
a quickr pickr post