I’ve just finished reading the book Return of the Osprey: A Season of Flight and Wonder by David Gessner, a Christmas gift from my daughter Lucy. While reading it I quite naturally thought about ospreys I have known in my limited contact with these majestic birds.
Most of my contact has been casual, like the experiences we logged while rafting the Snake River in Wyoming where ospreys nested all along the river and fished in competition with bald eagles. My only non-casual contact was right here in Hilton Head last winter/spring, where I watched an osprey devour a fish on one of my early morning walks along the 11th fairway of the golf course here.
I wrote about that contact on January 5 this year and included a reference to last year’s contact with a picture of the bird and its catch. Because I consider that contact to be personal (after all, I was present with him/her for a meal even though I wasn’t offered a bite), I quite naturally felt pangs of regret when I noticed that the big pine with the osprey nest was no longer there.
I contacted Dianne Faucette, a friend and fellow member of the Carolinas Nature Photographers’ Association (CNPA) to ask for information about the nesting tree’s demise. When I met Dianne at the CNPA Annual Meeting in Charlotte last January we talked about my interest in the osprey pair and her experience monitoring osprey activity for Beaufort County, SC. She was surprised to learn that the osprey nesting tree was no longer there, and she told me she would investigate.
Dianne responded recently that “I was told the tree was dead and limbs were falling off, causing a dangerous situation for the golfers. I have explained the importance of our osprey monitoring project for Beaufort County and highly recommended they have a platform installed in a nearby pine tree for the ospreys who are already looking for “their” nest. I’m waiting for a reply…” She also asked that I continue to watch the area and let her know of any activity there.
Just yesterday, Dianne again corresponded that she had gotten the Palmetto Dunes Property Owners’ Association Board and Staff involved in the issue, and that they are taking the issue up with Greenwood Communities and Resorts (resort developer and manager of Palmetto Dunes) to get this nest replaced. Perhaps we will hear the final answer soon, hopefully with the response that a new nesting platform has been built and is ready for the return of our own osprey here in Palmetto Dunes.