Sunday, April 10, 2011

Seahawk at Chambers Creek

Growing up in New Jersey, we would often visit Island Beach State Park. As a college photography student, I walked the dune trails and beaches regularly. I have two selenium-toned black-and-white images from those years hanging in my house. The park preserves the Atlantic coastline the way it was before side-by-side beach houses crowded The Shore, as we call it in Jersey. Early on, power lines were installed underground but several power poles were left in place for nesting osprey - or seahawk.

In all of those years, I never saw an osprey. Like bald eagles and many other birds, osprey were nearly wiped out from pesticide poisoning. They started making a comeback after DDT was banned in 1972.

About 90% of the pairs nesting along the coast between New York City and Boston disappeared between 1950 and 1970.

This guy defended his fishing grounds from a tree above the Chambers Creek fish ladder. His nest and his mate are downstream at Chambers Bay. I watched him chase off two bald eagles. There is a bald eagle nest downstream above the creek. Upstream, five juvenile bald eagles have staked out fishing perches.

Osprey are a little smaller than bald eagles but not much. They have a similar silhouette in the sky with a 6-foot wingspan. They are white underneath like a peregrine. I will be adding a few of these to my Osprey online gallery. Let me know your favorites.

Here's lookin' at you kid!
Fishing grounds above the fish ladder


  1. WOW...these are amazing...where did you go??

  2. Sandy, you drive by this spot every day. The osprey was right above the dam where the fish ladder is in Steilacoom.

  3. Looks like there is an eagle's nest atop a piling
    just off shore from the pedestrian bridge @ Chamber's Bay Golf Course.
    Seen it?

  4. I haven't been over to Steilacoom in a couple of months. Got sidetracked with the eagle's nest in my neighborhood that my dog and I can visit together on our daily walks. I actually haven't been to the new (I guess it's not so new anymore) pedestrian bridge. Thanks for the tip!