The ospreys are returning to the Cape! – another reassuring sign spring is indeed working its way here. The April Fools nor’easter that blew through here Friday and Saturday dropping over 4 inches of rain pulled out and left us with a beautiful spring day – and a wonderful Wellfleet surprise. The osprey’s nest high atop the pole at the Wellfleet marina is once again home to at least one osprey. Only one was spotted in the nest today (April 2nd), but its mate can’t be too far behind (or perhaps was already out searching for a fish dinner.)
UPDATE: We now have a pair! On Monday (April 3rd) the second osprey was spotted in the nest. The pair appears to be getting on with nest repair and what’s necessary to populate it with a new generation.
I have been checking out the nest over the past week, anxious to mark the return to Wellfleet. Reports on several osprey tracking sites showed known (and tagged) birds to be making their way back up the east coast. And a week ago, it looked like there was an occupant in the nest in Cedar Pond, which is on the right of Route 6 coming on Cape just before the Orleans rotary.
These amazing travelers migrate in the early fall to Cuba, various Caribbean islands, Central America and as far as Brazil, only to return to the same nest the following spring. The tracking maps at OspreyTrax.com show just how far they fly during the spring & fall migrations, as well as their relatively local ramblings at the summer and winter sites.
They take their time heading south, but when it’s time to return to their summer home, they waste little time lest a rival snags their well-positioned nest.
The Wellfleet Marina nest has been there since 2008 when it was relocated from a nearby power pole by the harbormaster’s office with the help of Mass. Audubon Society’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and Lt. Tom Ferreira from the Wellfleet fire department, according to a 2009 WickedLocal.com article.
To learn more about the life and habits of the osprey, I recommend the All About Birds osprey page published by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.