It's that time of year when Ospreys make their way back north to their nesting grounds, but not everyone is welcoming them home.
A great place to safely observe ospreys without being intrusive is Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens. Over the weekend, I spotted four pairs as they worked on their nests and went fishing.
I watched one individual who kept flying back and forth over the water, then diving in at specific points. It would fly one way, dive in and get completely submerged, then flap its way out of the water and fly back the other way, diving in again about a hundred feet from where it started.
It repeated this about ten times before gulls chased it out of the area.
Later in the day, the ospreys flew close overhead and I could see them much better. Their lanky black and white wings are so beautiful when they glide through the air.
This is a pair - one individual in the two shots above, and a second individual below.
There are a few nest platforms at the refuge that can be seen well with binoculars or a scope. Look closely at the nest pictured below - I believe that's a shirt hanging off the right side.
And as I watched, the osprey cleared some junk out of the top of the nest and flew away with it. A little spring cleaning to spruce up the nest in preparation for eggs.
Be sure to check out my favorite live Osprey Cam, which documents a pair, Iris and Louis, just outside of Hellgate Canyon, near Missoula, Montana. Iris is estimated to be about 24 years old, making her one of the oldest ospreys in the world. She's an incredible creature and they're both fascinating to watch.