Photo by Cleve Nash
This is the fourth in a series of tales about the “famous and not-so-famous birds of Morro Rock.”
The bird I am speaking of is our resident osprey, a magnificent and colorful large bird of prey. He does not make his home on the rock but he visits there frequently. Most of the time, he is in and around the bay. Perching on sailboats, fishing vessels, lamp posts, etc. Morro Bay, you might say, is his home. In the five or six years I’ve watched him, he has never had a mate or nest site. I don’t know if he is male or female.
The nearest thing to a home was a tree at the west end of the Morro Bay Museum/marina parking lot. There you would find him in the tree and Cleve Nash on the ground with camera in hand. The water was very shallow there even at high tide. This explains why he was able to take the flounder and diving ducks such as the Bufflehead, in the photo below, although he is able to catch prey at three meters in depth.
One day I asked Cleve if he ever got a shot of him entering the water with his talons stretched straight out in front. This he does at the very last second before hitting the water. Cleve responded at that time that he had taken over 900 photos and hadn’t gotten that one yet. When it comes to photography, Cleve is relentless and stubborn with his subjects. One time while shooting White-tailed Kites near San Simeon, Cleve stood for a long period of time with a camouflage drape over himself. A Cooper’s Hawk landed on the lens of his 500 mm camera eighteen inches from his face. This is dedication!
The osprey’s favorite tree fell down last year. Now he and a great egret fuss over a tree nearby. I tried to get some people interested in putting up a tall pole with a tire on top to attract a mate, but I’m not a politician and nothing came of it. He’s still here and roams the bay and if you walk the waterfront to look at the bay or sunset and see scales falling from the sky. It’s just the osprey on the lamp post above your head enjoying his evening repast.
Happy trails, Bob
P.S. The fish is a Starry Flounder.