Sunday, August 22, 2010

Meet Ricky & Lucy - Osprey of the Outer Banks

 I'm back from the Outer Banks and the family vacation is officially over - back to reality. Unfortunately vacations never last, but the memories do. And this past week I brought back a few memories I'd like to share.

The Outer Banks is a 200-mile long string of narrow barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. The 2-hour drive from where we live makes it a convenient vacation destination. Whether your a beach person or not there's lots to do and see there, not to mention some great restaurants serving some of the best seafood around. Many of the restaurants border along the waters edge offering some excellent scenery while dining. One such restaurant is Basnight's Lone Cedar Cafe. One of the main attractions at Basnights, besides its great food and wonderful view of the Roanoke Sound, is the pair of osprey that nest behind their restaurant. The osprey pair is known locally as  Ricky and Lucy - named by the restaurant staff.


The osprey nest sits on a platform that's attached to a 15 - 20 foot snag that sits over water. Ricky and Lucy have nested here for several years and have become a favorite attraction for many. The restaurant has even created flyers about them which are placed on each table for customers to read about.

In the spring of 2007 the restaurant was destroyed by fire. The osprey pair flew around confused and frightened for several days but returned a few days later and continued to nest that year while the restaurant was rebuilt just a few yards away from them.

This is one of the juveniles that has yet to leave the nest.


These ospreys will be migrating soon and will spend their winter in South America. Ricky and Lucy will return next spring to nest again in this very same spot.


Osprey readily builds its nest on manmade structures, such as this nest platform designed especially for it. Such platforms have become an important tool in reestablishing Ospreys in areas where they had once disappeared.

They dine almost exclusively on live fish. Here's one of the parents on a nearby snag eating a fresh catch.


After diner we walked out on the dock behind the restaurant to see what else was lurking this Laughing Gull (shown in it's non-breeding plumage).


Mallards swimming nearby looking for a handout.


Fish crows...


I have a hard time telling the fish crow apart from the American crow. Fish crows are a little smaller but the best way to tell them apart is by their sound.


There was even a young Swamp Rabbit eating grass nearby.



If you get a chance, stop on over at Birdfreak's website and check out more bird photos in this weeks edition of Bird Photography Weekly.


eileeninmd said...

Alan, great series of photos! Loved the shots of Ricky and Lucy.

Anonymous said...

lovely series of the osprey!
It's so funny to see a Laughing Gull that is different from the German "Laughing Gull" what would be a "Black-headed Gull" in English. I once made a small post on these different Gull names, if you're interested:

mick said...

I love the Osprey. It sounds like a very nice place to enjoy a meal.

Les said...

I am increasingly amazed at how tolerant the Osprey have become to the human landscape, or rather seascape. There is a pair at the Jamestown-Scotland ferry that have built their nest on one of the giant pilings that keep the ferry in place, mere feet from the comings and goings of car and boat.

Larry said...

Osprey are amazing birds for sure Alan. I would be eating there all the time, watching the adults bringing in fresh fish for the kids. What a blast!

That nestling must be really close to fledging. Did they only have one offspring? Great post. I enjoyed the rest of the managery as well.

Neil said...

Great photos Alan it is good the restaurant lets people know about the birds.

Bob Kaufman said...

Interesting place! Lots of birds hanging around a restaurant would be a dream vacation for me. Great photos, too!

BirdingMaine said...

Wonderful photo series Alan! I love photographing Osprey, especially during the spring when the alewives are running.

Halcyon said...

The osprey are really impressive. And I love that sweet little bun bun at the end.

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

Great bird's nest! Wow.

Lana Gramlich said...

Wonderful shots! I love ospreys, but they're so hard to catch!

Jim said...

Beautiful bird captures.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

NatureFootstep said...

Osprey are one of my favourite birds. But I have never seen any of their nests. But there should be. Great shots you´ve got.