Signs of life
by Lorna Hill
-- February 2018
Our resident colonies of Ospreys are already sitting on eggs in their nests. The famous nest sat atop the bathrooms is still going strong, renovations have obviously been carried out as sides of the nest are much higher now; more protection for Mama Osprey as she fiercely guards her yet-to-be hatched babies. Papa Osprey is on watch close by, perched on his favourite look out post, regularly leaving it only to catch a fish to bring to the female and then returns to his post again. He will only feed himself once the female is satisfied. Sometimes, he will take over sitting on the eggs to give her a chance to stretch out her wings but this is seldom.
These gray whales have a somewhat different family structure – the males and females, once they mate they go their separate ways. The females with calves, however, are just as protective of their young as a sharp Osprey. We always experience a little “sheltering” from the mothers at this time; we catch a glimpse of the young calf as the pair swims by. The mother needs to train her calf quickly, to build strength and stamina, preparing for the eventual long journey back up North. Sometimes the “training” involves a little play – the baby rolling off the Mothers back presents us with an opportunity to snap a quick photo!