Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Look Who Is Back At The McKenzie Marsh, The Osprey

It was undoubtedly an Osprey, the fish-eating bird of prey.

Last week, on a foggy night, we were driving on the St. John’s Sideroad. I glanced to my right and noticed a big bird sitting on the very famous Cormorant tree (north side of St. John’s Sideroad, east of the main observation deck). It was undoubtedly an Osprey, the fish-eating bird of prey. I was so excited about his return, and even more excited that he was closer than ever to the boardwalk.

Osprey Current Location

I am not sure if it is the same Osprey, but I have been following him since July 2007. That was the time when I first photographed him fishing with his amazing talons – stunning action to experience. He used to sit on the far tree in the back, hard to spot, but with my zoom lens I was able to see him many times. Then he moved closer to the evergreen tree in the following years. However, in 2010 I have been to the pond many times during spring, summer, and fall, but there was no trace of him, until last week.

Osprey on the Evergreen Tree, McKenzie Marsh, Aurora

It is possible that he never left; he just moved to the marsh closer to Hadley Grange. When they started building the Nokiidaa Trail boardwalk, he probably got disturbed and moved back to this side of the marsh, but picked a new tree to reside on (just my theory). However, it will be interesting to see what will happen when the Cormorants come back. Will they fight for the spotlight? In the past, the Great blue heron lost that battle.

Osprey, McKenzie Marsh, Aurora

It was time to take the new red wagon and see what was happening at McKenzie Marsh. So, a couple of days ago, we went for a walk to the pond. I couldn’t believe how much activity was there at this time of year – everyone was there, including the soaring Osprey I have been looking for. On the way back, he was sitting on the famous Cormorant tree close to the boardwalk (and maybe one day I will find out the name of this tree too).

Osprey, McKenzie Marsh, Aurora
Osprey, McKenzie Marsh, Aurora

Not just sitting, but enjoying his captured meal – a fish. As every fish-eating bird in these ponds dives for the fish and catches it with its beak, the Osprey catches it with its feet. The Osprey’s toes are of equal size, and the outer toe is reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind. Also, the barbed pads on the soles of its feet help to grip slippery fish. The Osprey carries fish headfirst to maintain the most aerodynamic flight possible.

Seeing an Osprey fish is an amazing sight, and I think we are very lucky to have this remarkable bird at the McKenzie Marsh in Aurora.

Osprey Head & Feet Close Up

My journey in Aurora is always full of surprises. I have to say, people are very friendly, always saying hi and smiling. I also have a social butterfly (my 3-year-old Matthew) with me who has gotten into the habit of saying hi to every passing person. That day, in addition to the Osprey discovery, I got to meet Barry who was walking his dog along the same path. The Canada goose are usually a good starting point to initiate conversation, especially since for the past few years they have been nesting closer and closer to the boardwalk. They are definitely getting used to the busy traffic on St. John’s Sideroad.

As we conversed more, I found that Barry and I have very similar interests, mainly photography. Barry is the owner of the Algonquin Adventures website (Barry’s own information-sharing website for Algonquin Park users such as campers, canoeists, hikers, photographers, fishermen) and he is also an Executive Committee Member of the Algonquin Backcountry Recreationalists.

Beauty is all around us, we just have to look more closely. When Matthew was born three years ago and I wanted to continue with my photography hobby, I realized that you don’t have to go far; Aurora has a lot of places to explore. So it looks like Barry will be sharing some of his Aurora adventures with us too on his bbaurora blog.


James said: May 8, 2011 at 12:17

Hi Anna. Thanks for the comments on my flickr photos and for the tip that the osprey is back. I also did see an osprey there in 2007. But not since. Hopefully I’ll be lucky and can get some shots of him soon! James

Anna Lozyk Romeo said: May 9, 2011 at 22:59

James, thank you for the comment. I hope so too, and may be you can get him fishing 🙂 too.

Chris said: June 26, 2011 at 00:52

Hi Anna, I caught a glimpse of the osprey at the marsh today. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it unless I had read about it here. It was way back so I couldn’t get any pictures but I’ll keep an eye out for it from now on. Chris

Anna Lozyk Romeo said: June 27, 2011 at 15:42

Hi Chris, since the last photo shoot on St. John’s Sideroad, I have not seen him yet. I am glad that he is still around. I thought maybe he was busy with nesting. They are great fishermen. I am hoping for someone, you or even myself (a dream), to get photos of him fishing. Appreciate your visit and comment.


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