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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Observing Osprey From Afar in Key West...

Among the last things that I personally would associate with Key West are Osprey. Not the military aircraft version of the Osprey mind ya but of the real predatory bird.

For you see, it wasn't at all that uncommon to occasionally hear an Osprey's high pitched tones early in the morning while tied off to a mooring ball in the Garrison Bight Mooring Field in Key West.

And sure enough, I'd look across the way and there would invariably be an Osprey perched high atop the mast of an adjacent boat.

And if per chance I happened to be sufficiently awake at that early hour of the morning, as in not too indisposed if you know what I mean, I might then see that predatory bird swoop down from atop of its perch and gently glide along the surface of the water before suddenly reaching into the water and grasping an unsuspecting fish with its sharp talons.

That Osprey would invariably then fly back to atop of the same mast that it had been perched upon just moments earlier and then proceed to rip the flesh off that unfortunate fish with its powerful beak while still clutching its meal with one talon.

Nevertheless it also wasn't unusual to see the skipper of that boat climb out into the cockpit and give his backstay a few tugs in every direction whenever an osprey would start screeching from atop of his mast.

And just like that, and with the mast suddenly vibrating and all, that osprey would suddenly take flight and fly on off elsewhere.

Incidentally, not that it matters one way or another, but never once did I observe the skipper of that boat to ever bother and look up atop of his mast before twanging the heck out of his backstay. He'd twang that backstay a few times as if it were a guitar string and immediately turn around and head on back down below without so much as a casual glance upwards.

An Osprey nest can readily be seen in the above photograph atop of a power-line tower standing alongside of the Garrison Bight Cut.

On one occasion while dinghying ashore one morning, I happened to observe an Osprey circle around its nest and then land upon it.

And no sooner had that Osprey landed when its mate unexpectedly stood up and stretched its long wings before majestically taking flight. It was indeed a pretty cool sight... not quite on par with checking out some partially nude hot babe aboard a passing powerboat but a cool sight nonetheless.

In any event I'd certainly be most remiss if I were to fail to mention that it was this same nest that had a dark purple t-shirt dangling from it for weeks on end.

And for all I know it might have belonged to a fellow sailor who was last reportedly seen wearing a dark purple t-shirt. Hey what can I say other than every possible lead into that fellow sailor's disappearance should be thoroughly investigated.

Bird Poop on my sail cover... but I doubt whether an osprey was the culprit.

This fellow may indeed have been the culprit.

Nevertheless I haven't definitively ruled out this young fellow as a possible suspect.

Garrison Bight Mooring Field, Key West.