By Mike Busch

After loading up this week’s images (big thanks to Jim Botta) , I made sure to check the Long Island Wildlife Photography page  just to see if anyone found the first Osprey of the season.  For many people, including me, the annual return of these beautiful and fascinating birds is a more important sign of Spring than the calendar.  Last year the first one was reported on the 17th so the odds were pretty good.  As luck would have it, I quickly saw Osprey posted by Dolores Albertuzzi, Glenn Urquhart, and Jimmy Johnny below.

Osprey – Dolores Albertuzzi

Osprey – Glenn Urquhart

Osprey – Jimmy Johnny

Here a few factoids about their amazing migration from South America:

-Ospreys may migrate 160,000 miles over their 15-20 year lifetime.

-Ospreys mate for life but travel back and forth to  the wintering grounds alone and on different schedules and don’t spend the winters together.  They just meet up at the same nest in the Spring.

-They typically take between 20 or 30 days to travel the roughly 3000 miles between here and South America.

-They often follow the same route exactly and often stop to rest in the same locations.

-Young Osprey leave on their own and find their own way down to the wintering grounds and wait until the following year to come back North.

-The young will return to the same general area of their birth ( within 100 miles or so) but chances are they never see their parents again.

The weather looks great this weekend, I expect to see more amazing shots over the next several weeks as the skies fill up with these hungry predators.

If my memory is correct, you can get some great shots of Osprey catching fish in the early Spring as they need a lot of energy for nest building and mating season.  The lack of foliage on the trees also helps.

Besides the Osprey, there are a few more signs of Spring with the first woodchucks and snakes of the season posted below.   Also be sure to check out FOUR more new amazing videos from Natalie Ann on the last page.

The cover shot goes to Jimmy Johnny with an early season Osprey from last year- his shot from Thursday didn’t fit in the cover.

Eastern Garter Snake – Christopher Carl

Hooded Merganser – Dan Fiore

Snow Buntings – Eileen Grobeck

Richard Biscardi – Bald Eagle

Red Tailed Hawks – James Jacobson

Sharp Shinned Hawk – Kimberly Lechner Sanchez