Ten nesting pairs of ospreys have returned for the 2018 season to a stretch of the Delaware River that starts in Riverton, NJ, and ends 18.6 miles (29.9 kilometers) northeasterly at the tip of Burlington Island, NJ.
The raptors, otherwise know as fish hawks, sea hawks and river hawks, have just migrated north from their non-breeding grounds in South America. Some stay in Florida, or other parts of the southern U.S. during the fall and winter instead.
An additional pair are nesting somewhere around Lake Luxembourg in Langhorne, PA, not listed on the main-distribution map. Actually, I haven’t found their nest yet but spotted them in flight back in late-March.
A platform exists on the northeastern part of the lake, but sits almost directly below the resident eagles’ nest, most likely inhibiting the ospreys from roosting there. When the cold weather breaks, I’ll inflate my kayak and take a tour on the south side to see if I can find it.
Incidentally, all the same nesting spots as last year have been occupied for 2018:
The Riverton South birds returned in late-March, as seen on the channel marker to the left, and on the shot below, which sits on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River.
The photos were taken on March 29, 2018. The female is up top, apparently catching some sleep.
Next among the photos, the Riverton North osprey made it back around the same time as the Riverton South birds. Nesting material wasn’t evident on March 29th, when the picture was taken; nor was any seen on the previous shots, as the Coast Guard had cleared both markers after the birds departed last September.
One of the Riverton North nesting pair is perched on the bottom railing below. I presume its mate returned too and was around somewhere, probably gathering sticks.
The ospreys on the range marker at the confluence of Pennypack Creek in Philadelphia and the Delaware River have returned, according to a fellow bird-watcher who accompanied me while I took these two respective photos.
That’s the Philadelphia Water Company’s old pump house to the left of the Pennypack range marker, atop which sits the nest.
The photograph below shows no sign of the birds, but later in the afternoon, I spotted an osprey, heading down the creek towards the tower, presumably one of the nesting pair. A trip back is necessary to verify both of their return, and that of the Riverton North raptor’s mate.
The Andalusian male was the first osprey out of them all to make it back this season.
He’s the granddaddy of the fish-hawk clan in these here parts.
Winter storms and nor’easters prevented their typical return on St. Patrick’s Day, although he appeared on March 19th.
The female arrived home on the 24th, three days after another nor’easter hit the area: Winter Storm Toby. As seen below, the Andalusian female is on the left, while the male is on the right.
The Pen Ryn pair, next in line up the river, didn’t show until March 30th.
A friend who lives in the neighborhood alerted me that morning about their return.
I went out there that afternoon to verify, but it was raining and waited until the 31st to get theses shots, the ones shown above and below.
A third of a mile north on the river, photographed the same day as the Pen Ryn shots, the Herringbone raptors needed to start building their nest.
The Coast Guard cleared mostly all the nests off the range and channel markers this year, but it hasn’t stopped our beloved ospreys from claiming their old digs.
Across from Logan’s Point at Sarobia: Neshaminy State Park in Eddington, PA, the Beverly ospreys had returned relatively early, compared to the rest.
These two photos, the one on the left and the picture below, were taken on March 23, 2018, a few days after the Andalusian male arrived, and a day before his mate.
The following photo shows an empty tower across from Neshaminy State Park Marina, atop which ospreys inhabited a few years ago, but haven’t since. I suspect with the influx of new birds coming back from past broods presently living in South America, when they reach maturity, we’ll be seeing a nest there soon.
Below is another marker that’s only about one-tenth of a mile north from the one above in Edgewater Park, NJ. It might be too close to the other to sustain a nest on both, but it’s a suitable location for a pair looking to nest.
On the left are the Croydon Chemical Plant ospreys from the 5th of April.
The property behind it is all fenced in and non-accessible to the public.
One has to go to the Jersey side of the river to see them.
Maybe one of these days at low tide, I’ll take my inflatable kayak up from Neshaminy Park Marina’s public-boat access, which is only one-third of a mile south from there. The birds are seen below: one seems to be working on the nest while the other is copping some Zs.
A little over a mile upstream sits the next marker with a pair of nesting ospreys, which rests just ahead of the Burlington-Bristol Bridge on the Pa. side.
Getting a close shot from Maple Beach, located behind the tower, is risky. It’s private property owned by Dow Chemical.
Last season I took a chance and lucked out when a police car drove past, and the patrolman saw me up on the levee with my camera on a tripod, taking shots of the birds. He let me slide and continued on his way.
Speaking of lucking out, here’s a shot of the Bridge Ospreys in the throes of mating atop the marker on April 5, 2018. Gestation for osprey eggs is 35 days, which, if she laid an egg on that day, would hatch on my birthday, May 11th. Mark that on your calendar. Cards and gifts are welcome.
The following is located at Bristol Basin Park in Pa., the site of the former Delaware Canal’s terminus. Three seasons ago, a nesting pair of ospreys had occupied the tower, but none have since then.
Lately it’s been a rest stop for seagulls and cormorants.
Lastly, the Radcliffe raptors at the range marker past the northeastern tip of Burlington Island, NJ, were present on the 31st of March.
Their nest appears ready to go. I looked to see if I had any shots of the tower before they returned this year, to see if the Coast Guard had removed the nest; but didn’t find any.
Considering most of the other birds along my stretch of the river are still building, I’d be willing to bet that’s the old one with a bit of reinforcement.
The female is down on the railing. The male up on top might even be incubating. We’ll see in a little over a month.
That’s it for now. The next project will be a census of all the offspring. Thanks for stopping by and for your continued support.