We have had some rain. 70mm in 3 days, the gauge says.
And, this morning, I set out for my weekly Tia Chi class. Start of a new semester, so I was pretty excited about getting back to class. And at 8:00am, as I was getting ready, the rain, was, well, sheeting down. So any ideas of spending a few hours with the birds at The Office, were not even a glimmer of hope. But a we settled into such routines as “Waving hands like Clouds”, “White Crane Cools Wings”, and “Monkey offers a Peach”, it was possible to glimpse a shaft of brilliant sunshine making an appearance through the clouds. By the time we paused for a break, it was definitely bright sunshine warming me though the window, and stirring the possibilities of a chance to venture out in the early afternoon.
EE soon agreed and we headed out right after lunch. To my despair, the road into The Office, was waterlogged. And we picked our way along through the water, and the puddles and the inevitable mud pools. On arrival at the carpark, Kitty and Kalev were nowhere to be seen, and despite looking for a while, we still were Kiteless. So we wandered down to the river area.
Which as it turns was a great move.
For there in the tree, formerly known as “Kite Tree” — we are big on naming things, not necessarily always creatively. The bleeding obvious applies here. On the tree formerly known, now to be re-named. Osprey Tree. Was the Osprey.
This much reported bird has been giving birdos quite some good views as it does the rounds between the Werribee River Park, and the Western Treatment Plant. So much so, that I am beginning to contemplate that in fact there are at least two birds in the area.
We’ve had a few glimpses of it before, and have also managed some fine photos, but today, it was a most relaxed and resting bird. The Werribee River has benefited from the recent rains and was swelling about, and rippling along in a most happy gurgling mood. How an Osprey could find a fish in there is beyond me, as the rush of water is so good to see, rather than the usual ebb and flow of slow tidal changes. Either it is enjoying the fishing, or its finding the Werribee Open Range Zoo a suitable smorgasbord for its tastes.
So it sat casually in the sunshine. Then a squall came through, and in the end we had to retreat to the shelter of the Red Gums, and the bird still sat. A few quick shakes of those great wings and it was dry. We emerged. So did some Whistling Kites. They still consider it “their” tree. And in the end the persistent attacks put the hapless Osprey to wing. It rose up out of the river flats and found a passing Wedge-tailed Eagle to give a hurry up.
Then it circled, and landed again on the tree. Awesome.
So after about two hours, the weather moved to what you’d call overcast and lowering, and we made a speedy retreat back to the car, and slogged out on the even wetter track in the rain.
Osprey are not well noted in our part of the coast. HANZAB notes it as “Rare, vagrant, all singles”, p 228, The Bird Atlas maps show lovely red lines all along the coast of South Australia, and New South Wales, but only occasional dots along the Victorian coast. So this bird(s) is not only a real pleasure to see, but also a most fortunate find indeed. Those in who live along those well-marked Red areas on the Atlas maps probably don’t give the bird much more than a second thought. But we feel most privileged to have such a noble bird as a guest in the Office. Hopefully we can make a few more sunny meets.
11 thoughts on “Graced by an Osprey at The Office”
Good evening David. So you’ve got to see the osprey too and naturally you took some great photos. I am really surprised that he is still there, despite constant attacks by the whistling kites as I had observed and photographed the action more than a month ago. I saw him there twice. The river could be a good source of fish although I did not see him hunting and I wonder if the Office is just his resting place while he flies further down to the bay for food. Let’s hope the weather gets a bit better soon as I would like to say hello to him again after returning from overseas trip. Thanks for posting the story and the photos.
Thanks Adam, an Osprey is also reported down at Lake Borrie and the Treatment Plant. (about 3 wing flaps for your average Osprey I’d guess) However, it would be interesting to know if we have one bird, or there are two working the area. Richard had the good fortune to actually see it hunting in the River near the K Road Cliff carpark, and the water runs over a shallow gravel bar near the Mansion Access bridge and its not uncommon to observe quite large shoals of fish working over the bar.
Perhaps this bird has worked that all out. We’d love to take a day, pack a picnic and some earl of grey and just sit about and wait. But there are just so many other activities that need attention too.
Hope you get back there soonish.
Amazing things just happen. I went to The Office despite the cloudy morning hoping to see the Osprey. And sure indeed – I was not only able to say ‘hello’ but I also shot some photos (just posted one on Flickr), although I wished the sun came out earlier. This time it was chasing away some ravens and finally decided to fly down the river, possibly to get some food. On my way out I met “What’s Granddad Doing”, had a chat and finally I saw Kitty and Kalev doing what has to be done when the nest is waiting for the eggs. I was indiscreet and took some shots too.
I’ve thought I owe you this little report.
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Glad to hear that not only did you get down there, but wow, the bird was waiting for you. Pretty exciting I reckon.
Heard from Mr An Onymous about your meeting, and that was a good thing. Love this Flickr community thing.
Kitty and Kalev are pretty much over humans going by, and I think they are more concerned with the job at hand. A bit of light from some good weather would be a pleasing addtion I reckon.
All in all a good day. We were going to make the trip out this morning, but in the end, we did a couple of other things that meant we ran out of time. Perhaps next time.
What an unexpected gift David, and in the midst of all that rain you Victorians have been having down there. Great shots, and to see the two raptors make contact is a bonus.
Great photos David!
What a lovely bird, and so rare in Victoria.
I was fortunate enough to see him/her at K Road Cliffs right at the moment of catching a fish.
We need to find him/her a mate now!
It does seem to have settled into the area. I’ve yet to see it at WTP —we’ve not been as frequent down there the past couple of of months.
But it does seem to be quite active over the Werribee River Park. Would love to see it in action, and with the river quite high at the moment, the tidal waters will be pushed well down toward the mouth at Werribee South, I suspect.
Hi Dave, a tip-top series of shots of the Osprey (as usual). I really love the one where its just landing and its wings are extended. Wonderful series.
Hi Rodger, thanks for stopping by.
I really wanted to show our excitement in the find, with the photos. It was very relaxed and did several fly arounds and then resettled. One of those times when the Red-dot sight would be the best thing.
Wonderful series of photographs David. I was particularly interested in the one with the WTE, which made the Osprey look quite modest in size by comparison. Thanks again for sharing a great experience.
Hello Eleanor, I’ve never known much about Osprey, so it is a bit of new learning experiene as we go along. What I was particularly taken by was the size of the Whislting Kite. They appear to be a much bulkier bird than the Osprey. But, then they don’t have to do much inwater fishing, so sleek may not be high on their list of ‘looks’.
The Osprey is only a few metres above the Wedge-tailed Eagle, and other shots I’ve got show a similar size relationship.
What was pretty interesting was the turn of speed it had to easily pace the Eagle. Mostly times the Eagles seem to lope along, but given the right breeze, they can move and turn at quite astounding speeds, so the Osprey must have a similar capacity.
Hopefully we’ll get a few more views.