Monday, June 28, 2010

Four Osprey Chicks

I have been out on the Tennessee Aquarium River Gorge Explorer twice in the past couple of weeks and have enjoyed observing the osprey family in the Gorge. These shots were sent to me by Aquarium naturalist John Dever. At first glance it looks as though the mother osprey is perched on the channel maker's beacon, but she is actually just landing on the nest. There has been a bit of a debate about the number of chicks in the nest. Thanks to these digital images, you can see four rather large chicks. Hmmm. Four?
You may need to click on the image above to see the full-sized picture. Look closely, on the right-hand side of the picture you'll see a rather stealthy osprey chick hunkered down in the nest. No wonder there have been some debate all summer long about the number of babies in the nest. It won't be long now and passengers may be lucky enough to see the parents teaching these young birds to fish. Our naturalists have observed "fishing lessons" in the past and say it's pretty spectacular. If you book a trip aboard the Explorer soon, you'll still be able to see this family. Book a trip on the three-hour long Sunset Special and you will pass by three active osprey nests. And our naturalists are still reporting quite a few bald eagle sightings as well.
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