By Mary Reid Barrow
The Ospreyland Twitter feed along the Narrows Trail in First Landing State Park was going viral this spring with news of the young osprey delinquent who was rampaging through the neighborhood.
Reports of petty thefts of nesting materials and fisticuffs with adult ospreys were rampant.
But after a spring of rebellious behavior, it appears that the bad boy might be growing up. It’s possible he has a mate and a big new nest right out in the open off the trail.
Walking from the visitor center parking lot, you can see the new nest on your right at the very top of a snag not long before you reach the half-mile mark on the trail.
Folks who join LRNow’s Discover Virginia Beach Osprey Walk at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 25, led by osprey experts Reese Lukei and Robert Brown, can see the nest and hear about the local juvenile offender as well as the many other ospreys along the trail. Register at https://www.lynnhavenrivernow.org/events/discover-virginia-beach-osprey-hike/
We can call the ex-trouble maker 53 B because that’s the number on one of the leg bands that osprey expert Reese Lukei put around his legs in spring 2016. Then, he was a baby in a platform nest on the Lynnhaven River. Robert Brown, who keeps a sharp eye on Ospreyland inhabitants, first identified 53 B on the Narrows trail in the park in 2019 . Here is one of Brown’s photos with the leg bands plainly visible.
That year, Brown reported that 53 B tried unsuccessfully for most of the summer to build a nest in an unsuitable site in the marsh off the trail. The poor guy returned again in 2020, only to meet with defeat again.
By March of this year, 53 B was hell bent for leather, attacking other nests, stealing sticks and otherwise upsetting the whole neighborhood, Brown noted.
Then, Brown began to see 53 B in the vicinity of the new nest on the trail and before too long there was a female firmly ensconced on the nest. Terri Gorman snapped this photo in June.
Until the male that’s visiting the nest is positively identified as 53 B, there’s no way of knowing whose nest it really is. But, it seems, for sure, 53 B has outgrown his rebellious behavior.
His parents probably worried about their feisty child, wondering when their boy would ever grow up.
Now they have breathed a sigh of relief. All it seems to take is a good woman, they said.
Find LRNow’s Osprey Map at the Narrows in First Landing State Park: https://bit.ly/2AoCBUL-osprey
Do you have a favorite tree or plant with a story to tell? What relationships have you observed between plants and critters? Who eats whom? Who has babies where? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org